Procore Enhances Its Preconstruction Solution For Better Cost & Risk Management

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 11, 2021 by itnerd

Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of construction management software, announced an enhanced Preconstruction solution at its Procore Innovation Summit. This solution connects people, designs, and data across preconstruction and the course of construction on Procore’s platform, with analytics tools to support the entire process. 

According to a 2018 study conducted by FMI, correcting work that was incorrectly done, or rework, cost over US$500 billion in 2018. On average, 52 per cent of that rework was caused by poor project data and communication. Procore Preconstruction is tailored for owners, general contractors and specialty contractors looking to win and build more profitable projects, while reducing risk and rework. Every project stakeholder can now be connected to a project’s design, estimates, bidding and budgets within the Procore platform. 

Improving Estimates by Connecting Estimating to Financials

Procore Preconstruction starts with estimating and takeoff, and the data flows into bidding and financials tools. This allows users to better manage project costs through all phases of construction, by connecting the preconstruction teams with the field.

 
Procore acquired construction estimating and takeoff company Esticom in October 2020. Esticom’s technology is now integrated into the Procore platform and its user interface, enabling users to:

Automatically create their budget and prime contracts directly from an estimate with a single click, preventing important information from being lost in the transition from preconstruction to operations.

Streamline change management and ensure their total estimated profit is not lost between systems or teams — made possible by connecting drawing markups to estimating via the Drawings tool. 

Build more accurate takeoffs faster with Auto-Count, an artificial intelligence feature that assists in symbol recognition.

Use Procore’s new benchmark data, available within Procore Analytics, to compare the past performance of initial estimates to the final budget at project delivery. The performance of specific specialty contractors across projects of similar size and type can also be compared.

Better Design Coordination to Ensure Constructability

If the first half of reducing cost risk is to make better estimates, the second half is better design coordination to ensure constructability. Constructability review is an all-hands-on-deck process with the design team and the project team collaborating to flag issues and ultimately ensure that the plans put into action can be delivered as designed. 

Procore Preconstruction has tools for effectively managing design collaboration, including:

  • Coordination issues: This new tool allows teams to track and manage all 2D and 3D design issues in one location, and to perform collaborative design reviews on drawings. 
  • “Follow Me” feature in Procore BIM: Users can see all active users reviewing the model and navigate directly to their location with a single click, making design reviews more efficient and effective. 
  • Dynamic 2D Views from Procore BIM: Users can create 2D drawing views of the design from the BIM model. Now teams can see all building systems consolidated in a single view to make sure everything is coordinated and properly located prior to construction. 


Learn more about Procore Preconstruction in this blog post and at https://www.procore.com/preconstruction

US Senate Mulls Laws To Fight Cyberattacks

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 11, 2021 by itnerd

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday said he is initiating a review of recent high-profile cyber attacks on governments and businesses to find out whether a legislative response is needed:

“Today I am asking Chairman Gary Peters of our Homeland Security Committee and our other relevant committee chairs to begin a government-wide review of these attacks and determine what legislation may be needed to counter the threat of cyber crime and bring the fight to the cyber criminals.” Schumer noted that the New York City subway system was the victim of a computer hack in early June. This came on the heels of Colonial Pipeline having to shut down some operations, resulting in disrupted fuel supplies in the U.S. Southeast, as a result of a cyber attack.

In case you were wondering about the cyberattack on the New York subway system, The New York Times has a story about it that you can read.

In any case. I for one would be in favor of laws to address cyberattacks. The thing is that it has to cover a number of areas:

  • It has to force companies to employ defenses against cyberattacks. And face punishments if they fail to do so. Along with worse punishments if they get pwned and those defenses were not in place.
  • It has to require companies who get pwned to report that they got pwned.
  • It has to make paying the ransom illegal to make it less profitable for the scumbags behind these crimes.
  • It has to go after the scumbags behind these crimes and target the cash. Because if its not profitable to do these crimes, they won’t do it.
  • It has to go after the nation states who shield these scumbags. That way the scumbags in question have no place to hide.

The fact is that this cannot be some token measure. It has to have teeth. Otherwise we’re going to be talking about this day after day.

Electronic Arts Pwned….. Data Was Swiped

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2021 by itnerd

Hackers have broken into gaming giant Electronic Arts, the publisher of Battlefield, FIFA, and The Sims, and stole a wealth of game source code and related internal toolsMotherboard reported Thursday:

“You have full capability of exploiting on all EA services,” the hackers claimed in various posts on underground hacking forums viewed by Motherboard. A source with access to the forums, some of which are locked from public view, provided Motherboard with screenshots of the messages. In those forum posts the hackers said they have taken the source code for FIFA 21, as well as code for its matchmaking server. The hackers also said they have obtained source code and tools for the Frostbite engine, which powers a number of EA games including Battlefield. Other stolen information includes proprietary EA frameworks and software development kits (SDKs), bundles of code that can make game development more streamlined. In all, the hackers say they have 780gb of data, and are advertising it for sale in various underground hacking forum posts viewed by Motherboard.

