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June 6, 2019 Jeremy Boren

TechHub: What Really Drives Disruption, Ransomware Hits Cities, Transform 2019

‘Disruption is a customer-driven phenomenon’

It’s not unusual to hear someone point to a startup or a new technology as the driving force behind an industry disruption.

Examples abound. Taxis and Uber. Cell phones and Apple. Video on demand and Netflix.

But Harvard Business School Professor Thales S. Teixeira contends it’s not only about companies or technologies, it’s about the customers and their willingness to adopt a new solution.

Teixeira also highlights the power of “coupling” services or products for customers to spur growth in revenue and a company’s capabilities.

“New technologies come and go. The ones that stick around are those the consumers choose to adopt.”

Thales S. Teixeira, Lumry Family Associate Professor at Harvard Business School

It’s another way of saying that customers, whether they’re B2B or at the consumer level, value solutions to real problems.

It’s worth investing the time and energy into finding out what customers need and letting that guide a company’s digital transformation.

Read the full HBR article here.

Cybersecurity Expert Analyzes Ransomware Attack on Baltimore, Other Cities

GrayMatter Cybersecurity Practice Lead Scott Christensen appeared on the emPOWERUP Podcast to talk about why so many U.S. cities, including Baltimore, which is reeling from a recent attack, are vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

One of the biggest reasons: Many U.S. cities rely on legacy operating systems and aren’t always diligent about implementing patches and upgrades. It’s a problem that can bedevil manufacturing companies, as well, according to Christensen.

Opportunistic cybercriminals seek out cities because they tend to be easier targets with a valuable trove of data, Christensen said.

GrayMatter Cybersecurity Practice Lead Scott Christensen speaks during GrayMatter’s Digital Disruptors Series event in Pittsburgh on April 25, 2019. Photo by Jeremy Boren

Much of that data is important to the lives of city residents. In Baltimore’s case, the ransomware attack locked down its real estate records, temporarily halting home sales until city officials designed a workaround.

Christensen said some of the top points of entry and reasons that cyberattacks can successfully target cities include:

  • Reliance on USB drives that circumvent many normal “air gap” controls
  • It doesn’t require a high level of technical sophistication to launch a ransomware attack
  • Many legacy technologies aren’t practical to update or replace because of the high cost
  • Phishing attacks can target a large number of government workers

Listen to the full episode here:

Transform 2019: GrayMatter’s Industrial Intelligence Conference Expands Speaker Lineup

GrayMatter has a fantastic lineup of keynote and breakout session speakers for Transform 2019 including:

  • Doug Bellin of Amazon will be talking about how companies and “think like Amazon;”
  • Cassandra Worthy of We are Change Enthusiasts will cover how you can motivate employees to embrace the changes that come with digital transformations;
  • John Baier of The J.M. Smucker Company plans to discuss how Smucker’s is using data visualization and predictive analytics to make its plants more efficient;
  • Jeff Woodard of T. Marzetti Company will provide an update to his talk last year about how Marzetti has capitalized on gains it made by reducing product overfill and building a company culture that rewards employees for excellence;
  • Tim Pryor and Tom Walker of Penn State University will discuss some of the cybersecurity countermeasures in play at institutions of higher learning like Penn State.

Our latest addition to the speaker lineup is Intelligent Assets expert Ken Latino, who will join APM Practice Lead Paul Casto in presenting at Transform from July 30 to Aug. 1.

Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn from Ken.

Don’t forget to sign up for Transform today!

Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.