February 13, 2013
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The Game Changer
Obama's cybersecurity order draws mixed industry reaction
President Barack Obama delivered on his promise of unilateral action on cybersecurity with the signing of a much-anticipated executive order Tuesday. The order is designed to broaden information sharing between government and the private sector. It calls for a voluntary framework for mitigating cyber-risks to critical industry that will be overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The measure, which was revealed prior to the State of the Union address, has been met with criticism by some in the industry who say it fails to address the issue of equipment vulnerability. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/12), USA Today (2/13), The Hill/Hillicon Valley blog (2/12)
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Emerging Tools
Analysts: UC gains ground as barriers to adoption disappear
Advances in computer-based voice calling and efforts to improve the interoperability of disparate technologies are among the trends boosting the adoption of unified communications products among enterprises, analysts say. According to an assessment of the UC industry by Forrester Research, 43% of companies had embraced the technology in 2012, an increase of more than 10 percentage points compared with the prior three years. At the heart of the increase are efforts by rival providers Cisco Systems and Microsoft to support each other's products. The Wall Street Journal/CIO Journal (2/11)
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Security Update
Experts say mobile malware a growing threat to Android
Mobile malware remains a nascent threat to device users, experts say, but a significant number of "malnets" targeting mobile operating systems and an increase in attacks on the vulnerable Android OS are signs that cybercriminals are working to change that. ZDNet/Zero Day blog (2/12)
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Tech Business
Immigration groups, tech industry argue for more visas
Tech companies and immigration advocacy groups are joining forces to lobby for more visas for highly skilled workers, which IT companies believe are key to filling talent gaps. AOL co-founder Steve Case will testify at an upcoming hearing on immigration reform. The White House has indicated it's on board with revamping immigration law and boosting more visas to spur innovation. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/12)
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Managing IT
How to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your staff
You don't need to have time and money to build a talented staff that will meet your strategic goals, although many executives will plead otherwise, writes Kirk Kramer, a partner with The Bridgespan Group. You do need a fundamental understanding of the company's strategy, how it can be met by existing staff and where hires need to be made. Kramer suggests using a Performance-Potential Matrix to determine any gaps in your existing staff. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (2/12)
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SmartPulse
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Geeking Out
Researchers create stress-inducing robot to breed anxiety in rats
Scientists looking to test antidepressants on rats have developed a novel way to inspire angst in their test subjects by sending in a robot to torment them. The researchers at Waseda University in Tokyo created a rat-like robot, dubbed WR-3, which is directed to attack its living counterparts intermittently until they become depressed. The robot was developed to replace more conventional anxiety-producing exercises, such as making rats swim for long periods or severing their sense of smell. New Scientist/One Per Cent blog (2/12)
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Editor's Note
Your SmartBrief has a new look
Noticed a change? SmartBrief on ExecTech has the same valuable content but with a reworked design to make reading and sharing stories easier, especially on mobile devices. Have feedback on the change? Send it our way!
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SmartQuote
The executive order is about information sharing -- it does not even begin to address the real problem, which is that these systems are completely insecure."
-- Dale Peterson, founder of security firm Digital Bond, as quoted by The New York Times
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