October 17, 2016

Tech Bytes - Daily Digest: October 17, 2016

How to hire your employer, Bringing security back to the top of the board room agenda, Don't get burned by data center hot spots, Learn actionable insights & practical guidance from COBIT, Threat response automation: The next frontier for cybersecurity and more.

Evolving DCIM market shows automation, convergence top IT's wish list

IT also needs to do more with less. Data volumes double every few years, but IT budgets are increasing at low, single-digit rates. As a result, data center managers are having trouble keeping up with the volumes of information. Consequently, users want DCIM products to be more than just monitoring tools; they want to weave them into the data center tapestry. Combining a DCIM tool with change management software creates new automation possibilities. For instance, a company could automatically generate a work order, which indicates the rack and position where an add-on device can be installed, specifies the devices and ports that will be connected -- such as power, LAN and cables -- and links that information to relevant applications.

How to hire your employer

When we find ourselves stuck in unhappy careers—and even unhappy lives—it is often the result of a fundamental misunderstanding of what really motivates us. As we discussed in our book How Will You Measure Your Life, just because you’re not dissatisfied with your career path, doesn’t mean you’re satisfied with it. The things that you might easily put on your resume or talk about at a cocktail party, such as your job title or how big your office is, are not what really motivates most people in the long run. Instead, we’re driven by what we call “intrinsic’’ factors. They’re more difficult to see when you’re sizing up a job opportunity, but extremely important. Instead of simply asking about the perks and benefits of a new job, try asking yourself

Bringing security back to the top of the boardroom agenda

Security needs to be part of the design from the start and not bolted on afterwards. Too often security and compliance are an afterthought, once solutions have already been built and the projects have started. Security needs to be part of the foundations of IT. Building it into the core platform throughout your business allows for much faster transactions to market, as fewer things need to be altered when moving from development, to testing and finally to production. Having a software-defined architecture for security, built into the fabric of the IT infrastructure from the data centre to the device, is needed to embrace security in every phase of IT from the outset.

How to Design the Optimal Business Intelligence Dashboard

Unclear goals can dampen the impact of any IT project, and BI implementation is no exception. You need to consider your departmental goals and how they relate to broader business goals, and keep these goals in mind when designing your dashboards. Ask the bigger questions - How will these dashboards help achieve goals? What sort of metrics should we display that will improve our sales/costs/efficiency/customer satisfaction? IT cannot build a BI platform based on what they feel users will want, they need input from the actual user base. For some companies, the challenge comes on the back end, in terms of the technical troubles with integrating multiple disconnected data sources into the BI solution. They might have the right dashboard in place and know what metrics they want to examine, but the flow of data simply isn’t there.

Don't get burned by data center hot spots

Some computer room air conditioning units have insufficient knowledge of how air really moves in a data center, causing even worse cooling conditions. In modern designs, redundant units run simultaneously with normal units, but at reduced speed, so you don't realize added servers are stealing redundant capacity until a cooling unit fails or is turned off for maintenance. Thankfully, servers can tolerate a higher operating temperature for several days with little negative effect. ASHRAE's allowable thermal envelope goes up to 32 degrees Celsius or 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit in emergencies, but marginal redundancy -- combined with poorly planned computing hardware additions -- can cause serious overheating and thermal shutdowns within a short time after a cooling unit has quit.

Slack CEO describes 'Holy Grail' of virtual assistants

You might scour your email or document-management systems, using such search terms as "term sheet," and pull up a handful of emails or files. Once you find the dates you might go to separate financial reporting tool to look up the revenue information. Such a process could take you as much as 45 minutes. Now imagine a tool -- a bot network operating as one if you will -- that could find the information in disparate apps, cross-reference it and generate the correct answer in seconds. Butterfield estimates that such a system would result in productivity gains of anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent. “That is the knowledge worker equivalent of giving a ditch digger a backhoe instead of a shovel," Butterfield says. "I would love it if we were successful building something like that," Butterfield says.

Learn Actionable Insights & practical guidance from COBIT

COBIT can be complex or simple, depending on the perspective from which it is read, understood and implemented. COBIT philosophy can complement and supplement a professional’s practical experience. However, fundamental understanding of core principles and philosophy of COBIT makes it easier to understand and implement. COBIT is easy to implement if one understands the rationale of design of COBIT. This will help in de-mystifying the structure and enable users to navigate and select relevant contents of COBIT knowledge repository from practical perspective of governance, assurance, risk and compliance as required from macro or micro perspective. The best way to enhance COBIT expertise is to implement it in real-life situations and scenarios.

Threat Response Automation: The Next Frontier for Cybersecurity

Roughly speaking, we could divide cybersecurity software evolution into two waves. The first wave was dominated by rule-based deterministic solutions. A classic example is the firewall. Firewalls apply simple policies, such as blocking inbound traffic, ports or protocols. The second wave of solutions consists of “fuzzy” rules and heuristics. We could perhaps mark the beginning of this wave of solutions with the first Intrusion Detection System (IDS). These solutions employed ML algorithms to spot anomalies and detect malicious activity. In fact, most contemporary cybersecurity vendors take pride in how their solutions utilize ML. Fraud analytics, web gateways, endpoint protection solutions and network sniffers, all utilize ML in their offerings.

Cut to the Chase: How a Data-Driven Culture Fosters Success

“About a year ago, we got the opportunity to use the Domo platform,” he said. At first he just gave licenses to his growth leaders around the country. “Then I decided that maybe I should dig deeper into this, which was one of the best things I could have done.” That’s when his conversations with national teams took a sharp turn, and for the better. “It allowed me to cut through a lot of the data, and cut through to the information that would really help me manage the group. Domo actually allows me to get a view into those offices like I never had before.” The end result, he said, was a significant transformation in how quickly and effectively he and his team could identify new opportunities, and solve otherwise challenging client issues.

Don’t fall behind when it comes to migrating to the cloud

Security is also a strong benefit of cloud storage. While many assume that opening up a company’s database to online storage may run a higher risk of security breaches, in fact the opposite is often true. Because of their large scale and intensive client security requirements, cloud hosting providers often have better security than is reasonably maintained in-house by small and medium size businesses. Off-site backups, 24/7 monitoring, and enterprise-grade security audits are typically out of the price range of smaller organizations. It’s also important to note that not every application is right for the cloud. While migrating an internal communications tool, like a social intranet makes practical sense for the cloud, highly regulated and sensitive data like credit card information or health care records may not be suitable.

Quote for the day:

"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have." -- Harry Emerson Fosdick