Archive for the ‘Education’ category

Microsoft Power BI new license option – called Premium Per User, or Premium Gen2. Ask Synergy Software Systems

September 25th, 2020

A recent, Microsoft Ignite 2020 announcement of a new licensing plan for Microsoft Power BI, called Premium Per User, or Premium Gen2.

We already have license options for:
Per user Pro
One of the most common licensing options is the Power BI pro account, that gives the user enough access to do *almost* anything they want in the world of Power BI development, building solutions, creating workspaces in the service, sharing the content to the users, etc. This licensing is priced $9.99 USD per user per month.

Good enough to cover the analytics needs of a small to medium scale business with usual analytics requirement. Requirements such as getting data from multiple sources, combining it, building superb visualizations and sharing among a reasonable number of end-users.

Premium: capacity-based
Another popular option is to purchase a dedicated capacity (a dedicated node of certain amount of CPU cores and RAM power) to host the Power BI content on it. The dedicated capacity comes not only with a better performance, but also, with extra features. Such as using AI abilities, some extra features in the dataflow development, geo replicas for the data model, paginated reports and many other features. Dedicated capacity comes in two modes; embedded, and Premium. and the minimum entry for Premium is $4,995 USD per node.

Good for enterprise scale businesses with advanced analytics requirement, such as working with big data, building computed entities in the dataflow, leveraging AI functionalities, and requiring high performance for their big data analytics.

Pro is cheap enough to get every business started with analytics, and Premium is powerful enough to cover sophisticated analytics requirements. However, there is a large group of small to medium scale business which have advanced analytics needs. Premium capacity-based licensing for this group is too expensive. For a company with l only 10 to 20 users, there may not be an ROI to pay $4,995 per month for analytics. On the other hand, Pro is too limited. They need some features that are not available in this licensing.

The details of how much the licensing would cost are still to be determined, as the licensing for Premium Per User, or Premium Gen2 will come later this year (2020). It means that a small scale business can pay for the analytics requirement with a per-user licensing , which may be a worthwhile option. That means business can scale with advanced analytics features like an enterprise customer.

PowerBi support for Windows7 and older versions of .net will end soon -ask Synergy Software Systems

September 25th, 2020

After 10 years, support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020.
In line with this, Microsoft will be stopping support for Power BI Desktop on Windows 7 on Jan 31st 2021.

After that, Power BI Desktop will only be supported on Windows 8 and newer versions.

The January 2021 release of Power BI Desktop Optimized for Report Server will be supported as per the Modern Lifecycle Policy i.e. supported until the next release (currently scheduled for May 2021), after which it will only receive security updates until January 2022, after which support will stop.

Microsoft is also making a change to the version of .NET that is required to run Power BI Desktop.
Starting from the October release you need the .NET 4.6.2 or greaterversion to be installed. This is installed by default with Windows 10 and for older versions of Windows the Power BI Desktop installer will launch the .NET installer for you.

Field Service Management – Microsoft a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant.

August 24th, 2020

Gartner has positioned Microsoft as a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management. Positioned as a Visionary in 2019, this new, improved position as a Field Service Leader reflects our ability to execute and completeness of vision. Products evaluated include: Microsoft Azure IoT (Hub and Central), Microsoft Power Platform (Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Common Data Service), and mixed-reality (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist).

Field service technology is evolving at an accelerated pace, that is significantly impacting how we work, what we work on, and how we best serve our customers. As technology speeds forward creating greater efficiencies, it promotes cutting edge technologies into the mainstream. These technologies not only streamline processes and reduce costs, they also differentiate a service organization from the pack. It is these differentiators that have elevated Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service as a driving force within the field service community.

Dynamics 365 Field Service capabilities
Many of the field service capabilities Gartner highlighted are pivotal in providing world-class customer care. Microsoft pioneered cutting edge technologies that have led to the development of rich features that empower technicians and increase productivity, optimize resources, and enhance customer satisfaction—together helping FSOs to quickly realign operations to strengthen business continuity while building resiliency within a changing economic landscape.

Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Central.
With the addition of Azure IoT Hub or Azure IoT Central, field service is transforming the costly traditional break-fix model to a proactive and predictive service model. By combining IoT diagnostics, scheduling, asset maintenance, and inventory all on the same platform, field service organizations (FSOs) can reduce downtime by diagnosing problems before customers are even aware there is an issue. Connected Field Service lets you address issues faster by remotely monitoring devices, and the service data can help in making better decisions around dispatching technicians with the right experience, availability, and location to the customer.
Power Platform including Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, and Common Data Service.

Use Power BI’s intuitive data visualizations, Excel integration, and customer data connectors with the next generation Field Service mobile app.
Empower technicians with an easy-to-use mobile experience to view: assigned jobs, and to record work performed with” photos and video captures, bar code scanning, and digital signatures.

They have information when visiting remote destinations without internet connectivity. Power Automate is easily integrated to create flows to improve process automation and the Common Data Service can securely store and manage data used by business applications. App makers can then use Power Apps to build rich applications using this data.

Mixed reality apps including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.
Mixed reality is a combination of augmented, virtual, and real world, where the user can interact with all views.

Mixed reality is creating a tsunami of change within the field service landscape since the advent of COVID-19. FSOs face unique challenges balancing the health and safety of technicians while maintaining business critical functions and continued support of customer needs. Dynamics 365 Remote Assist leverages mixed reality to access information and experts from anywhere, contact-free, by using Microsoft HoloLens and Android or iOS devices. Onsite workers can share real-time views of a repair, share knowledge and related documents, and perform inspections and audits to help accelerate the process.

Dynamics 365 Field Service capabilities are mapped to three distinct pillars: proactive service delivery, resource scheduling, and ensuring technician success.

In April, release wave 1 provided enhancements aligned to these pillars. New feature capabilities included a preview of AI-based suggestions for IoT alerts and incident types, and shared ongoing enhancements to resource scheduling and optimization capabilities.

What’s ahead for Field Service
Release wave 2 coming this October, will add more intelligence to Dynamics 365 Field Service iwith a new dashboard for monitoring key KPIs.

You will be able to automatically send customers work order satisfaction surveys using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice.

FSOs will have the ability to quickly capture, and accurately calculate work order completion metrics—even metrics like a Broken Promise %. :

Proactive service delivery. Asset hierarchy and functional location, productivity enhancement for complex entities such as work order, and extended integration with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
Resource scheduling. Optimizer embedded in next-generation schedule board, predictive technician travel time based on traffic patterns, and enhancements for skills-based matching and travel outside working hours.
Technician success. A new mobile app based on Power Apps enhancements, a technician locator for end customers, and virtual onsite inspection capabilities.

Ahead of the curve
Most field service organizations typically consist of a “boots on the ground” labor force making service calls and often ordering cticila needed parts and rescheduling site visits to complete the repair.

FSOs are transforming and this business model is changing for the better. FSOs are evolving into profit centers by redefining their business model to a proactive service delivery, supported by leading edge solutions like Dynamics 365 Field Service, with rich features that optimize resources and empower technicians to succeed.

(Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.)

Contact Synergy Software Systems for more information and see this site for demo videos. https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/field-service/demo/

KSA to add VAT on on-line purchases

June 29th, 2020

Saudi Arabia announced it will levy 15 percent value added tax (VAT) on items bought from online sellers and online stores based abroad. The Saudi customs authority said on Sunday (June 28) the new rule will be applicable to all products shipped to the kingdom on or after July 1. Saudi Arabia is tripling its VAT from 5 percent to 15 percent starting on July 1. It will also suspend the cost of living allowance to its citizens on July 1.

The online order placed before June 30, 2020 is delivered to the buyer after June 30, then 15 per cent VAT will apply on the selling transaction, whereas the seller should issue an additional tax invoice pertaining to the difference of the applicable tax due. E-commerce companies should ensure to collect additional 10 per cent from the buyer if the products will be delivered to the buyer on or after July 1, 2020 because they have to pay 15 per cent VAT at the time of custom clearance of the goods.

