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The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one in four people experience mental illness at some point in their life. For Black people around the world those stats are even more staggering. Research indicates that Black/African Americans are 20% more likely to suffer from psychological distress compared to their white counterparts. Within the Black community, mental health conversations and discussing experiences with conditions like anxiety and depression is still taboo, especially for Black men. The media often depicts Black men as aggressive and violent with few representations of them being vulnerable. These perceptions of how Black men should behave likely play a role in why the mental health stigma persists within the Black community. Black men are expected to be stoic and strong 24/7, which can lead to increased feelings of anger, resentment and isolation. Public figures like Charlamagne Tha God, who wrote a book on his experiences with anxiety, are outspoken advocates for Black mental wellbeing and are starting to open up more conversations about Black mental health. Eric “Kleankut” Dixon is a celebrity barber and mental health advocate who uses his barbershop as an outlet for Black men within the community. Eric sat down to discuss why he started his barbershop, his experiences contracting a rare condition, and the transformative power of therapy.
Janice Gassam: Could you share with the Forbes readers a little bit about you, your background and what made you decide to open up your own barbershop?
Eric “Kleankut” Dixon: Well, I was born and raised in Maryland—P.G. County, Maryland, by way of [Washington] D.C. I grew up here and…I’ve always been an artist…and then eventually I became a barber. Unfortunately, I got into barbering because of an infection I got from an inexperienced barber. It affected my scalp really bad. It caused dissecting cellulitis, it’s a rare germ from uncleaned tools…it was a bad experience so I learned to cut my own hair…which led to me becoming really good at it…it became a passion over time. I love working for myself and I love the art form of cutting hair…the best part of it is to be able to have the ability to make people feel good…and look good.
Gassam: How do you feel your barbershop creates a safe space for Black men to feel comfortable communicating?
Dixon: For someone to come to a barber and allow the barber to cut them, there’s a trust factor that you’re already building with your barber. Then, once you build that trust…it’s a place where men go where they can actually be free and take out their stress…whether it’s from a job, home, family…being able to go somewhere and really unwind…learn from others and even be the one to give knowledge to other people.
Gassam: The life of an entrepreneur is very stressful, so what are some forms of self-care that you utilize and what are some self-care practices that Black men should be taking advantage of more?
Dixon: Well…I go to a therapy myself. Just…to keep me focused. It’s always good to unpack. Some things you can’t just talk about with anybody. A therapist is able to dig deep into discovering who you are…so you can be better mentally…I definitely go to my therapist. Honestly, my job can be hard on the body a little bit. I go and I get great massages. I love it! It takes all the tension out of you…also for me, I’m an artist. I like to draw; I like to paint…I love music. I have different playlists for different moods. It relaxes me. I’m starting to read a lot more books as well.
Gassam: How do you use your platform to serve within your community?
Dixon: Now that I’ve realized that I can be a part of helping someone, what I’m doing currently is I am in class to become a Certified Advocate. So, I can be able to assist properly…I know a few therapists that are in the area…having conversations with therapists to have a better understanding of how I can help…being able to connect with other therapists so I can actually have an idea of where I can send Black men who are seeking help…I want to get the information on cost and how to seek the right therapist. Me being that person where, me being transparent about myself and being able to guide someone in the right direction.
Gassam: What are some resources you would recommend for someone reading this interview who wants to speak with a therapist but who has never had one before?
Dixon: I’m having a conversation and trying to figure out how can we help and make therapy more accessible and more affordable as well…there’s Therapy for Black Men…there’s [also] therapy via the web where you can talk to a Black therapist in other states. I know a few folks who do therapy sessions over the computer…what I want to do is get a group of therapists who are interested in creating something that is more accessible and affordable for people…when it comes to searching for a therapist, sometimes certain therapists…you’re not going to feel comfortable with…it’s important to feel like you can be comfortable…that’s the key. Being able to vibe well with that therapist. If you don’t, then it’s okay…that’s one of the main things you have to have with your therapist—being able to get a good vibe and be comfortable.
To learn more about Erik “Kleankut” Dixon, click here.
This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
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From what used to be a purely technical concept created to make developers’ lives easier, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have evolved into one of the foundations of modern digital business. Today, APIs can be found everywhere – at homes and in mobile devices, in corporate networks and in the cloud, even in industrial environments, to say nothing about the Internet of Things.
