Monday, September 26, 2016

MassTLC/MassDevelopment Advanced Manufacturing Futures Program Grant Status and a Visit to FLEXcon

MassTLCs Advanced Manufacturing Futures Fund Program grant work is well underway.  Our goal:  to help robotics, IoT and hardware start-ups and scale-ups grow and commercialize their products by connecting them with the local manufacturers and supply chain.  These grant funds will enable us to help our community by providing the knowledge and resources they need to bring great ideas to great products - Made in Massachusetts. 

We have over 30 participants and have held over a dozen one-on-one interviews learning startup and scaling company challenges and offering advice and contacts at local manufacturers.  We’ve also visited manufactures and some of you have joined us!  In our next phase we will be hosting a series of seminars with rocket pitches from startups and receiving instant advice from a diverse manufacturing panel of experts.  Our first event will be held at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub on 26 October 4:00 – 6:00 pm – register <here>. We are working to host a second event in November in Worcester as well as additional events throughout the state with different startups and a variety of manufacturing experts.  If you are interested in participating – please full out our survey:

Robotics, IoT and Hardware Companies Survey link

Manufacturers Survey link
We had a great visit to FLEXcon in Spencer MA with Phil Caruso from Mini-Mole.  FLEXcon is a global leader in coated and laminated films and adhesives used in graphics applications, manufactured goods and new products.  We received a tour and viewing of their unique roll to roll converting manufacturing equipment and event came home with some goodies!

Figure 1.  Phil Caruso, Founder & CEO Mini-Mole gets to take home some samples to test!
Thanks to Bill Sullivan, Vice President, Performance Products for his hospitality, expertise and advice. 
Figure 2. Bill Sullivan, Vice President, Performance Products at FLEXcon, offers expert advice for Mini-Mole production

Friday, September 23, 2016

Robotics Cluster Meeting Hosted at Natick Soldier Research and Development Center (NSRDEC)

The MassTLC Robotics Cluster Community held a member meeting on 21 September, hosted at the Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC).  We learned about the overall mission of NSRDEC and their dedication to soldier and squad performance and optimization.  We gained insight into some specific research areas including an automated shipboard cleaning system, biomechanics research, and human augmentation.  We were treated to a live demo of a Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) system with reconnaissance capability, called the PD-100 Black Hornet.

Figure 1. Michael Samuel flew this micro UAV and demonstrated its capabilities
Our group then received a tour of the Center’s Doriot Climatic chambers -  facilities that can reproduce environmental conditions occurring anywhere around the world and capable of simulating an extreme range of global weather conditions for the testing of both the physical properties of military equipment and the physiology and adaptations of human subjects.
 Figure 2.  The largest of the Doriot Climatic Chambers at NSRDEC
Figure 3.  Our Robotics Cluster members in one of the smaller Doriot Climatic chambers
Special thanks to Tom Merle and Josh Denton from the Outreach & Business Development office at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center for Organizing our event.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Comprehensive Security - a 360 degree view of your security program

On August 31 we were joined by 200 security executives for Comprehensive Security - a 3600 view of your security program at Microsoft NERD in Cambridge.

Dave Mahon, Vice President and Chief Security Officer of CenturyLink, kicked off the afternoon sharing his expertise in building global security programs. This was followed by a simulated cyber-data breach where expertise from security, legal, and law enforcement provided attendees with best practices on handling a breach at each step of escalation.  The remainder of the day was spent taking deeper dives into many of the facets included in both the keynote and simulation.

Dave’s keynote included:
  • How to work with your board, where decisions such as regulations, risk assessment, liability, and cyber insurance all lay.  He talked about the importance of communication, keeping it simple and in incremental steps -- what it takes to bring the risk down by x% and what that means to bottom line.
  • Understanding that adversaries are very smart and very motivated and that there are five primary source of threats: State funded (espionage), cyber criminals (typically well-funded), terrorists (zealots), hacktivists (protestors), and insider threats (employees).
  • Identifying the direct and indirect costs to a breach - loss of market share, cost of insurance, cost of rebuilding your system, government fines, etc.
  •   Litigation proof your security program, have a solid IR plan, and practice executing it.

Simulated Breach Take-Aways
  • Better than 60% of the time, law enforcement will notify a company it has been breached rather than the company discovering on its own.
  • Be prepared. Have an IR plan and practice it.  
  •  An organization that has been breached is the victim of a crime, but they must demonstrate they handled the situation correctly. Be iron-clad in your actions and communications, both internally and externally.
  • If you are dealing with the FBI or other law enforcement agencies, make sure you have: timeline, logs, and a key point person to communicate among law enforcement agency and company executives, legal team, and IT.

Following these sessions, we had several breakouts where speakers took audience into several of the steps in more detail including:
  •  Managing your 3rd parties;
  •  Building your incident response programs;
  • Developing strong application security programs;
  • Understanding and utilizing user behavior statistic reporting; and
  • Taking your security program to the next level through security operation and analytics reporting.