February 08, 2016

Amazon competes with other book publishers for authors. What other publishers can offer that Amazon cannot is coveted placement in physical bookstores. Those tables you see in a bookstore when you first enter are hot properties in the world of book marketing. And Amazon can't compete with that, until it gets its own bookstores. Physical bookstores will help Amazon attract bigger-name authors. One of Amazon's secrets to customer service is that it accepts returns, no questions asked. Physical bookstores would make it easy for people to return products. They could also serve as "outlet" stores to sell returned merchandise, saving Amazon millions. One of Amazon's big advantages is that it has so many credit cards in its system. The knowledge that Amazon already has your payment and delivery details means you don't have to enter all that information into a new site.

Big data's big role in humanitarian aid

"Can big data give us peace? I think the short answer is we're starting to explore that. We're at the very early stages, where there are shining examples of little things here and there. But we're on that road," says Kalev H. Leetaru, creator of the GDELT Project, or the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone, which describes itself as a comprehensive "database of human society." The topic is gaining traction. A 2013 report, "New Technology and the Prevention of Violence and Conflict,"from the International Peace Institute, highlights uses of telecommunications technology, including data, in several crisis situations around the world. The report emphasizes the potential these technologies hold in helping to ease tensions and address problems.

Why Cloud Computing Will Shake Up Security

The good news is these are essentially the same types of services that analyze data traffic for malware, but designed for the cloud. It still won’t be easy; there are some technical hurdles, like figuring out how the anti-malware solution gets inserted into a cloud system to which it doesn’t necessarily have access. Still, I think the top-shelf anti-malware vendors will be hugely motivated to attack this problem with gusto, and will figure it out. Of course, Amazon and other cloud providers will continue to enhance their security, but dealing with the many and evolving strains of malware is not their core competency. Instead, I think they will be more inclined to work with, or at least make it easier for, established security vendors to deploy their solutions onto cloud platforms. Expect to see more APIs and frameworks from cloud providers that allow for more seamless integration of third-party anti-malware.

All Your Data Belongs To Us – Data Security in a Global Infrastructure

Security analysts are seldom invited to initial software project meetings. No documented protection requirements for sensitive data are usually present at the meetings, nor how to identify data that is sensitive. Thus data security does not influence data architectural decisions. Basic data architectural decisions are usually completed prior to a full data analysis, which is assumed to be a business analysis. A security analysis would be a data analysis that characterizes the sensitivity of the data for privacy, legal and contractual protections, customer and supplier non-disclosure agreements, trade secrets, and personal private data of customers and employees. Do you do this during project planning? Even if data sensitivity is brought up, there is often no corporate standard to indicate this sensitivity in the Enterprise Data Model.

Built in: From myth to reality

Security practitioners should create a map of their respective value chains. Only after we understand the “who, what and where” of our enterprises' value chains can we take the next step: putting in place a flexible and adaptable architecture to begin the journey of making security “built in.” Is your map complete? Do you know what organization in your enterprise owns the relationship with your distribution channel?  Once you have a map, establish what threats should be part of the mindset of your value chain members. Manipulation, disruption and espionage in the IT value chain is an essential place to start.  Next, establish foundational requirements that can be applied across the product lifecycle, from design to decommission. The key driving those requirements is collaborative partnerships with your value chain partners.

AR and VR: The future of work and play?

Virtual reality is all about convincing the brain that a computer-generated 3D environment delivered to your eyes via a headset is 'real' -- a concept known as 'presence' in VR circles. Anything that doesn't look 'right' to our visual system may deliver a sub-par experience, or even cause dizziness, disorientation, nausea and headaches. This is less of a problem with AR, because you can still see the real world. ... According to the report's author Matthew Duke-Woolley, a lot of potential enterprise AR adopters are currently playing their cards close to the chest: "They don't really want to publicise what they're finding, because it's a cut-throat business -- in logistics, for example, the margins are quite tight, so if you can get a 10 or 15 percent cost advantage in your process, you stand a really good chance of beating the opposition."

What to love about your IT security job

Security practices may not top the “what I love about my job” list for the everyday employee, but for those working in the InfoSec industry, it’s a different story. Between the thrill of building systems to protect data and keeping up with an ever-changing landscape, IT security professionals face new challenges daily and are never finished with their to-do lists. Whether it’s building new technologies or advancing security skill sets, these InfoSec professionals share what they love most about their jobs. ... Every day is different, every client is different, and the evolution of the hack changes every week. While we are dealing with the same premise of protecting assets and data, the threats are evolving, adapting to defenses, and can be innovative to meet the objectives of the hacker.

Feature Toggles

Feature toggles are a powerful technique, allowing teams to modify system behavior without changing code. They fall into various usage categories, and it's important to take that categorization into account when implementing and managing toggles. Toggles introduce complexity. We can keep that complexity in check by using smart toggle implementation practices and appropriate tools to manage our toggle configuration, but we should also aim to constrain the number of toggles in our system. ... "Feature Toggling" is a set of patterns which can help a team to deliver new functionality to users rapidly but safely. In this article on Feature Toggling we'll start off with a short story showing some typical scenarios where Feature Toggles are helpful.

What are containers and microservices?

Containers have been integral to Unix and Linux for years. A recent change has been the ease with which they can be used by all developers, and an entire supporting ecosystem has grown up around them. Containerisation is not something happening on the fringes of IT, it is core to the way many web-scale services operate and is increasingly being adopted by more conservative organisations. The suppliers mentioned in this article cite customers ranging from the NHS to large banks. There are many suppliers involved, but no one disputes that Docker has led the charge and sits at the heart of the market. Docker says millions of developers and tens of thousands of organisations are now using its technology. However, another statistic indicates the novelty of containerisation for many, with only 40% of Docker’s customers running containers in production.

A call for more cloud computing transparency

Although Gartner calls some cloud revenue reporting nuanced, I'd call it hiding the hardware. Companies that have a mix of cloud flavors and traditional infrastructure should break them out. There's no crime in hosting data centers, managed services and converged private cloud building blocks. Cloud revenue should be broken out by product groups and various flavors. Not all cloud revenue is created equal. Does this type of transparency matter? Gartner argues that revenue claims shouldn't matter more than strategic fit. However, revenue does indicate scale. Scale indicates the ability to lower infrastructure costs over time. My take: Revenue claims matter and the debate revolves around degree.

Quote for the day:

"Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." -- James R. Cook