When dealing with APIs, security should not be an afterthought
In a world where digital information is one of the “crown jewels” of many modern businesses (and even the primary source of revenue for some), APIs are now powering the logistics of delivering digital products to partners and customers. Almost every software product or cloud service now comes with a set of APIs for management, integration, monitoring or a multitude of other purposes.
As it often happens in such scenarios, security quickly becomes an afterthought at best or, even worse, it is seen as a nuisance and an obstacle on the road to success. The success of an API is measured by its adoption and security mechanisms are seen as friction that limits this adoption. There are also several common misconceptions around the very notion of API security, notably the idea that existing security products like web application firewalls are perfectly capable of addressing API-related risks.
An integrated API security strategy is indispensable
Creating a well-planned strategy and reliable infrastructure to expose their business functionality securely to be consumed by partners, customers, and developers is a significant challenge that has to be addressed not just at the gateway level, but along the whole information chain from backend systems to endpoint applications. It is therefore obvious that point solutions addressing specific links in this chain are not viable in the long term.
Only by combining proactive application security measures for developers with continuous activity monitoring and deep API-specific threat analysis for operations teams and smart, risk-based and actionable automation for security analysts one can ensure consistent management, governance and security of corporate APIs and thus the continuity of business processes depending on them.
Security challenges often remain underestimated
We have long recognized API Economy as one of the most important current IT trends. Rapidly growing demand for exposing and consuming APIs, which enables organizations to create new business models and connect with partners and customers, has tipped the industry towards adopting lightweight RESTful APIs, which are commonly used today.
Unfortunately, many organizations tend to underestimate potential security challenges of opening up their APIs without a security strategy and infrastructure in place. Such popular emerging technologies as the Internet of Things or Software Defined Computing Infrastructure (SDCI), which rely significantly on API ecosystems, are also bringing new security challenges with them. New distributed application architectures like those based on microservices, are introducing their own share of technical and business problems as well.
KuppingerCole’s analysis is primarily looking at integrated API management platforms, but with a strong focus on security features either embedded directly into these solutions or provided by specialized third party tools closely integrated with them.
The API market has changed dramatically within just a few years
When we started following the API security market over 5 years ago, the industry was still in a rather early emerging stage, with most large vendors focusing primarily on operational capabilities, with very rudimentary threat protection functions built into API management platforms and dedicated API security solutions almost non-existent. In just a few years, the market has changed dramatically.
On one hand, the core API management capabilities are quickly becoming almost a commodity, with, for example, every cloud service provider offering at least some basic API gateway functionality built into their cloud platforms utilizing their native identity management, monitoring, and analytics capabilities. Enterprise-focused API management vendors are therefore looking into expanding the coverage of their solutions to address new business, security or compliance challenges. Some, more future-minded vendors are even no longer considering API management a separate discipline within IT and offer their existing tools as a part of a larger enterprise integration platforms.
On the other hand, the growing awareness of the general public about API security challenges has dramatically increased the demand for specialized tools for securing existing APIs. This has led to the emergence of numerous security-focused startups, offering their innovative solutions, usually within a single area of the API security discipline.
Despite consolidation, there is no “one stop shop” for API security yet
Unfortunately, the field of API security is very broad and complicated, and very few (if any) vendors are currently capable of delivering a comprehensive security solution that could cover all required functional areas. Although the market is already showing signs of undergoing consolidation, with larger vendors acquiring these startups and incorporating their technologies into existing products, expecting to find a “one stop shop” for API security is still a bit premature.
Although the current state of API management and security market is radically different from the situation just a few years ago, and the overall developments are extremely positive, indicating growing demand for more universal and convenient tools and increasing quality of available solutions, it is yet to reach anything resembling the stage of maturity. Thus, it’s even more important for companies developing their API strategies to be aware of the current developments and to look for solutions that implement the required capabilities and integrate well with other existing tools and processes.
Hybrid deployment model is the only flexible and future-proof security option
Since most API management solutions are expected to provide management and protection for APIs regardless of where they are deployed – on-premises, in any cloud or within containerized or serverless environments – the very notion of the delivery model becomes complicated.