Lovely. This is a bad look for Electronic Arts. And Electronic Arts have confirmed to Motherboard that it had suffered a data breach and that the information listed by the hackers was the data that was stolen. So you can expect that there is a ton of damage control going on inside the company right now as the damage is going to be extensive and multi-faceted.

HP+ The Smarter Printing System Is Launching In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2021 by itnerd

Today, more than 80 per cent of Canadians who began working remote, say they hope to maintain a hybrid schedule, working at least half their hours from home in a post-COVID world, according to Stats Canada. As these structural shifts create more freedom and flexibility for today’s worker, HP Inc. is debuting HP+ in Canada as a smart and modern printing experience designed for a post-COVID world.  

Since the pandemic began, the demand for printing has grown immensely. To meet this growing need, HP+ is helping modernize home offices, while ensuring seamless integration by: 

  • Offering a new cloud ecosystem, that provides enhanced security and reliability to print from virtually anywhere. 
  • Enabling you to scan, upload and share documents wherever you are powered by the HP Smart App.
  • Helping you never run out of ink by pairing HP+ with HP Instant Ink. 
  • Putting the planet first by promoting zero-deforestation printing and closed-loop cartridge recycling through HP’s Planet Partners program. 

Launched Globally in April, HP+ has arrived in Canada and offers the freedom and flexibility WFH requires. If you’re interested, you can learn more about HP+ here.

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That In 2020 The Number Of Vulnerabilities In Microsoft Products Exceeded 1,000 For the first time

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2021 by itnerd

Microsoft products are used by billions of people worldwide. Historically, however, they are known to have many vulnerabilities that pose security risks to users of the software. 

According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, the total number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products reached 1,268 in 2020 — an increase of 181% in five years. 

Windows was the most vulnerability-ridden Microsoft product. It had a total of 907 issues, of which 132 were critical. However, Windows Server had the largest number of critical issues. In 2020, 902 vulnerabilities were detected in Windows Server, of which 138 were critical. 

Issues were also found in other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Together, these browsers had 92 vulnerabilities in 2020. In total, 61 or even 66% of these vulnerabilities were of critical level. Meanwhile, Microsoft Office had 79 vulnerabilities, 5 of which were critical. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation : 

“These numbers are a massive problem because every Microsoft product has millions of users. Therefore, it is important that consumers update their software applications on time. Software updates can include security patches that can fix vulnerabilities and save users from getting hacked.”

Elevation of privilege is the most common Microsoft vulnerability

A wide range of vulnerabilities was discovered in various Microsoft products last year.  However, some types of vulnerabilities were more common than others.  

Elevation of privilege was the most frequently detected issue in Microsoft products. It was discovered 559 times and made up 44% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020. 

Next up is remote code execution. In total, 345 such vulnerabilities were found last year, putting it in second place on the list. Remote code execution accounted for 27% of the total number of Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.  

Information disclosure occupies the third spot on the list. There were 179 such issues discovered in 2020. Together, they made up 14% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities that year. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/bloghttps://atlasvpn.com/blog/in-2020-number-of-vulnerabilities-in-microsoft-products-exceeded-1-000-for-the-first-time

TELUS Health Launches MyCare Expanded Virtual Care Offering

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2021 by itnerd

TELUS Health, Canada’s largest health IT company and the leading provider of virtual care across the country, today introduced TELUS Health MyCare following the recent acquisition of Babylon Health Canada. Previously known as Babylon by TELUS Health, TELUS Health MyCare is an important evolution of virtual care for Canadians offering a robust suite of health and wellbeing services and new and improved features. More Canadians are accessing preventative tools to guide changes in lifestyle for improved overall health, TELUS Health MyCare provides increased access to high-quality primary care with locally-licensed physicians in numerous languages, but also supports access to mental health counsellors and dietitians.

Latest evolution of TELUS Health MyCare

Since 2019, TELUS Health MyCare has empowered Canadians and their families to access many important features and continues to innovate with improved access and functionality including:

  • New Clinics: Recently, TELUS Health MyCare opened two digital-first public clinics in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Patients who live nearby now have the option to see doctors in person if they require an appointment following a virtual consultation. If they are without a regular family doctor, they can choose to have the TELUS Health MyCare clinic as their “medical home,” strengthening the continuity of their care. Plans are underway to open more TELUS Health MyCare clinics across Canada.
  • Mental Health and Dietitians: To help users address mental and nutritional health concerns TELUS Health MyCare has broadened services beyond primary care to include access to licensed mental health counsellors and dietitians for a more proactive, holistic approach to managing their overall health.
  • Enabling proactive health: TELUS Health has added new features to the app including the Healthcheck digital assessment tool which allows patients to proactively manage their health by better understanding their overall well-being, potential risk factors for illnesses, and steps they can take to help reduce those risks. Monitor is also a new tool that allows users to sync data from activity trackers, wearables, and other health apps to help track mood and activity to gain valuable insights on maintaining optimal health, all in one place.

