May 28, 2015

NSA chief: Encryption isn't bad, it's the future
"Can we create some mechanism where within this legal framework there's a means to access information that directly relates to the security of our respective nations, even as at the same time we are mindful we have got to protect the rights of our individual citizens?" Encryption is a hot topic right now: following the revelations by NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden about the scale of internet surveillance by the intelligence agency, many more companies have started encrypting their customers' communications. However, the growth in such communications has in turn led to fears from intelligence agencies and law enforcement - particularly in the US and UK - that, by using uncrackable encrypted communications, criminals will be able to plot in secret.

20 Expert Tips on Integrating Mobile and Cloud Strategies
“Put an API layer between mobile and cloud,” advised Chris Purpura, VP of digital enterprise strategy, MuleSoft. “Most mobile applications need to access many backend services, which might include identity, CRM, location, storage, social graph, customer history, and payment status… With an API strategy and platform in place, you can easily swap or update services behind the scenes.” To fast track your mobile development efforts, Jeff Bolden, managing partner, Blue Lotus SIDC, suggests you utilize the mobile SDKs offered by public cloud providers to take advantage of the server PaaS you are using. Do it with some trepidation, warned Bernard Golden, VP of strategy, ActiveState,

What scares you most about ‘the cloud’?
Beyond eliciting the usual tick-box survey responses, one of the questions included in the study simply asked: “What is the scariest or most bizarre business use of cloud services you have come across?”, letting participants type whatever they wanted in response. Our aim was to bring to life some of the dangers associated with the inappropriate use of cloud, which are so easy to ignore when discussed in an abstract or theoretical manner. On the ‘bizarre’ front, apart from a couple of references to employees being caught uploading their porn-collection so they always had it at hand (ahem), we didn’t hear much of general interest. On the subject of ‘scariness’, however, we received a lot of responses that collectively illustrate some of the most common challenges.

CTOvision Interviews RADM Paul Becker, Director for Intelligence, On The Cyber Threat
Better defenses are imperative. But it is also important to put in place, better Information Sharing with those who can help: That is to say if you are in industry and being attacked and you know it, you need to be incentivized to ask for help. No one can beat an adversary like Russia or China alone. Tell the local law enforcement or the FBI that you're being attacked. And call in professionals from industry who know how to rapidly assess and react to breach. Studying the high-end threat should also lead you to think through how to protect your most important data. Prioritizing protection around your crown jewels will enable you to mount a better defense and perhaps contain damage while you are signaling for help.

Pictionary Agile Retrospectives
Practice team he works with looks for creative ways to breathe life back into stale retrospectives. They love to embody techniques that require engagement from the WHOLE team, and prevent a few strong personalities from taking over the session. Teams get bored when they have run the sailboat six sprints in a row. They get even more bored when the cadence reverts to “what went well” and “what did not go well”. It´s easy for teams to go through the motions when retrospectives get boring, and their suite of retrospective techniqueswill definitely prevent boredom from creeping into your team’s mindset.  This technique is what they call “Pictionary”, and requires your team to rely on their art skills to convey improvement opportunities throughout the sprint.

Managing a cloud computing project
Cloud computing can both simplify a project (since capabilities already exist and providers want to help) and make it more complex (since not all required features or qualities may be readily available). Each cloud project should be planned and organized to fit its user’s requirements and to ensure sufficient control is applied to the processes. ... The on-demand availability of cloud resources can present interesting opportunities for the PM to move some activities forward, to eliminate some activities, and to apply more agile design, development and continuous improvement processes. For example, testing on a production platform, access to common security functions, pay-as-you-go billing are areas of focus in cloud computing projects that are either glossed over or taken for granted on traditional projects.

Meeker: Internet Has Only Begun Changing Our Lives
Time spent with digital media per day has shown regular growth -- from 2.7 hours a day in 2008 to 5.6 hours today. Mobile computing is almost entirely responsible for that growth. Use of a desktop or a laptop computer as the means of access has remained basically steady at 2.4 hours a day. Access via mobile device has increased from .3 hours to 2.8 hours, now accounting for 51% of the total, Meeker said. The growing use of mobile opens the door for more mobile advertising. Mobile users account for 24% of the time spent on the Internet but just 8% of the $50 billion in advertising dollars spent trying to reach Internet consumers. That means there's a $25 billion opportunity remaining for new mobile advertising, Meeker said.

How your employees put your organization at risk
The danger is more than a potential work-place harassment lawsuit. Most of these sites often hide malicious content within links. That's how websites offering free adult content make their money, through installing malware on your computer. So it's less about the content employees are accessing, and more about the threats that lie within the links, according to Joseph Steinberg, cybersecurity expert and author. Steinberg points out that the threat is greater than websites offering free pornography. It also includes "anything that has pirated software and movies," he says. "A lot of them are actually in the business of putting malware onto computers. So it's not just the blocking for the sake of preventing the employee from doing something wrong, it's also preventing damage to the businesses computers and potentially data."

Five ways retailers can start using IoT today
The Internet of Things (IoT) is viewed as a major driver of the third Industrial Revolution. There is no question that the connectivity of "things" will only continue to affect how businesses run in the future. However, retail and CPG companies should avoid chasing after the 'killer IoT application' that promises to solve all their problems. Rather, they should focus on near-term IoT use cases that will demonstrate positive returns on investment in IoT, lay down the groundwork, and prepare the organization for that yet-to-be developed 'killer IoT application'. ... With the massive number and variability of SKUs in the retail supply chain, retailers face an ever-growing challenge of being able to properly manage and understand where the inventories are. In the near term, retailers should use IoT to focus on inventory. Here are areas where the IoT can be employed to improve retailers' operations

Dealing with Politics in Agile or Lean Teams
Politics seems to me seems to occur because of internal motivations and interpretations of individuals about what’s going on around them. Although Agile/Lean might make activities, intentions and outcomes more clear, it doesn’t control the motivations and interpretations of the individuals who are doing the activities, having the intentions and dealing with the outcomes – so that’s all still prone to delusion, aversion and misunderstanding if you don’t have good facilitation. For instance, one of the key complaints about stand-ups is that they run too long or are ineffective. A pattern you will notice in stand-ups is that although it appears that the team have transparency because people are displaying their current status openly, they can still (and do) generate politics inside, before and after that standup – just because its natural for human beings to try to influence outcome to their own agenda

Quote for the day:

"Leadership is a dynamic process that expresses our skill, our aspirations, and our essence as human beings." -- Catherine Walker