With the implementation of VAT on online selling, e-commerce companies are expected to collect additional fees from buyers if products are delivered to Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom will also suspend cost of living allowance from next month in order to shore up state finances, which have been battered by low oil prices and the coronavirus. The revised higher VAT rates will be applicable to all supplies of taxable goods and services in the country.

RPA – how UI path is helping the fight against covid-19

April 4th, 2020

Examples of customers using automation to respond to an unprecedented challenge with drastic shifts in demand .

For details of these and many other uses see

U.A.E. National Nutrition Guidelines ask Synergy Software Systems

March 18th, 2020

Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) launched the National Nutrition Guidelines (to serve as a unified national reference on food and nutrition education in the UAE’s community and health institutions. The guideline aims to:

- improve the nutritional status of the UAE’s community and raise awareness about healthy eating behaviour and lifestyle-related diseases
- reduce the prevalence of chronic and malnutrition diseases such as:obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, anemia, osteoporosis and vitamin deficiency
- scale down non-communicable diseases and mortality rates
- encourage individuals to engage in physical activities for better health.

The guidelines consist of six guides. These are:

- to support and promote a healthy living system through healthy food and physical activity
- to maintain healthy food intake at all stages of life
- to reduce calories resulting from high sugar, saturated and trans fats and to reduce salt intake
- to eat variety of diet food and drinks that are rich in nutrients and high in nutritional intensity
- to adopt healthy food patterns
-to achieve food safety.

The National Nutrition Guidelines were developed in collaboration with the U.A.E’s Food Security Office, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gulf Nutrition Committee and the local government bodies across the U.A.E.

If you are involved in food preparation and menu planning and need access to comprehensive nutritional databases and easy to use software then callus and ask about our Nutrition solution.

SnapLogic iPasS integration as a service – from Synergy Software Systems.

October 20th, 2019

Business Intelligence Managers/Analysts, Data/ETL Engineers, and Information/Data Architects are tasked with empowering business users to make use of
data to drive smart decisions and innovations. Data-driven initiatives can be challenging considering the explosion of data volumes due to the proliferation of sensors, IoT, and mobile computing.

Moreover, a growing number of groups within the business want access to fresh data.

To fully harness their data, organizations must also have a cloud strategy for their digital transformation efforts, namely to migrate data from
on-premises environments to the cloud. Considering the tremendous business value of unlocking that data, it’s imperative to prioritize and streamline these
data integration and migration projects.

Gone are the days when IT needed hundreds of coders to build extract, transform, load (ETL) solutions and then maintain those by writing more code. Modern integration platforms eliminate the need for custom coding. Now, data integration projects deploy and scale, often as much as ten times faster.

iPaaS platforms ease the pain because they’re designed for flexibility and ease of deployment for any integration project. A drag-and-drop UX coupled with a powerful platform and hundreds of pre-built connectors out of the box.

The connectors are always up-to-date, so the IT organization doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time maintaining every integration by hand. This saves an incredible amount of time, money, and frustration across the team and projects and greatly reduces risk.

Not all integration platforms are created equal. Some do simple point-to-point cloud app integrations while others transform large and complex data into a data lake for advanced analytics. Some stgill require extensive developer resources to hand-code APIs while others provide self-service, drag-and-drop offerings that can be used by IT and business leaders alike. Some are best for specific tactical projects while others provide a strategic, enterprise-wide platform for multi-year digital transformation projects.

Organizations must address four key steps during the data migration and integration process:
1. Capture data that supports both the known use cases as well as future undefined use cases (think IoT data to support a future machine learning
enabled use case).
2. Conform inbound data to corporate standards to ensure governance, quality, consistency, regulatory compliance, and accuracy for downstream
consumers.
3. Refine data for its eventual downstream application and/or use cases (once its been captured and conformed to corporate standards).
4. Delivery of data needs to be broad and prepared to support future unknown destinations.

For decades, IT has been tasked to manage integration projects by writing tons of custom code. This onerous task is even more complex with the proliferation of SaaS applications, the surge in big data, the emergence of IoT, and the rise of mobile devices. IT’s integration backlog has exploded. Not only is the deployment too much work, but there is a growing cost to maintain all of the integrations.

Deploying a tactical or departmental data warehouse solution should take days, not months. Moreover, enterprise-wide data transformation projects should take months, not years.

The best data integration platforms:
- Support multiple app and data integration use cases across cloud, on-premises, and hybrid deployments
- Offer the flexibility to be used in cloud, hybrid, or on-premises environments, regardless of the execution location
- Provide a self-service user experience aided by AI, machine learning, hundreds of pre-built connectors, and integration pipeline
templates (patterns) resulting in greater user productivity, and faster time-to-integration
- Have an underlying, scalable architecture to grow with evolving data and integration requirements
- Support different data modes such as streaming, event-driven, real-time or batch

The SnapLogic iPaaS offering is functionally rich and well-proven for a variety of use cases. It supports hybrid deployments and provides rich and differentiating features for analytics and big data integration (Hadooplex). Clients score SnapLogic as above average for cloud characteristics, functional completeness, ease of use and ability to meet SLAs.” Gartner

SnapLogic is a U.S.-based integration platform company. In mid-2013, it transitioned from a traditional software business to an iPaaS model with the release of the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform which provides a large set of native iPaaS capabilities that target the cloud service integration, analytics and big data integration use cases.

The flagship Enterprise Edition features a set of base adapters (Snaps), an unlimited number of connections and unlimited data volume.

Synergy Software Systems has been an Enterprise Solutions Integrator in the GCC since 1991. We are pleased to announce our formal partnership to represent Snap Logic in the MEA region.

Do you need to integrate with Azure? with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud? with Workday? With Odette compliant auto mamufacturers………..?.

To learn more call us on 009714 3365589

SQL Server 2016SP2 Cumulative Update 8

August 3rd, 2019

The urgent security update earlier this month is not the only patch for SQL Server 2016 in July,
Microsoft has released SQL. SP2 CU8 (build number: 13.0.5426.0)
• Restores of compressed encrypted backups fail
• Data masking doesn’t
• DAXquery needs memory 200x larger than the database size
• Peer-to-peer replication fails when your host name isn’t uppercase
• QueryStore cleanup can fill the transaction log and cause an outage
•DistributedAvailability Groups cause memory dumps when automatic seeding
• AGreplication stops working due to internal thread deadlocks
•The deadlock monitor can cause an access violation
• Query a view with a union on a linked server,
• Concurrent inserts into a clustered columnstore index can deadlock
•Infiniteloop when FileTable is used for a long time without a restart
•SSAS2016 randomly crashes ( maybe not completely random if they fixed it)
•TransparentData Encryption doesn’t encrypt if it’s restarted mid-encryption

And much more.https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4505830/cumulative-update-8-for-sql-server-2016-sp2

I guess we will get a similar patch for Sp1 but by now you should be on a later patch

Calorie display on Dubai menus – are you ready? Ask Synergy Software Systems.

June 30th, 2019

It will soon be mandatory to display the caloric value of each and every item in the menu, in whichever form it is. The Food Safety Department announcement is that:
All food outlets in Dubai have to display calorie content of ready-to-eat foods by January 1, 2020.
An early deadline of November 1, 2019 is set for establishments with more than five branches to implement it.

The circular and guidebook is posted on municipality’s portal www.dm.gov.ae and has clear instructions for labelling nutritional value with examples for manual calculation in Excel-sheet templates.

The department will verify the accuracy of the calculations through auditing. It will also at a later stage, provide an electronic-platform for computing the calories

Eateries, including fast food chains, must display caloric value of food items either on the menu or at the point of sale. There are some establishments that already declare calorie content on packaging, flyers, tray mats, websites etc. However, the municipality wants everyone to display the caloric value, against each item in the menu from which diners choose items at the point of sale. When there is no menu, then it should be in the menu boards or the menu displayed on tablets — basically, whichever form of the menu which the consumer checks for choosing the food.

Dubai eateries will have options how to calculate calorie contents for display in the menus to comply with a new regulation that aims to help diners make informed choices. For most a software package will be administratively simplest to ensure compliance.

For online menus displayed for food ordering services, the rule will not be mandatory, for the time being, since the department is not regulating electronic platforms for food delivery.

Dubai Municipality says that Food establishments in Dubai should declare in their menus the calorie content of all ready-to-eat food items.

The primary objective of the rule is to help diners make healthy food choices for reducing obesity and related diseases. The Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality hopes to make a big difference in food decisions taken by diners just with the knowledge of how much of calories they consume.
The population of Dubai is three million. As per our calculations, we expect more than one billion food decisions to be based on the calorie count displayed in menus in a year,” Iman Ali Al Bastaki, Director of the Department
.
During the six months of the World Expo 2020 starting on October 20, 2020, Dubai expects to welcome 25 million visitors. Hence, the number of food decisions taken based on displayed calories is expected to be multi-billion during the Expo.

For example, a food outlet making a traditional meal with a lot of oil will have to display a high caloric value for the meal. When consumers prefer to go for another meal with less calories or a smaller portion of the same meal, the establishment will encourage its chefs to reduce the use of oil, thereby reducing the calories and providing a healthier meal.

Dubai, is the first emirate in the UAE to implement such a rule. It referred to similar practices in countries like the US and Canada. Dubai already has a system of nutrition labelling that displays all nutritional values in packaged food items e.g.: sugar, sodium, fat.

For cooked or prepared food that is ready-to-eat, the first step in declaration is the basic declaration of calories. The municipality wants to ensure the readiness of the market before moving to the next level of detailed nutrition labelling in cooked foods.

This is part of a holistic approach that Dubai Municipality has been working on to improve health and to reduce obesity and diabetes in Dubai that include healthy meal project in school canteens, an initiative to reduce salt and sugar content in bakery items and verification of claims about healthy food items.

With over 100 branded hotels and industrial caterers, and other food producers as our customers we have more than 20 years extensive experience in the F@B area, and our solution for nutrition data is widely adopted.

If you need, a software solution or to integrate our nutrition data to your erp system or F@B software, then contact us to learn more about our solutions.

Synergy Software Systems: 00917 43365589
Deyafa Systems: 00971 4 3240066

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, support is coming to an end.

June 23rd, 2019

Sometimes lifecycles end because of age or workload and other times they expire due to vendor support.
In the case of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, Microsoft announced that Extended Support will end on January 14, 2020.

Microsoft provides: Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Beyond End of Support.

Mainstream Support

Mainstream Support is Microsoft’s first phase of support and lasts five years. It includes the following benefits:
• Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
• Security update support
• Ability to request non-security updates

Extended Support

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support, and also lasts five years. The key features of Extended Support are:
• Paid support
• Security updates at no additional cost
• Ability to request non-security updates (available only via Unified Support, a new model of support that offers comprehensive support that covers your entire organization)
• Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase.

Beyond End of Support

The Beyond End of Support phase is the final phase of the product lifecycle and lasts for three years. Here are the key things to remember.
• Request to change product design and features are not available
• Security updates are available only with the purchase of the Extended Security Update Program for up to three years. This typically costs 75% of the on-premises license cost annually.
• Technical support is provided when you purchase Extended Security Updates and have an active support plan in place on the product that has moved beyond the Extended Support date.

Server 2008 and 2008R2 are moving out of the Extended Support phase on January 14, 2020. From that date on,
non-security updates will no longer be available,
security updates will be available only if you pay for the Extended Security Update Program,
and other vendors will diminish their support of this operating system version.
If you are not prepared, then this will leave your environment open to security holes, application instability, and support restrictions.
If you have not already planned for this then now is the time to get it into your budget for first thing next year.

Dubai F@B – calorie content menus, and QR codes to choose safe hygenic food,

May 24th, 2019

Dubai: Food establishments in Dubai should declare in their menus the calorie content of all ready-to-eat food items, Dubai Municipality has said in a circular last Saturday.

The new rule is applicable to restaurants, cafeterias and cafes with more than 5 branches from November.

All other restaurants, catering establishments and hotels should implement it in the second phase in January 2020, the civic body said in a press release on Saturday.

There are more than 18,000 food businesses in various categories according to Dubai Municipality.

.On Sunday a new QR Code system was also launched by the Dubai Municipality which will allow you to choose food based on hygiene and safety in Dubai-based food outlets. Under this system, Dubai’s Food Safety Department will issue smartphone-readable codes to food outlets through its “Food Watch” digital platform. It will be mandatory for food outlets to display the QR codes in their premises as and when they are issued one.

In the next phase, people will be able to see what kind of a license is issued to an outlet. So, if somebody is making cakes or taking up catering services, you can ask for the code and find out if they are licensed to do it. Accessibility, location, web address, contact details etc. are the other details of food outlets available through QR code scanning. Dubai Municipality’s hotline number to register complaints 800900 is also shown.

If you need a proven software solutions for your F@B operations, then contact us.

Get ready for year-end close in Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 with Synergy Software Systems, Dubai.

December 20th, 2018

There many tasks to be done for the Fiscal year-end closing process.
Those include task for all functions not just finance.
For over 10 years Synergy has conducted Year end training courses to help prepare Dynamics users for their fiscal close.
Our 2 day workshop encompasses:
Key tasks and sequence
Tips and trick
Key reports,
Use of MR and Power Bi
Sales, Supply chain, HR, IT tasks
Hands on practice
The course content applies to almost all versions and will be run in Dynamics Ax 2012 R3. it will however will also introduce the Dynamics 365 Financial closing workspace.

Date: 2 day course: 09.00 – 17.00 8th and 9th Jan 2019
Venue: SYNERGY SOFTWARE SYSTEMS. Al Karama, Dubai.
Ample parking and bus stops and metro nearby.
For a trouble-free and timely, year-end close, book today.
Experienced, expert instructors.

Windows 10 and the ‘edge’

October 13th, 2018

Microsoft recently announced in ablog post. “Windows 10 IoT delivers innovation and intelligence at the edge with the October 2018 Update” The Windows 10 October 2018 update will deliver ‘edge’ intelligence with machine learning, industrial strength security, new silicon options, and additional monetization models for distributors and sellers for enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

The edge” is a theoretical space where a data center resource may be accessed in the minimum amount of time. The edge, in simple terms, is where you generate, collect, and analyze data i.e. where the data is generate. Edge computing technology is applied to smartphones, tablets, sensor-generated input, robotics, automated machines on manufacturing floors, and distributed analytics servers that are used for “on the spot” computing and analytics.

Traditional datacenter architecture is all about central computing powerhouses, from where information is sent and received across globally spread networks. Here, the larger the distance between the endpoint and the datacenter, the higher the response time. In many applications, this incrementally larger time gap is inconsequential. However, in many others, it’s critical. For example:
• when the computation required for rendering the content is carried out close enough to AR and VR devices.
• Autonomous vehicles require near real-time feedback from external networks to make course corrections and avoid collisions
• In IoT, many analytical actions need to be carried out closed to the devices that generate the source data.
• HD video content, if cached closer to large concentrations of people who’re likely to access it, means that providers can avoid large costs of transmission over networks provisioned by third-party carriers.
• Critical infrastructures such as oil and gas facilities require the highest levels of precautions to avoid system failures that could escalate into catastrophes. Edge computing allows for data from temperature and humidity sensors, IP camera, pressure and moisture sensors, and handheld devices. The data is analyzed, processed, and then sent back to users in near real-time, helping them prevent malfunctions.

Edge computing is all about achieving geographical distribution so that computing power can be taken closer to the endpoints that need it most. So, instead of only relying on a dozen giant datacenters, edge computing provides for the cloud to come closer to places/people/devices where there’s a business case for reducing response times even by a few hundred microseconds.

