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About: Brad Rowland

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How Serious is your Digital Workspace Security?

Virtual Application Delivery must start with a Zero Trust model

 

Brad Rowland, Partner and GM, Emergent Campus
December 11th, 2020

 

Long before Covid and the rush to remote work, employers and employees have been bending the boundaries of a traditional perimeter, keeping security pros in constant catchup mode. It is not new to see everyone from individual consultants to F100 workers checking email at the coffee shop, the airport, or from a client’s site. While smartphone adoption was one of the first technologies to break free of the boundaries of a secure office network, trends like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), running business-critical SaaS applications in the public cloud, and massive access to metro co-working have helped to altogether erode the practical nature of perimeter security, leading computing giants like Microsoft to declare it obsolete

In fact, the transition from rigidly established IT system perimeters (de-perimeterisation) was highlighted as early as 2003, at a CISO (Chief Information Security Officers) group meeting hosted by Cisco, which later became the Jericho Forum. The group went on to define and publish such works as the Collaboration Oriented Architecture (COA) paper, COA Framework paper, and other cornerstone security research, culminating in 2011 with their publication of the Identity, Entitlement & Access Management Commandments.

Moats and Castles
Traditional perimeter security has developed around an ancient concept, seeing the organization as a castle, and surrounding it with a moat. Routers, Firewalls, and intrusion detection systems are analogs for tunnels, walls, lights, doors, and surveillance towers. In plain terms, Barracuda Networks defines a Network Perimeter as, “the secured boundary between the private and locally managed side of a network, often a company’s intranet, and the public facing side of a network, often the Internet.” For many organizations, this approach has changed little, while the technology landscape has completely evolved. 

There are many design limitations with the Moat and Castle approach that prevent it from keeping pace with modern infrastructure. The main problem is that in the best-case scenario, it works the way it was designed to work. For instance, the VPN firewall model starts with the assumption that you can create a secure perimeter and trust that internal activities are safe. But just like the story of the Trojan Horse, once a bad actor has gotten inside the castle, they are free to attack and plunder the Crown Jewels. 

Applications themselves can create an open door for attackers, and nearly “80% of apps contain at least one critical or high vulnerability.” A Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report from 2020 cited phishing and the use of stolen credentials as the most common threat actions leading to a breach, and the average cost of a breach rising to nearly $4,000,000. Citing a report from Google, PC Magazine showed phishing attacks have increased an astounding 350 percent during the Covid-19 quarantine. Once an attacker compromises a system inside your network, exclusive reliance on perimeter security has failed and your company assets are largely exposed. Worse still, perimeter security offers little protection against one of the largest and growing sources of security breaches, employees.

“With the rapid adoption of virtualization technologies and the move to BYOD (bring your own device) the attack surface has become extensive and the majority of solutions available to security professionals just does not address the breadth of ways into your environment. Security has to be a core design principal for access solutions, not something that’s added in after the fact.“ – Eddie Satterly, DataNexus Co-Founder and CEO.

In the old kingdom of moats and castles there was a clear distinction between corporate and personal. Corporate devices, corporate email, corporate data, corporate network. In the modern era the lines are continually blurred between personal and corporate devices, data, and networks. With the design principal of any app, to any device, in any location, there is no longer a traditional perimeter, which is why Cameyo is designed with a Zero Trust framework rather than a traditional perimeter-based security approach.

Trust No One
Traditional network security breaks networks into zones, with each zone granted a distinct level of trust. When it comes to modern cyber-attacks, this approach fails. To be clear, perimeter solutions still play a large part of the overall security equation, but there is no longer a trusted zone or “safe place” on the network. Adding more features like application awareness to firewall products adds complexity and cost and doesn’t fix the problem. Instead, it must be assumed that every part of your network is potentially hostile, and every access request should be treated as if it occurred directly on the public internet.

Due to the continuous stream of technology innovations that by their nature invaded the perimeter, in 2009 Forrester alum John Kindervag coined the concept of Zero Trust, asserting that trust is a vulnerability; security must be designed with the strategy, “Never trust, always verify.”

According to the O’Reilly online library, a zero trust network is built upon five fundamental assertions:

  • The network is always assumed to be hostile.
  • External and internal threats exist on the network at all times.
  • Network locality is not sufficient for deciding trust in a network.
  • Every device, user, and network flow is authenticated and authorized.
  • Policies must be dynamic and calculated from as many sources of data as possible.

Zero Trust with Unmanaged Devices
While Cameyo can certainly be used in a traditional security model, it is important to note that it is designed to be highly secure even with unmanaged devices in untrusted public networks. Any app, to any device, in any location, assumes the need for Zero Trust as a starting point.

