July 25, 2016

More Than Half The World Is Still Offline

While more than four out of five people in developed countries use the internet, just over 40 percent of those in developing countries have access. In the ITU’s “least developed countries” -- places like Haiti, Yemen, Myanmar and Ethiopia -- just 15.2 percent of the people are online. ... Also, fewer women than men are on the internet, and that difference is getting worse. The worldwide difference between internet user penetration for males and females is 12.2 percent, up from 11.0 percent in 2013, the ITU says. It’s shrunk significantly in developed countries, from 5.8 percent to just 2.8 percent, but grown in poorer places. Cost makes it harder to get online in some countries. The ITU says entry-level internet access has become affordable in many developing countries since 2011 but remains unaffordable in most of the poorest countries.

Short-term programs, not four-year degrees, are the future of tech education

It takes more than just technical skills to succeed in a coding career. A big part of a career in the programming field is troubleshooting and responding to problems that arise day-to-day. In order to do this successfully, it is vital to be an inquisitive, intelligent learner who likes working through challenges. Additionally, while some may think of programming as solo work, it is quite often done in a team environment. Being able to communicate clearly and work together cannot be underestimated in these roles ... A three-month program like those offered at our schools offers a different type of learning environment. We are able to focus on the key coursework that will help students get in-demand jobs, and our student outcomes back this up.

Ransomware Predictions | Past, Present, Future

A criminal may not need to target an entire enterprise’s set of hosts for maximum return potential. Targeting a few critical assets and preventing restoration ahead of time may be all that is needed to extract a higher ransom amount from some organizations. Think of print servers sitting in a massive warehouse distribution operation. Many of these print servers are still running Windows XP – oftentimes because they are so critical to the operation that they literally cannot be replaced or upgraded. How much money would such an operation pay to get those servers back online? Answer: $1 less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars per day in operations they support. And if it’s a perishable food distribution operation, even more.

EY Report : Blockchain Technology to Reach Critical Mass in the next 3 to 5 Years

A considerable progress has already been made in the embedded health and digital rights management segments. There are already few platforms offering these services. The success of these platforms combined with further development of blockchain-based applications will pave the way for large-scale adoption. The real estate sector is also increasing exploring the use of digital currency technology for managing property records and also as a pooled investments platform where a large number of people can make small investments into projects. According to the EY report, the large scale implementation of blockchain technology will take at least 3 to 5 years. Those who are prepared to invest, experiment and adapt to the technology by that time are expected to benefit when the shift happens.

The world turned upside down: Conventional IT is rapidly becoming shadow IT

The answer is pretty thin gruel. One of IT's remaining tasks is to architect and manage the company’s networks. This is a strategic responsibility but one that’s largely taken for granted. Another task that still falls to IT is the management of the company’s data center. If the data center is used to host revenue-generating systems, this is also a strategic responsibility, but if it’s just housing internal systems then it’s not that big of a deal. A third responsibility that IT continues to handle at many companies is maintainence of internal email systems. This is a highly visible role, but one that is likely to wane in importance as most email systems migrate to the cloud.

7 Common Data Science Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Some data scientists feel that, to have built a successful machine learning model, is having achieved the maximum level of success. Having built a right model is just half the battle won and it is necessary to ensure that the predictive power of the model is maintained. Many data scientists often forget or tend to ignore the fact that it is necessary to re-validating their models at set intervals. A common mistake that some data scientists often make – is thinking that the predictive model is just ideal since it fits the observational data. Predictive power of the built model can disappear instantaneously based on how often the modelled relationships keep changing. To avoid this, the best practice for any data scientist is to ensure that they score their data models with new data every hour, every day or every month based on how fast the relationships in the model change.

Mobile Payments: Risks Versus Opportunities

One noteworthy example of this phenomenon right now involves mobile payments. Specifically, we know that many technology professionals are extremely leery of mobile payments. ISACA’s 2015 Mobile Payment Security Study found only 23 percent of IT and security professionals believe mobile payments will keep information safe—which, let’s face it, is not exactly a vote of confidence.  It bears asking, though, how that compares to the alternative. Meaning, are there risks to mobile payment scenarios? Sure. Show me a technology without some risk and I’ll show you a technology that’s completely valueless. But even if there is risk, what is the opportunity cost? What do we miss out on by waiting for some future scenario that is even more locked down?

Adapting your board to the digital age

To serve as effective thought partners, boards must move beyond an arms-length relationship with digital issues (exhibit). Board members need better knowledge about the technology environment, its potential impact on different parts of the company and its value chain, and thus about how digital can undermine existing strategies and stimulate the need for new ones. They also need faster, more effective ways to engage the organization and operate as a governing body and, critically, new means of attracting digital talent. Indeed, some CEOs and board members we know argue that the far-reaching nature of today’s digital disruptions—which can necessitate long-term business-model changes with large, short-term costs—means boards must view themselves as the ultimate catalysts for digital transformation efforts.

Ransomware protection -- what you may be missing

As the saying goes, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. We are so used to seeing the top 10 prevention techniques, we sometimes miss the lesser discussed approaches. These are important, because the purveyors of ransomware read the same articles with the common approaches, and can use these as a road map to improve their techniques. One of my customers is a large healthcare institution, and one of my major focuses with them has been to take a deep look at approaches to ransomware prevention and recovery. In the process, I have found many things that organizations can do that are not often discussed in the trade press. Since we in the business world need all the help we can get at this point, these can be very important. Consider a few of these

The Technical Skills You Need to Have as a Software Developer

Many beginning programmers try to hedge their bets by learning several programming languages at once or before they try to take on their first job as a software developer. While I think that you should eventually learn more than one programming language, I would advise against doing it upfront because it will just lead to confusion, and it will divert your energies from many of the other technical skills you are going to need to learn. Instead, I’d advise you to go deep and focus on learning the ins and outs of a single programming language, so you can feel really confident in your ability to write code in that language. Remember how we talked about being as specific as possible when deciding what kind of software developer you were going to become?

Quote for the day:

"Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower