March 09, 2016

How to avoid collaboration overload

How your business take advantage of collaboration without pushing your most valuable employees straight into a burn-and-churn cycle? The answer is data, says Duggan. Being able to track projects, collaborative efforts and interpersonal dependencies is key to making sure no one is taking on too much, and that workloads are distributed evenly so that bottlenecks don't occur, he says. Duggan says that the number-1 barrier to operational efficiency is accurate tracking of interdepartmental dependencies. In the past, CIOs and managers would direct their teams to focus solely on their own projects and the result was a very siloed organization; over the past decade collaboration has become the norm and so the emphasis must change to understand the rewards versus the risks in that new mindset, Duggan says.

5 Chrome extensions that reduce distraction while you work

Time online is more likely to kill productivity than enhance it. Think of all the work hours you’ve wasted scrolling through your Facebook feed or going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. But with the right Chrome extensions, you can minimize these distractions and actually increase your productivity. ... If you don’t like the reports you’re getting from TimeStats, you need this extension. Rather than blocking websites outright, StayFocusd lets you allot the amount of time you can spend on your favorite distractions. But once you reach that limit, the site is blocked for the rest of the day. StayFocusd is very configurable. In addition to blocking entire sites, it lets you control access to specific subdomains, paths, pages, and content

Cyber security tools tend to pile up. Here’s how to rationalize them

Companies often begin the security rationalization process after accumulating a portfolio of tools over the years (i.e. penetration testers, web-application, and code scanners) or through mergers and acquisitions or shifting business strategies. If your organization has typically purchased every tool, the practice is a great way to spot redundancies. For those who have postponed major purchases, the rationalization process will highlight gaps or where too little attention has been paid and there may be vulnerabilities. Put simply, the best rationalization projects enhance new and more customer-centric ways of delivering services by seamlessly integrating IT into business processes - even as demand grows exponentially.

These technologies will blow the lid off data storage

"Very soon flash will be cheaper than rotating media," said Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of memory at SanDisk. Meanwhile, Seagate has demonstrated its heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) for HDDs, which will enable data densities of more than 10 trillion (10Tbits) per square inch. That's 10 times higher than the areal density in today's highest density HDDs. Seagate expects to work with equipment makers in 2017 to demonstrate HAMR products for data center applications, and in 2018 the company expects to begin shipping HAMR drives to broader markets. These recent technology advances are just the latest chapter in the long story of ever-growing storage needs forcing innovations to meet the new demand.

15 Data Security Policies Ignored by Modern Workers

IT isn’t the only department stretched thin. In the past 20 years the economy has grown nearly 60 percent. Corporate profits have increased 20 percent. And wages have stagnated for most Americans. The workday goes from 9 to 7 and the U.S. is among a small club of nations that doesn’t require time off. See the trend? Despite data security policies, everybody is working fast and hard in a dangerous, connected world. At this breakneck speed, IT policies—designed to educate employees and manage risk—are white noise for the modern worker. Clearly, both parties in this relationship have to change—and clearly, that change won’t be easy. In the meantime, IT can buoy data policies with smart technology that does what employees won’t—like continuously back up laptops to ensure business continuity in the face of anything.

Is this the future of the Internet of Things?

Ambient intelligence could transform cities through dynamic routing and signage for both drivers and pedestrians. It could manage mass transit for optimal efficiency based on real-time conditions. It could monitor environmental conditions and mitigate potential hotspots proactively, predict the need for government services and make sure those services are delivered efficiently, spot opportunities to streamline the supply chain and put them into effect automatically. Nanotechnology in your clothing could send environmental data to your smart phone, or charge it from electricity generated as you walk. But why carry a phone when any glass surface, from your bathroom mirror to your kitchen window, could become an interactive interface for checking your calendar, answering email, watching videos, and anything else we do today on our phones and tablets?

The organisation that runs the internet address book is about to declare independence

Barring any last-minute hiccups, though, something remarkable will happen at the meeting. After two years of negotiations, ICANN is set to agree on a reform that would turn it into a new kind of international organisation. If this goes ahead, a crucial global resource, the internet’s address system, will soon be managed by a body that is largely independent of national governments. And some of ICANN’s champions reckon this is just a start. In future, similar outfits could be tasked with handling other internet issues that perplex governments, such as cyber-security and invasions of privacy. The beauty of the internet is its openness. As long as people stick to its technical standards, anybody can add a new branch or service.

Applying the Scientific Method in Data Center Management

Recently, scientists at the State University of New York at Binghamton created a calibrated model of a 41-rack data center to test how accurately one type of software (6SigmaDC) could predict temperatures in that facility and to create a test bed for future experiments. The scientists can configure the data center easily, without fear of disrupting mission critical operations, because the setup is solely for testing. They can also run different workloads to see how those might affect energy use or reliability in the facility. Most enterprise data centers don’t have such flexibility, but they can cordon off sections of their facility as a test bed, as long as they have sufficient scale. For most enterprises, such direct experimentation is impractical. What almost all of them can do is create a calibrated model of their facility and run the experiments in software.

IoT in education: Gonzaga taps ITSM to manage device growth

"The reality of IoT is creeping into organizations ... but it is showing up to college campuses in force," Coppins said. Other EasyVista higher education customers include Fordham University, Samford University, the University of Barcelona and Villanova University.Schools are indeed taking notice of IoT in education, judging from the IoT-focused conference tracks at recent higher education gatherings. In November 2015, the semiannual meeting of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, for example, featured an IoT session. The session's introduction asked, "What do we do when our students arrive on our campuses in Internet-enabled vehicles, wearing Internet-enabled clothing, carrying eight to 10 Internet-enabled devices and with clear expectations that our systems can support them?"

How will blockchain technology transform financial services?

Evangelists say the possibilities are limitless. Applications range from storing client identities to handling cross-border payments, clearing and settling bond or equity trades to smart contracts that are self-executing, such as a credit derivative that pays out automatically if a company goes bust or a bond that regularly pays interest to the holder. Some go as far as to suggest that the technology even offers the potential to disrupt companies that have forged reputations as “disrupters”, such as Uber and Airbnb. At its core, blockchain is a network of computers, all of which must approve a transaction has taken place before it is recorded, in a “chain” of computer code. As with bitcoin — the first application of the technology, applied to money — cryptography is used to keep transactions secure and costs are shared among those in the network.

Quote for the day:

"Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom." -- Clifford Stoll