“Resilience in the new ‘no perimeter’ enterprise topography still requires adherence to basic rules that serve to secure the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of diverse endpoints and data that is stored and processed within the enterprise and in the cloud. Necessity, as always, will drive the creation of new means to address the challenges faced by modern enterprises that function beyond the boundaries of the classic perimeter topography. Resilience requires adaptation to function and thrive when new variables are introduced into the environment. Enterprises that know where their security gaps exist and that deploy technologies that mitigate threats and vulnerabilities posed by new environmental variables position themselves as more resilient and adaptive than those enterprises that do not take such measures. Survival is adaptation. Adaptation is survival.” – Juan Reyes, AT&T Senior Security Consultant. 

With that in mind, let’s review four key security elements built into the Cameyo solution:

Cameyo NoVPN
The Cameyo solution effectively provides a secure digital workspace environment without the need for VPN.  Organizations have traditionally used VPN technology for decades to allow remote workers to connect to corporate resources that are located in the on-premises corporate data center.  However, VPN has become a legacy technology that is less than desirable and even opens your organization up to security risks.

There are many challenges and concerns to consider with traditional VPN connections.  VPNs do not scale very well across a large client base and performance can quickly become an issue with many users aggregated to a VPN concentrator.  There are also management challenges to overcome with VPN such as client VPN software that must be installed, provisioned, configured and managed throughout the lifecycle of the solution.   Aside from the management and performance challenges with VPN, there are security risks involved as well.

When remote clients are connected via a VPN tunnel, the remote client device essentially becomes part of the corporate network, much the same way as if you simply plugged a network cable into a network switch in the corporate office.  With this behavior as part of VPN solutions, any unwanted or potentially malicious software loaded on the remote client is brought into the corporate network by way of the VPN connection.  This means there is the potential for extremely dangerous malicious code such as ransomware to have unfettered access to the corporate network by means of the VPN connection.

In addition to the risk of malicious software by way of VPN connectivity, VPN provides the possibility for easy data exfiltration from the corporate network.  When a remote user is connected via VPN, data can easily be copied from corporate network resources to the remote end user client or even a personal cloud environment.

With Cameyo’s NoVPN functionality there is no requirement for VPN connectivity for remote workers to access business-critical applications.  This provides many benefits, including: 

  • The client stays outside the corporate network with no direct connection
  • Connectivity to applications is made possible through a secure browser connection
  • SSL encryption protects communication between client and application
  • There are very simple requirements including a browser, and HTTPS egress traffic only
  • Unlike VPN, there is no end user client software that is required besides a browser 

Port Shield
During the initial surge in remote work, some cyber-security firms were tracking an astonishing 127% increase per day in publicly exposed RDPs, the protocol most used for virtual desktops. 

  • RDP port 3389 – Used for administrative tasks and installing applications on the Cameyo server
  • HTTPS 443 (configurable) – Used for end-user connectivity to published applications

Cameyo Port Shield provides additional security by automatically closing external access to the specified ports unless needed.  “When an end user or administrator connects to the Cameyo portal and is authenticated, Port Shield dynamically orchestrates firewall rules on the Cameyo server to allow the specific IP address for an end user or administrator who has been granted access. Once the end user or administrator logs out, the firewall exception, even for the once authenticated session IP, is removed.”

With this approach, no ports stay open for any period of time. This results in a solution that, by default, is hardened from brute force attacks or zero-day vulnerabilities that an attacker may attempt to capitalize on with systems that are exposed to the outside world using a persistent open port or range of ports.

Layered Revert
For organizations who have supported Terminal Servers and the newer Remote Desktop Services servers, the server essentially becomes a “glorified workstation” for your end users who use it to login and launch applications.  With this approach IT must manage not only the applications, but also the user profile and session data, which can be problematic for IT support.  It can also introduce the possibility for security issues since the user profile data generally persists after logoff and can often be a hiding place for unwanted or outright malicious software.

To solve for this, Cameyo developed its Layered Revert technology. With Layered Revert, Cameyo employs a volatile layer on which users work that is not attached to any specific user profile.  Session data is redirected to on-premises or cloud storage through a patent-pending I/O virtualization technology.  While the volatile layer with other changes are discarded, application data does persist.  When a new session is started, an empty layer is provided for the user session to take place.

How the Layered Revert process works is very similar in concept to reverting a VM back to a particular snapshot point in time.  The changes that have happened since the snapshot was taken are discarded.  On the session’s end, the volatile layer employed by Cameyo is discarded while the important application data persists.  The entire workflow and underlying process is transparent to the end user working with published applications. 

Session Sync

Rounding out the Cameyo solution to provide a secure digital workspace to end users is a technology called Session Sync.  Cameyo’s Session Sync technology allows end users to have access to specific configuration settings and user files that will follow them between sessions.  Session Sync works in harmony with Layered Revert to ensure user data is persistent, while ensuring the session layer is pristine and secure upon each new connection.  With Cameyo’s Session Sync, user files and data are synced to Google Cloud Storage or Microsoft OneDrive.  This means that users are able to see and access data such as auto-saved files, stored data, and their settings.

