May 03, 2016

Now or Never: The Ultimate Strategy for Handling Defects

Let’s stop using the backlog as a trash can. Having a longer queue of issues will increase the average lead time of our system. We could say that any backlog isn’t just a “first in/first out” queue and manage it that way, but managing our bug log demands time and energy. In my experience, the benefits of these activities with long bug logs are overrated. Just stop doing it. If a bug is critical enough but we haven’t fixed it, it will remind us about itself — don’t worry about that. Just recently, one of my teams had such a case. They knew about the problem, which appeared rarely in unpredictable situations. After a quick analysis, the team decided it was not important enough (below the line) because of its infrequency and closed the issue. However, the bug reappeared in several weeks under different conditions.

Will Fintech Destroy The Banks?

Whether the conversation starts with a vague reference to bitcoin, blockchain or crowd-funding, we're increasingly hearing from clients who are curious or worried about the implications of "Fintech" on their business or investment portfolio, particularly as it pertains to the banks.  Although wrapped in jargon and buzz words, "fintech" or financial technology, is simply the application of technology to improve the efficiency or delivery of financial services, at scale. Put this way, the concept goes from complex and obscure to obvious and unavoidable. There are, however, different themes to the innovation that could be very disruptive for both financial institutions and their customers:

I'm Calling it: Social Networking is Over

Confusion about the difference between social networking and social media is why most people haven't noticed the decline of social networking. People don't stop to think about the difference. Social networking is personal content. Social media is professional content. The sharing of social media -- professionally produced videos, articles, podcasts and photos -- is gradually replacing the sharing of personal content about one's life. For example, as you read my column, this article is being shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other so-called "social networking" sites. But that isn't social networking; it's social media. Micro-blogging, micro-schmogging. No matter what you call it, Twitter is included in every roundup, comparison or article about social networking. It's universally included in the "social network" category.

Strengthening authentication through big data

The idea is to unobtrusively gather information from several sources, including user behavior and device usage, to create a profile that is unique to the account owner and cannot be stolen or replicated by fraudulent users. The next steps would be to use the profile to detect activities that hint at malicious activity and only then initiate extra authentication steps to make sure the account hasn’t been hijacked or compromised. This model has many strengths. It’s not something you lose, such as physical tokens; it doesn’t require extra memorization efforts; it can’t be stolen or replicated, such as passcodes, or even fingerprint and retina scans; and, above all, it’s not cumbersome and it doesn’t introduce extra complexities to the user experience.

Forensics expert fights crime with digital weapons

As the volume of electronic data grows exponentially and the number and type of devices "owned" by people — such as smartphones and tablets — increases, the need to be able to identify, collect, consolidate, filter and analyse relevant data, compounded by "peripheral data" such as CCTV, physical access control logs, satnav or computer log files, becomes even more important. Historically, during an investigation numerous techniques and tools would be used to attempt to piece together the various pieces of the puzzle, especially around chronology. For example, when trying to link a call on a mobile phone with a person having just entered a secure office, against an unauthorised log onto a computer and the copying of files to a remote device.

The Rise of Threat Intelligence Gateways

Why is threat intelligence gaining momentum? Security professionals know that since they can’t block every conceivable cyber-attack, they need to collect, process, and analyze all types of internal and external security data to improve their incident detection and response capabilities. Many also want to use threat intelligence more proactively for threat prevention. In fact, 36% of enterprise cybersecurity professionals say that their organizations intend to use threat intelligence feeds to automate remediation actions over the next 24 months. ... When threat intelligence points to bad IP address, URL, or DNS lookups, why not simply block them from the get go? Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been easy in the past as it involved normalizing disparate threat intelligence feeds, building custom dashboards and rule sets, integrating various network security devices, etc.

Is There Really Such a Thing as a “Hybrid Agile” method?

Are there projects that don’t require business cases and annual budget planning? Probably. But not many in larger organisations. So finding a way of making the existing waterfall processes more lean, will enable us to shift from “Hybrid Agile” to “real Agile”. The go-live preparation is different. I think there are many technologies for which we already have good answers that allow us to go-live as required using Continuous Delivery practices. For other technologies, COTS come to mind, we will likely continue to see some waterfall validation and testing practices being used before we can go live, but as the technologies and tools evolve this will become shorter and shorter until this final phase disappears.

IT leaders pick productivity over security

Security is on the top IT leader's mind, especially as hacks become more frequent, sophisticated and malicious, but the report also uncovered some shocking truths about cybersecurity in the enterprise. The report showed major flaws in how businesses and IT leaders approach security, and it boils down to a lack of communication between the C-Suite and IT leaders, as well as a general frustration with how security slows down overall productivity in the company. But just because security might bog down productivity, or IT leaders and executives suffer from a lack of communication, businesses need to remain vigilant regarding security. Jack Danahy, CTO and co-founder of Barkly, says efficiency should be redefined. "Good security does not bog down efficiency.

The race to create smart homes is on

Two things are needed to make homes truly “smart.” First are sensors, actuators and appliances that obey commands and provide status information. There are already hundreds if not thousands of smart home products on the market. These have evolved in recent years beyond simple door sensors and light switches to smart thermostats such as Nest and voice command devices such as the Amazon Echo. Second are protocols and tools that enable all of these devices, regardless of vendor, to communicate with each other. However, this is a major undertaking and it won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, smartphone apps, communication hubs and cloud-based services are enabling practical solutions that can be implemented right now.

Enterprise UX: Past, present and future

Looking ahead, there are multiple technology developments underway that will affect how user experiences -- for both consumers and business users -- are created. Wearables, IoT devices, virtual and augmented reality, and increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) will all profoundly change the way humans and computers interact with one another, and with the world around them. Gesture and voice control, for example, are set to play an increasingly important roles. The emerging umbrella term for where all this is heading is the 'post-app' world of pervasive computing, where desktop WIMP and mobile touch-driven interfaces are augmented or superseded by more 'natural' methods of user interaction.

Quote for the day:

"I never look at the glass as half empty or half full. I look to see who is pouring the water and deal with them." -- Mark Cuban