Most API management platforms are designed to be loosely coupled, flexible, scalable and environment-agnostic, with a goal to provide consistent functional coverage for all types of APIs and other services. While the gateway-based deployment model remains the most widespread, with API gateways deployed either closer to existing backends or to API consumers, modern application architectures may require alternative deployment scenarios like service meshes for microservices.
Dedicated API security solutions that rely on real-time monitoring and analytics may be deployed either in-line, intercepting API traffic or rely on out-of-band communications with API management platforms. However, management consoles, developer portals, analytics platforms and many other components are usually deployed in the cloud to enable a single pane of glass view across heterogeneous deployments. A growing number of additional capabilities are now being offered as Software-as-a-Service with consumption-based licensing.
In short, for a comprehensive API management and security architecture a hybrid deployment model is the only flexible and future-proof option. Still, for highly sensitive or regulated environments customers may opt for a fully on-premises deployment.
In our upcoming Leadership Compass on API Management and Security, we evaluate products according to multiple key functional areas of API management and security solutions. These include API Lifecycle Management core capabilities, flexibility of Deployment and Integration, developer engagement with Developer Portal and Tools, strength and flexibility of Identity and Access Control, API Vulnerability Management for proactive hardening of APIs, Real-time Security Intelligence for detecting ongoing attacks, Integrity and Threat Protection means for securing the data processed by APIs, and, last but not least, each solution’s Scalability and Performance.
Alexei Balaganski is lead analyst at KuppingerCole. Read more KuppingerCole blogs here.
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Shopping online for your holiday gifts is incredibly convenient. Why stand in long lines at the mall, when you can find everything you need for your friends and family in your pajamas? The National Retail Federation reports that 59 percent of consumers shop online for the holidays. But you can also open yourself up to identity theft, scams and hacking.
Here are a few ways to keep your information safe.
1. Only shop on websites that have a reputation for being trustworthy with your financial information, like Amazon or Target.com. Moreover, it helps to track your credit score to ensure that you haven’t been hacked. Forty-five percent (45%) of people use a credit monitoring tool so that they have access to tools and resources they need to improve or protect their credit, according to the 2017 Capital One Credit Protection Survey.
2. Check the url of the website. Never put your credit card information online unless there is a padlock icon, and the url starts with “https”. This is called a secure sockets layer or SSL. “Use different passwords for different websites whenever possible, specifically ensuring your banking password is different for other merchants,” says Sarah Strauss, head of fraud and managing vice president, U.S. Card at Capital One
3. Track your credit report on a regular basis so you’ll know when something goes wrong. Thirty-six percent (36%) of people could be doing more to protect their credit, according to the same survey. “You can regularly monitor your credit with a free tool like CreditWise,” says Strauss. “Also, sign up for purchase notifications from your credit card company or bank so you know when your card is used.”
4. Avoid simple passwords. Have at least eight characters that include both upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Never use your date of birth, name, or any other personal information that a hacker can guess. “If your information is compromised, a fraudster can use that information to open new accounts, access existing accounts, and/or use stolen credit card numbers to make fraudulent purchases,” says Strauss. “One of the biggest risks to your credit score is if a fraudster opens an account in your name, and then defaults on the loan.”
In the worst case scenario, you still have the power to save your credit score. If you see that someone has stolen your identity, you can call one of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax or TransUnion — and do a credit freeze. This means that you cannot open any new cards under your own name. But the thief can’t, either.
“While your liability for credit card fraud is limited, the process to clean up the fraudulent information on your credit bureau can be time consuming,” says Strauss. “In a world where our information is increasingly digital, the best strategy for consumers is to be vigilant and regularly monitor your credit report and bank accounts to catch fraud quickly.”
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To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ A 60-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly assaulting two schoolboys in a chip shop. The incident happened on Friday, May 5, at Marco’s Fish and Chips on Caldon Road in …
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CNN – Mar 2 – The Canadian duo, Mackenzie and Evan Keast, started a breakup site called Breakup Shop. Users can order a breakup text or breakup phone call for $10 and $29, respectively. Read More….
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MASHABLE – Nov 14 – The Breakup Shop is a new company that helps people breakup with their significant other for $10 – $40. Read More….
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