Another great feature of Session Sync is that it provides the ability for organizations to turn off the downloading of files by end users.  This can protect against data exfiltration concerns for sensitive data as well as help to ensure regulatory compliance.

Conclusion

As your organization transitions to a more permanent remote work strategy or as you’re looking for a long-term digital workspace solution, make sure the solution you choose takes security seriously. As hackers increasingly target remote workers as an entry point into corporate networks, making sure security is built in at the foundation of your digital workspace is critical. Be wary of solutions that require multiple extra layers of “optional” third-party solutions for security, as each new layer adds complexity and can increase your attack surface. 

Cameyo was designed from day one with a Zero Trust security model at the foundation of the platform. With each layer of the platform, security has been given priority in the overall design and execution of the solution. With robust security features such as NoVPN, Port Shield, Layered Revert, and Session Sync, Cameyo helps ensure that your remote workers AND your corporate network & data are secure at all times. 

About Brad Rowland
Since beginning his career in the mid-90s managing a Citrix enterprise site with tens of thousands of users, Rowland has remained focused on desktop virtualization technologies. His experience stretches from managing the product lines at thin client vendor Wyse (Dell), to running global product and marketing at cloud application delivery specialist AppStream (Symantec), to serving as the chief marketing officer at FSLogix, acquired by Microsoft in late 2018 to play a strategic role in the launch of Windows Virtual Desktop. He currently leads Emergent Campus, an innovation catalyst and economic development project in rural Colorado. In July of 2020, Brad joined the advisory board for Cameyo, a Virtual Application Delivery solution in the Digital Workspace market.

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A Year of New Beginnings

By Brad Rowland

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

 

In August of 2019, we launched the next evolution of FEDC TechSTART, called Emergent Campus. Located in the historic Florence High School building, just blocks from downtown Florence, Emergent was literally 10 times the space of the 8,000 square foot TechSTART community that took over 3 years to build in Canon City. To support such a big project, we brought on a small launch team to help Emergent get up, running, and self-sustaining.

 

Cassie Miles joined our team to serve as the dedicated Project Support Specialist for Emergent Campus. She oversaw elements of project management, coordinated team meetings, recruited candidates for Second-61 and assisted me in my new role as Emergent Campus’ general manager. During her tenure she created avenues for our success, working through the details of property management, marketing, and client/partnership relations that she executed with the utmost attention. In between meetings with entrepreneurs, state and local leaders, and the rural Colorado VC community, we both plunged quite a few toilets and learned to do the maintenance on a massive, 100 year-old set of buildings. 

 

Over the last year Emergent Campus persevered through it’s second pandemic (the first in 1920) and has continued to grow through these turbid times. As of September, 2020, we have 13 separate businesses operating on campus, and over 10 independent consultants and co-working members. Second-61 has moved into their new enterprise service desk space and we are running a remote office pilot program for an industry leading cloud software company. We even got a great article in Forbes, We Need To Strengthen Rural America If We Want To Unify Our Country. The launch phase would have been a challenge under any circumstances, but I’m super proud of the team for pulling this off during Covid. Your resourcefulness and innovation was matched only by your perseverance and passion. Thanks for not giving up when it felt like the wheels might fall off, and thanks for remembering why we started this project. I know you’ve seen firsthand the positive impact on the students, small businesses, and new entrepreneurial ventures.

 

Now that our initial ramp up period is complete, the launch team is going back to their “day jobs”, all of which are officed at Emergent Campus Florence or TechSTART Canon City. I’m working in an office at Emergent Campus, Florence, advising several tech companies and growing my consulting practice. Side note, I continue to plunge toilets. Cassie is transitioning to a new role with Visionary Broadband, sister company to Mammoth Networks, where she will continue to sharpen her business acumen. The leadership and community team would like to extend our profound gratitude as Cassie has been an integral part of championing our vision, and assisting in economic development efforts and talent recruitment from Emergent Campus. The position we created for her was not the position we originally imagined or the one she ultimately filled. We have been honored to be a part of her professional journey and look forward to future collaboration with her. She is truly gifted, humble and possesses everything we consider to be excellent. Thank you, Cassie, and best wishes in your new chapter!

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Colorado Lawmakers Prioritize Rural Economic Development Grant Program

As more and more companies look to America’s heartland to offset the exuberant operating cost of doing business in major cities, states around the country are exploring ways to incentivize job creation and economic growth in rural communities. With the lure of empowering small business owners and attracting new industries, the idea resonated with Colorado state lawmakers Representative Bri Buentello and Senator Kerry Donovan, who both represent rural areas of the Centennial State.

Together, with the support of more than three dozen cosponsors, the duo recently passed Senate Bill 20-002, a bipartisan measure that established the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) grant program within the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Once functional, the new program will provide funding for projects that create economic opportunity, diversity and resiliency in the economies of rural communities across Colorado.