Critical security and safety systems always need to function on premises. You need these systems to operate or fail in a safe state regardless of what happens to the cloud or the connection. The simplest on-premises approach is a big red shut-off button on each machine. Azure IoT Edge enables a more complex safety system.
Example: You monitor the temperature across a range of machines and if the combined temperature gets too high you need to shut down all machines to prevent damage or risk to human operators. A safety system at the level of the individual machine is not enough, because it can’t track combined temperature across multiple machines. Your safety system needs to be one level higher to monitor and control multiple machines, and you can do this with Azure IoT Edge.

• By 2020, it’s expected that there will be more than 5,600 million smart sensors and connected IoT devices across the globe.
• The data generated by these devices will be to the tune of 5,000+ zettabytes.
• The IoT market size is expected to reach $724 billion by the end of 2023.

Most of this data will be generated at enterprise endpoints located on the “edge” — such as sensors, machines, smartphones, wearable devices, etc. We can consider these to be located on the “edge” because they’re far away from the central datacenter of the organization.

This massive data can’t simply be relayed to the central server because it will overwhelm the entire network. Enterprises will implement edge computing so that massive data doesn’t have to be transported to corporate datacenters. Instead, advanced operational analytics will happen at the remote facilities, to enable site managers and individuals to act in real time on the available information.

Microsoft Windows 10 customers can now commercialize devices with new servicing options:
• A Semi-Annual Servicing Channel, offers two feature update releases per year,
• A Long-Term Servicing Channel, provides security and quality updates without any new features over a 10-year period. The long-term model is ideal for commercial IoT devices, including point-of-sale systems, ATMs, and industrial equipment controllers, which all require strong security and fewer feature updates.

A new cloud service subscription, called Windows 10 IoT Core Services, offers companies the services to commercialize a device on Windows 10 IoT Core, including both long-term OS support, and services to manage device updates and assess device health. This will help device manufacturers to lower support costs, and will help distributors create better business models to create customer value.

Microsoft has added the ability to do more work at the edge, including: machine learning, event processing, and image recognition, “Seamless integration with Azure IoT Edge brings cloud intelligence and analytics securely to Windows 10 IoT devices at scale,”

Windows Machine Learning allows developers to use pre-trained machine learning models in their applications, which can be evaluated and adjusted as needed at the edge.

Microsoft also added support for NXP i.MX 6, 7 and 8M series processors to Windows 10 IoT Core.

Windows 10 IoT also includes turnkey support for both Azure IoT Device Management and Microsoft Intune to provide more scalable device management for enterprise IoT deployments.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-azure-enables-a-new-wave-of-edge-computing-here-s-how/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/iot-edge/about-iot-edge

https://www.zdnet.com/article/where-the-edge-is-in-edge-computing-why-it-matters-and-how-we-use-it/

The acatech Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index is a six-stage maturity model that analyses the capabilities in the areas of resources, information systems, culture and organisational structure that are required by companies operating in a digitalised industrial environment.

https://www.acatech.de/Publikation/industrie-4-0-maturity-index-managing-the-digital-transformation-of-companies/

Gitex 2018- See Filehold DMS with Synergy Software Systems

September 30th, 2018

Meet us with Globalis to see how advanced cheque scanners and a modern DMS solution work together.

Talk to us about how repetitive automation can help you match hundreds of thousands of invoices, or to reconcile claims, or to reconcile multiple bank accounts.

Let us show you how easy it is to drillback from any key field in any application, back to the source doument and all related documents in Filehold.

Security security security

September 26th, 2017

You never know when some item that queries or alters data in SQL Server will cause issues.