By the Numbers

  • Every 30 seconds someone in Canada downloads the TELUS Health MyCare app
    • Every 90 seconds a patient sees a doctor via the app
  • A recent survey of TELUS Health MyCare users who completed a virtual consultation with a local physician or allied healthcare professional found:
    • 94 per cent agreed the service addressed their concern;
    • 96 per cent said they felt cared for by the physician; and
    • 96 per cent said they are likely to recommend the service to others.
  • 60 per cent of patients do not have a family doctor
  • 15 per cent of consultations are related to mental health
  • 77 per cent of users are between the ages of 20-49

Privacy by Design

TELUS Health is committed to building privacy safeguards into every one of its products and services, and we take special care when it comes to personal health information. Operating under the highest standards for security by design, TELUS Health MyCare stores all patient medical records in Canada in compliance with federal and provincial privacy legislation and securely transmits information using encryption mechanisms that meet or even exceed, the highest industry-recognized standards. The TELUS Health MyCare service will now fall under the robust TELUS Privacy Management Program Framework, with a new TELUS Health MyCare Privacy Commitment that describes the specifics of how we protect individual privacy and handle data in TELUS Health MyCare.

The TELUS Health MyCare app is available across the country in English and French as a free download for iOS or Android devices.

For more information on TELUS Health MyCare, please visit: telus.com/MyCare.

JBS Foods Pays Cyberattackers To Get Themselves Back Online

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2021 by itnerd

You might recall that I brought you the story of JBS Foods who got pwned in a cyberattack that shut the company down globally. Well it seems that they decided to pay up to get themselves back online:

The world’s largest meat processing company has paid the equivalent of $11m (£7.8m) in ransom to put an end to a major cyber-attack.

Computer networks at JBS were hacked last week, temporarily shutting down some operations in Australia, Canada and the US.

The payment was reportedly made using Bitcoin after plants had come back online.

JBS says it was necessary to pay to protect customers.

Paying these guys is a mistake. Why? The fact that we are still talking about cyberattack after cyberattack every single day shows that paying the attackers isn’t the solution to the problem as all that paying them does is encourage more attacks.

The solution is stronger cyber-defenses that all companies big and small must introduce. More aggressive law enforcement action, especially against those who backed by nation states like China and Russia. And more moves like the one the FBI did the other day to go after the proceeds of these crimes. Actions like those will turn the tide on this issue. Paying them is not the answer.

Your Guide to Stage 2 Of The Rainbow Six North American League

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 9, 2021 by itnerd

It’s time to muster all the Canadian Pride you can and get ready for the upcoming kick-off to Stage 2 of the Rainbow Six North American League!

The North American League was truly exciting during Stage 1. With Oxygen Esports taking everyone by surprise with their place at the top of the standings; we all witnessed the pure talent that NA has to offer. We are ecstatic to continue this emotional rollercoaster with our 9 NAL teams during Stage 2.

STAGE 2 SCHEDULE

WHERE TO WATCH

For more information, please see the full guide to Stage 2 of the North American League HERE.

#Fail: Yesterday’s Internet Outage Was Caused By A Single Customer

Posted in Commentary on June 9, 2021 by itnerd

Yesterday a number of major websites went down due to a failure with a content delivery network provider. Now we know what happened. A single customer managed to take down a significant portion of the Internet:

A major internet blackout that hit many high-profile websites on Tuesday has been blamed on a software bug.

Fastly, the cloud-computing company responsible for the issues, said the bug had been triggered when one of its customers had changed their settings.

The outage has raised questions about relying on a handful of companies to run the vast infrastructure that underpins the internet.

Fastly apologised and said the problem should have been anticipated.

The outage, which lasted about an hour, hit some popular websites such as Amazon, Reddit, the Guardian and the New York Times.

And:

The company operates servers at strategic points around the world to help customers move and store content close to their end users.

But a customer quite legitimately changing their settings had exposed a bug in a software update issued to customers in mid-May, causing “85% of our network to return errors”, it said.

That’s not good and I think that someone in Fastly’s QA department is about to get a talking to. Not to mention that I think that there will be tighter controls on what changes customers can make so that something like this can’t happen again as one single change from one customer should not take down a significant portion of the Internet.