“Although the budget is tight, this bipartisan bill has always been a priority for rural legislators,” said Representative Buentello. “Economies in our rural communities are at the heart of our entire state, and especially now, we must ensure they have every tool necessary to grow, and that is why when we returned to the State Capitol I put it at the top of my priority list.”

As the governing agency of the program, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs has been tasked with promulgating policies and procedures to execute the program on or before September 1, 2020. Additionally, the department must establish criteria such as job creation goals and construction completion milestones to determine eligibility.

While numerous entities will be eligible to participate including: local governments, housing authorities, nonprofit economic development organizations, and others – the legislation gives priority to grant applications that attract capital investments and encourage community collaboration. Furthermore, the bill aims to provide financial resources to Colorado’s “beginning farmers” which is defined as, “a farmer, rancher or operator of nonindustrial private forestland who is in the first ten years of operation or a person intending or aspiring to begin such an operation.”

Through efforts like this and others that incentivize economic growth and drive investments in – homegrown talent, workforce development, mentorship programs and startup incubation – rural communities across Colorado will be in a much better position to attract new and better paying jobs, and compete in today’s economy.

“Now, the bill is on its way to the governor, and it is the start of something that we can build on in years to come,” added Representative Buentello.

The legislation goes into effect ninety-days after final adjournment of the Colorado General Assembly and will be administered by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs in partnership with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

 


 

Bio

Kevin Mahmalji is the founder and principal of Two Rivers Consulting based in Florence, Colorado. With more than 10 years of experience in public policy advocacy, strategic communications, and nonprofit management, Kevin offers a wide range of professional services including public relations, government affairs, fundraising, community engagement, and more.

Before founding Two Rivers Consulting, Kevin worked as a political operative for numerous statewide campaigns in Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, and Colorado. These efforts included a presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial and municipal campaign, as well as issue advocacy. Kevin’s background in electoral politics demonstrates his proven ability to work under extreme pressure, meet critical deadlines, cultivate support from diverse stakeholders, and build diverse coalitions.

In his free time, Kevin likes to give back to his community through volunteerism. He’s currently President-elect of Florence Rotary Club, Vice President of the John C. Fremont Library District Board of Trustees, Board Member of Action 22, and an active member of the Florence Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Kevin was invited to join the Steering Committee for Colorado’s Rural Philanthropy Days where he serves as the Co-chair of the Marketing Committee. He is frequently seen at or around his co-working office at Emergent Campus in historic Florence, Colorado.

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New life for an old Mac

New life for an old Mac
Dan Petersen, June 2020

I purchased a 27-inch iMac back in 2010. This computer has served me well over the years, but it’s getting a little old. Apple no longer provides operating system updates for it, only the occasional security update. Several years ago, it got an SSD (Solid State Drive) in place of the hard disk, and an upgraded processor, moving from a first generation I5 to a first generation I7. It still has good performance, but the hand writing was on the wall. Without operating system updates, the system would not run some of the latest software. Apple also discontinued support for 32-bit applications with the latest release, now only supporting 64-bit architecture for applications.

So, I found a 2018 Mac Mini on the certified refurbished apple site (www.apple.com/shop/refurbished) that was configured the way I wanted. 3 days later, I was migrated to the new system. So, the question is: What to do with the old system? It’s really not an adequate backup for my new system, because I transferred all my application licenses to the new Mac Mini. So, I checked online, and found 2 alternative operating systems that would work. One is CloudReady by Neverware (www.neverware.com), the other is Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com ) , the latest version being 20.04 LTS. The LTS means Long Term Support, and that means the system will get 5 years of support before it is retired. This is a good thing, because you never know when a significant security vulnerability will arise that needs a system patch.

CloudReady is an interesting alternative. It primarily addresses the needs of schools and non-profits that can’t justify the latest and greatest hardware. CloudReady is based on the Chromium browser, the same one that is used in Google Chromebooks. In fact, CloudReady basically converts your old hardware to a Google Chromebook. You log in using your Google ID. You can use Google drive, and Chrome extensions. Basically, any older system that ran Windows or Mac can be converted to use CloudReady. To see if your system qualifies, there is an extensive list of supported hardware on the Neverware site.

For a single user there is no charge, but for organizations they charge a fee to support the CloudReady system in your organization. They don’t compete with Google for New education or business sales, because CloudReady doesn’t run on current Chromebooks.

After loading the current version of the CloudReady system on a flash drive using the instructions on the Neverware site, I was able to do an alternate boot of my Mac using the option key on my keyboard during startup. It loaded very quickly, and ran reasonably fast, even though it was running from a flash drive and not the internal SSD of the system. The system basically boots up to a CloudReady splash screen that prompts you for your google account and password. It then asks for a WIFI connection and password, and then you’re basically ready to roll.

Clicking on the widget in the lower right of the task bar shows some differences from a Chromebook. It has a notification that it is CloudReady, with a disk space warning because it’s running from a flash drive. There is an Install OS button to install CloudReady on your main drive. Note that CloudReady wants the whole disk and will format and take it all. I was thinking it is possible to resize the drive after installing CloudReady so that the computer could dual boot with CloudReady and Ubuntu. I didn’t try it, but it would probably work.

