July 16, 2016

Big banks, big applications, big outsourcing

Outsourcing could help banks overcome these issues. It depends on how the banks approach their IT application outsourcing, Arora says. “Outsourcing done the traditional way—think of the functional siloes —will continue to emphasize the challenges outlined above. The new demand profile is different, and therefore the supply model needs to evolve as well,” he says. “However, in some situations outsourcing can also act as the bridge that helps a large bank collapse functional siloes and think of vertically integrated, front-to-back solutions.” Expect more as-a-service deals that involve business process, application, and infrastructure: enrollment-as-a-service, for example, or claims-as-a-service.

Lexington-Fayette Urban County CIO Aldona Valicenti Prepares for the IoT

As a combined city and county government, we must bring fiber to both a densely populated urban area and a more open rural area. In our request for proposal, we will ask that the service be ubiquitous. In some areas, companies come in and offer broadband, but will only build it in areas where enough people promise to purchase it. That’s not the setup we want. We want broadband available to everyone in the county, along with our urban areas. Our consultants say no one else in the country has tried this, so we are pioneers in that respect. In the end, we want every home in our county to have access to broadband. ... Let’s say a big fire happens in the city. With broadband, and each government building wired for the Internet of Things, sensors around town could notify the fire department immediately to send help faster.

SYN Flood Mitigation with synsanity

SYN cookies are a clever way of avoiding the storage of TCP connection state during the initial handshake, deferring that storage until a valid ACK has been received. It works by crafting the Initial Sequence Number (ISN) in the SYN-ACK packet sent by the server in such a way that it cryptographically hashes details about the initial SYN packet and its TCP options, so that when the ACK is received (with a sequence number 1 larger than the ISN), the server can validate that it generated the SYN-ACK packet for which an ACK is now being received. The server stores no state for the connection until the ACK (containing the validated SYN cookie) is received, and only at that point is state regenerated and stored. Since this hash is calculated with a secret that only the server knows, it doesn’t significantly weaken the sequence number selection and it’s still difficult for someone to forge an ACK for a different connection without having seen the SYN-ACK from the real server.

Microsoft expands its Surface Enterprise Initiative

This initiative extends the enterprise program to better involve Cloud Solution Providers who are also Surface Authorized Distributors. These resellers now have the option to offer Surface hardware alongside managed cloud services and subscriptions to other Microsoft services, such as Windows 10 and Office 365. Microsoft hopes that "Surface as a Service" will make it easier to upgrade to the latest devices so that IT departments can be assured everyone is working from the same up-to-date hardware and software. The company also hopes this initiative will bring more flexibility to purchasing options, so businesses have an easier time transitioning their workforce over to Surface devices. The company launched this program with ALSO, a leading CSP out of Europe, with plans to expand the program with partners all around the world.

Microsoft's Satya Nadella thinks these four technologies will reshape IT

Microsoft wants businesses to use its Azure cloud platform to connect the various collaboration and communications apps, line of business software and professional social networks like LinkedIn, which Microsoft is acquiring. "What if the software was built in ways that we could connect those disparate worlds," said Nadella, adding he believes Microsoft is "on the cusp" of being able to do so. By linking cloud data and services, he said Microsoft wants to allow companies to build highly automated business systems. The keynote saw a demonstration of how a company called Ecolab is using Microsoft's technology to automate its business. The utilities company uses a Power BI dashboard to view real-time data and analysis covering its site management, retail and operational performance. In the example, Ecolab used the Power BI dashboard to see that a customer called City Power had an issue with a cooling tower.

Smart Data Is a Bigger Priority Than Big Data for FinTech Companies

There is a significant difference between collecting piles of data and finding relevant information that can be used immediately. Generating critical information to create profiles and project customer behavior are what makes big data so appealing to FinTech companies. But it’s important not to lose track of the validity, quality and usefulness of the information. Big data is associated with a lot of “noise” that needs to be canceled out. Smart data, on the other hand, offers a more valuable proposition. Solving business problems hinges on the availability of information that’s clear and that can be used immediately. As is the case in nearly every business sector, quality trumps quantity every single time. Tackling the precise pain points of a business model requires a gentle and smart approach, rather than brute force and sheer volume.

Millennials Think About Work Too Much

The long-term goals that were more typical of Millennials seem to target the same general objectives of reducing stress and worry and exercising more, although Millennials were more specific. For example, Millennials were much more likely to mention specific wellness goals, such as yoga, than to simply say they were hoping to get more fit. But in this study too, Millennials were more likely to talk about work. They mentioned finding a new job with better benefits, more pay, better hours, and more work-life balance, as well as work that was more intrinsically rewarding. This, again, was much more typical of the Millennial age group than older or younger groups. When looking at long-term goals that are the least typical of Millennials, we find that Millennials are the group with the lowest interest in goals related to faith and worship. They were much less likely to use words such as “god,” “pray,” “spiritual,” or “Bible,” for example.

Taking Agile To The Next Level

Going beyond the essential idea that software should have testable goals - based on my own experiences trying to do that - I soon learned that not all goals are created equal. It became very clear that, when it comes to designing goals and ways of testing them (measures), we need to be careful what we wish for. Today, the state of the art in this area - still relatively unexplored in our industry - is a rather na├»ve and one-dimensional view of defining goals and associated tests. ... Typically, the tests ask the wrong questions (e.g., the airline who measured speed of baggage handling without noticing the increase in lost of damaged property and insurance claims, and then mandated that every baggage handling team at every airport copy how the original team hit their targets.)

Don't Break your Silos - Push Out the Silo Mentality

It is widely believed that, one of the easiest ways to unite people is to give them a common adversary, which motivates them to perform better collectively. If each of the team leaders starts to create the image of adversity in the face of the people from other teams, an inner competition may arise between the teams themselves. If it is friendly and just for the sport, it may boost the performance of the whole company as all of the teams will aim to perform at the peak of their skills, however with envy and price on the line, people from the teams may try to do everything in their power to stop their rivals from winning, including minimizing contact, withholding information, trying to create conflict between the management and other teams, and etc. Constant disagreement between the leaders of different teams or departments may drive a line between their subordinates and divide them.

Computer says: oops

False positives can never be eliminated entirely. But the scientific standard used in this sort of work is to have only one chance in 20 that a result could have arisen by chance. The problem, says Dr Eklund, lies with erroneous statistical assumptions built into the algorithms. And in the midst of their inspection, his team turned up another flaw: a bug in one of the three software packages that was also generating false positives all on its own. The three packages investigated by the team are used by almost all fMRI researchers. Dr Eklund and his colleagues write that their results cast doubt on something like 40,000 published studies. After crunching the numbers, “we think that around 3,000 studies could be affected,” says Dr Eklund. But without revisiting each and every study, it is impossible to know which those 3,000 are.

Quote for the day:

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- Martin Luther King Jr