Salesforce Expands Its Financial Services Offerings For Corporate & Investment Banking

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 9, 2021 by itnerd

Salesforce today announced Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud, new technology to help bankers and deal teams deepen relationships with clients, manage deal interactions on one platform and compliantly collaborate and share sensitive information relevant to a deal.

As the pandemic made clear, industries need to innovate fast to stay relevant. Financial services is no exception; investment bankers need digital technology to drive efficiency, build and deepen relationships with customers, and win more deals. They also require a single view of large amounts of client data, integrated in one platform, to help avoid mismanagement and improve quality. 

In addition, compliance officers are working in a banking landscape wrought with regulatory complexities, including managing sensitive information like material nonpublic information and assessing potential conflicts of interest. Banks can suffer reputation damage, business disruption, regulatory fines and revenue loss if sensitive information is mismanaged, conflicts of interest are not caught in time, or compliance is not securely maintained.

Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud is designed to deliver a complete experience across the client journey, and supports new integrations with Tableau CRM and Einstein Relationship Insights (ERI) to provide bankers with purpose-built technology. This includes:

  • Maximizing banker efficiency and productivity. Investment bankers can manage the entire deal lifecycle while tracking deal activities and client interactions on one platform from anywhere. Using Salesforce low code tools, they can automate deal execution processes related to M&A, capital raising and corporate restructuring. With the power of Tableau CRM for Financial Services, bankers can use deal analytics to optimize their deal pipeline and client engagement with access to historical client data, previous pitches and meeting notes all in one place — and from the device of their choice.
  • Uncovering relationships with an AI-based research tool. ERI is a new relationship discovery tool integrated with Financial Services Cloud. It automatically highlights relevant personnel or companies in sources such as a press release, news article, or email, to surface relevant connections and discover unanticipated relationships. For example, if a banker wants an introduction to a prospective client, ERI is able to search unstructured data and text on the web, such as a new board member announcement, uncovering that the prospect sits on the same non-profit board as one of the banker’s connections, providing the opportunity for a warm introduction. 
  • Ensuring compliance for client engagement. Investment banks can maintain compliance by ensuring sensitive client or deal data is only shared with relevant stakeholders. For example, if a banker is working on a sensitive M&A deal, she can ensure her colleagues trading related stocks do not have a view into the prospective M&A deal under consideration. Also, a banker can initiate the client onboarding process from Salesforce, and track the progress with partner solutions.
  • Leveraging data as a strategic advantage. Bankers often need to log into seven or eight systems to access relevant information to their deal. Now, bankers can integrate internal data on deal mandates with external market data from partners — such as S&P Global — for a full view of their clients. Bankers can access company valuation from S&P Global while viewing information such as revenue, employee salaries, and other potential risks all within Salesforce, avoiding the need to switch between multiple applications.

Major banking institutions are already leveraging Salesforce to engage more deeply with their clients:

  • Evercore, a leading global independent investment banking advisory firm, recognized the value a robust technology platform could bring to their business. Evercore selected the Salesforce platform to create a secure, centralized solution designed to provide bankers with access to relevant client information. As a customer, Evercore will benefit from the innovation delivered through Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud focusing on client relationship mapping, internal collaboration and other functionalities specifically designed to deliver a more personalized experience for investment bankers.
  • TD is one of the largest banks in North America. As part of its strategic technology roadmap, TD is building a unified banking experience including leveraging the Salesforce platform across their businesses.  Within TD Securities, a comprehensive Salesforce-driven CRM solution is being implemented to help bring leading products and trusted advice to their clients.
  • Moelis & Co. is a global independent investment bank that provides financial advisory services to corporations, governments, and financial sponsors. With Salesforce, Moelis & Co. is able to better streamline banker processes. The mobile-first application keeps bankers and deal teams updated on recent client activity and using passively collected data, they are creating more efficient ways to gather suggested relationships for bankers to rate. With this technology, bankers have more visibility into client relationships across the firm, enabling them to better collaborate and maintain a well-coordinated presence with their clients.

Salesforce has an extensive partner ecosystem that provides unique expertise and solutions for financial institutions globally. ISV partners such as S&P Global Market Intelligence and Fenergo extend and complement the value of Financial Services Cloud. Additionally, consulting partners KPMG, Silverline and VASS are experts in corporate and investment banking and are equipped to implement financial services solutions tailored for individual customers.

Built on the world’s #1 CRM platform, Financial Services Cloud enables financial services institutions to build trust by unifying the customer experience across channels, geographies, and lines of business — both consumer and commercial. With purpose-built industry functionality and all the capabilities of Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, financial services firms can increase employee productivity, accelerate time to value, and deepen customer trust with every interaction. Learn more about Salesforce Financial Services Cloud here.

Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud will be generally available in Summer 2021.