The Good: You get a really fast “Chromebook” that is supported with software and security releases. For a Mac, it supports the mini-display port for a second monitor, an important feature for older Mac laptops that can use it. The Firewire-800 port on the Mac also works. If you are familiar with the Google environment, a big plus for you. USB works fine, as well as Bluetooth. There are a bunch of things that work well with the standard apple keyboard.

The Bad: The DVD drive on the Mac doesn’t work. It “ate” a CD that I put in the slot, and there is absolutely no way to get it out. I had to boot a cloned copy of MacOS to eject it. There is now a piece of tape over the opening. I did try a USB connected DVD drive, and that worked for reading, but obviously not for writing, since there is no software to do that. I use screen shots a lot, and the directions on the CloudReady site didn’t work for my Mac. There is, however, a Chrome extension that fills the bill for that need.

I’m really satisfied with the system so far. It’s insanely fast. I use Google drive a lot, and it’s works great. No need for local file storage if you keep everything in the cloud!

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River Science Partners with River Watch to Protect Colorado’s River Health

River Science Partners with River Watch to Protect Colorado’s River Health.

Collaboration Pairs Award Winning Non-profit Team with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Citizen Science Program

 

CANON CITY, Colo., May 4th, 2020 – River Science, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to using education, technology, and information to improve river management, today announced their partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to run the statewide River Watch program.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s River Watch program is in its 30th year and is one of the country’s largest and most successful statewide volunteer water quality monitoring programs. The program’s purpose is twofold. First, the program collects long-term water quality data across the state which is used for key policy decisions to protect and preserve our state’s water quality for the benefit of wildlife and recreation. Second, River Watch provides hands on experiential opportunities through strong partnerships with over 100 citizen volunteer groups across the State of Colorado, many of which are middle and high schools.

River Science is a non-profit (501c3) developed and launched from Fremont Economic Development Corporations (FEDC) co-working innovation lab, TechSTART.  River Science runs its statewide program using education and technology to improve river restoration impacts in Colorado. River Science is headquartered in Canon City, Colorado and partners with local high schools to implement river health and restoration into school curriculum as the topics offer an abundance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational opportunities. River Science views the River Watch partnership as a huge step toward building larger statewide partnerships for such educational opportunities.

“Water is our State’s greatest natural resource, but our rivers are complex and vulnerable to human impacts,” said Luke Javernick, Ph.D., Executive Director, River Science. “To effectively monitor and manage these systems we need a cost-effective and scalable solution for data collection, and River Watch has been a great help for Colorado by incorporating reliable citizen science data collection. Not only does this provide cost-effective data, but these volunteers become stewards, which is really exciting to see in our high school students as they gain a passion for our water and rivers.”

In addition to this new partnership, the River Watch Program now includes newly hired CPW Water Quality Specialist, Megan McConville Ph.D.  Dr. McConville brings a wealth of knowledge with her analytical, environmental chemistry and volunteer management background. She will perform all chemical analyses for the River Watch program in CPW’s Fort Collins laboratory. Dr. McConville will maintain the consistent high quality of data produced by River Watch volunteers and the CPW laboratory.  This illustrates CPW’s commitment to protecting and restoring aquatic habitats for conservation and rewarding recreational experiences.

The River Watch Program was created and led by CPW Water Specialist Barb Horn for almost 30 years.

“Barb has been dedicated to monitoring and improving water quality and now she is handing over the torch to Megan to continue this very important and successful program,” said Jackie Corday, CPW’s Water Resources Section Manager.

New to the role, Dr. McConville states, “I am delighted to join CPW and play an important role in the River Watch Program.  I believe strongly in the mission of River Watch: to provide volunteers with hands on opportunities to experience and learn the value and function of rivers while collecting high quality data that is used for decision making.  Building my career at the nexus of science, policy and citizen science is a wonderful opportunity and I look forward to a rewarding partnership with River Science.”

Canon City High School science instructor Carrie Trimble has participated in the River Watch program for many years. “Colorado River Watch has been a vital part of Canon City Schools service projects for over 30 years and a proud member from almost the start of the program. Our students get a chance at doing meaningful science and understanding early in life the importance of water quality testing and monitoring. We are so excited that our local River Science organization is the new River Watch vendor. Our students are looking forward to more opportunities to participate in Colorado water quality science with internships and project-based learning opportunities.”

Through the River Watch program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has informed numerous important policy decisions affecting water quality, aquatic life, and recreation.  In addition, the program has empowered volunteers across the state to protect their rivers with data.  These new transitions for River Watch demonstrate CPWs commitment to robust water quality and a bright future.

