May 06, 2015

Milken panelists discuss cybersecurity concerns, best practices
There are many relatively inexpensive best practices that firms can deploy to improve their cybersecurity. The most significant is information sharing. This falls in line with the latest efforts from the White House and across various industries to help thwart attacks. Alex Stamos, chief information security officer for Yahoo!, said information sharing is critical because it is “shocking” how often hackers re-use the same methodologies. Suzanne Spaulding, Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, also weighed in, saying that one silver lining from what she calls the “Year of the Breach” is the increased interest from the private sector in collaborating on solutions.

Crowd Investing: An Emerging Financial Force
Already, crowd investing is redirecting streams of capital and stoking innovation. According to Crowdnetic, a provider of crowdfunding technology and data to financial-services firms, the vast majority of successful raises in the U.S. are under $500,000 — an appropriate level for small business experimentation that in the private equity world would be treated as trivial. Previously, these entrepreneurs typically had to fund their startups with savings, retirement plans, second mortgages, credit cards, and friends and family — a prospect that is tenuous enough to sometimes scuttle their efforts. The Crowdnetic survey found that the top three investment categories, based on the number of projects that have received backing from crowd investors, are hotbeds of new ideas: social media, e-commerce, and apps.

Banks and the New Amazon Bank
So a lot of the banking disruption will really be about how banks adopt Digital & simplify processes for customers.In fact,in the new digital world, banking & creativity may not be oxymorons!Adaptive Path, a design and user experience consultancy has been acquired by Capitol One. And just before that Daniel Makoski, founder of Google’s modular Project Ara phone project joined Capital One. New banks in India have a unique opportunity to embed “digital” in the fabric of how they do business. But banks are complex with structures that don’t allow for speed. In many cases, eBusiness teams own the mobile banking strategy, but few eBusiness teams have an exclusive mandate over their firm’s mobile banking initiatives. This division of responsibility creates silos and adds significant complexity to the coordination and optimization of Digital efforts.

In Praise Of Heuristics – or Saving TOGAF® From Its Friends
Enterprises are complex and, we would argue, even chaotic systems. Change the initial conditions and the behavior may be radically different (a totally different equation). A real scientific method for EA would then necessarily reflect that. It would deliver results, which could continue to adapt along with the enterprise. That requires more than just following a set of rules. There is no “equation”. There may be a number of “equations” to choose from. Some degree of experience, domain knowledge and empathy is required to select the most adaptable of those equations. If the world of software architecture hasn’t yet determined a formula for the perfect agile system, how can we imagine the even more complex EA domain could? Any such method would be a meta-method.

Finnish banking startup Holvi speeds up online identity verification
“Had we not launched a co-operation with GBG, a lot more complexity would have been added in the verification process,” said Luis Calleja Rodriguez, chief compliance officer at Holvi. “This includes individual contracts with local services in numerous local credit agencies or government related databases and its implementation and maintenance.” “Working with GBGroup allows our clients to open an account in under a minute, and they don’t need to provide data or paper-documents; taking out the stress of the traditional banking system.” Holvi (Finnish for a ‘vault) targets its online banking platform at freelancers, micro companies and SMEs. The platform integrates current accounts with business tools such as invoicing, budgeting and financial reporting.

Apple Has Plans for Your DNA
Nudging iPhone owners to submit DNA samples to researchers would thrust Apple’s devices into the center of a widening battle for genetic information. Universities, large technology companies like Google (see “Google Wants to Store Your Genome”), direct-to-consumer labs, and even the U.S. government (see “U.S. to Develop DNA Study of One Million People”) are all trying to amass mega-databases of gene information to uncover clues about the causes of disease (see “Internet of DNA”). In two initial studies planned, Apple isn’t going to directly collect or test DNA itself. That will be done by academic partners. The data would be maintained by scientists in a computing cloud, but certain findings could appear directly on consumers’ iPhones as well. Eventually, it’s even possible consumers might swipe to share “my genes” as easily as they do their location.

Relocation costs now a sticking point for job-hunting security managers
It’s not unusual for employers to ask recruiters to focus on the local candidate pool so they do not have to relocate someone, says Kathy Lavinder, executive director of Security & Investigative Placement Consultants, a retained recruiting firm that finds and places security management and financial investigative personnel. “That’s quite common in the larger metropolitan areas where the local candidate pool is likely to be sufficient,” Lavinder says. “That directive eliminates some strong non-local talent, but that appears to be a price some employers are willing to accept.” Some of Lavinder’s clients have been trying to contain relocations costs when possible. “Some have reduced the number of house-hunting trips to the new location for the potential employee and his or her spouse,” she says.

Digital Era Requires Agile Software Culture
Ultimately, however, all roads need back to software -- and enterprise software development done in-house. "Businesses need to know that modern IT requires a re-discovery of software development," said Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz. "We want to do development with you -- not for you. The goal is all the expertise gets taken back home -- into your business - to give you a modern agile software development culture." The prime example: Tesla, which is developing compelling software and digital experiences -- and not just hardware (cars), said Maritz. He pointed to Pivotal Cloud Foundry as an ideal platform upon which to build those new enterprise apps. Maritz also pointed to the Open Data Platform (ODP) standards group as a way to leverage Hadoop in a binary-compatible way across multiple distributions.

Microsoft bangs the cybersecurity drum with Advanced Threat Analytics
ATA uses a combination of log file analysis, deep packet inspection, and data from Active Directory to detect inappropriate access to corporate networks. Log files can reveal, for example, users logging on at unusual times, from unusual machines, or from unexpected locations. Deep Packet inspection (DPI) can show more obviously malicious behavior, such as attempts to use Pass-the-Hash or other credential-reuse attacks. Anomalous logins and resource accesses are detected with machine learning-based heuristics, with the DPI used to detect the signatures of attacks. This isn't Microsoft's first foray into this space. Last year, before the Aorata acquisition, the company announced similar machine learning-powered heuristics to detect suspicious activity in Azure Active Directory.

The IT X-Factor to Gain Business Agility
So what is the new IT X-factor that can give you the improved business agility you need to stay competitive even as you continue to reduce costs? Converged systems are rapidly gaining acceptance as the way to improve overall business agility, which increases the productivity of IT staff and the quality and speed of services delivered to clients. IDC forecasts the total integrated systems market will grow at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6% to $17.9 billion in 2018, up from a value of $7.3 billion in 2013. A converged system that is pre-built, workload-optimized and governed by software-defined management software, can now be efficiently delivered as infrastructure services. This sets a new standard for how IT can successfully manage, automate and deploy infrastructure within the data center.

Quote for the day:

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson