June 17, 2014

Is business transformation a dirty word(s)?
Every IT management guru worth his or her salt is keen to talk about “business transformation” almost as if it is some de facto standard around which all firms should now structure their central commercial strategies. But then, perhaps they should. Perhaps business transformation is that important. Strange then that business transformation has never been capitalised to Business Transformation and afforded the (BT) acronym… but this is mere folly in the wider world of business transformation, so what is it? As of 2014 we can state generally that business transformation is the process by which firms of all shapes and sizes can go about making fundamental deep-rooted architectural-level changes in terms of how they conduct their business processes and the multiplicity of channels upon which they carry them out.

Like Water, Digitalization Fills the Data Lake
Digitalization in an organization or a market is like water: It flows everywhere, bypassing obstructions. Have you tried to stop a flood by placing an obstacle in its path? Water just takes a circuitous route or dislodges the obstacle altogether. And like water, the disruption of digitalization goes on, flowing downhill, defying barriers. Consider for example digital currency such as Bitcoin: It bypasses financial and political controls simply because nobody can get a grasp on it, and when major retailers finally accept this digital currency there won’t be any going back. Or consider file sharing (Dropbox), over which IT is now struggling to regain control because it simply got bypassed.

Big data wake-up call: Increased online privacy concerns require risk management
The TRUSTe survey was followed by a UK-based survey conducted by the Global Research Business Network (GRBN) that reported that 40% of respondents in the UK and 45% of respondents in the US were highly concerned about the safety of their personal data. ... This is a wake-up call that should be considered as part of every company's big data strategy under the category of risk management. In other words, how do you use big data about people and things productively and profitably without risking a loss of trust and business patronage from consumers who are beginning to question it? Here are four points to think about.

Check out what SDN can do! Google lets you load balance across regions
Google is adding two new storage and networking features to its Google Cloud Platform ahead of its user conference next week, both designed to make its cloud offerings faster and easier when compared to competing products from Amazon Web Services or Microsoft. Google is adding persistent flash storage, which my colleague Barb Darrow has already covered, and HTTP load balancing across regions. The load balancing is a fulfillment of the hope for automatic shifting of compute resources from data center to data center without disrupting the workload.

Target top security officer reporting to CIO seen as a mistake
Experts commended Target Friday for hiring a CISO, but questioned its decision to have the executive report to Chief Information Officer Bob DeRodes, hired in April, and not directly to interim CEO and President John Mulligan. They worried that security might not get a high enough priority, if the CISO is not equal to the CIO. "There is always a trade-off when it comes to implementing security, but as we have come to learn, security should no longer play second fiddle to other considerations," Al Pascual, analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research, said. "The CIO and CISO are really complimentary roles, and to be truly effective they need to act as partners within an organization."

Security training is lacking: Here are tips on how to do it better
Heimerl said the problem is that, too frequently, companies don’t strive to make the training relevant. “True security awareness is not just an introduction to some security concepts,” he said. “You have to teach employees new habits, then encourage them to support those habits, and reinforce the good habits. “And the security training has to work for that employee in that organization. What works for Pete at Big Blue Bank will probably not work for Mary at ACME Healthcare.” Another problem is the fatalistic view that training is not worth the time and expense, since all it takes is one person to click on a malicious link and the enterprise is compromised.

Intel's vision of our wearable future: From onesies to wetsuits
If an Intel video is to be believed, wearable tech is far more than pedometers and fancy wristware. In the video, T-shirts change their design to reflect a song playing on a personal music system; a jacket changes its design pattern to attract a butterfly, and when it lands on the jacket a dialog box pops up with information about the creature; a surfer gets updates on water temperature and conditions, with the information displaying on his wetsuit and beamed back to the meteorological service; and a connected smart patch displays biometric data like blood pressure and calories burned off in exercise, and lets users scan menus to get information about nutritional content of food on a restaurant menu.

Powerful Dyreza banking malware emerges
Dyreza uses a technique called "browser hooking" to view unencrypted web traffic, which involves compromising a computer, capturing unencrypted traffic and then stepping in when a user tries to make a secure SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection with a website. During an attack by Dyreza, a user thinks their authentication credentials are going to a legitimate bank, but the malware actually redirects the traffic to their own servers, wrote Ronnie Tokazowski, a senior researcher at PhishMe, another security company that has studied the attack. Users mistakenly think they have connected over SSL to their bank's server.

Pro tip: Two Excel conditional formats that simulate graphs
Thanks to conditional formats, graphs can be embedded at the cell level. Well, they're not true graphs, but the visual impact is the same. You're simply sharing visual clues that make it easier to interpret your raw data. In this article, we'll use Excel's conditional formats, data bars, and color scale to simulate graphs that you can display along with your raw data. You can work with a simple data range or download the .xlsx file. These formats are supported by the .xlsx format only.

How smartphone and tablet management is changing
One approach IT shops have taken around mobile app development is mobile backend as a service, where IT uses application programming interfaces and software developer's kits to tie mobile applications with cloud computing services. Mobile content management (MCM) is an active market in which IT buyers have many options. Organizations can use more consumer-based products such as Dropbox and Google Drive, and there are also more enterprise-grade platforms like those from Box, Acronis, Accelion, Soonr and WatchDox. In addition, vendors are offering MCM and secure file transfer through EMM systems such as Citrix's ShareFile and AirWatch's Secure Content Locker.

Quote for the day:

"Our self image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become." -- Maxwell Maltz