About River Science

River Science is a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping our clients access and use education, technology, and information to improve river management and achieve the greatest conservation impacts. Learn more about our team and programs at https://www.river.science/

About River Watch

River Watch is a statewide volunteer water quality-monitoring program operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Our mission is to work with voluntary stewards to monitor water quality and other indicators of watershed health and utilize this high quality data to educate citizens and inform decision makers about the condition of Colorado’s waters. This program is unique in its statewide focus and frequency of data collection.

For press inquiries, please contact Jason Veatch, [email protected]

 

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COVID-19: UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL

Several weeks ago, as our nation braced for the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt a sense of community and camaraderie that I haven’t experienced since the weeks following 9/11. Everyone seemed to genuinely care about the wellbeing of their families, friends, and neighbors, except for toilet paper, for whatever reason. Service organizations mobilized and volunteers stepped up to serve the needs of the most vulnerable in communities across the country – it was a beautiful thing.

But here we are, just a few short weeks later, divided once again. Tensions are high, animosity is palpable and the personal attacks have resumed. We have fallen back into a “us versus them” mentality where zip codes and neighborhoods lose relevance and political affiliation becomes a litmus test for patriotism.

A line in the sand has been drawn. On one side, there are those who continue to embrace stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus and overburdening our healthcare system. On the other side, some are becoming restless as one executive order after the other threatens the solvency of businesses, the livelihood of employees, and the viability of local economies.

Unfortunately, the dynamics of each faction have been oversimplified to fit a narrative that suggests one side is enlightened and un-American while the other is misinformed and patriotic. But it’s not that simple. Life experiences help shape our views of the world so while some are eager to believe one side is more justified or righteous than the other, it’s their perception of the situation that persuaded them either way. It’s not a matter of fact or fiction.

To put things in perspective, the person who supports stay-at-home orders and is fiercely advocating for face coverings and social distancing could be a caregiver at a senior living facility or the parent of a child with a compromised immune system. Then there’s the small business owner who opposes stay-at-home orders and is protesting policies that are hampering their ability to engage in commerce because they just laid off dozens of employees and shuttered their business of 20 years. Obviously there are valid points on both sides of the debate. We just have to be willing to listen.

Make no mistake, the complexity of the social and economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with a deepening recession will be tremendous. Solutions will require a thoughtful approach that embraces compassion, collaboration, and an understanding that America’s darkest days are followed by its finest hours.


 

Bio

Kevin Mahmalji is the founder and principal of Two Rivers Consulting based in Florence, Colorado. With more than 10 years of experience in public policy advocacy, strategic communications, and nonprofit management, Kevin offers a wide range of professional services including public relations, government affairs, fundraising, community engagement, and more.

Before founding Two Rivers Consulting, Kevin worked as a political operative for numerous statewide campaigns in Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, and Colorado. These efforts included a presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial and municipal campaign, as well as issue advocacy. Kevin’s background in electoral politics demonstrates his proven ability to work under extreme pressure, meet critical deadlines, cultivate support from diverse stakeholders, and build diverse coalitions.

In his free time, Kevin likes to give back to his community through volunteerism. He’s currently President-elect of Florence Rotary Club, Vice President of the John C. Fremont Library District Board of Trustees, Board Member of Action 22, and an active member of the Florence Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Kevin was invited to join the Steering Committee for Colorado’s Rural Philanthropy Days where he serves as the Co-chair of the Marketing Committee. He is frequently seen at or around his co-working office at Emergent Campus in historic Florence, Colorado.

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Emergent Campus Showcases Community Partners

Emergent Campus Showcases Community Partners
Small Businesses Mobilize Support for My Fremont County Campaign

Florence, Colorado, April 30, 2020: As the state of Colorado transitions away from a stay-at-home order that was put in place by Governor Jared Polis more than three weeks ago, small businesses across Fremont County are updating company policies to comply with the Governor’s new “safer-at-home” order, which many believe is the first step toward reopening the economy.

To commemorate this shift in economic policy and a brighter future for small businesses, Canon City Economic Development launched the My Fremont County campaign. Through this effort, which quickly gained support online, small business owners are highlighting the reasons why they are proud to live and do business in Fremont County.

For Emergent Campus, which is home to more than a dozen companies, startups and entrepreneurs, the My Fremont County campaign is an opportunity to highlight the importance of startup incubation, coworking space and workforce development to rural economies.

“We’re proud to be a part of Fremont County’s vibrant business community. Emergent Campus is filled with successful innovation sector workers, remote tech workers, and other entrepreneurs,” said Brad Rowland, partner and general manager of Emergent Campus. “We’ve seen the power of collaborative spaces as independent professionals with complementary skills have connected to help grow each other’s businesses, so we’re excited for the opportunity to recognize our community partners.”

In addition to working with local media to promote community partners, Emergent Campus is utilizing social media to roll out a series of images to support the My Fremont County campaign.

