Daily Tech Digest - May 22, 2017

Don't worry CIOs: You still control tech spending

"The growing tech-savviness of business leaders and the wider availability of cloud solutions does mean that business leaders are playing a bigger role in the front end of this process," Bartels says. But the persistence of licensed software, the growing adoption of cloud as a replacement for licensed software, and challenges of implementing and optimizing solutions mean that CIOs and tech management teams still play a dominant role in overall tech purchases. Moreover, CIOs are procuring software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions — the top shadow IT target for business leaders — more than ever as it allows them to meet business requirements. “That becomes a mechanism to manage demand,” Bartels says.  CompTIA just announced similar findings from a survey of 675 U.S. businesses in its report, “Considering the New IT Buyer."

Digital India must protect itself with well-crafted cloud security strategy

As the government's cloud strategy takes shape, this is the time to move over to security in the cloud paradigm. It will require a radical reassessment and revamping of existing security provisions, because a move to the cloud changes the technology landscape quite drastically. The new paradigm must incorporate the spirit of the legacy security provisions, but requires much more sophistication to secure a hybrid cloud setup. Furthermore, it is critical that this broad-gauged security policy be executed uniformly across all components of the hybrid cloud. This is where cloud security gateways and security brokers come into action. Rather than leave it to individual systems in the cloud to take care of their own security (as is the case in the legacy setup), a cloud security broker can monitor and defend the entire cloud and all the systems within. Security across all the different systems is addressed holistically, regardless of where the systems may reside.

Digital transformation: MIT's Westerman shares new lessons

Successful digital transformation is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It’s still the same organism, but it now has superpowers. Unfortunately, when it comes to digital transformation, many senior execs aren’t thinking about butterflies. They’re just thinking about fast caterpillars. And it’s hard to keep up with your competitors if you’re crawling ahead while they can fly. ... It would be nice to think that companies and governments would be responsible for finding new roles for the people who are displaced by technology. But more realistically, people need to be responsible for their own professional development. Stay abreast of what is happening with industries and technologies. If you’re in a job that will die soon, do what you can to shift to another. Hopefully, our society will find ways to help people who lose in the race against machines.

HP'S Spectre X2 May Be The Surface Pro Killer We've Been Waiting For

Going outside the box, HP has seriously revamped the Spectre x2's screen to 12.3-inch diagonal size and 3000x2000 resolution screen. Compared to the first gen Spectre x2's 16:9, 1920x1080 panel, this new model has the same aspect ratio as MIcrosoft's Surface Pro 4. The newer screen is IPS and brighter, too, with a maximum of 450 nits, slightly better than the Surface Pro 4 panel's spec. HP has also cloned the Surface Pro 4's pen tech. The original Spectre x2 used a Wacom-based pen, while the 2nd gen replaces Wacom for N-trig, which Microsoft uses for its own Surface Pen. Microsoft even bought N-trig. The N-trig pen's main appeal to PC makers is its ability to use the capacitive touch layer to sense the pen. Wacom-based devices require a separate digitizer, which adds thickness to the screen.

How A Common Language For Cyber Threats Boosts Security

Orchestration and automation may be the most significant advantages governments obtain when they adopt standard threat information formats. It’s no secret there is a cybersecurity talent shortage. To manage a growing volume of increasingly sophisticated threats, it is critical to have infrastructure and security tools that enable quick, automated and synchronized responses without human intervention. The goal of Open C2 and other groups work is to expand the development of orchestration software and standardized command and control languages. Central to the OpenC2 movement’s platform is the idea that standardizing language between machines enables rapid response to shared threat intelligence. As the OpenC2 forum states, “Future defenses will require the sharing of indicators, the coordination of responses between domains, synchronization of cyber defense mechanisms and automated actions at machine speed against current and pending attacks.”

How the CISO moved from the basement to the boardroom

If the CISO is overwhelmed with projects, it can be helpful to determine which departments you are serving, who the stakeholders are, and what is critical to them, Hayslip said. That will help you create a more narrow list of issues to tackle. It's often wise to start with cyber hygiene, he added: If you have basic security policies and patch management, antivirus, and firewalls in place, updated, and managed, it builds a strong foundation for your organization's cyber health. CISOs also have an opportunity to redefine their role as a business strategist during the digital transformation, Pollard said. To prove their value, they should spend time mapping the firm's technology touchpoints, foster security champions across the company, and get involved with customer-facing activities like product design and development, he added.

How Cybersecurity Benefits from Hackers

To put it simply, many of those who identify themselves as “hackers” are very talented programmers. The creators of some of the most well-known software are self-proclaimed hackers. Among these hackers-turned-programmers are Mark Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook; Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux; and Tim Berners-Lee, one of the driving forces behind the creation of the World Wide Web. Often, these programmers will seek a solution that doesn’t involve working with one of the entrenched proprietary software companies. Instead, they will create open-source projects, where the source code is made publicly available. The programming community, including several who identify as hackers, work together to produce software solutions that is available to everyone. Even people who never use open-source software benefit from these projects, as the public community will often create new innovations that the proprietary companies either use for inspiration or simply copy outright.

Google, A.I. and the rise of the super-sensor

Here's a simplified version of how such a sensor might work in a warehouse setting. You plug in one or a few super sensors. Then somebody uses a forklift. The resulting vibration, sound, heat and movement detected by the super sensor generate patterns of data that are fed into the system. You can identify this as "forklift in operation." (Further tweaking might determine not only when a forklift is in use, but where it is, how fast it's moving, how much weight it's carrying and other data.) You can then program next-level applications that turns on a warning light when the forklifts are moving, calculates wear-and-tear on forklift equipment or detects unauthorized operation of forklifts.The output from these "synthetic sensors" can be used by developers to create any kind of application necessary, and applied to semantic systems for monitoring just about anything.

Lessons From Women IT Leaders On How To Transcend The Middle Order

“Women must make themselves visible for the right skills and projects, and to the right people if they want to advance into senior leadership,” says Ghosh. Women, especially in enterprise IT, says Ghosh, must be vocal about their goals and ambitions, and this is one way they can deal with implicit bias. “The other thing is that even organizations must acknowledge the bias,” says Dar. “Consciously or unconsciously, we are discriminated against and when these things come to light they have to be dealt with the same importance that any other labour matter or such would be dealt with. Just pushing it under the rug does not work anymore”, says Dar. Her company, Godfrey Phillips runs awareness sessions for employees, “and that is something all companies should run on a timely basis,” she says. Even at organizations, Vijay says, it is very important to introduce programs that are aimed at increasing the representation of women in IT leadership positions.

Companies Ramp Up Recruting Veterans As Cybesecurity Urgency Grows

Like most new hires, veterans in the private sector must navigate a culture that’s vastly different from military life. When Navy veteran Dana Hawkins took his first private sector job as a contractor, “just getting used to the lack of process” at some smaller companies compared to the stringent cybersecurity processes of the military was a big challenge. Hawkins is now director of security services at Proficio. Other veterans find it challenging to work with a virtual team after years of direct contact with leaders. “It takes a while for our veterans to get used to it,” Stoner says. To smooth the transition, PwC assigns veteran mentors to help new hires assimilate into the firm. Stoner, an Army veteran and reservist himself, finds that military “athletes” – those veterans withleadership, self-discipline and a goal-oriented approach– make the best transition to private sector cybersecurity careers – and there’s plenty of room for more.

Quote for the day:

"Careers, like rockets, don't always take off on schedule. The key is to keep working the engines." -- Gary Sinise

Daily Tech Digest - May 21, 2017

Using ‘Faked’ Data is Key to Allaying Big Data Privacy Concerns

The MIT researchers, led by Kalyan Veeramachaneni, proposed a concept they call the Synthetic Data Vault (SDV). This describes a machine learning system that creates artificial data from an original data set. The goal is to be able to use the data to test algorithms and analytical models without any association to the organisation involved. He succinctly states that, “In a way, we are using machine learning to enable machine learning,” The SDV achieves this using a machine learning algorithm called “recursive conditional parameter aggregation” which exploits the hierarchical organisation of the data and captures the correlations between multiple fields to produce a multivariate model of the data. The system learns the model and subsequently produces an entire database of synthetic data. To test the SDV, synthetic data generation for five different public datasets was performed using anti debugging techniques.

