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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Friday, May 26, 2017

Data Breaches – The New Certainty?

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, July 22, 2016
10:43 am

In 1726, Daniel Defoe stated, in The Political History of the Devil, “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.”

Yesterday, 290 years later, I heard an Oracle colleague add a third certainty, “Now three things in life are certain: Death, Taxes and Data Breaches!

How will you cope?

DTD

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2010 America’s Cup Winning Yacht

Oracle
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, July 21, 2016
7:22 am

This morning, I arrived early at Oracle headquarters and took a stroll around the lake.  It was fun to see the 2010 America’s Cup winning yacht displayed in front of Building 500. Here are a few of the photos I took – of the yacht and descriptive information posted about the yacht and race.

IMG 1461

IMG 1465

IMG 1466

IMG 1467

IMG 1468

IMG 1450

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POCO – The Power of Cloud by Oracle

Cloud Services
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
3:43 pm

POCO

It has been enjoyable to participate at Oracle Headquarters this week in a set of meetings regarding information security. This afternoon, we had a fun surprise when our colleagues from Japan announced their marketing slogan, The Power of Cloud by Oracle (POCO), and passed out POCO – branded chocolates to everyone in attendance!

Should we consider launching POCO-mon GO?

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First Step onto the Moon!

Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
2:43 pm

Where were you when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon July 20, 1969, forty seven years ago today?

I was sixteen years old, living on a farm outside Richfield, Idaho. Our family didn’t own a television set, but on that historic Sunday evening, our family joined some friends in town to watch the moon landing on their black and white television.

What a thrill to see that grainy image of a man from earth climb down the stairs and step onto the surface of the moon!

Moonwalk

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Reward My Loyalty … with Spam!

Business
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 10, 2016
2:31 pm

How many times have you purchased something on line, or even just expressed a bit of interest in a new product, and are immediately hit with a seemingly endless series of marketing emails? 

The marketoonist captures this sentiment brilliantly:

Marketoonist 160606

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Benjamin Franklin – Electricity and Freedom!

Freedom, History
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 10, 2016
1:54 pm

Today, June 10, 2016, is the 264th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s electrifying experience of flying a kite in a thunderstorm and capturing a lightning strike in a Leyden Jar.  He is fortunate that he wasn’t killed!

Franklin

Franklin’s fascination with electricity is the one of the reasons he is a personal hero to me. I share his interest in electricity, but I was able to learn about it in safer environment.

Another, more significant reason Benjamin Franklin is a hero to me was his commitment to the cause of Freedom.  He is the only one of the Founding Fathers who signed all four documents fundamental to the creation of the U.S.: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris (1783), which established peace with Great Britain, and the U.S. Constitution (1787).

A print of one of my favorite paintings by Del Parson hangs in our living room. Entitled “The Old Man Wept,” it depicts Benjamin Franklin shedding a tear as he signs the Constitution of the United States.

Oldman

Thank you, Mr. Franklin!

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First American to Walk in Space

Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 3, 2016
2:17 pm

Gemini 4

Fifty one years ago, on June 3, 1965, Edward H. White became the first American to walk in space. As pilot for the Gemini 4 mission, Ed White was able to step outside the Gemini capsule for 21 minutes, tethered to the spacecraft but propelled about by a hand held jet-propulsion gun.

I remember how fantastic that seemed to my young boy mind way back then.  It is still pretty cool to think about it now.

Unfortunately, on January 27, 1967, Ed White, along with Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, died in a flash fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test.

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Tiananmen Square, the Internet and Freedom

Communications, Freedom, History
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 3, 2016
11:10 am

Twenty-seven years ago today, on June 3, 1989, government officials in the People’s Republic of China authorized its soldiers and tanks to reclaim Beijing’s Tiananmen Square from protesting students and others seeking democratic reform. By nightfall on June 4, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared the square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands of demonstrators and suspected dissidents.

China

During this time, a graduate student from China was working at the same company where I was employed.  I witnessed him using the Internet to exchange messages with freedom-loving compatriots all over the world.  He was somewhat frightened that the Chinese government would discover what he was doing and harm his family back in China, so he asked me to not tell others what he was doing at that time.

As I watched what he was doing, I realized what a powerful force global electronic communications could be in the support of personal freedom. I’m sure the tremendous advances in personal freedom that have occurred in China since that time are due at least in part, to interpersonal communications via the Internet.  If people can communicate, it is really difficult for governments to suppress them and deny freedom.

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Identity as a Business Enabler – A New Concept?

Business, Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
4:22 pm

Foundation

Sometimes, I get impatient with the pace of progress in the Identity industry in general and certain companies in particular.  Yesterday, I listened to a presentation where the speaker was extolling the virtues of thinking of Identity and Access Management as an enabler for Digital Transformation, not just a defensive protector of data and systems.  He spoke as if this were a startling new concept.

I looked back in my blog and found a couple of entries that show at least some of us considered Identity to be a key business enabler a decade ago:

From May 2005 (the first month I blogged)

Viewing Identity Management as a business enabler rather than just a cost-reduction vehicle or compliance assistant allows us to think beyond the constraints of how we do business now. Just think of how many more customers you could serve, how many more services you could deliver and how many more partner relationships you could leverage if you knew that identities of all participants were highly secure but highly connectable!

From January 2007

Identity is an essential, core enabler of online business. Identity must not be an afterthought, a necessary evil, or a function forced by government regulation. It is more properly recognized as a key business enabler. The modern business paradigm of delivering highly personalized service to individual consumers demands that Identity is at the core of the business process.

It is a concept that is still valid today.  I’m glad to see more folks are catching on.

 

 

State of the Market: IoT 2016

Information Security, Internet of Things
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, May 27, 2016
1:52 pm

VerizonIoT1

This afternoon, I read a recently released Verizon report, “State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016.” It provides a quick, but fascinating read about Internet of Things market forces, real-life industry adoption, key trends and real-world successes.  The report states:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is much more than the result of seemingly fragmented and complex technologies smashed together … forward-thinking business and public sector leaders, as well as consumers and developers, are turning to the Internet of Things to address some of society’s most pressing social, economic and business challenges.

Five macro trends— data monetization, consumer expectations, the regulatory landscape, network connectivity/IoT platforms and security—are helping to speed IoT adoption and deliver measurable results across several industries and sectors.

Verizon believes we just completed the year where IoT graduated from the neat new idea stage to mainstream adoption:

In our view, 2015 was the year IoT gained legitimacy. Businesses moved beyond a “start small think big” mindset. Today, they’re building IoT into future strategies and business models. Companies across all industries now have IoT squarely on their radar.

In 2015, the emphasis of startup capital began to favor enterprise focused IoT businesses over consumer applications in a big way, and the trend appears to be accelerating:

According to analysis conducted by our venture capital (VC) arm, Verizon Ventures, we estimate that consumer IoT startups raised 15% more VC funding than enterprise-focused startups in 2014. However, in 2015, roles seemed to have reversed with enterprise outpacing consumer by around 75%. In 2016, we believe the enterprise will continue that trend, but by a much larger order of magnitude—roughly 2 – 3 times more than consumer.

The sheer size of the potential IoT market continues to boggle my mind. The following chart shows a few big numbers that barely scratch the surface of the potential for IoT growth.  

VerizonIoT4

Of the many potential IoT areas of emphasis, the Verizon report specifically addresses four:

  • Automotive: Connection, convergence, convenience and the connected car
  • Agriculture: Farming with precision
  • Smart Cities: Making communities smart and sustainable
  • Energy: Providing real-time energy insight.

Of these, the closest one to my heart is Farming with Precision – quite a big step from the old farm where I grew up, where adjusting irrigation meant installing canvas dams in ditches and using a shovel to channel water down the correct rows in a field:

Industry experts have quipped that the agriculture industry is proof that soon, every company will be an IoT business.

One of the biggest trends in farming today is precision agriculture, the practice of sensing and responding to variable soil, moisture, weather and other conditions across different plots. Farmers are deploying wireless sensors and weather stations to gather real-time data about things such as how much water different plants need and whether they require pest management or fertilizer  

Using this data, growers can customize growing processes. Indeed, one of the biggest benefits IoT offers farmers is the ability to gather much more granular data about smaller parcels of land. With site-specific data, growers can then optimize growing conditions on a plot-by-plot basis, boosting yields, improving quality and cutting costs in the process.  

VerizonIoT2

Again, the numbers are immense:

The total market size for digital precision agriculture services is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.2% between 2014 and 2020, to reach $4.55 billion.

Security, is, of course, of critical importance across many facets of the IoT landscape. 

The sheer volume of IoT devices constantly producing communications, require careful security and privacy considerations. There is no current IoT protection framework that’s ahead of the implementation of this technology. The industry is keeping up with the development of technology by looking to the rising threat vectors—some old, some new—that will impact deployments and ongoing operations. Authentication of critical data, and baseline triggers for action are the emerging security focus.

VerizonIoT3

 The bottom line?

Innovation, productivity and value will thrive as private companies and the public sector both come to the inevitable conclusion that IoT is imperative to delivering the integrated, easy to use and sustainable products and services demanded by an increasingly mobile, tech-savvy 21stcentury society.

No single company or country can realize the full promise of IoT on its own. We believe collaboration, experimentation and openness will:

  • Create cleaner cities
  • Deliver better healthcare
  • Make transportation systems safer
  • Conserve water
  • Boost productivity
  • And make the digital world work better for consumers and citizens.

We live in an exciting world, at an exciting time.  Hang on for the ride!

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