Apr 23

A Solution to the H-1B Visa Mess that Tech Companies Hate.

h1vPresident Trump signed an executive order this week that directs federal agencies to implement a “Buy American, Hire American” strategy and to reform the much maligned H-1B visa. No doubt, lobbyists and congressional staffers are working overtime to develop an even more complex visa system that will be riddled with new loopholes. It will benefit large corporations and immigration lawyers and do little for the American worker — and the technology startups that need the skilled talent the most.The right solution isn’t for government to set minimum wages or pick winners; it is to let the free markets do their magic. The H-1B visa is indeed problematic: It puts both American and foreign workers at a disadvantage. It ties the foreign workers to the employer and allows the employer to pay them less than they could be earning. The simple fix is to allow H-1B visa holders to work for any employer that pays them the highest wage or for the startup that offers the most rewarding work.

Register for the Emerging Technology Leadership Summit this week in Atlanta. www.etlsummit.org  

In other words, give immigrants the same rights as American workers and cause companies to pay employees their market value.

Technically, any H-1B worker can change jobs by filing a petition with the government, and some do take advantage of this rule. But there is a catch. The H-1B visa allows a path to permanent residency when an employer sponsors a worker. And this is the carrot that employers offer, one that most people coming to the United States want. Once they accept this carrot, however, they are trapped in limbo.

Here is the problem: For decades, the United States has been bringing in large numbers of workers on temporary visas such as the H-1B, but it never increased the numbers of permanent resident visas, or green cards, available for those who want to stay. There are 140,000 green cards issued per year to employment-based visa holders, and the law stipulates that each nationality may receive no more than 7 percent of the total number of employment-based green cards. Considering that Indian recipients make up 71 percent and Chinese recipients nearly 10 percent of the total H-1B visa holder pool, their green-card wait times stretch as long as 15 years.

Once H-1Bs have started the process of filing for a green card, they cannot change employers or even take new jobs within their existing companies without getting pushed to the back of the queue. Therefore, visa holders are shackled to their sponsoring employer while their careers stagnate and they receive salaries that are lower than they could otherwise make.

This is why opponents of the H-1B visa rightfully claim that American workers are disadvantaged, because they are effectively competing with bonded labor.

The problem could be fixed if the number of permanent resident visas available for skilled workers was increased and the wait times decreased dramatically. But this is not going to happen in this political climate. The most realistic solution is to untether the visa holder from the hiring company. In other words, if a company hires someone on an H-1B visa, and the employee gets an offer of a higher salary, they can leave the company regardless of the status of their green-card application. This way there’s no cheap labor anymore, and market forces take over.

Technology companies won’t support such a measure because it causes them to lose leverage over the employee. Politicians won’t propose such a simple fix because it is not what lobbyists want. Instead, we get a series of convoluted proposals that increase the role of government and disadvantage all workers.

Sadly, there is unemployment in the tech industry, and there are many heart-breaking cases of Americans being displaced by cheap foreign labor. This is not an acceptable situation, and it is why we must fix the salary disadvantage. But there is another problem that needs to be recognized. Very often, the unemployed workers are not in the tech centers where the skills are needed or their skills are not up to date. This can be remedied by providing job training and relocation assistance. That is what the government should focus on.

Let there not be any doubt, though, that Silicon Valley is starved for talent and needs the best and brightest from all over the world to be working for it. It thrives on competition of every form, including technology and skill. Attacking immigrants and demanding that companies hire Americans over people who are more skilled, as the president is doing, is the fastest way to destroy America’s competitive advantage.

It will block the flow of the very lifeblood that built the economic bone structure of this great country and deaden the nerve endings that create the next great thing. The best way to make America great again is to restore this flow.

Written Vivek Wadhwa Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering. Silicon Valley

Register for the Emerging Technology Leadership Summit this week in Atlanta. www.etlsummit.org  

Apr 17

TechLatino Guest Blogger Kevin Delaney: To Foil Cybercriminals, use “White Hat” Hackers to Find Security Weaknesses

safe2Cybercriminals are brilliant, relentless and ruthless.

So how can organizations hope to fight them?

One way is to hire people just like them.

“I’ve always enjoyed thinking like a criminal,” said Casey Ellis, CEO of Bugcrowd, a company that crowd sources ethical, “white hat” hackers. “Certain types of ingenuity, creativity, even the entrepreneurial element, I’ve always found appealing. Though I’ve never had the desire to actually be one.”

Bugcrowd is among a growing wave of companies using hackers for good. While not replacing all traditional security strategies, these ethical attackers unleash “researchers” (aka hackers) to probe an organization’s defenses.

Some of these companies create their own elite red team of hackers. While others commandeer virtual armies of crowd-sourced hackers. The goal is the same: probe for weaknesses that may have escaped the internal security team’s best efforts.

“If you want to find out how secure you are, ask the hackers,” said Renee Chronister, chief executive of Parameter Security.

Parameter describes itself as “ethical hackers protecting you from unethical hackers.” The company has launched cyber-offensives against governments and companies in financial services, healthcare and retail, uncovering critical weaknesses along the way.

“We are coming in and hacking them and exposing vulnerabilities for their benefit,” Chronister said. “At the end of the day, we show them how we got in, what kind of data we accessed and how they can better defend themselves.”

Trust is an important element, she adds. “They trust that we will not use that information against them.” She stressed Parameter carefully vets each member of its red team hacker staff for skills and trustworthiness.

Separated by Ethics, not Talent

Black hat or white, their skills sets are similar.

“It’s the same knowledge base you would have if you were just interested in security,” said Justin Kennedy, a director at NTT Security, who participates in Bugcrowd’s crowd-sourced “bug bounties.” “It’s only when you cross that line that you would be considered a cybercriminal.”

Kennedy admits to having a mischievous side, and as a teenager played his share of cyberpranks on his friends. Today, he enjoys the competitive, gamified aspect of Bugcrowd’s hacking bounties.

“At the end of the month, if you are at the top of the leader board, you get a bonus,” he said.

In addition to its open-to-all bug bounties, Bugcrowd also drives private hacking efforts against more sensitive networks and organizations — creating another incentive for hackers.

“If you are good, you get invited to private programs,” said Kennedy. “And you get to meet a lot of people.”

Jay Kaplan, CEO of Synack, another ethical hacking organization, said that the diversity of his hackers is a key element to success.

“Our global researchers are so diverse — where they come from, and who they work for,” said Kaplan, who himself conducted state-sponsored hacking at the National Security Agency.

“Most are freelancing, but have full-time jobs. They are engineers in tech companies, people in the security space, people from government.”

After all, he adds, the cybercriminals are themselves diverse — and numerous. “We are trying to mimic the adversaries as much as possible. By having those diverse resources, we are ultimately closer to what the bad guys are doing.”

Another aspect of the bad guys? They never stop. “Advanced persistent threats are persistent,” said Kaplan. “They are constantly finding new ways to break into an organization.”

Kaplan, Chronister, and others recommend repeated white-hat attacks. “That testing window is a snapshot in time,” Chronister said. “After we are done there can be a change in the environment, a software update, new employees added and the testing can be out of date.”

As for the kind of public “bug bounties” that Bugcrowd organizes, Kennedy sees another positive side effect: drawing in hackers before they turn bad.

“A lot of these folks start out as teenagers,” he said. “They treat the internet as a playground. Some may not be meaning to do something malicious. But they would still technically be considered cybercriminals. If you give them the ability to use these bug bounties to legally play and learn, and even make some money, then you are reducing the number of cybercriminals.”

Tips from an Ethical Hacker

Jay Kaplan is the CEO of Synack, a firm that combines its automated security technology with a global talent pool of hackers to probe for weaknesses in a company’s defenses.

What are some core qualities of a secure organization? Kaplan recommends that decision-makers ensure that their strategy is:

  • Persistent: “You can’t be looking at your security footprint in a singular point in time,” Kaplan said, “because infrastructure and apps are so dynamic and being updated regularly.” In short, cybercriminals never let up, so probing for weaknesses must be a continuous process.
  • Diverse: “Bad guys come in all shapes, sizes and skill sets,” Kaplan said. He emphasizes that any ethical hacking effort should reflect that diversity, with a combination of backgrounds, specialties and nationalities. An organization’s overall security strategy should also be diverse. “Security is a multilayered thing,” he said, “you need a lot of different solutions.”
  • Creative: The black hat guys think out of the box, and so should your organization. That means having top-down leadership that ensures a pervasive culture that is creative, daring and open to sharing ideas. To stay ahead of criminal hackers, Kaplan argues, an organization must be innovative and agile, ready to try new ideas to meet a constantly evolving threat landscape.