AI Platforms: How to Make the Smart Choice

Companies will in all likelihood build an infrastructure that uses more than one platform. The company specific business technology platform can easily become a platform of technology platforms. If these platforms, and the applications on top of them, do not play nicely the company will have a hard time to provide customers with positive engagements that leave a good experience. Instead, there will be inconsistent and duplication of data, broken processes, hence frustrated employees and customers; in summary poor experiences for everybody involved, leading to poor experiences. And not concentrating on good experiences leaves companies with missed opportunities, as studies like this one show. ... If there already are platform based business applications available then it is a good option to look at what the underlying AI platform of the vendor is offering, always keeping the answer to the question “What experiences do you want to deliver?” in mind.

How to Handle the Data Deluge and Drive Business Success

The challenge for organizations is pulling all the critical data together into a coherent view of the business that allows them to confidently act on well-founded plans. Increasingly, CFOs are being tasked with not only understanding and communicating financial results but also with helping the organization understand the operational drivers behind them, requiring a more detailed analysis of business KPIs, many of which are non-financial. In fact, a recent (Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator Q3 2016) report found that 76 percent of CFOs are tracking non-financial KPIs, which involves greater collaboration across the organization and data integration to create a holistic view of the business. While it is positive that so many CFOs are taking this step to become a more strategic advisor, this influx of new data can pose a problem when it comes to consolidation.

Harnessing the Secret Structure of Innovation

Reassuringly, many innovators already have the tools to do so: Companies routinely re-engineer competitors’ products, analyze the patent landscape, and conduct interviews with technology experts to guide their operational decisions. We believe innovators can and should also use these same tools and information to guide their strategy by methodically measuring the evolution of product complexity in their space. This requires developing a taxonomy of components by sampling competitors’ products and dissecting not only physical components but also intangible ones like process innovations or business model choices. While we are not aware of any company that is yet explicitly doing this, we do see that many startups implicitly follow this logic by shifting from an impatient minimum viable product (MVP) logic to more patient innovation centered on more complex designs once cash flow and funding have been secured and the space begins to mature.

Data protection is not just an IT issue

Independent Cybersecurity Expert, Dr Jessica Barker said: “With so many data breaches hitting the headlines, there can be a sense of defeatism among some organisations. Breaches are seen as inevitable so some organisations question the value of spending on security when it won’t make them 100% secure. However, this research has found that investing in security helps protect the organisation when even the worst happens, as companies with a strong security posture experience much quicker stock price recovery than those with a poor security posture following a data breach.” “In this past year alone we’ve seen high-profile data breaches, such as Yahoo and TalkTalk, experience the significant consequences that a breach can have on shareholder value and brand reputation,” said Bill Mann, senior vice president of products and chief product officer, Centrify.

A More Practical Approach to Encrypting Data in Motion

RSA and Elliptic Curve Cryptography are two classes of algorithms that achieve these characteristics. The keys associated with these algorithms can be serialized and encoded in special files called X.509 certificates. Certificates contain a ton of other information like names, network addresses, and dates. When people refer to certificates, they usually are referring to X.509 certificates that contain public keys. Data (like certificates) can be digitally signed. Digital signatures are encrypted hashes. A good hash function is one that’s hard to reverse and not prone to collisions. If you apply a good hash function to a message, the result of the function does not reveal anything about the original message. Further, a good hash function applied to any two messages are not likely to have the same resultant value (also called a collision).

Graph databases and RDF: It's a family affair

Should we just dismiss RDF as impractical and RDF stores as inferior software delivered by academics and move on? Maybe not so fast. There are RDF vendors who are entirely professional about what they do, and RDF does have certain things to offer that are not there in other graph data models. We had a discussion with Vassil Momtchev, GraphDB product owner at Ontotext, about the benefits and use cases of RDF. Ontotext's legacy is in text mining algorithms, however these days it's mostly known for GraphDB, its RDF Graph database engine. "Our text mining is backed by a complex semantic network to represent background and extracted knowledge. Back in 2006, we found that none of the existing RDF databases were able to match our requirements for a highly scalable database. This was how GraphDB started," says Momtchev.

