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Publicyte is Microsoft’s corporate blog where technology, entrepreneurial principles, and pop culture inform us about innovation in the public sector and civic progress.
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Guest post by Stephen Gordon, a Director of Market Development in Microsoft’s Enterprise Strategy Consulting business. You can follow him on Twitter at @sgordonmobile.
I recently attended a private workshop on cybersecurity and net-centric warfare held at MIT Lincoln Labs. While the majority of the content from the three day conference have, shall we say, "restricted sharing rights," here I would like to provide a perspective on some of the thinking and focus areas taking place today between academic research, industry, and government with regard to the topics of the workshop.
Many professionals working in the public sector are well aware of the ongoing cyber threats, exploits and attacks taking place on a global basis against computing infrastructure in commercial businesses, governments, and research organizations. I have heard it said that a warfighter can go days without food or water but only minutes without data. The consequence of this is that maintaining secure data on government networks is a top priority -- and the government is increasingly partnering with industry around best practices.
The patterns we have established to combat cyber threats have been well defined for years and well known to the bad guys trying who continuously develop new vectors to get through physical and virtual security. Who would have thought that in 2011 we would still be fighting off denial of service attacks, and stack buffer overflow attacks? And yet we continue to.
High-profile targets of cyber attacks like consulting firm Booz Allen, manufacturer Lockheed,and the Central Intelligence Agency make the news,and once that happens there is no time to respond -- some damage has been done, and a common response is to play harder defense against unknown adversaries by reducing our computing attack surface, deploying new service paks and security updates, locking down desktops and servers and so on. For the U.S. Government, "reducing attack surface" means in part consolidating over 15,000 data centers to maintain secure, defensible networks, as well as having stronger mission assurance strategies to support the warfighter.
If you can visualize a chart with bad guys on the far left, and PCs, servers, phones, TVs, and any other device connected to the Internet on the far right, it becomes obvious how the private sector is somewhat limited in responding to infrastructure attacks. Governments, on the other hand, can operate across this full spectrum to get to the root of cyber problems. As a result, in May 2010 U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) was directed to, “plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize, and conduct activities to: lead day-to-day defense and protection of DoD information networks; coordinate DoD operations providing support to military missions; direct the operations and defense of specified DoD information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations."
During the conference I heard several illustrations that paint the picture of cyberspace as what is now being called the fifth battlefield. Systems today are challenged in that they are not fully capable of abstract thinking, or thinking in metaphors. Each person makes decisions a little differently and a good deal of effort is going into developing cyber capabilities that are built around a shared situational awareness model –to respond to any condition with the appropriate measure. What is great to see if the increased collaboration between academic, government, and industry to join forces on the rapidly advancing cyber threat domain.
Art from University of Maryland, Adam Selwood.
Guest post by Angie Goff, a multi-media journalist on TV and radio, based in Washington, DC. You can follow her on Twitter at @OhMyGoff, and Like OMG on Facebook. An earlier version of this article appeared at Angie's OhMyGoff.tv site.
How do you get people to Like you? (On Facebook, I mean.)
When I get an opportunity to tap into the minds behind the most world's most powerful social network, I’m gonna take it. At the headquarters of Gannett, I recently got the chance to attend a seminar and Q&A session with Facebook executives Andy Mitchell and Vadim Lavrusik. During their talk they gave great examples of how newsrooms and news personalities are using social networking and the “wisdom of the people” to strengthen the credibility of their reporting and engage in meaningful conversations with viewers. According to Mitchell, 50% of Facebook’s 750+ million users check-in with the site daily. Facebook's mobile applications have 250 million people tapping away.
As a professional journalist, it was helpful for me to see the diverse ways one can search for sources, news and subjects from within Facebook. The execs pointed out that their analytics (which are what any brand really cares about) still have some kinks -- lack of customization, bad CTR, no way to track time spent on page or top content. Yet, even with that, it seems that every personality and brand is in a rat race to get more people to 'Like' them.
The reality of the media industry,however,is more complicated. Most newsrooms and newsroom managers are still trying to figure out what all this Liking actually means. Even if you win the popularity contest online, how this translates to breaking news stories, improving viewer ratings, and increasing revenue is a bit murky.
That said, it was very interesting to see how different news stations are vying to increase their Like-ability. One station promised people who Like it on Facebook only exclusive content. Another embraced social good by donating a bottle of water for every Like they got. Competition can get more extreme -- there was the organization that promised viewers that if they achieved 3,000 Likes they’d tase their weatherman. They got their 3,000 -- but what did they get for a return on their "investment" I wonder?
From my personal observation, I feel people decide to “Like” a page when they get something from a brand for free, or if their friend asks them to do it. Selfish or social -- Liking might be that simple.
Photos from the author. Cover thumbnail from Debaird.