May 18, 2015

Software Licensing got you down? Get your SaaS in gear and go cloud
Why is software so complex to license correctly and why are there are so many SKUs and editions? Let's count the reasons -- localization issues and judicial decrees, different sets of customers having different sets of needs and being in different sectors (public vs. private) -- but the real problem stems down to compliance. I can't go into exact detail how much revenue is lost by large software vendors by incorrectly reported software usage -- whether intentional or unintentional -- but what I can say is that the reason why the legal teams for these enterprise software companies are so large is that quarterly/yearly compliance audits and settlements with large companies can often shift revenue reporting in a business segment from "meh" to "good" or "good" to "excellent" .

Barclays adds extra security through domain name switch
Barclays Group CISO Troels Oerting said the changed domain names simplify the user experience and make it clear to customers they are engaging with a genuine Barclays site. “This clarity, along with the advantages of controlling our own online environment, enables us to provide an even more secure service, which we know is of utmost importance to our customers, and ultimately serves to increase trust and confidence in Barclays’ online entities,” he said. With online banking becoming the channel of choice for more consumers, cyber fraud is on the rise and banks are under pressure to increase security. One IT security professional in the banking sector said initiatives like this will help, but he warned that educating customers to check the actual domain name they are visiting is essential.

How machine learning works
Computers are hyper-literal, ornery beasts: anyone who has tried programming one will tell you that the difficulty comes from dealing with the fact that a computer will do exactly and precisely what you tell it to, stupid mistakes and all. ... But the ever-increasing power of computers has allowed deep learning machines to simulate billions of neurons. At the same time, the huge quantity of information available on the internet has provided the algorithms with an unprecedented quantity of data to chew on. The results can be impressive. Facebook's Deep Face algorithm, for instance, is about as good as a human being when it comes to recognising specific faces, even if they are poorly lit, or seen from a strange angle. E-mail spam is much less of a problem than it used to be, because the vast quantities of it circulating online have allowed computers to realise what a spam e-mail looks like, and divert it before it ever reaches your inbox.

Design Thinking: a tested method for creating breakthrough innovation
Real innovations that make major traction in the market solve problems people didn’t know they had. Real innovations get out of the office and embody the matter. They walk in the shoes of the intended audience, even visit them at home or their office. They begin with empathy, then follow an iterative process, and then reap substantial rewards. This formal innovation process was named just a few years ago. While it remains contested, Design Thinking is a set of principles—from mindset and roles to process—that work for consumer products, software, services, even in the social sector. Design Thinking is a method for solving complex problems. Think of Design Thinking as installing a new operating system for life: it’s that revolutionary. Looking at the world with an inspired eye for redesigning every aspect that could be improved is the mindset. There are few experiences that could not be improved.

Advice for mobile users who choose simplicity over security
Each of the password managers above is simple to install from the Google Play Store. Once you've installed and set them up, you'll only need one password to rule them all. Some of these tools even offer random password generators. You want seriously strong passwords, so use that feature like your data depends on it. Yes, random passwords are nearly impossible to remember, but when you have a password manager at your disposal, it won't matter. And before I forget, the master password that allows you access to your password manager? If you set it as 123 or password or jackiscool... your data may as well just walk out on its own volition. What if you're not willing to use challenging passwords or a password manager? What then? For those, I have a few suggestions:

Cloud Security – Tips for a Better Cloud Architecture
There are powerful new tools around IPS/IDS and data loss prevention (DLP). Are you deploying them? Do you have policies in place for monitoring anomalous traffic hitting an application? Do you know if a user is accidentally (or maliciously) copying data from a share or network drive? How good are your internal data analytics? These are critical questions to ask to ensure that your environment is locked down and that data isn’t leaking. Big cloud providers go out of their way to ensure that multi-tenant architectures stay exactly that – multi-tenant. Your data must be isolated when needed and have very restricted access. Furthermore, that information must regularly be tested and truly segmented using next-generation networking and security policies. If not, the results can be similar to what Sony, Target, or even Anthem experienced.

Healthcare Leaders Express Tech Legislation Concerns
One of those areas is telehealth. Section 3021 of the bill, “Telehealth services under the Medicare program,” calls on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide Congress with a report on the populations of Medicare beneficiaries whose care may be improved most by the expansion of telehealth services, the types of high volume procedures codes or diagnoses which might be suitable for telehealth, as well as the barriers that might prevent expansion of such services. However, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) expressed its disappointment at the lack of substantive telehealth provisions in the current version of the 21st Century Cures bill. “It appears that the staff and members of the committee have once again been led by CMS and the Congressional Budget Office into asking for a study instead of taking real action,” said Jonathan Linkous

9 programming languages and the women who created them
Software development has a well-known reputation for being a male-dominated world. But, despite this, women have made many important and lasting contributions to programming throughout the decades. One area, in particular, where many women have left a mark is in the development of programming languages. Numerous pioneering women have designed and developed the languages programmers use to give computers instructions, starting in the days of mainframes and machine code, through assemblers and into higher level modern day languages. Use the arrows above to read the stories behind 9 programming languages that have had a significant impact over the years and the women who created them.

Cloud and mobility call for new network defense tactics
Enter network security. While networking gear itself is typically not the ultimate target of an attack, malicious code and other threats often travel through infrastructure devices to reach their mark. To that end, the network plays a crucial role as a multi-layer defense against threats: both as a source of data on malware and other threats, and as a mechanism to block attacks and prevent leaks. Within this landscape, what are some of the greatest threats to network security today and what can enterprises do to stave off attacks? ... Cybercriminals have also eagerly exploited other access points into the network -- paying particular attention to remote and mobile devices. As businesses continue to make it easier for employees to use their own mobile devices, IT must be able to protect the network against techniques hackers may use to infiltrate the network perimeter via an unmanaged device.

Q&A with Alex Blewitt on Swift Essentials
The advantage of Swift is that the binary is statically linked with its Swift dependencies, so once you've compiled and built the app, it will continue to run even if Swift itself evolves. It may mean that the source has to be updated if compiling with a newer version of the compiler, but the version that's installed on end users' phones shouldn't require any changes if Apple updates the OS. This can be used to migrate parts of an application to Swift whilst leaving the rest in Objective-C, but it's not going to be long before Objective-C and Swift trade places on the TIOBE charts. I think Swift will continue to be released with minor changes for a couple of years - I doubt we'll see Swift 2.0 at WWDC this year, for example. But when Apple announces the binary backwards compatibility which will allow Swift frameworks to be created, that's when it can be considered mature.

Quote for the day:

"Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do." -- Mary Kay Ash