Mar 29

ETL Summit – A Salute to Excellence in Georgia

TechLatino_FB_Cover
TechLatino Honoring 15 Latina Leaders in Tech, Government and Business at their13th Annual Emerging Tech Leadership Summit April 25 – 26, 2017.

To mark the organization’s 20th anniversary, TechLatino: National Association of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology is kicking off their 13th Annual Emerging Tech Leadership Summit in Atlanta, Ga.

 This year’s theme, A Salute to Excellence in Georgia, will feature speakers discussing key innovation and technological trends impacting key industries in Georgia.  Featured speakers include Ron Estrada, Vice President of National Community Involvement at Univision, Liliana Gil Valletta, a contributor to Fox and CNN News, featuring Don Barden, CEO of C3i, and Miguel Gamiño Jr., Chief Technology Officer for the State of New York, Alexis Scott, Georgia Gang, Reinier Moguete, CEO Advoqt technologies, Brandon Ivan Pena, BIP Media, Julia Talby-Hubbard SVP CISO SunTrust Dan Webber UST Global CIO and many more.

 This two-day conference will also include TechLatino’s 7th Annual Latinas of Excellence Luncheon Award – honoring Latinas in Georgia leading innovative transformations in business, technology, government.  The Latinas of Excellence Luncheon is considered one of the most prestigious awards honoring Latina American techs, entrepreneurs, corporate, and government executives in Georgia.

 This year’s Latinas of Excellence Awards will be Hosted by Natlaie Pozo, Fox5 Atlanta. Given the important impact women are making in the community, this recognition is given to Latinas who have distinguished themselves through professional leadership, mentoring, academic excellence and sustained service for their community across the country.

 The summit will also include a career and business expo where companies can showcase their products and services and engage with the next generation of tech and executive leadership and targeted audience of innovative minds.

 “Our goal is to highlight, honor, and foster the technological contributions of Georgia’s Latin American community,” added Jose Marquez, CEO of TechLatino. “Our Emerging Tech Leadership Summit and Latina Excellence Awards offers the perfect platform for individuals and corporations to network and gain insights from some of the most creative and technologically minded leaders in the country.”

 The Emerging Tech Leadership Summit will be held at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta Ga. on April 25 – 26 from 11:00am to 2:00pm.  To register, please click here or visit us at www.etlsummit.org.

 For questions regarding career expo booth, exhibit space or sponsorship. Please contact Yvette Moise, SVP, Business Development at 770-765-3478 or 79.

 This year sponsors are Aetna, Prudential, Home Depot, The Gathering Spot, Verizon, Univision, 787Coffee, Brand Junkie, Fox 5,  Capitalwire PR. Advoqt, SunTrust, metroPCS Hypepotamus, 3cI.

                                           ###

About TechLatino

TechLatino is the official National Association of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology. The organization facilitates technology-related professional development through certification training, online collaboration efforts, and job matching programs. TechLatino also fosters and recognizes the advancement of Latinos in technology through their ongoing networking and leadership conferences throughout the U.S.  For more information, please visit www.technlatino.org  or call 770.765.3478.

 About the Emerging Tech leaders Summit 

The Emerging Tech Leaders Summit the Largest Gathering of Tech Leadership, Industry Leaders & Senior-Executives in the Southeast.  Great speakers, engaged audience and Empowering event.

 “There is not a lack of tech pipeline… there is a lack of tech opportunity” ~JAM

 See more at: www.etlsummit.org

Mar 02

Wal-Mart Raises the Stakes in E-commerce Arms Race With Amazon

walmart-amazon-pac-man_rd.3-600x400And the company is making management changes to reflect its new focus on online shoppers.

If Wal-Mart stands any chance of going head to head with Amazon, it’ll have to use its physical store locations to its advantage. To that end, the company is streamlining its management team to align its e-commerce and brick-and-mortar operations. The retailer will now have one technology officer — Jeremy King — for both its online and physical stores. Likewise, Tony Rogers will oversee marketing for both Walmart.com and Jet.com, in addition to U.S. Wal-Mart stores.

The move to unify management across efforts could help Wal-Mart make some inroads against its online competition. While Wal-Mart is the second largest online commerce site in the U.S., it still trails Amazon by a wide margin. What’s more, that gulf is getting bigger as Amazon’s growth continues to outpace Wal-Mart’s.

