June 13, 2016

Machine Learning Could Help Companies React Faster To Ransomware

Exabeam's Analytics for Ransomware, a new product that was announced today, uses the company's existing behavior analytics technology to detect ransomware infections shortly after they occur. The product uses data from a company's existing logs to build behavior profiles for computers and users. This allows it to detect previously unknown ransomware without pre-existing detection signatures by analyzing anomalies in the file and document behavior of employees. To avoid false positive detections, the technology flags incidents as ransomware when the combined risk score of multiple suspicious activities that could indicate this type of threat reaches a certain threshold.

Blockchain as a Service – The New Weapon in the Cloud Wars?

Setting up an environment to test and research blockchain is not trivial undertaking. Blockchain is a distributed, peerto-peer technology. It requires an ecosystem with multiple systems in order to be able to develop, research, and test. I recently wrote about the benefits of leveraging the public cloud for test environments. One of the big benefits is the ability to stand up, deploy, test, and break down environments. No large hardware investments are needed, nor any capital investment. The cost involved is only during the time the environments are up and being used. From a cost perspective, this is a definite plus. We still have the complexity of setting up and configuring the blockchain ecosystem. This is where the concept of offering Blockchain As A Service (BaaS) can provide added value.

Linux Mint 18: Hands on with the Cinnamon and MATE betas

The Linux Mint developers were in a particularly difficult position, because they have two desktops that they had to adapt the Gnome utilities for (Cinnamon and MATE). This not only made for a lot of work, it created a significant support burden. The Mint developers finally decided to solve this problem in pretty much the same way that they solved the original Gnome 3 Shell problem - they just gave up on following the Gnome utilities, and they took it upon themselves to develop and maintain an equivalent set of utilities - which are now known as the X-apps. The X-apps are based on older, stable, and well-known versions of the Gnome utilities. Finally, the Mint developers have said that the X-apps will be developed and maintained in such a way that they will always be compatible with both Cinnamon and MATE.

Responding to climate change risks: the role of financial services firms

The pressure on business was ramped up following the formation of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) at the end of last year, announced by Mark Carney and chaired by Michael Bloomberg. Since publishing its first report in April 2016, the Taskforce set the course for an intensive nine months of work, at the end of which it will produce detailed guidelines for companies to enhance how they disclose to their investors and lenders the climate risks they are financing. Again, this is hugely challenging but there is a good degree of alignment amongst Taskforce members and a shared ambition to fundamentally improve disclosure on climate risks, so we shouldn’t underestimate the outcome. While the guidelines will be voluntary, it is possible that some countries might choose to make them mandatory over time, and even if they don’t, pressure from investors

Why every organization needs Business Process Management

Within every organization there are business processes designed to meet objectives. But for any number of reasons they may have become slow, inefficient or come to the end of their days. BPM basically puts all these processes under the microscope using various metrics and analysis to identify where processes can be improved for maximum performance. When implementing new processes, BPM can ensure they are running as smoothly as possible. Organizations are increasingly acknowledging the need to improve their business processes and understand the advantages that come from process automation. BPM can help reduce paper handling and inefficiencies in areas such as contracts and invoicing, and also improve performance of both people and systems by giving remote workers access to the same ‘ user experience’ as those working within the walls of the organization.

How to build a data-driven culture with emotion

The challenge is that it's often difficult to sell the workforce on a nirvana that sits somewhere out on the strategic horizon. That's why it's important to shoot for quick wins. The quicker you can produce some evidence that your analytic prowess is working, the quicker hope is reinforced with strong belief. Look for an opportunity to run a pilot, and deploy your best tiger team to get through it as quickly as possible. And don't make your life more difficult than it needs to be: segment your opportunities by impact and ease of implementation; hopefully, you'll have at least one opportunity that has a high impact and an easy implementation. Take that opportunity and move through your pilot as quickly as possible so you can demonstrate — with evidence — how much better life will be when your company is more data-driven.

Meet the 'number one prevalent' new ransomware: Crysis

The strain copies files and pulls them from the network, placing organizations into the "territory of an actual data breach," says one security expert. "Especially in HIPAA-compliant organizations, (that's) an area no one wants to be." It can be hard to keep tabs on these types of ransomware strains, Sjouwerman said. "They compete; they come and go. We were expecting with the sudden demise of TeslaCrypt (a ransomware Trojan) that Locky would take over. But no. "If you look at the majority of ransomware attacks," he added. "Crysis, at the moment, is the number one prevalent attack." These attacks first began at financial institutions, and then moved to healthcare. While the next big target is the manufacturing industry, according to Sjouwerman, cybercriminals still have healthcare in their crosshairs and "this is unfortunately going to get a lot worse before it gets better."

Don Quixote and the Philosophy of Data

“The Don Quixote never getting to the windmill, the truth, isn’t a bad thing,” said Sherman. “It’s that more and more truths or contexts are being applied today, which just means more and more expansive use of data.” When data moves around, and the context in which it was generated is not maintained, meaning gets lost. In the case of business policies, practices such as undocumented hand coding, be it from ETL or application integration, can lead to what Sherman calls “data shadow systems.” It’s the age-old scenario where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and they both go on doing their own thing. The result? Inconsistency and inaccuracy. “The business person who probably does understand policy and business processes doesn’t understand the technology and the data integration and the consistency of data and how to create that,” said Sherman.

Nordic CIO interview: Johnny Bröms, Swedish fast-food chain Max Burger

To maximise the efficiency of Max’s small IT team (eight people in-house and eight consultants), its role has been divided into two distinctive parts: one works with support and operational issues, while the other focuses on project delivery, agreements and compliance. Bröms does not hide the fact that getting the whole company behind business-orientated IT has not been easy. But he sees it as the role of a modern CIO to get involved with other business functions and ensure everybody understands one another. “I have a technical background. My challenge has been to develop the business side so I can speak to the business the way they want and translate that back to my organisation,” says Bröms.

Data visualisation will drive enterprise Big Data analytics usage

Data visualisation technologies would need to keep pace with broader scope and tool set. The industry has already seen some disruptive technologies in the form of Tableau and Qlikview. There are also few upcoming open source tools like Datawrapper, Chart.js, D3 (Data-Driven Documents), Dygraphs and more. But the space still needs more maturity and still aren’t up to creating major shuffles. Another implication is the need for newer processes and skills that allows you in creating better data models. A decade ago, the concept of storytelling through data didn’t exist. Hence, there is an emerging demand for resources with skillsets to create a powerful story. Capabilities including animations, speech bubbles, auto-suggest would be weaved into the visualisation to create compelling propositions. By choosing for expensive data management tools organisations are underestimating the importance of people skills and the imperative to drive them.

Quote for the day:

"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency." — -- Arnold Glasow