Technologies Blog

Generative AI - Three Levels of Expertise

Generative AI - Three Levels of Expertise


There are three levels of understanding of Generative AI,

Level 0 - Knows the term "Generative AI" and does not understand weather its yet another cosmetic term or its for real

Level 1 - Knows that business impact and possible business use cases - GPT (Generative Pretrained Model) is the biggest innovation we have in NLP domain in decades whereby machines can do some form of reasoning using LLM trained models which are trained over massive amount of data using expensive infrastructure(GPUs) and time factor involved. Plus this reasoning can be combined with RAG and FINETUNING Methods to bring in custom knowledge base as well so that to customize the technology to your knowledge domain.

Level 3 - Knows at the research level on how this Transformer part works in GPT to devise reasoning and what are hallucinations and what are the limitations of this technology and what areas are being explored and what are the constraints in current models.

By all means GenAI is game changer, any task you do can be boosted with GenAI,

  • CODING: boost your productivity for normal reasoning tasks: ask the GenAI to generate a for loop in python 10 levels deep where each level should use iteration depth as variable name and print the value at 7th depth and see it created for you ! save time and some part of the your thinking capacity as well. 
  • PRESENTATION / CONTENT WRITING:  ask GenAI to generate rephrase the document (better copy paste-r), ask it to generate the entire document. 
  • GRAPHICAL: again generate images using GenAI or modify existing ones (you can expect soon to alleviate common 

Where do you stand in your GenAI Journey?

Video Go through for using existing LLM with RAG method: Link

Design Architecture Blueprint for IOT and AI based Smart-Cities

Design Architecture Blueprint for IOT and AI based Smart-Cities


Smart City is all about interactive and futuristic city which leverages IOT and connectivity to enable scenarios that were not possible in the past, both new and existing cities can benefit from emerging use cases of smart cities. This blog post focuses rather on actually how at platform level smart city can be implemented and what technologies are needed and where exactly to place them to achieve the overall smart city.            

Platform Architecture


Core of the smart city is IOT, small smart computer devices with sensors collect and continuously send and receive data to/from the centralized hub point. This usually is high throughput data and requires low latency so that events can be processed as real-time as the technology allows. This is why centralized Azure Cosmos DB or AWS Dynamo DB is used as aggregation point, these are NOSQL databases optimized for insertion and reside on cloud scale from these principal cloud providers. There is also a concept of gateway for IOT, which sometimes is required to use single point to tunnel data towards aggregate layer, which is often necessary for certain types of end points. The platform solution used for IOT is IBM Node-RED because its small javascript footprint solution which can easily be hosted in IOT limited compute resources.  

At the aggregation layer, before data goes into integration layer, we often times need to work on data which is aggregated, like hourly sum or sum of whole day of values etc. AWS Lambdas or Azure Functions both can be leveraged to perform aggregation.

Integration layer basic goal is just to connect multiple systems. We cannot use Node-Red here, but we required a performant system here which can scale both horizontally and vertically. So here we use Apache Camel Karavan (open source GUI based integration platform: see footnotes for more info on it). Kubernetes is base platform to host Karavan solution for cloud scale elasticity. We have connectors for each technology to allow development of all types of flows between applications.

Besides Integration layer is AI layer which basically takes data from Integration layer. You might need to perform some traffic prediction per hour for example so data would be flowing from aggregation layer all the way to integration and then to ML component of AI layer to generate and tune the model for traffic per hour as example.

Lastly the Apps for smart cities which implement the use cases leverages information from integration layer as well as AI layer to perform their tasks.   


Further Read:

Apache Camel Karavan Technical Review: SRK-TechBlog | Review of Apache Camel Karavan as GUI Based Integration Platform (

Node-Red Platform Review

Node-Red Platform Review and why its not good as a middleware

 Though its good low code and integration platform but it is not good as integration or middleware platform. Also this video explains why one can't and should not use Javascript/Typescript as middleware coding langauge

Python vs C# - .Net (Core)

Python vs C# .Net (Core)

Often times we see new people struggling weather they learn python or .Net, the best answer is to learn both but when making a choice below are few considerations.

.Net is very useful for Enterprise software, its compiled and statically typed contrary to Python which is interpreted and dynamically typed.

Benefit with Python is less to worry about types, same list can contain string items mixed with decimal types as well as integers. 

But not the case with .Net where you have to decide these in advance. So with Python, its possible to rapid development but for enterprise grade speed you need .net

So you can quickly develop a prototype using python but when it comes to enterprise, use .Net.

