April 21, 2015

The Internet of Finance: Unleashing the Potential of Blockchain Technology
Because most of today’s financial instruments exist electronically and because the current financial system is comprised of a set of digital records, many observers reason that blockchain technology could eventually supplant the current market infrastructure, where centralized ledgers are held and controlled by large institutions. However, for this to occur on a significant scale, various obstacles, including the blockchain’s requirement for enormous computational power and the associated high energy maintenance costs would need to be addressed. A number of analysts believe that these obstacles can, and will, be overcome and that blockchain technology could be as disruptive as the Internet thanks to its ability to transfer value as seamless and low-cost as the Internet made the transfer of information.

Microsoft’s Seven Tenets of Data Center Efficiency
As the field of robotics shifts away from static “dumb” robots that have resulted in inflexible manufacturing facilities toward more versatility, and design of data centers and especially data center hardware move toward more standardized commodity equipment where individual components can be easily replaced, “we’d expect to see robots much more inside the data center,” Slater said. ... While robots in data centers are a thing of the not-too-distant future, Microsoft already has some of the most efficient data centers in the world. Slater has started an initiative within the company to share the ways it achieves data center efficiency with the world and find areas that can apply to smaller enterprise data centers, whose challenges may be very different from homogeneous hyperscale facilities.

Bypassing The Password, Part 2: Trusted Identities
Security pundits have raised further concerns about the security of elliptic curves adopted as standards by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) -- such as the type relied upon by FIDO -- in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelation that the NSA inserted a backdoor into at least one such NIST encryption standard. (NIST, incidentally, is the agency spearheading NSTIC.) Cyber security innovation and experimentation should generally be applauded, but -- even if unwittingly and unwillingly so -- FIDO's biometrics may wind up serving as a lapdog for government interests.

How the Internet of Things Can Unlock the Door to a More Robust BMS
Although the flexibility offered by open BMS solutions is highly desirable, property owners have too much invested in existing systems to simply abandon them. When “rip and replace” is not an option, it’s possible to use IoT technologies to instrument buildings with utility meters, people counters, and other sensors. ... Also augmenting existing equipment, Daikin Applied retrofitted its installed HVAC units to seamlessly connect to the cloud. As a result, customers of this leading air conditioning equipment manufacturer can proactively manage the performance of their buildings and address HVAC issues before they happen, thus avoiding expensive repairs and unpleasant temperature excursions. Online diagnostics provide year-round, 24-hour protection through early detection of equipment deterioration and abnormalities.

Huawei calls for global consensus on the future network
“The current network cannot solve these challenges. We need an end-to-end transformation,” said Xu. “We need to adopt a more open strategy to extensively collaborate with enterprises and carriers, because we cannot do it all ourselves.” Huawei claimed it was already playing a constructive role in helping to move the industry forward, and set out a new ambition to transition away from hardware to a more services-led business model as it pursues its collaboration goals. “In the future, products and services will be the driver, not just products, to fulfil business development. We can help [enterprises and carriers] pursue their ambition to transform the network, IT architecture and customer experience,” said Eric Xu, rotating CEO.

Security Professionals Stymied by Outdated Visualization Tools
Today, about 85% of a security analyst’s job involves looking at lines of code and characters and the remaining 15% is looking at visual graphics or representations of the information such as dashboards, graphics and maps. Ideally, that ratio should be reversed, author of the book, said Raffael Marty, author of the book, Applied Security Visualization. In some quarters of the security industry, there’s a dawning realization that better-considered visual tools, based on solid data and analytics, could help make it easier for network defenders to do their jobs and open up cybersecurity jobs to more types of people.

Containers: Fundamental to the cloud's evolution
At the hosted private cloud and hyperscale public cloud level, when you are talking thousands or hundreds of thousands of virtual machines, many of which that have workloads that have been shifted away from on-premises, you start running into scalability issues. So what's the long-term solution to VM sprawl? That solution is Containerization. Containerization, like VM technology, also originated on big iron systems. Although it previously existed on FreeBSD as "Jailing", the first commercial implementation of containers was introduced as a feature within the Sun (now Oracle) Solaris 10 UNIX operating system as "Zones". This technology eventually found its way into x86 Linux and Windows as Parallels (now Odin) Virtuozzo.

ISACA introduces a portfolio of new cybersecurity certifications
The CSX training and certifications were developed over a two-year period by a working group of global chief information security officers (CISOs) and other cyber security experts and went through a rigorous peer review by more than 100 experts. The innovative course delivery and testing components are the result of a collaboration with the Art of Exploitation (AoE) cyber security team of TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS), a world leader in cyber security training and enterprise solutions. A key feature of CSX’s training and skills verification is an adaptive, performance-based cyber laboratory environment. A professional’s skills and abilities are measured in a virtual setting using real-world cyber security scenarios.

Plan X: DARPA's Revolutionary Cyber Security Platform
Although Plan X has been described as in its nascent stages, it is already showing tremendous promise for the future of information security, the future of cyber defense, and the future of the Internet by making cyber security more accessible. The following slides offer an overview of some of the neatest accessibility features of DARPA's Plan X as publicly outlined thus far. These features, in turn, have stimulated our curiosity at InformationWeek, and we want to know what you think. What features of Plan X do you see potentially helping your organization's network security efforts? Can you see yourself managing an offshoot to keep track of the security of your own home network? Does the potential for network immersion that Plan X offers excite you or frighten you? Let us know your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below.

Driving Agile Architecting with Cost and Risk
One of the criticisms of architecture from the agile community is based on the misconception that an architect’s purpose in life is to deliver “an architecture,” commonly interpreted as a piece of documentation—which, according to the Agile Manifesto, is valued less than working software. This is a poor representation of what real architects do every day: they look for architectural concerns to address, figure out the options they have for addressing those concerns, and then decide the best course of action given their current context. Looking at it this way, the architect’s main deliverable isn’t a document but a stream of decisions.  This way of looking at architecture work is perfectly compatible with the agile mindset, regardless of whether these decisions emerge from early implementation and refactoring, from careful upfront modeling, or from a combination of both.

Quote for the day:

“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team.” -- Patrick Lencioni