March 07, 2016

Making Data Easy for Businesses with Cloud Data Services

By taping into these new cloud data services, they can explore data sources, meld data of different types, select the most appropriate analytics tools, and produce actionable insights. And they can do it without necessarily having to engage the IT department and, in some cases, waiting weeks for answers. It’s a drag-and-drop experience. Or, if they choose, they can enlist the IT department to design more sophisticated analyses. At the same time, these new services offer a host of more sophisticated capabilities designed for data scientists and developers—enabling data scientists to analyze complex situations using the most capable analytics tools and providing software programmers and product teams with a dynamic development platform.


Tech Giants Agree: The FBI’s Case Against Apple Is a Joke

While this seems like a natural cause for the technology industry to rally behind, many tech leaders were initially slow to express support for Apple in the matter. As the New York Times reports, several companies also hesitated to support Apple publicly. Some expressed concern over whether this was the right fight to pick, while others worried about public perception. Those concerns appear to have been allayed, at least on the part of the companies who filed Thursday. Their briefs in support of Apple are unequivocal, and use language as forceful as the company’s own.


The Internet of Things Will Make Big Data Look Small

This looming problem is something we’re sure to discuss at Structure Data, scheduled for March 9th and 10th in San Francisco. We’re featuring speakers such as William Ruh of GE, who will talk about the impact the industrial Internet will have on the manufacturing sector; Jerome Dubreuil of Samsung, who will illustrate just how much data connected home devices generate; and a panel of healthcare experts will sort through the dual challenges of the retiring baby boom generation and an explosion in quantified-self health apps. This may sound like a buzzword salad to many of you. But those in charge of the massive players in this market are making moves to get themselves ready for the data deluge from a realized Internet of things.


Government consults on data sharing

“There is huge potential for improving citizens’ lives through data sharing in the UK,” he said. “This consultation will help make sure we get data right and bolster security while making people’s lives better.” The proposals focus on three aims: improving public services, tackling fraud and debt, and allowing the use of data for research purposes. The consultation also looks at access to identified data that is linked and de-identified using defined processes. It said linked datasets can help “gain new insights into the social and economic challenges that citizens and businesses face”.


Can Trust-Based Private Blockchains Be Trusted?

When collusion occurs amongst blockchain parties, they can rewrite their local records regardless of other parties' interests and protestations. Other parties may not even detect that colluders altered the historical record. Even worse, since there is no way to prove which party has the correct record (ie: the objective state of the ledger), the system breaks with multiple objective states and multiple attendant claims to historical record authenticity, none of which are provable. Using dates to prove the correct objective state of the distributed ledger is both useless and immaterial – data can be backdated, after all, it's just ones and zeros that can be rewritten. So, what happens if the parties choose not to follow the rules and fork the historical record of the blockchain? What mechanisms exist for aggrieved parties to respond to collusion, if detected?


Security ops orchestration for a brave new world

There is a massive shortfall in the number of trained security experts to man a typical Security Operations Center (SOC) monitoring the health and safety of a corporation’s digital footprint. It takes almost a decade for security researchers to acquire the skills to defend against modern-day attacks. Frost and Sullivan has forecast a shortfall of 1.5 million trained security experts by 2020. SOC teams, overwhelmed in handling the deluge of low-impact incidents, fail to respond in time or miss altogether early incident alerts flagging serious attacks. There appears to be a solution to deal with this massive human shortfall and empower SOC teams. Serious efforts are afoot to record process as code — or simply put, to use software to automate repetitive but time-consuming tasks while increasing the productivity of individual security experts.


Decentralized Apps: Key Questions from a Bank Innovation Director

Once you start charging fees for use of your dapps, you have to be clear what you are charging for. Are you charging for the license to deploy an own instance of a smart contract and use of the dapp wallet – a bit like buying an app from an App Store? Or for a service provided by an already deployed smart contract? Arguably, since it is really the miners that provide the service of actually executing and validating the transactions, it’s hard to justify charging a service fee for smart contracts, unless there are many value-add off-chain services bundled together with the dapp. Based on that assessment, we may end up with a 'Dapp Store' model, where folks purchase a license to deploy an instance of a well-written, standards-compliant, tested and proven dapp onto a blockchain.


Regulation holds up P2P lenders - British online banking security

Journalists from the BBC have successfully broken into a team member's bank account using what is known as "SIM swap fraud". The scam works by fraudsters informing the victim's mobile network provider that they would like to swap SIM cards — this means the victim's number is transferred to another SIM. The fraudster with the new SIM now has the number registered to the victim's bank accounts, and can therefore receive any activation code sent by the bank via SMS. The genuine phone is blocked, and the criminal uses the codes to get into the customer's account without needing to know their PIN, passwords or banking customer number.


Mine that data to keep that customer

The ability for financial organisations to make the most of data, monitoring and tweaking performance as they go will have a major impact on all areas of business, from the supply chain to marketing. However, the big retail banking institutions sit comfortably behind the fintech start-up challengers whose business models are founded in the cloud, and whose customers are willing to place their trust in this new approach. Real-time data has a big role to play in engaging with consumers, as it enables organisations to understand their customers’ behaviours and attitudes towards their services, and by extension positively influence customer loyalty. High street banks are starting to recognise the need to get better at segmenting consumers into more narrowly-defined groups, and real-time data and the contextual relevance of engagement have vital roles to play here.


BYOD continues to add challenges for IT leaders

Karsten Scherer, global analyst at TEKsystems has seen a trend in recent data surrounding BYOD, but notes that allowing employees to use personal devices presents unique risks to the enterprise. She suggests that businesses have a strong BYOD plan in place, encourage company-wide security awareness, and acknowledge that a significant portion of breaches are often inadvertently caused by employee negligence, rather than criminal hackers. "Every company has a complex ecosystem of systems creating, storing, accessing and analyzing data," she says. "When you extend that ecosystem to include devices outside of your immediate control, that level of complexity increases. You've effectively increased the size of your security perimeter."



Quote for the day:


"Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better." -- Bill Bradley