Digital Currencies Like Bitcoin and Ethereum are Booming

The ethereum dream. Just by some code that no one can stop, we’ll bring back money to the people. Not because we dislike banks or governments, but because they too will see it is better for the regulator of the free market, money, itself to be regulated by the free market. That statement isn’t a hypothesis, but the insight of Hayek, a Nobel prize winner who spent his life studying money. So the foundations of this space are built on strong and mainstream grounds, not fringe thoughts as many were led to believe in the previous years. Its walls are futuristic in architecture. We are digitizing money, making it dynamic, turning it into code, while giving it a very primitive level of intelligence in that we can tell it to do things and it does do so. The applications only imagination can constrain and the benefits, for poor or rich, banks and governments or the people, will probably be very considerable. To the point where we might actually get those flying cars in our own lifetime.

IoT and Blockchain Technology Collide in the Payments Industry

The collision between the IoT and blockchain worlds portends some important payments industry developments around the efficient tracking of device payment history, all supported by a ledger of secure data exchanges among devices, web systems and users. Further, this technological convergence also shows promise in terms of the use of smart devices that are programmed to conduct a variety of transactions such as the automatic issuance of invoices and payments.  Dan Loomis, vice president and director of mobile product management at the business and financial software firm Intuit, is firmly entrenched in this evolving IoT/blockchain conversation through his work in creating payment experiences for businesses that operate on a global scale, and brought this expertise to the TRANSACT panel discussion.

Under The Hood With the JVM's Automatic Resource Management

The finalize() mechanism is an attempt to provide automatic resource management, in a similar way to the RAII (Resource Acquisition Is Initialisation) pattern from C++ and similar languages. In that pattern, a destructor method (known as finalize() in Java) is provided, to enable automatic cleanup, and release of resources when the object is destroyed. The basic use case for this is fairly simple - when an object is created, it takes ownership of some resource, and the object’s ownership of that resource persists for the lifetime of the object. Then, when the object dies, the ownership of the resource is automatically relinquished. Let’s look at a quick simple C++ example that shows how to put an RAII wrapper around C-style file I/O. The core of this technique is that the object destructor method (denoted with a ~ at the start of a method named the same as the class) is used for cleanup:

10 Free or Low-Cost Security Tools

While free tools sound great, their usefulness varies from business to business. For some organizations, they are helpful means of solving small problems. For others, they are too "siloed" to be effective. "It depends on the environment," says Travis Farral, director of security strategy at Anomali, which is behind the Staxx free threat intelligence tool. "Some are against major deployment of anything open-source that doesn’t have a company behind it, for support or liability issues." Because many free and low-cost tools are designed for specific purposes, they often require advanced technical expertise. Several major businesses use a combination of major enterprise tools and FOSS utilities because they have the staff to support them. For organizations with less staff, siloed tools require security practitioners to become systems integrators because they need to have the solutions work together, says Lee Weiner.

Quote for the day:

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

Daily Tech Digest - May 20, 2017

Ransomware Rocks Endpoint Security Concerns

"The larger companies are strapped with so many layers of protection that it will take more time to figure out where AI fits in the stack, but mid-market to smaller enterprises with 150,000 to 200,000 nodes and below can adopt cutting-edge technology more quickly," McClure says. IDC's Westervelt notes that although many endpoint startups have launched out of the gate with signature-free detection technology that was based more on users' behavior, many are now adding signature-based detection engines to their products. "The vast majority of threats are known threats, so why put extra pressure on your sandbox" to test potentially malicious software based on its behavior, Westervelt says. And in the meantime, traditional signature-based anti-virus vendors have added signature-free security software to their offerings. As a result, Westervelt says, there is less and less differentiation between new and shiny startups and the old guard.

Google Researchers Are Teaching Their AI to Build Its Own, More Powerful AI

"The way it works is we take a set of candidate neural nets, think of these as little baby neural nets, and we actually use a neural net to iterate through them until we arrive at the best neural net," explains Pichai. That process is called reinforcement learning, where computers can link trial and error with some kind of reward, just like teaching a dog new tricks. It takes a massive amount of computational power to do, but Google's hardware is now getting to the stage where one neural net can analyse another. Neural nets usually take an expert team of scientists and engineers a significant amount of time to put together, but thanks to AutoML, almost anyone will be able to build AI systems to tackle whatever tasks they like. "We hope AutoML will take an ability that a few PhDs have today and will make it possible in three to five years for hundreds of thousands of developers to design new neural nets for their particular needs," Pichai writes in a blog post.