Bruce Schneier recently commented on FaceID and Bluetooth security, the latter of which has a vulnerability issue. I was amazed to see his piece on infrared camera hacking. A POC on using light to jump air gaps is truly frightening. It seems that truly anywhere that we are processing data, we need to be thinking (see https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/09/attackers-can-use-surveillance-cameras-to-grab-data-from-air-gapped-networks/)

Airborne attacks, unfortunately, provide a number of opportunities for the attacker. First, spreading through the air renders the attack much more contagious, and allows it to spread with minimum effort. Second, it allows the attack to bypass current security measures and remain undetected, as traditional methods do not protect from airborne threats. Airborne attacks can also allow hackers to penetrate secure internal networks which are “air gapped,” meaning they are disconnected from any other network for protection. This can endanger industrial systems, government agencies, and critical infrastructure. With BlueBorne, attackers can gain full control right from the start. Moreover, Bluetooth offers a wider attacker surface than WiFi, almost entirely unexplored by the research community and hence contains far more vulnerabilities

Finally, unlike traditional malware or attacks, the user does not have to click on a link or download a questionable file. No action by the user is necessary to enable the attack.

Fully patched Windows and iOS systems are protected

– the Equifax breach for example must worry everyone who has ever had credit in the USA. (Hackers broke into Equifax’s computer systems in March, which is two months earlier than the company had previously disclosed, according to a Wall Street Journal report.)

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. In a statement posted on the SEC’s website, Chairman Jay Clayton said a review of the agency’s cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected “incident” was caused by “a software vulnerability” in its EDGAR filing system (which processes over 1.7 million electronic filings in any given year.) The agency also discovered instances in which its personnel used private, unsecured email accounts to transmit confidential information.

So let me suggest take a good look at your systems and be honest – do you feel safe?

Microsoft has released Microsoft 365, a complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely. Watch Satya introduce it.

What about your websites?
Although acts of vandalism such as defacing corporate websites are still commonplace, hackers prefer to gain access to the sensitive data residing on the database server and then to sell the data.

The costs of not giving due attention to your web security are extensive and apart form direct financial burden and inconvenience also risks:
• Loss of customer confidence, trust and reputation with the consequent harm to brand equity
• Negative impact on revenues and profits arising e.g. from falsified transactions, or from
employee downtime
• Website downtime – is in effect the closure of one of the most important sales and marketing channels
especially for an e-business
• Legal battles and related implications from Web application attacks and poor security
measures including fines and damages to be paid to victims.

Web Security Weaknesses
Hackers will attempt to gain access to your database server through any way they can e.g. out of date protocols on a router. Two main targets are :
• Web and database servers.
• Web applications.

Information about such exploits are readily available on the Internet, and many have been reported on this blog previously.

Web Security Scanning
So no surprise that Web security should contain two important components: web and database server security, and web application security.

Addressing web application security is as critical as addressing server security.

Firewalls and similar intrusion detection mechanisms provide little defense against full-scale web
attacks.
Since your website needs to be public, security mechanisms allow public web traffic to
communicate with your web and databases servers (i.e. over port 80).

It is of paramount importance to scan the security of these web assets on the network for possible vulnerabilities. For example, modern database systems (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL) may be
accessed through specific ports and so anyone can attempt direct connections to the databases to try and bypass the security mechanisms used by the operating system. These ports remain open to allow communication with legitimate traffic and therefore constitute a major vulnerability.

Other weaknesses relate to the database application itself and the use of weak or default passwords by
administrators. Vendors patch their products regularly, and equally regularly find new ways of
attack.

75% of cyber attacks target weaknesses within web applications rather than directly at the
servers. Hackers launch web application attacks on port 80 . Web applications are more open to uncovered vulnerabilities since these are generally custom-built and therefore pass through a lesser degree of
testing than off-the-shelf software.

Some hackers, for example, maliciously inject code within vulnerable web applications to trick users
and redirect them towards phishing sites. This technique is called Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and may
be used even though the web and database servers contain no vulnerability themselves.

Hence, any web security audit must answer the questions “which elements of our network
infrastructure are open to hack attacks?”,
“which parts of a website are open to hack attacks?”, and “what data can we throw at an application to cause it to perform something it shouldn’t do?”

Ask us about Acunetix and Web Security
Acunetix ensures web site security by automatically checking for SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting,
and other vulnerabilities. It checks password strength on authentication pages and automatically
audits shopping carts, forms, dynamic content and other web applications. As the scan is being
completed, the software produces detailed reports that pinpoint where vulnerabilities exist