Python is the only language that help you compute permutations and combinations with available library, so you get an edge in software competition with that, doing the same in .Net requires a nuget package, something not allowed in most of the portals used in software competition.

Python is your friend for quick easy analysis of data doing some trending and machine learning learning analysis quickly

Hopes this helps add in your decision when making a career learning path. Have a good day.

Workflows and when to use them

Firstly What are Workflows,

As per how Microsoft defines it:

Windows Workflow simplifies the authoring of long-running reactive programs by providing:

Activities that access external input.

The ability to create Bookmark objects that can be resumed by a host listener.

The ability to persist a workflow’s data and unload the workflow, and then reload and reactivate the workflow in response to the resumption of Bookmark objects in a particular workflow. Source

And when to use them,

It seems from above that workflows give you ability to pause and resume the execution. But! that won't be true, because you could also pause background threads and resume them, so sayings Workflows are doing some magic there is not true. Only reason you would want to use them is to give users the control to reorder execution or add more tasks by just drag and drop of activities so non technical end users can benefit from your complex blocks of code.

When not to use them

Most of the time workflow is just a fancy word for you. Its observed often workflows are implemented where activities are not really resume-able, and shuffling them really breaks things, and your order of execution is not to be changed by end users but it will be the same mostly and you can make changes to execution in code when you need, then be assured workflows are just adding to your complexity.

it is often thought that SLA based tracked execution, logging what's done, or concept of transactions(ACID) is what you get when you use workflows. That is as well not true, you can have them all with same amount of dev efforts otherwise as well.

Also see: When to Use workflow engines?

Ransomware - Why end up paying ransom when you can timely protect yourself

Rise Of Ransomware

The rise of bitcoin and digital currencies have certainly opened the door to new challenge, bad guys have a way to make you pay them. Your vulnerable systems and infrastructure can now allow others to blackmail you. Even worse, once they are able to attack you, you can't simply get rid them of them, even worse, the vulnerabilities they tap, are not something you can fix in days, so most often you are totally helpless. This is one benefit of cloud infrastructure that you don't have to worry about its security but still your laptops and desktops and data that resides on them is always your responsibility.

How To Protect

The best defense is only possible when you have some idea of how is the attack possible. When you click on the URL links, from the internet or on the emails that you receive, you hackers the chance to get into your world. Those links seems legit and might open up and look normal but under the hood something malicious is planned. They make you download something which when you execute, you machine is then totally under the control of someone else. So your laptops and desktops on which users and checking emails and doing web browsers are the main sources or origin points from which this malicious things starts its working.

Your first and foremost, wish and priority at then, would be to stop this from spreading out to all rest of machines in your network and even worse, the servers that contains all the important data of all the users. So how does the spread happens. Normally when you want to copy any file to remote PC, in case of windows machines (which are mostly the target of this ransomwares) you need SMB protocol that open share folders on other machines, you need network path enabled between them and you need credentials to access the machine. In 2017, WannaCry Ransomware tapped the vulnerability present in SMB version 1 itself, which caused it to open the share folders of other machines even without passwords, which lead to lot of damage and then followed by patch from Microsoft which can totally block SMB version 1 from the client machine as well as server essentially blocking capability of windows machines to talk to each other on this vulnerable version of the protocol.

So your first defense of course is have proper patching in place and ensure old version of SMB i-e SMB 1.0 is totally blocked properly in your network. But is that enough to stop the spread? definitely not at all. Remember we discussed, all you need to reach out to other machine, is SMB protocol, network access and credentials and that's how it need work. Now lets suppose you are logged into a windows machine as administrator account which is common account to administer more than one machine, then obviously your current logged in credentials are sufficient to let the thing spread. So obviously in order to protect you need to follow the principle of least privileges which says, you should use least privileges to get the job done. So let's suppose you need to administer just the file servers, then have an administrator account specific to file servers and don't use super accounts like domain admins. In fact all those common accounts with access to almost all infrastructure should be super safe and used only and only when necessary. Same applies to common administrator account passwords. Suppose you have all desktops with the administrator account password same and let's suppose you are logged into one of them with admin ID, and its also makes the spread super simple. So you need to ensure there is no commonality across the machines in terms of credentials. There are many solutions like Microsoft free Solution name "LAPS" which rotates the local admin password on schedule.

