Are You Having A Technology Emergency?

True North Networks Blog

True North Networks has been serving the Swanzey area since 2002, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

True North Networks has been serving the Swanzey area since 2002, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

7 Critical Skills For the Jobs of the Future

We live in a world of accelerating change. New industries are constantly being born and old ones are becoming obsolete. A report by the World Economic Forum reveals that almost 65 percent of the jobs 

jobs of the future

elementary school students will be doing in the future do not even exist yet. Both the workforce and our knowledge base are rapidly evolving.

Combined with the effects of technological automation on the workforce, this leaves us with a crucial question: What are the skills future generations will need?

Education expert Tony Wagner has spent a lifetime trying to answer this very question. Through investigating the education sector, interviewing industry leaders and studying the global workforce at large, Wagner has identified seven survival skills of the future. These are skills and mindsets young people absolutely need in order to meet their full potential.

1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

We spend so much time teaching students how to answer questions that we often neglect to teach them how to ask them. Asking questions—and asking good ones—is a foundation of critical thinking. Before you can solve a problem, you must be able to critically analyze and question what is causing it. This is why critical thinking and problem solving are coupled together.

Wagner notes the workforce today is organized very differently than it was a few years ago. What we are seeing are diverse teams working on specific problems, as opposed to specific specialties. Your manager doesn’t have all the answers and solutions—you have to work to find them.

Above all, this skill set builds the very foundation of innovation. We have to have the ability to question the status quo and criticize it before we can innovate and prescribe an alternative.

2. Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence

One of the major trends today is the rise of the contingent workforce. In the next five years, non-permanent and remote workers are expected to make up 40 percent of the average company’s total workforce. We are even seeing a greater percentage of full-time employees working on the cloud. Multinational corporations are having their teams of employees collaborate at different offices across the planet.

Technology has allowed work and collaboration to transcend geographical boundaries, and that’s truly exciting. However, collaboration across digital networks and with individuals from radically different backgrounds is something our youth needs to be prepared for. According to a New Horizons report on education, we should see an increasing focus on global online collaboration, where “digital tools are used to support interactions around curricular objectives and promote intercultural understanding.”

Within these contexts, leadership among a team is no longer about commanding with top-down authority, but rather about leading by influence. Ultimately, as Wagner points out, “It’s about how citizens make change today in their local communities—by trying to influence diverse groups and then creating alliances of groups who work together toward a common goal.”

3. Agility and Adaptability

We live in a VUCA (Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. Hence, It’s important to be able to adapt and re-define one’s strategy.

In their book, “Critical Thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World,” Richard Paul & Dillion Beach note how traditionally our education and work mindset has been designed for routine and fixed procedure. “We learned how to do something once, and then we did it over and over. Learning meant becoming habituated,” they write. “But what is it to learn to continually re-learn? To be comfortable with perpetual re-learning?”

In the post-industrial era, the impact of technology has meant we have to be agile and adaptive to unpredictable consequences of disruption. We may have to learn skills and mindsets on demand and set aside ones that are no longer required.

4. Initiative and Entrepreneurship

Traditionally, initiative has been something students show in spite of or in addition to their schoolwork. For most students, developing a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial skills has often been part of their extracurricular activities.  With an emphasis on short-term tests and knowledge, most curricula have not been designed to inspire doers and innovators.

Are we teaching our youth to lead? Are we encouraging them to take initiative? Are we empowering them to solve global challenges? Throughout his research, Wagner has found that even in corporate settings, business leaders are struggling to find employees who consistently “seek out new opportunities, ideas and strategies for improvement.”

5. Effective Oral and Written Communication

A study by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills showed that about 89 percent of employer respondents report high school graduate entrants as “deficient” in communication.

Clear communication isn’t just a matter of proper use of language and grammar. In many ways, communicating clearly is an extension of thinking clearly. Can you present your argument persuasively? Can you inspire others with passion? Can you concisely capture the highlights of what you are trying to say? Can you promote yourself or a product?

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has famously said “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” Like many, he has noted it is a skill that can be learned and consequently used to open many opportunities.

6. Assessing and Analyzing Information

We now live in the information age. Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. As this infographic shows, this would fill 10 million Blu-ray disks.