Reshaping e-commerce

“We’re on a mission to reshape e-commerce and create a best-in-class shopping experience that empowers customers to save money in completely new ways,” Marc Lore, head of Wal-Mart’s digital operations, wrote in a memo. Lore’s previous job as head of Jet.com started on that mission with its unique “buy more, save more” value proposition. With Wal-Mart’s massive supply chain, he’s in a strong position to continue that mission.

That means more than simply improving Wal-Mart’s online order and pickup service (which really needs improvement in my personal experience). It’s also more than Wal-Mart’s efforts to expand its online grocery ordering service, which has faced off against Amazon’s recent efforts to attract grocery shoppers.

Wal-Mart’s stores serve as a robust fulfillment center network, and its supply chain, which runs 24/7, is the backbone. Using those resources to fulfill online orders faster could give Wal-Mart a customer experience on the level of Amazon. But that means focusing more on online shoppers, whether that means increasing stockroom space, personnel, or even floor space.

Becoming Amazon before Amazon becomes Wal-Mart

As Wal-Mart integrates Jet.com and dedicates more resources to its e-commerce platform, Amazon is already accelerating its efforts to grab market share in some of Wal-Mart’s biggest markets.

But Amazon Go feels more like a publicity stunt than a viable nationwide store concept. If the company can get more consumers to associate Amazon with groceries, it could accelerate the rollout of Prime Fresh to new markets.

Wal-Mart is the largest grocer in the United States, and the grocery category is extremely important for the company. Not only does it make up a majority of Wal-Mart’s revenue, it supports its other categories by boosting foot traffic. If more shoppers start ordering groceries online, Wal-Mart stands to lose out on valuable sales.

That’s why the company is working hard to beat Amazon to the punch. Its online grocery order service is now available in over 100 markets, while it also tests new concepts like pickup and fuel, which allow customers to pick up grocery orders and fill up on gasoline.

But as Amazon builds out more physical locations — both consumer-facing ones like Amazon Go and its fulfillment center network — the advantage Wal-Mart enjoys with its large network of stores shrinks. Streamlining its operations, getting more customers to shop online, and improving the experience by leveraging its locations is the most important work Wal-Mart can do right now to take on Amazon.

Feb 27

Ajit Pai, FCC chairman: “We Don’t Expect to Review AT&T-Time Warner”

ajit2New Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday that the commission likely won’t take a look at the proposed $85.4-billion merger between AT&T (NYSE: T) and Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE: TWX).

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Pai said that the fact AT&T isn’t planning to transfer over any of Time Warner’s FCC licenses means the commission likely won’t be involved.


AT&T has said it would likely choose to shed the licenses in order to avoid the review; the process started last week with a $70 million sale of Time Warner’s TV station in Atlanta to Meredith Corp.

AT&T has maintained the plans are subject to change, and Pai was yet to comment on his commission’s jurisdiction.

Without the FCC weighing in, sole regulatory approval for the deal will run through the Department of Justice, which has launched a review. AT&T and Time Warner this month responded to a group of senators– largely comprised of democrats – that have voiced opposition to the merger.

The company argues that the vertical merger will spur innovation without hurting consumer choice. The letter to senators – among them, Bernie Sandersand Al Franken, who has been outspoken about his issues with the deal – emphasized several points of potential innovation.

Among them, AT&T says the merger would help the company develop more short-form content for mobile devices; build platforms to mix entertainment content with user content; and offer better choice, conveniences and value in programming bundles.

Feb 21

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is Counting on Culture Shock to Drive Growth

Satya-Nadella-MicrosoftLast March, Microsoft unveiled Tay.ai, a Twitter bot that promised to usher in a new era of human-to-artificial-intelligence conversation.

Within hours, hackers turned Tay into a venom-spewing racist, and the project was quickly shuttered with a public apology.

In the old days of Microsoft, heads surely would have rolled.

But Satya Nadella, 49, a one-time company engineer who took the reins of the $500 billion tech giant three years ago this month, instead sent the Tay team a note of encouragement.

“Keep pushing, and know that I am with you,” he wrote in an e-mail, urging staffers to take the criticism in the right spirit while exercising “deep empathy for anyone hurt by Tay. (The) key is to keep learning and improving.”

The group responded with Zo, a new AI chatbot that debuted in December. So far, no issues.

A seismic cultural shift is rocking Microsoft under Nadella, part of a broad transformation that is moving the company away from an atrophying, software license-based past and towards a thriving, cloud-based future.

In the process, Nadella has managed to get investors and employees alike re-energized about a once dominant brand whose luster had faded. And while part of his strategy involves buying new companies and beefing up existing teams in order to tackle cutting-edge tech trends, ultimately he feels success comes down to reinvigorating Microsoft’s in-house mojo.

“What I realize more than ever now is that my job is curation of our culture,” says Nadella, who will explore this topic and others in a book due out this fall called Hit Refresh. “If you don’t focus on creating a culture that allows people to do their best work, then you’ve created nothing.”

Innovation is the lifeblood of any company, but especially those that traffic in the fickle world of technology. For every Facebook there’s also a Yahoo, shooting comets that cling to familiar paths and miss new trends.

For this one-time tech monolith, a cultural makeover capable of spawning revenue-generating ideas is critical to staying relevant.

“Microsoft has massive cloud growth from one direction,” a business that is second only to Amazon Web Services, with a $13 billion a year run rate, says Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research. “But then there’s this drag from phone hardware and a move away from licensing, so there are a lot of things against them.”

While Microsoft stock passed an all-time high set in 1999 and has rallied nearly 80% since Nadella took over, the CEO has yet to jumpstart revenue growth out of the single digits in the past year.

“There’s so much legacy business with Microsoft, which is both a strength and millstone,” says Dawson. “Any new stuff seems to just offset the long-term decline on other fronts.”

Reviving the ‘enduring mission’

Almost since its founding in 1975, Microsoft road the crest of a surging computer wave to staggering profits. Armed with a monopolistic mandate, the company did more dictating than listening.

But the 2000s were a humbling decade as Microsoft struggled to keep up with new trends and products, from smartphones to social networking.

“When I joined the company in 1992, we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world,” Nadella says. “It always bothered me that we confused an enduring mission with a temporal goal.”

Now, he says, “any decision about a new product or a new hire, I’m always thinking about that sense of purpose and culture.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tells USA TODAY’s Marco Della Cava about the company’s two biggest projects: HoloLens and the purchase of LinkedIn. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Nadella credits his work attitude to a former Microsoft boss, Doug Burgum, currently the governor of North Dakota. “He said you’re going to spend more time at work than you will with your kids, so it had better have that deeper meaning,” Nadella recalls. “It was a turning point for me personally at work.”

That missionary zeal even extends to making occasional phone pitches to promising college graduates. Far from being intimidated, “they’re fearless,” he says with a laugh. “They say, ‘I have five offers, tell me why I should join you?’”

Hackathons, town halls and big bets

Among the changes Nadella has put in place are campus hackathons to drive bottom-up ideas and monthly town hall meetings accessible to all 120,000 global employees. And top execs now travel more in order to better understand their enterprise customers’ needs.

One of those road warriors, cloud and enterprise chief Scott Guthrie, says “these days, we acknowledge others may have better ways of doing things, as opposed to us saying, ‘Here’s how we do it at Microsoft.’”

Adds Kathleen Hogan, head of human resources and a 14-year veteran of the company: “There was more a fixed mindset here before, a need to know it all and look smart. Before, the competition was internal, but it needed to be with the world outside.”

To that end, Nadella has begun inviting CEOs of newly acquired companies to annual retreats that had been reserved exclusively for veteran company leaders. Under Nadella, Microsoft has made dozens of acquisitions including a massive $26 billion purchase of professional networking site LinkedIn.

Chuck Dietrich, a Salesforce veteran whose Mobile Data Labs AI company was bought by Microsoft in 2015, attended last year’s executive retreat. He says Nadella has managed to alter a corporate reputation for being “stodgy, closed and insular. We (new hires) are being asked for our opinions, and even leading best-practice meetings.”

Embracing outsiders as potential allies seems like a shrewd move when profits and longevity hang in the balance.

“I asked myself the question, ‘If we sort of disappeared from this planet, will there be any sensibility lost?’” Nadella says. His conclusion: Microsoft should have a role in bringing about the next computing revolution, one tethered to the cloud, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

“I deeply understand (that),” he says. “I mean, I see the future.”

Since taking over, Nadella has allocated some $35 billion towards R&D for projects such as the company’s $3,000 mixed reality headset, HoloLens. Last fall’s launch of Microsoft Teams aims to steal thunder from hit office communication company, Slack. And just last week, the company announced a new initiative called Healthcare NExT, which will leverage advanced technology to improve patient care and provide new tools to doctors.

It’s still in the PC market 

But the headwinds facing Nadella and his gradually turning ocean liner of a company are strong.

slowing global PC market continues to chip away at revenue from software licensing. That part of Microsoft’s business is transitioning steadily to a cloud-based subscription model, which is inherently less profitable.

Nadella also is unwinding a failed $7 billion Nokia acquisition made under his predecessor. A goal of getting its Windows 10 operating system onto a billion devices has hit a snag due largely to shortfalls in that mobile strategy.

What’s more, a growing number of cloud players such as Salesforce, Google, IBM and late-entry Oracle means increasing competition for enterprise customers. Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s full financial contribution has yet to be realized and HoloLens remains in the hands of developers.

Scott Kessler of CFRA Research lauds the stock bump under Nadella but suggests the honeymoon may soon be over as investors look for restructuring moves to hit the bottom line.

“FY18 (fiscal year 2018) will be the year where Nadella has to transition from someone who is new and learning and making these significant changes, to one who is about execution, about demonstrating improvement and traction with products and financials,” says Kessler, who rates Microsoft shares a hold.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who remains on the company board, says his company’s “ambitious product plans” will prove key to its success.

“I enjoy working with Satya, and the R&D stuff he is pushing is really building up a lot of strength for the company,” says Gates.

But, he adds, “it’s still a very competitive business we’re in. Google is the strongest by many metrics, though mainly on the consumer side. Apple continues to do well. Facebook is amazing. And Amazon is in our same town.”

Big changes from a ‘consummate insider’

When Nadella strolls the expansive Microsoft campus, home to a third of its global army, there is no parting of the waters. Employees offer a quick nod or a smile.

If he seems like one of their own, that’s for good reason. Nadella joined the company as a 24-year-old graduate of Indian and U.S. schools (Mangalore University, electrical engineering and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, computer science), and eventually was noticed for his work in the burgeoning cloud and enterprise group.

That all this change should come from a man who has spent a quarter-century at the firm is ironic. But, says Nadella, not surprising.

“I didn’t start this (CEO) journey with a very explicit goal of change,” he says. “I mean, I’m not an outsider. In fact, I’m the consummate insider. But I also have a worldview, a sense of purpose for this company.”

Nadella says he drew inspiration from the company’s founders, Gates and Paul Allen, who had created computer software for a hobby computer called the Altair.

“A lot of technology has come and gone since the Altair, but we are that same company, a company that creates technology (and) puts it into other people’s hands so they can create more technology,” he says. “That’s where the empowerment comes from.”

Much the way Gates and Allen envisioned a world where their language would drive a new age of productivity, Nadella doubled down on HoloLens just as its team members were sure they’d fall to the budget-cutting ax.

“In my world, you’re selling a vision, which by definition is something you can’t see,” says HoloLens guru Alex Kipman. “So you’re telling a CEO, this is super expensive and requires you have a long-term approach to life. Luckily, he does.”

Nadella says it was easy to bet on the futuristic computing platform that allows humans to interact with holograms in space: “As a leader, you often have to suspend your disbelief and just go create.”

Microsoft’s leader comes across as a man who feels pleased if not shocked at where his life journey has taken him — from an Indian kid working with Microsoft software tools who dreamed of a career in tech, to an American citizen running Microsoft who meets with presidents and prime ministers.

And with that sense of good fortune has come a sense of responsibility, one that is focused on not just the next Microsoft quarterly report but also the legacy he will leave behind.

“Organizations should not be measured so much during a CEO’s tenure, but after,” says Nadella. “Because if it all falls apart after you’re gone, then you haven’t created an organization that is enduring.”

Feb 08

Quarter of U.S. Tech Workers Perceive Discrimination: Survey

google-tech-discrimination-960x540Fifty-seven percent of tech workers said they did not know what actions their company is taking to address the issue. About a quarter of U.S. workers in the technology sector, which has faced criticism for a lack of diversity, said they felt discrimination at their workplace in a survey released on Tuesday by job site Indeed.com.

The survey of 1,002 U.S. tech sector workers, conducted in December, found that 24 percent said they felt they had been discriminated against at their current companies due to their race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation. The national survey was conducted online by survey consulting firm Censuswide, which invited participants to opt in through an online newsletter. This was the first such survey by Indeed.

Some 29 percent of female respondents said they experienced discrimination compared with 21 percent of men. Some 32 percent of Asian and nonwhite employees said they were discriminated against, versus 22 percent of white employees.

The survey did not provide details surrounding the nature of the discrimination.

“These results should be seen as a wake-up call to the industry that simply striving to hire diverse talent is not enough: culture and attitude need to be addressed,” said Raj Mukherjee, senior vice president of product at Indeed.

Over the last three years Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and other major tech companies have released employee demographic data, adjusted recruiting strategies and offered training on unconscious bias. Mukherjee added that companies should make greater efforts to include current employees in its diversity initiative, since 57 percent of respondents said they did not know what actions their company is taking to address the issue.

An additional 25 percent did not believe their companies were taking any action. “With so many people disengaged it’s hard for real change to occur,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose Rainbow Push Coalition led a campaign in 2014 urging tech companies to release employee demographic data and diversify, in a statement.

Feb 07

The Importance of Cyber Security for Law Firms.

Few industries handle as much sensitive material on a daily basis as the legal vertical—or have as much to lose if a cyber attack occurs. Law firms are becoming increasingly reliant on technology, and hackers are only growing more sophisticated in their methods of attack. If your cyber security is not up to the challenge of keeping them out, you leave your firm—and your clients—at risk.

Any cyber attack, regardless of magnitude, is worrisome. A large-scale breach can be devastating. If your firm’s computer systems are damaged or disabled for even a day, the resulting loss in revenue and productivity may be massive. Worse, a single hacked email account has the potential to reveal a plethora of confidential information pertaining to hundreds, if not thousands, of clients. If a firm proves itself incapable of protecting its network and data, clients will not trust it to handle their business.

In 2016, the “Panama Papers” document leak at Mossack Fonseca demonstrated just how destructive a breach could be. Through a hack in the firm’s email server, millions of sensitive documents were leaked. The private financial information of hundreds of high-profile clients was revealed, resulting in embarrassment for many—especially the firm. What went wrong? In addition to using outdated software, Mossack Fonseca was not encrypting its emails. The firm left itself vulnerable, and put its clients’ private data at risk.

Failure to protect client information can permanently damage your firm’s reputation. A firewall and basic antivirus software are not enough to keep sensitive data safe from threats. Demonstrating to your clients that you take IT security seriously will ease their minds, and yours—and is justification enough for a proactive approach.

The importance of email encryption and other security measures to the legal industry cannot be downplayed. You may find clients specifically request these measures, and many will not work with you if your network isn’t absolutely secure. If your security measures are not up to scratch, you will see clients migrating to other firms that can provide adequate protection. The time to seek guidance is now.

At eMazzanti, we provide managed network security services for the legal vertical and beyond. We can inform you about best practices, industry standards, and most importantly how to keep your cyber security up to date to prevent any potential threats—and ensure your network is secure and reliable.

Feb 06

TechLatino Applauds the 97 Tech Companies that Just Opposed Trump’s Travel Ban.

100-orange-EmojiNearly 100 companies, mostly based in Silicon Valley, on Sunday issued a legal brief challenging President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, arguing that it hurts business and violates the Constitution.

“The tremendous impact of immigrants on America — and on American business — is not happenstance,” the companies wrote in the brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. “People who choose to leave everything that is familiar and journey to an unknown land to make a new life necessarily are endowed with drive, creativity, determination — and just plain guts. The energy they bring to America is a key reason why the American economy has been the greatest engine of prosperity and innovation in history.”


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A federal judge on Friday halted Trump’s executive order, which barred travel by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspended the refugee program for 120 days. The administration has a deadline later today to argue why the judge’s order should be reversed.

In all, 97 companies signed the legal brief. These notably included AppleGoogleeBayFacebookIntelMicrosoft, Netflix, Salesforce, Twitter, and Uber. CiscoOracle, and Tesla were conspicuously absent from the list.

The brief noted that more than 200 companies on the Fortune 500 list were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Silicon Valley’s two biggest companies, Apple and Google, are included in that list. Since 2000, more than a third of American Nobel prize winners in chemistry, medicine and physics have been immigrants.

The Trump administration has signaled that it may continue to squeeze Silicon Valley on immigration, possibly by changing the structure of the H-1B visa program, which admitted 85,000 highly-skilled workers into the U.S. last year.