To many businesses that were not deemed essential and shuttered during this time, the new executive order offers hope that a return to normalcy is near – with a phased approach. Prior to reopening, businesses must submit a business reopening protocol plan to the Fremont County Department of Public Health & Environment Code Enforcement team for review. Once approved, businesses will be required to display a sign to demonstrate compliance with the new executive order.

For the near term, Emergent Campus will remain closed to public meetings, meetups, and any non-tenant activities. However, community partners are encouraged to join Virtual Tech Night Out, a weekly online meeting that combines mentoring and fellowship.

Emergent Campus has a long-term vision to become a “work, live, play” style business campus, with space for incubation, training, offices, events, and living quarters. To learn more about Emergent Campus, visit us at www.emergent.com.

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Brad Rowland Joins Login VSI’s Board of Advisors

Business Wire

BOSTON & AMSTERDAM — April 22, 2020

Login VSI, the company dedicated to maximizing the end-user experience, today announced the appointment of Brad Rowland to the company’s board of advisors. An industry veteran with extensive experience in the end-user computing space, Brad has held leadership positions with Southwestern Bell, Wyse, AppStream, Symantec, FSLogix, and most recently Microsoft. With the adoption of virtual desktop solutions continuing to accelerate, Brad brings significant industry knowledge and expertise to Login VSI.

As Login VSI continues to grow and expand into new markets, such as Windows Virtual Desktop, Brad’s expertise in these areas will be very helpful. Brad has an extensive background in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure market. He managed one of the earliest Citrix enterprise hosting applications for tens of thousands of users. Additionally, Brad was chief marketing officer at FSLogix, acquired by Microsoft in 2018, where he helped launch Windows Virtual Desktop.

In this role Brad will help advise the company on its growth plan, leveraging the company’s success in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Windows Virtual Desktop markets by identifying key trends, partnerships and people that can add value to Login VSI. Login VSI’s flagship product, Login Enterprise ensures business continuity and scale with application compatibility testing, load testing, as well as performance and availability testing.

“We’re thrilled to have Brad advise us and further the growth of Login VSI,” said Eric-Jan van Leeuwen, CEO of Login VSI. “Brad’s industry relationships and expertise will be critical for Login VSI as we move into new markets, such as Windows Virtual Desktop.”

About Login VSI

Login VSI is the only solution in the market guaranteed to maximize the end-user experience for digital workspaces. We do this by using synthetic users to automatically test and validate the impact of change in physical, virtual and cloud-based workspaces – safeguarding application and desktop performance. Login VSI has over 400 customers in 50 countries. For more information, visit www.loginvsi.com.

View source version on businesswire.com:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200422005040/en/

Contact:

Nonna Druker

[email protected]

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Emergent Campus Announced in Fremont County, Colorado

Southern Colorado economic development initiatives move to the next stage, advancing rural reshoring and cyber-tech remote office potential

 

​​​Fremont Economic Development Corporation, a 501c6 non-profit focused on economic development in Fremont County, Colorado, today announced the launch of a new business campus concept, Emergent Campus, opening in the historic former Florence High School in Florence, Colorado.

The property was acquired by Unbridled Holdings of Denver, in partnership with local investors, to build on the economic development initiatives of Fremont Economic Development Corporation and a four-county innovation sector initiative, the Upper Arkansas Technology Sector Partnership.

In the future, Emergent Campus is envisioned as a “work, live, play” style business campus, with space for incubation, trainings, offices, events, and living quarters. For the near term, the campus will open with a pioneer group of local business tenants who share in the project goals.

Unbridled Solutions CEO Stan Bullis is partnering on Emergent Campus with two Fremont County entrepreneurs, Chris Koehn, founder of Second-61, and Brad Rowland, who worked with FEDC to build the TechSTART co-working community in Canon City. The partners say they share a common vision around the intersection of business, community, and individual development that goes far beyond rural office space.

“The Emergent Campus culture is built on a highly curated and seasoned group of advisors, consultants and executives committed to changing businesses through destiny, authenticity and radical generosity,” said Stan Bullis, CEO of Unbridled Solutions. “The goal of Emergent Campus is to create more purposefully driven environments for others to grow and help transform our communities in a positive way.”

The partners see Emergent Campus as the next step after several years of successful rural economic development and as part of a larger trend happening in Colorado and across the country. This trend is strongly echoed by many industry leaders like Greater Colorado Venture Fund Director Marc Nager, who is quoted as saying, “the next big thing is small towns,” and Beacon Founder Joe Toscano, who highlighted FEDC TechSTART’s success in his recent Forbes article, “The Next Wave of Innovation Will Come From America’s Forgotten Communities.”

“Rural America doesn’t need a handout,” Koehn said. “Rural America is the greatest untapped business and strategic asset waiting to be discovered by America’s business leaders. The men and women in rural areas are innovative, hardworking, and creative and have learned to live through decades of job loss as industry after industry centralized or moved offshore. Technology developments and educational programs are helping to mobilize this strategic workforce to provide a rural talent pipeline that’s a fraction of the price of larger markets. Combine that with lower-cost infrastructure, lower turnover, and higher quality of life, and you have all the elements to help our national economy become more prosperous in the coming decades.”

“Economic recovery, especially in rural communities, starts when obstacles are removed and the business climate is made conducive for purposeful growth,” said Rob Brown, Executive Director, Fremont Economic Development Corporation. “The team driving FEDC TechSTART has cleared the path for technology-focused businesses to benefit from opportunities previously lying dormant in rural communities like Fremont County, Colorado. The Emergent Campus represents the logical continuation of the FEDC TechSTART vision and validates the effort to make rural Colorado relevant in the technology business landscape.”

“We were honored to work with the City of Florence and Florence School Board, who share in the vision of maintaining downtown’s historic integrity while creating prosperity for Florence residents,” said Bullis. “Our hope is that the historic Florence High School building continues to be a positive force at the heart of the community as it has for so many generations before us.”

Resources

FEDC TechSTART – An Innovation Catalyst for Rural Colorado (home page)

Top Seven Reasons to be a Remote Tech Person in the Upper Arkansas (article)

Colorado Welcomes Its Second Official Technology Sector (article)

National Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense Education (Pueblo Community College)

Canon City High School Awarded 4th Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) Grant in Colorado! (article)

About Fremont Economic Development Corporation (FEDC)

Fremont Economic Development Corporation is a professional economic development organization focused directly on business attraction, retention and expansion in Fremont County, Colorado. With an established and growing network of business, academic and governmental partners, we directly assist companies with competitive location or expansion projects by connecting them with the right people, the appropriate resources and the most meaningful and relevant information. FEDC’s TechSTART program is an award-winning tech sector co-working community, creating an innovation catalyst for rural Colorado.

About Second-61

We are patriots, we are technologists, we are hard-working Dads, Moms, and citizens. We are passionate about serving our customers and our employees. At our core, we give all to deliver, protect, and defend that in which we believe and those who we serve.  We believe in God, Family, Country, and Getting the Job Done Right. Simply put, we do what we say and say what we do, we keep our word and we attain. We strive for a safer and stronger country and in God we trust. www.second-61.com

About Unbridled

Unbridled is an event management, event production and creative agency delivering intentionally crafted events through our customer-focused approach to creative design, attendee management, program logistics, production, and travel. We’re known by our values-driven culture, creativity and full-service flexibility. www.Unbridled.com

For press inquiries, please contact Jason Veatch, [email protected]

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PolicyPak Dreams Big with Support for Rural Economic Development

Jeremy and Laura Moskowitz recently traveled to Colorado Springs to present Fremont Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) with a generous donation to expand on their success with tech-based economic development initiatives in rural Fremont County.

“We can all relate in our families and communities to the changes brought about by positively impacting the future of even one person,” said Moskowitz, Founder, PolicyPak. “We applaud and support people doing work in rural and urban areas that elevates the potential for the next generation.”

The donation will be used to continue work on high school internships and apprenticeships with local tech businesses and expanding the business incubation and recruitment efforts of the Upper Arkansas Tech Sector Partnership, Colorado State’s second official technology sector. PolicyPak has a culture of giving, and also offers a Higher Education Entrepreneur Scholarship, detailed on their website.

Accepting on behalf of FEDC were Brad and Kristy Rowland. Brad has served as the Program Director for FEDC’s award-winning “TechSTART” initiative, headquartered on Main Street in Canon City, Colorado, and leads the Upper Arkansas Technology Sector Partnership as the private sector convener. Brad and Jeremy started working together through an active business alliance between PolicyPak and FSLogix (now part of Microsoft), where Brad ran global marketing from his rural co-working office in Southern Colorado.

About Jeremy and PolicyPak

Jeremy is Founder & CTO of PolicyPak, Microsoft MVP in Group Policy, Enterprise Mobility, and MDM. Jeremy Moskowitz founded PolicyPak Software after working with hundreds of customers with the same problem: they couldn’t manage their applications, browsers and operating systems using the technology they already utilized.

So, he designed a solution to work with administrators, and not replace what they already knew. He’s still busy providing ever-better and more tailored solutions to that basic problem through PolicyPak Software. Jeremy also founded GPanswers.com, a community portal for all things Group Policy. Jeremy’s best-selling Group Policy books are on the desks of happy administrators everywhere.

Jeremy holds a Computer Science degree from the University of Delaware, was one of the first MCSEs in the world, and was designated an MVP in Group Policy by Microsoft for over a decade.

About Fremont Economic Development Corporation

Fremont Economic Development Corporation is a professional economic development organization focused directly on business attraction, retention and expansion in Fremont County, Colorado. With an established and growing network of business, academic and governmental partners, we directly assist companies with competitive location or expansion projects by connecting them with the right people, the appropriate resources and the most meaningful and relevant information. FEDC’s TechSTART program is an award-winning tech sector co-working community, creating an innovation catalyst for rural Colorado.

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