While our access to information has dramatically increased, so has our access to misinformation. While navigating the digital world, very few students have been taught how to assess the source and evaluate the content of the information they access. Moreover, this information is continuously evolving as we update our knowledge base faster than ever before.

Furthermore, in the age of fake news, an active and informed citizen will have to be able to assess information from many different sources through a critical lens.

7. Curiosity and Imagination

Curiosity is a powerful driver of new knowledge and innovation. It is by channeling a child-like sense of awe and wonder about the world that we can truly imagine something even better. It takes powerful imagination to envision breakthroughs and then go about executing them. It is the reason Albert Einstein famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

We consistently spoon-feed students with information instead of empowering them to ask questions and seek answers. Inquisitiveness and thinking outside the box need to be treated with the same level of importance the school system gives to physics or math.

Transforming the Future of Education

There is a stark contrast between these seven survival skills of the future and the focus of education today. Instead of teaching students to answer questions, we should teach them to ask them. Instead of preparing them for college, we should prepare them for life.

Beyond creating better employees, we must aim to create better leaders and innovators.  Doing so will not only radically transform the future of education and the workforce, it will also transform the world we live in.

 

Information taken from: https://singularityhub.com/2017/07/04/7-critical-skills-for-the-jobs-of-the-future/?utm_source=Unsupervised+Learning+Subscribers&utm_campaign=20b44149ee-Unsupervised+Learning+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49fdb7d723-20b44149ee-448389901&mc_cid=20b44149ee&mc_eid=6f12c10161

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Why Every Leader Needs to Be Obsessed with Technology

Why is it difficult for leaders to see technological change coming and right the ship before it’s too late? Why did Tower go all out on expansion just as the next big thing took the stage?

This is one story of many. Digitization has moved beyond music and entertainment, and now many big retailers operating physical stores are struggling to stay relevant. Meanwhile, the pace of change is accelerating, and new potentially disruptive technologies are on the horizon.

More than ever, leaders need to develop a strong understanding of and perspective on technology. They need to survey new innovations, forecast their pace, gauge the implications, and adopt new tools and strategy to change course as an industry shifts, not after it’s shifted.

Simply, leaders need to adopt the mindset of a technologist. Here’s what that means.

Survey the Landscape

Nurturing curiosity is the first step to understanding technological change. To know how technology might disrupt your industry, you have to know what’s in the pipeline and identify which new inventions are directly or indirectly related to your industry.

Becoming more technologically minded takes discipline and focus as well as unstructured time to explore the non-obvious connections between what is right in front of us and what might be.  It requires a commitment to ongoing learning and discovery.

Read outside your industry and comfort zone, not just Fast Company and Wired, but Science and Nature to expand your horizons. Identify experts with the ability to demystify specific technology areas—many have a solid following on Twitter or a frequently cited blog.

But it isn’t all about reading. Consider going where the change is happening too.

Visit one of the technology hubs around the world or a local university research lab in your own back yard. Or bring the innovation to you by building an internal exploration lab stocked with the latest technologies, creating a technology advisory board, hosting an internal innovation challenge, or a local pitch night where aspiring entrepreneurs can share their newest ideas.

You might even ask the crowd by inviting anyone to suggest what innovation is most likely to disrupt your product, service, or sector. And don’t hesitate to engage younger folks—the digital natives all around you—by asking questions about what technology they are using or excited about. Consider going on a field trip with them to see how they use technology in different aspects of their lives. Invite the seasoned executives on your team to explore long-term “reverse mentoring” with someone who can expose them to the latest technology and teach them to use it.

Whatever your strategy, the goal should be to develop a healthy obsession with technology.

By exploring fresh perspectives outside traditional work environments and then giving ourselves permission to see how these new ideas might influence existing products and strategies, we have a chance to be ready for what we’re not ready for—but is likely right around the corner.

Estimate the Pace of Progress

The next step is forecasting when a technology will mature.

One of the most challenging aspects of the changes underway is that in many technology arenas, we are quickly moving from a linear to an exponential pace. It is hard enough to envision what is needed in an industry buffeted by progress that is changing 10% per year, but what happens when technological progress doubles annually? That is another world altogether.

This kind of change can be deceiving. For example, machine learning and big data are finally reaching critical momentum after more than twenty years of being right around the corner. The advances in applications like speech and image recognition that we’ve seen in recent years dwarf what came before and many believe we’ve just begun to understand the implications.