Your next important step need to be segmentation on network level. Remember we discussed, the need to spread requires, network path also enabled. So let's suppose desktop is able to connect to every other desktop in the network, than that's a problem. Normally there is no need for desktops to talk to each other. Mostly these servers are talking to servers which is the end point of these desktops. But good network administration means, you segment you network. Particularly the ports that are used for SMB communication that help transfer of files to other machines, (normally port 445) need to be blocked from network. That is one smart thing that you can do in advance. You can also extend the idea to implement the org wide policy to let not PCs copies file from each other rather they are able to use only a file server for that purpose. Same idea can be extended to servers. Not all servers need to have SMB communicated required to every other servers. So high level of segmentation is very important here. Atleast one dept. of PCs should be totally blocked from reaching to other dept PCs. For server also, do extensive segmentation especially for this type of communication.

I recall doing security assessment for one Organization, they were using common credentials for all database servers service account which had domain admin privileges also. That surely is call to disaster. Because then these accounts you can't even change them easily. Changing the password for such an account is not easy also, because you have to break so many things that are already tied to that password. So that Org had to be in fix even after disaster for long.

Implement a good backup strategy and ensure that backups are kept on different type of technology. For example if you have tasks scheduled that backs up data on file servers and let's support file server is compromised, what good would be that backup for you? the backup files would be another useless data for you. Dedicated attached storage to backup solution / servers which is not shared directly on same network is type of thing you should look for. Especially the communication between backup solution and rest of infrastructure should be planned in a way that backup and restore can continue to function.

So to put together use below to prevent,

  • Make sure Windows and all software are up to date at any time. Regularly patch your machines(servers and desktops) and Isolate obsolete and unpatched machines at network level.
  • Credentials you have to plan them well. Remove all common accounts from common usage. Segment the accounts. Consider implementing the "Local Administrator Password Solution" (LAPS), if your local administrator account has the same password on all client machines: 
  • Ensure weak SMB 1.0 protocol is properly blocked and ensure later SMB protocols v2/v3 are also properly blocked on the network wherever file sharing is not required between machines. 
  • Consider implementing MFA for all admin accounts (although MFA does not block the spread, but its good security measure to not let bad guys in).
  • Consider using Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics:  (already in list above)
  • Monitor your firewalls (at boundaries and internal subnets) to identify machines generating suspicious traffic, like network scans, enumeration requests, or even exploit code usage. (to be addressed by relevant team). Consider enabling windows firewalls.
  • Make sure relevant log retention is in place on your proxy/firewall.
  • Backup your security audit logs and increase their sizes so you can later do forensics. Consider a centralized security logging solution.
  • Train your users (spear-phishing, Social Engineering), (like share this blog post with them).
  • Use the antivirus which provides best ransomware protection. Some even offer free decryptors for common and new ransomware attacks.
  • Backup Strategy, need to be planned well in advance for such situation in mind

So the best defense is of course possible with prevention. Doing all above is not possible at nick of time when you are already under attack.

There are certain things you should do, once you already affected,

  • Disconnect infected machines.
  • Reset twice compromised account passwords.
  • Reset twice local admin passwords especially if passwords are used on several machines to avoid lateral movements. 
  • Reset twice the password of privileged accounts in the domain (including service accounts).
  • Kerbtgt account password reset can be done for mitigation and monitoring purpose (do not forget to reset it twice) but it has to be planned preferably with a Microsoft experts/Vendors like us.
  • Schedule a full AV scan on your machines.
  • Please confirm that your local admin passwords are different and can’t be used to do lateral movement (LAPS usage). (local admin password need to be changed manually and on case basis before bring server on network). (Please consult with us if you need deployment of such solution)
  • Consider re-installing client machines used to administer any type of servers. 
  • Conduct a complete investigation and Incident response on the whole eco system.
  • Run vulnerability assessment scans and audits on all Internet-facing systems. 
  • Make sure all Windows security updates are installed (not only service packs).
  • Make sure all software is up to date. 
  • Check Exchange rules that are configured on user accounts, especially for high ranking executives. (to block internal executables transfer from exchange)
  • Monitor your firewalls (at boundaries and internal subnets) to identify machines generating suspicious traffic. 
  • On your Proxy/firewall make sure relevant log retention is in place. 
  • Increase event logs size– see

I hope this helps other timely to prevent such from happening and guide those already in such situation. Definitely much less can be done once such has already happened but yes lot of things can be done beforehand to prevent bad thing from happening in first place. Feel free to connect with us timely so we can help fill up the gap if any.