In December, executives from 12 technology companies met with Trump and a small circle of his advisors to talk about issues important to the group. Seven of the 12 companies either signed Sunday’s legal brief or filed one of their own.

The 97 companies signing Sunday’s legal brief:

  1. AdRoll
  2. Aeris Communications
  3. Airbnb
  4. AltSchool
  5. Ancestry.com
  6. Appboy
  7. Apple
  8. AppNexus
  9. Asana
  10. Atlassian
  11. Autodesk
  12. Automattic
  13. Box
  14. Brightcove
  15. Brit + Co
  16. CareZone
  17. Castlight Health
  18. Checkr
  19. Chobani Global Holdings
  20. Citrix Systems
  21. Cloudera
  22. Cloudflare
  23. Copia Institute
  24. DocuSign
  25. DoorDash
  26. Dropbox
  27. Dynatrace
  28. eBay
  29. Engine Advocacy
  30. Etsy
  31. Facebook
  32. Fastly
  33. Flipboard
  34. Foursquare Labs
  35. Fuze
  36. General Assembly Space
  37. GitHub
  38. Glassdoor
  39. Google
  40. GoPro
  41. Harmonic
  42. Hipmunk
  43. Indiegogo
  44. Intel
  45. Warby Parker
  46. Kargo Global
  47. Kickstarter
  48. KIND
  49. Knotel
  50. Levi Strauss & Co.
  51. LinkedIn
  52. Lithium Technologies
  53. Lyft
  54. Mapbox
  55. Instacart
  56. Marin Software
  57. Medallia
  58. Medium
  59. Meetup
  60. Microsoft
  61. Motivate International
  62. Mozilla Corporation
  63. Netflix
  64. Netgear
  65. NewsCred
  66. Patreon
  67. PayPal
  68. Pinterest
  69. Quora
  70. Reddit
  71. Rocket Fuel
  72. SaaStr
  73. Salesforce.com
  74. Scopely
  75. Shutterstock
  76. Snap
  77. Spokeo
  78. Spotify
  79. Square
  80. Squarespace
  81. Strava
  82. Stripe
  83. SurveyMonkey
  84. TaskRabbit
  85. Tech:NYC
  86. Thumbtack
  87. Turn
  88. Twilio
  89. Twitter
  90. Turn
  91. Uber Technologies
  92. Via Transportation
  93. Wikimedia Foundation
  94. Workday
  95. Y Combinator
  96. Yelp
  97. Zynga

Feb 03

Join TechLatino this February 7th to Make the Internet Safe Again and Why It Matters

internet-safetyNext week on February 7, TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association will add its support to the worldwide celebration of Safer Internet Day 2017 – “Be the Change: Unite for a Better Internet”. Now taking place in over 100 countries, Safer Internet Day is an annual, globally coordinated event promoting the efforts of internet users of all ages, interests and backgrounds, to make the internet a better place and vice versa – to make the world a better place with the help of the internet. The U.S. host for Safer Internet Day is ConnectSafely.org. Its U.S. steering committee includes organizations such as Common Sense Media, Family Online Safety Institute, iKeepSafe Coalition, Internet Education Foundation, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, National Cyber Security Alliance and National PTA.

In support of Safer Internet Day 2017, NCTA is excited to introduce a new video-based resource for parents called “In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)This original video series covers the latest and greatest websites, apps and products to help parents manage their children’s online and media activities. For example, one episode explains the basics of TV ratings, while another promotes awareness of KnowWhatsInside.coma fantastic web resource that helps parents decide which apps are right for kids. Other episodes cover new products, such as Circle with Disneyan integrated solution for managing usage time and content filtering across all of a household’s Internet connected devices.

ICYMI is the latest addition to Controlwithcable.orgNCTA’s contribution to the parental controls resource landscape. Controlwithcable.org continues to grow as a priority tool for parents seeking to educate themselves about parental controls issues and available resources. ICYMI should accelerate this trend, as it provides for the opportunity to deliver timely, up-to-date and actionable information about these resources.

safe

Many of our member companies have been actively engaged for years in efforts to give parents and families the knowledge and tools they need to be safe and savvy users of broadband technology, digital content, and media. At NCTA, we want to help parents put these tools to good use, and continue to improve families’ online and media experiences.

Please join us in celebrating Safer Internet Day 2017and be sure to check out ICYMI and the rest of Controlwithcable.org!

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