April 08, 2015

In SMBs, the CFO role in IT decisions grows
Despite CFOs’ growing IT decision making role, not many are partnering with their CIOs on those decisions, particularly in SMBs, the study found. Only 14% collaborated with IT on IT decision making in midsize companies, and a mere 11% work with their CIOs in small organizations (in large organizations, the number is slightly higher, at 16%). This data indicates that although these financial executives understand how crucial technology is to business success, quite a number of them see themselves as either directly responsible for IT or at least a major authority on IT decisions. These perceptions make sense, according to Gartner, because CFOs are generally tasked with controlling their organizations’ budgets and examining the highest-value items.

NIST incident response plan: Four steps to better incident handling
The NIST Incident Handling process introduces four phases: preparation; detection and analysis; containment, eradication and recovery; and post-incident activity. Each of these phases is iterative in nature. When a security incident occurs, rather than reactively jumping into its remediation and expending a considerable amount of time, cost and resources for identification, containment and recovery, the NIST incident response guide suggests that being prepared for such incidents is the best defense.

The way to greatly reduce cloud computing costs
What makes this architecture so impressive is that it blends mainframes, reduced instruction set computing (RISC) machines and x86 servers into a cohesive cloud. Most clouds, whether they are within an enterprise or run by managed service providers, are based on one architecture: x86, which is not ideal for running all workloads. Further, other companies have shown the benefits of adopting a mixed-platform environment, as IBM has done to reduce its cost of computing by $2.3 billion. Other enterprises and MSPs can likewise save really big money by adopting a multi-platform cloud approach; in fact I estimate that enterprises can reduce their cost of cloud computing by 30-40% by using the multi-platform approach with strict process overlay.

Diving into the Dark Web: Where does your stolen data go?
Bitglass found that within only a few days, the fake credentials had been downloaded in over five countries, three continents and was viewed over 200 times. By day 12, the file had received over 1,080 clicks and had spread to 22 countries on five continents. "By the end of the experiment the fake document of employee data had made its way to North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Countries frequently associated with cyber criminal activity, including Russia, China and Brazil, were the most common access points for the identity data. "Additionally, time, location, and IP address analysis uncovered a high rate of activity amongst two groups of similar viewers, indicating the possibility of two cyber crime syndicates, one operating within Nigeria and the other in Russia," the team's report states (.PDF).

The State Of Business Technology Resiliency 2014-2015
 Forrester Research, in a joint survey with Disaster Recovery Journal, has identified several current trends in business resiliency. In this report, Forrester presents an analysis of these trends and how they may affect your BC/DR planning. The report also offers recommendations for taking your business resiliency to the next level, including using new analytic capabilities to help you recognize patterns in preventable outages to prevent downtime; automating as much as possible to improve recovery points and recovery times, and determining real costs of downtime to use as leverage in presenting budgets.

Forrester: CIOs will architect and operate the Internet of Things
It’s a pattern we’ve seen before with PCs, websites, and smartphones, all started as “do-it-yourself” projects by the business but ultimately falling into the CIO’s realm of responsibility, Gillett writes. He predicts this will happen with the IoT as well and CIOs will ultimately be called to manage the growing complexity of connected devices for their company. ... Every company will face the challenges (as well as the opportunities) that come with owning and managing connected assets, Gillett wrote. CIOs who are part of companies that sell physical products will face even more challenges, including helping the business design, build and operate connected products, Gillett added.

CIO interview: Bruna Pellicci, global head of IT, Ashurst
One key focus remains information security. Pellicci recognises, like so many of her peers, that defence remains a moving target. CIOs could potentially spend every penny of their IT budgets on preventative systems and techniques. Pellicci says the modern focus on securityis in sharp contrast to the early days of her career. “When I started working in IT, you didn’t need to worry about people hacking your systems,” she says. ... “Technology changes so quickly, so the thought of a model that allows people to choose their own device is potentially great. But that simple strategy can be complicated by the choices people make – what if someone wants to use more than a single device, and should we give these employees access to their corporate information across a range of devices?” asks Pellicci.

Painless Refactoring of SQL Server Database Objects
It is quite common for perfectly-functioning SQL code to be knocked off its feet by a change to the underlying database schema, or to other objects that are used in the code. If we are "lucky," the code will suddenly start producing error messages; if not, it may just silently start producing different results. In either case, once the problem is discovered, the process of adjusting all of the application code can be long and painstaking. Fortunately, there are a few simple defensive techniques that take little time to implement, but yet may significantly reduce the possibility of such errors. ... This article will examine several examples of how changes to database objects can cause unexpected behavior in the code that accesses them, and discuss how to develop code that will not break, or behave unpredictably, as a result of such changes.

Why now is the time to start planning your exit strategy
So it makes sense that business leaders would avoid planning for the day they sell their company or step down from their role. Without a clear exit strategy, however, you could be putting your company, your employees, and your own future in jeopardy. Addressing every aspect of succession planning takes more time than you might realize. If you don’t start this process early enough, you could spend years running your business in a way that sabotages your own end goals, depletes your resources, or cripples your negotiating power. Companies that lack a well-designed succession plan can also be left weak and vulnerable during the transition period, making them easy targets for competitors.

A Startup’s Plans for a New Social Reality
Jeremy Bailenson, head of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says that while that video games and films are thought of as the main applications for virtual reality, simply communicating with others could turn out to be important. Communicating via avatars could become more effective than by talking via video chat or even face-to-face, he says, as software could help us do things like tailor our appearances and attentiveness to whomever we’re speaking with. To make social interactions really effective in digital spaces, though, sensors will need to track facial expressions and body movements well enough to render them realistically, he says.

Quote for the day:

"Keep true, never be ashamed of doing right, decide on what you think is right and stick to it." -- George Eliot