December 24, 2015

Privacy Protects Bothersome People

For many people, privacy is a fundamental right - they see no reason why a government should be meddling in my affairs without a more specific reason than a blanket search for possible terrorism. But even if you don't share a desire to preserve some privacy from government agents, you should still be concerned about citizens' privacy. This is because it isn't about me, or my friend. The value of privacy to us isn't primarily about our privacy but about those who play a more active role in the operation of a democratic system of government. Such activity often involves bothering people who have power, and those with power are likely to use their power to suppress the bothersome. But without all that bothering, democracy withers.

Information security -- don't let the apparent complexity intimidate you

Think of your security perimeter like you would the fence around your yard, the idea being to keep the bad guys out. Almost since the inception of modern information security, the firewall has been the fence of the security perimeter. The perimeter and the firewall have been a topic of much debate in the last couple of years, with many industry experts claiming that the perimeter no longer matters. With smartphones, VPN connections, etc, opening holes in what used to have a single point of entry, some feel it is a wasted effort. In my opinion, and after much experience in the trenches of business information security, you need a good firewall, period. You need a strong product, and it needs to be configured properly (and not just taken out of the box and plugged in). True, a firewall is not perfect, and not as good protection as it was at one time, but it remains your first line of defense.

How fake users are impacting business … and your wallet

Schorr of Bomgar says that stopping fake users from getting into a company's system isn't necessarily that difficult. It's just a matter of priorities.  "I don't think hackers are that good," he says. They're looking to jump over the lowest hurdle, and making them take one more step to creating an account can push them towards another company that who bother to set up the hurdle on the track.  "They bump up against something and they pull back," he says. "They keep going until they find something or someone or somewhere they can get in." That could be through your low-security barriers, or through a third-party vendor who's in your space and doesn't pay as much attention to security as you do. Securing your fences and theirs, he says, is crucial.

How The Robot Revolution is Going to Change How We See, Feel and Talk

The swallowable robot is only one scenario that researchers in Bristol in the west of England are working to make a reality, as part of research that seeks to use bots to enhance, rather than replace, people. ... "There are lots of areas where robots could help humans do things," said Pipe. "That's really one of the big new areas. So as opposed to replacing humans, helping humans will be a large area for growth." Pipe talks about "human-robot teams" working together. "We're not saying the robot suddenly becomes a simulacrum of a human being—it's still a robot doing the dumb things and being instructed by a human being—but it may be able to do more useful and skillful things than robots have been used to do so far."

Use AutoScaling to Dampen DDoS Effects

The easiest approach to take when trying to prevent a service interruption is to absorb the attack. There are other more complicated and costly approaches such as deploying advanced and/or application firewalls, and in some cases that’s the approach needed. However, there’s a relatively lower-cost and effective solution to absorb DDoS attacks: AutoScaling. Most of the time, a publicly-available site’s traffic will be directed by an ELB. The underlying compute instances that make up the ELB are managed by AWS directly, and are built to scale horizontally and vertically without intervention or advance planning. Meaning, as traffic to your site increases, so scales the ELB. ELBs also only direct TCP traffic. This means that attack types that use protocols other than TCP will not reach your underlying applications.

Hiring, Budget Concerns Top Of Mind For IT Leaders In 2016

The 2016 Annual IT Forecast from IT staffing firm TEKsystems released earlier this month shows a mixed bag of good news and bad news for IT leaders, including CIOs, vice presidents, directors, and hiring managers. The good news: They feel fairly confident that they can meet business needs, and they're looking to add talent to their organizations. The bad news: They're losing more control of tech spending, and they're worried about meeting the challenges of new projects. TEKsystems, which has released its forecast for the past four years, surveys IT leaders on major topics affecting their departments and their role as leaders. This year, the company polled more than 500 IT leaders in the US and Canada in multiple industries at companies ranging in size from less than $50 million to more than $10 billion in annual revenue.

DevOps – the need for speed

Automation is crucial for many DevOps practices and helps you move faster without sacrificing stability or security. You can eliminate manual and siloed processes and move to an automated and collaborative way of working as well as setting yourself up for future innovation and growth. If engineering teams can make vital changes to applications more quickly and cost-effectively, business will become more receptive to the market needs. For example, if a product team needs to roll out a new feature, the necessary infrastructure will be deployed on demand, and will always conform to the security and configuration specifications required.

The Top Three Online Security Menaces You Should Worry About in 2016

People will continue to be ill-prepared because the caution and vigilance—verging on paranoia—that are required to be safe online are not in most folks' nature. "We are conditioned to be social, to collaborate," says Geoff Webb, a VP at security firm Micro Focus, which specializes in preventing security breaches. "These are all good things . . . but they are absolutely, ruthlessly, and vigorously exploited by attackers." Governments and marketers can exploit too, he warns. We asked Olson, Webb, and Ondřej Vlček, COO of antivirus maker Avast, what new or growing dangers the public should watch out for in 2016. Three rose to the top: attacks on smartphones, ransomware that holds data or devices hostage, and leaks from new connected gadgets like TVs and home automation systems.

IT outsourcing year in review: Grading our 2015 predictions

“The renegotiations have been driven in part by re-solutioning to bring in new technologies, retrofitting to add digital technologies, restructuring to adopt outcome or output based pricing, reconciling the contract to changing realities, and re-sourcing components of the services to specialized providers.” This behavior, however, was more stop-gap than strategy, says Bill Huber, managing director with outsourcing consultancy Alsbridge. “The market has shifted dramatically, and re-competes have demonstrated the potential to unlock significantly greater value at this juncture than can usually be achieved by a straight renegotiation, whether or not the renegotiation includes re-scoping.”

Smartphones are completing the broadband revolution

Most revealing of all, among "hard to reach" consumers -- those who have never had a home broadband connection -- only a quarter cite price as their biggest barrier. According to the Pew findings, just 25 percent of nonadopters are interested in someday subscribing to broadband service, while 70 percent say they're not interested, at any price. The real holdup to broader home adoption, in other words, has little to do with its cost. What then? Earlier Pew studies, including one in 2013, found instead that two-thirds of nonadopters cited relevance or usability as their main reason not to use the Internet at all. It's not clear how dominant those obstacles remain. Unfortunately, the 2015 survey did not use the same methodology as earlier Pew studies, which asked non-Internet users to list their reasons in an open-ended question.

Quote for the day:

"Be a leader to be remembered, make people feel good about themselves and increase their belief in their own abilities" -- @GordonTredgold