FORRward: A Weekly Read For Tech And Marketing Execs
Amazon Launches Halo, Its First Wearable Health Device For The Average (Budget-Conscious) Consumer
This week, Amazon launched Halo, a screenless wearable device that can monitor activity, sleep, temperature, BMI, and emotion. At $99.99 (plus a small monthly service fee for advanced features), the Halo Band sits closer to Fitbit’s fitness trackers (ranging from $99.95–$169.95) than the Apple Watch ($400-plus). It focuses on what consumers want most: tracking fitness-related activity, monitoring vital signs/biometric information, and analyzing sleep patterns. But it excludes features that have been the focus of its competitors, such as medical monitoring capabilities (e.g. EKG or pulse oximeters). With the Halo subscription, users can tap into a suite of “labs” (developed by partners) and participate in challenges designed to improve well-being through meditation, improving sleep habits, or basic exercise routines. Already, Halo has caught the attention of John Hancock’s Vitality program, with more partners anticipated to launch soon. The low price and targeted utility make it attractive to insurers, which frequently subsidize devices and offer rewards programs for beneficiaries. Although Amazon did not integrate Alexa in the initial release, we expect that to launch in the near future. This would help Amazon execute on its healthcare investments — including patents that detect potential medical issues through voice and HIPAA-compliant Alexa skills — and potentially expand its retail dominance by giving consumers the power to order from any- and everywhere.
Tesla Insider Thwarts Ransomware Plot
The use of human assets to deliver malware isn’t new for military and intelligence operations: “Operation Olympic Games” allegedly used human assets to deliver Stuxnet to Iran nuclear facilities and sabotage centrifuges. This is, however, the first time that we’ve seen public confirmation of these techniques being used by threat actors to deploy ransomware in a commercial enterprise. A recently released indictment from the US Attorney for the District of Nevada outlines an alleged plot by a Russian ransomware gang to use a Tesla employee to install data-stealing software and ransomware on internal Tesla systems. Per the indictment, a Russian national approached a Tesla employee with an offer to pay the insider up to $1 million to install malicious software via a USB stick on Tesla computers. The plan included malware that’s designed to distract internal security teams with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that served to mask the exfiltration of sensitive data. In this case, the insider notified Tesla’s security team, which notified the FBI. Forrester covered this type of insider attack and how you can protect your firms’ sensitive data in this report. You can also learn how Forrester’s Zero Trust framework can prevent insider incidents in the session “Trust Is The Vulnerability: Stopping Insider Threats With Zero Trust” at the upcoming Forrester Security & Risk Global event.
Customer Obsession Is Your North Star: Respond To The Climate Crisis With Authenticity
Climate risks aren’t existential; they’re here in the physical form and require business adaptation. Our research shows that seven out of 10 global enterprise security decision makers consider climate change and the potential impact it could have on their organization to be concerning, with eight out of 10 reporting the same for environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). As you pursue the business and risk discipline of sustainability, account for consumer motivations in the context of a new era of “vast, fast, and relentless” consumer buying. Environmental protections are the most important aspect of CSR for many consumers, leading to increased risk of employee activism and boycotts from values-based consumers who make the connection between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate impacts. And that isn’t difficult, considering that only 20 companies in the world are responsible for a third of GHG emissions and that 100 are responsible for 70%. Cancel culture is at its peak, so empowered consumers won’t take greenwashing lightly. Consider how well you know your audience of employees and customers and the authenticity of your sustainability plan. If the foundational plan for becoming carbon-neutral is based on credits or offsets, you’ll still need to explain why your business runs on fossil fuel at all. And check your partnerships, too: Consumers will presume inauthenticity if you’ve dedicated billions of dollars to climate action but still make money from partnering with carbon majors. Talk is cheap: Values-driven consumers demand real commitment through manufacturing practices, supplier partnerships, corporate partnerships, and philanthropy.