Even as we begin to embrace disruptive change in one technology arena, far more exciting possibilities unfold when we explore how multiple arenas are converging.

Artificial intelligence and big data are great examples. As Hod Lipson, professor of Mechanical Engineering and Data Science at Columbia University and co-author of Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead, says, “AI is the engine, but big data is the fuel. They need each other.”

This convergence paired with an accelerating pace makes for surprising applications.

To keep his research lab agile and open to new uses of advancing technologies, Lipson routinely asks his PhD students, “How might AI disrupt this industry?” to prompt development of applications across a wide spectrum of sectors from healthcare to agriculture to food delivery.

Explore the Consequences

New technology inevitably gives rise to new ethical, social, and moral questions that we have never faced before. Rather than bury our heads in the sand, as leaders we must explore the full range of potential consequences of whatever is underway or still to come.

We can add AI to kids’ toys, like Mattel’s Hello Barbie or use cutting-edge gene editing technology like CRISPR-Cas9 to select for preferred gene sequences beyond basic health. But just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

Take time to listen to skeptics and understand the risks posed by technology.

Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and other well-known names in science and technology have expressed concern in the media and via open letters about the risks posed by AI. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has even argued tech companies shouldn’t build artificial intelligence systems that will replace people rather than making them more productive.

Exploring unintended consequences goes beyond having a Plan B for when something goes wrong. It requires broadening our view of what we’re responsible for. Beyond customers, shareholders, and the bottom line, we should understand how our decisions may impact employees, communities, the environment, our broader industry, and even our competitors.

The minor inconvenience of mitigating these risks now is far better than the alternative. Create forums to listen to and value voices outside of the board room and C-Suite. Seek out naysayers, ethicists, community leaders, wise elders, and even neophytes—those who may not share our preconceived notions of right and wrong or our narrow view of our role in the larger world.

The question isn’t: If we build it, will they come? It’s now: If we can build it, should we?

Adopt New Technologies and Shift Coursebusiness leaders photo

The last step is hardest. Once you’ve identified a technology (or technologies) as a potential disruptor and understand the implications, you need to figure out how to evolve your organization to make the most of the opportunity. Simply recognizing disruption isn’t enough.

Take today’s struggling brick-and-mortar retail business. Online shopping isn’t new. Amazon isn’t a plucky startup. Both have been changing how we buy stuff for years. And yet many who still own and operate physical stores—perhaps most prominently, Sears—are now on the brink of bankruptcy.

There’s hope though. Netflix began as a DVD delivery service in the 90s, but quickly realized its core business didn’t have staying power. It would have been laughable to stream movies when Netflix was founded. Still, computers and bandwidth were advancing fast. In 2007, the company added streaming to its subscription. Even then it wasn’t a totally compelling product.

But Netflix clearly saw a streaming future would likely end their DVD business.

In recent years, faster connection speeds, a growing content library, and the company’s entrance into original programming have given Netflix streaming the upper hand over DVDs. Since 2011, DVD subscriptions have steadily declined. Yet the company itself is doing fine. Why? It anticipated the shift to streaming and acted on it.

Never Stop Looking for the Next Big Thing

Technology is and will increasingly be a driver of disruption, destabilizing entrenched businesses and entire industries while also creating new markets and value not yet imagined.

When faced with the rapidly accelerating pace of change, many companies still default to old models and established practices. Leading like a technologist requires vigilant understanding of potential sources of disruption—what might make your company’s offering obsolete? The answers may not always be perfectly clear. What’s most important is relentlessly seeking them.

 

Information taken from: https://singularityhub.com/2017/07/12/why-every-leader-needs-a-healthy-obsession-with-technology/?utm_source=Unsupervised+Learning+Subscribers&utm_campaign=20b44149ee-Unsupervised+Learning+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49fdb7d723-20b44149ee-448389901&mc_cid=20b44149ee&mc_eid=6f12c10161 

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HIGH ALERT: Massive Ransomware Campaign Spreading Fast

A massive ransomware campaign appears to have already infected a number of organizations around the world. There have been reports of infections in the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, and Taiwan and at least 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom are being forced to divert emergency patients today after computer systems there were infected with ransomware. It remains unclear exactly how this ransomware strain is being disseminated and why it appears to have spread so quickly,

but there are indications the malware may be spreading to vulerable systems through a security hole in Windows that was recently patched by Microsoft.

The ransomware's name is WCry, but is also referenced online under various names, such as WannaCry, WannaCrypt0r, WannaCrypt, and most commonly just called Wanna Decrypt0r. First appearing in March, activity from this ransomware family was almost inexistent prior to today's sudden explosion when the number of victims skyrocketed in a few hours. What was clear about this ransomware was that Wana Decrypt0r was extremely virulent. An alert published by Spain’s national computer emergency response team (CCN-CERT) suggested that the reason for the rapid spread of Wana Decrypt0r is that it is leveraging a software vulnerability in Windows computers that Microsoft patched in March. According to CCN-CERT, that flaw is MS17-010, a vulnerability in the Windows Server Message Block (SMB) service, which Windows computers rely upon to share files and printers across a local network. Malware that exploits SMB flaws could be extremely dangerous inside of corporate networks because the file-sharing component may help the ransomware spread rapidly from one infected machine to another.

The exploit is delivered as a Trojan through a loaded hyperlink that can be accidentally opened by a victim through an email, advert on a webpage or a Dropbox link. Phishing emails containing Word or PDF documents disguised as an invoice or links to a Dropbox document are especially common. Sometimes the payload can occur simply by visiting a website containing a malicious program. Even well-patched operating systems cannot help users who are tricked into deliberately running the software by opening an attachment or clicking a link.

True North Networks maintains Windows patching for managed clients and applies Microsoft patches according to your scheduled patching window on a monthly basis. Please be extra cautious with emails that contain hyperlinks, attachments, or anything that looks suspicious or out of the ordinary. Please share this email with all employees in the office. 

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Cybersecurity: How to Stay Ahead of the SEC

The Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced in January of this year it will continue its ongoing initiative to examine for cybersecurity compliance procedures and controls, including testing the implementation of those procedures and controls at broker-dealers and investment advisers.  This session will cover topics on how to be prepared for the OCIE, case studies, tools to protect against a breach and legal ramifications regarding data security.

When: Wednesday May 17, 2017

Time: 8:30AM – 11:00AM

Where: Grand Concourse Restaurant, 100 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

FREE & Open to ALL

Presented by:

·         Steven Ryder, True North Networks

·         Matt Meade, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Cybersecurity and Data Protection Group

·         Ben Cotton, CEO of CyTech

Register here: http://www.fpapgh.org/ 

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True North Networks Merges with Helpful Office in Saco, Maine

TNN logo

True North Networks Merges with Helpful Office in Saco, Maine

SWANZEY (March 31, 2017) —True North Networks announced that it has completed a merger with Helpful Office, a full-service information technology consulting firm, located in Saco, Maine. The merger will better serve the needs of True North Networks clients in the Maine area and no change in personnel is expected.

The merger fits into True North Network’s growth strategy and enables current President Richard Petersen of Helpful Office to expand continued sales opportunities and the operation will continue to do business as Helpful Office.  “True North and Helpful Office are aligned with an incredible level of customer service”, per Richard Petersen, “and this merger will not only strengthen that commitment to our clients, but strengthen our offerings with higher level tools and expertise True North currently provides their clients.”

“Our merger complements our overall managed service offering so we can now provide support to another vertical”, says owner and President, Steven Ryder. “We provide technology support and cybersecurity services to clients across the country, and strive to eliminate IT issues before they cause expensive downtime.  The merger also adds to our capacity and geographic presence in New England to provide exceptional service to our current and future customers in Maine and beyond.”

 

About True North Networks, LLC

True North Networks, LLC (TNN) is a managed technology outsourced, cybersecurity service and private cloud hosting provider based in Swanzey, NH with offices in Concord, NH and Pittsburgh, PA.  Serving clients throughout the country since 2002 and specializing in supporting the financial services and other industries for over 15 years.  TNN helps its clients be more productive by designing, delivering, and servicing tailored network solutions that address their individual needs, and exceed their expectations.  TNN’s mission is to enable the success and well-being of people and organizations by fostering a caring community-minded culture.    Learn more at: www.truenorthnetworks.com.  

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