Indian IT's planned layoffs give a glimpse of the bloodbath ahead

It may not be the most original declaration but sometimes detective work of this kind does have its advantages in exposing the rot that actually lurks beneath the sheets. Lakshmikanth's reading of the McKinsey report mirrors what many in the industry have been raising alarms this year about. India CEO of French IT Services CapGemini said earlier this year, "I am not very pessimistic, but it is a challenging task and I tend to believe that 60-65 percent [of Indian IT workers] are just not trainable," he said. "Probably, India will witness the largest unemployment in the middle level to senior level," he added. A more fundamental problem is the lack of real skills amongst most of India's engineering graduates. According to employment solutions company Aspiring Minds, a well-known institution that regularly tracks the worth of college graduates, a staggering 80 percent of engineers in India don't possess skills that can make them employable.

Currency is Under Attack. Diversifying Your Funds is Smarter Than Ever

You just never know what is going to happen next, so diversifying your currency can help manage your risk and increase your chances of survival should something go wrong. Plastic can be very secure for the consumer since there are protections against fraud, but it is costly for merchants in transaction fees and fraudulent charges. The downside is that all your money is in a bank where you can't get to it in a crisis and if the FDIC collapses you may have no recourse to get that money back. Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, doesn't rely on central banking, so there's a lot less chance they will open you up to identity theft. The problem is that if it is stolen, you can never get it back. Also because of its untraceable nature, it is often used in crimes.

Uber Freight Is the First Step to Automating Away Truckers

Much like the taxi service before it, Uber’s promise here is to remove friction from the current system. In a blog post announcing the new service, the firm bleats about how drivers will be able to pick up jobs with a simple search and some button presses, rather than spending “several hours and multiple phone calls” trying to achieve the same end in the past. ... But there is a larger narrative at play here. Uber’s move into shipping came after it acquired the autonomous truck company Otto last summer. And that sector is maturing quickly: while the trucks make use of similar technology to that being used by the autonomous cars being developed by Uber and Waymo for robotic taxi fleets, they also only have to contended with highways. That's far easier than inner-city driving.

Global banking technology overview

If banks don’t rise to the challenge, there are many FinTechs waiting to nibble away at their business. For instance, Caxton is a company that uses hybrid blockchain and core banking-type technology for foreign exchange (FX) end uses. Its CTO, Russell Stather, is convinced that smart contracts and DLT will disrupt the commercial banking environment serving corporate treasurers. “Smart contracts allow you to move an asset with multiparty involvement in a single transaction, which makes it cheaper, quicker and traceable end-to-end,” he says. The key benefit for a payment or trade finance end use is that not everyone in the chain is taking a transaction fee anymore, as blockchains – unlike correspondent banking ones – are fast, irrefutable and traceable. Settlement mechanisms and structures for investment banks could also easily be disrupted – or improved – by DLT.

Protect your enterprise data using Windows Information Protection (WIP)

Unfortunately, data loss prevention systems have their own problems. For example, the more detailed the rule set, the more false positives are created, leading employees to believe that the rules slow down their work and need to be bypassed in order to remain productive, potentially leading to data being incorrectly blocked or improperly released. Another major problem is that data loss prevention systems must be widely implemented to be effective. For example, if your company uses a data loss prevention system for email, but not for file shares or document storage, you might find that your data leaks through the unprotected channels. But perhaps the biggest problem with data loss preventions systems is that it provides a jarring experience that interrupts the employees’ natural workflow by stopping some operations while allowing others

What will the ‘mega security breach’ of the future look like?

The mega breach of the future could take on a variety of different shapes and guises. Douglas Crawford, Cyber Security Expert at BestVPN.com imagines what it might be like if a criminal got hold of a lot of banking passwords. “The economic chaos caused could, in addition to bankrupting potentially millions of individuals, destroy banks and banking systems, create global economic depression, and even bring down governments,” he says. The interesting thing about this situation is it could arise from a variety of different motivations. Yet Chad Schamberger, Director of Engineering at VirtualArmour believes that mega breach of the future “will be driven to affect a decision, a political election, a financial outcome, or the intent to cause mass chaos across a population. Not necessarily to gather sellable assets but intended to expose the attack surface that has developed by introducing more and more poorly develop connected devices (IoT).”

Supercomputing as a Service comes to the cloud with new Cray partnership

The first solution to come from the partnership will focus on the life sciences industry, and will feature the Cray Urikia-GX system, a complete, pre-integrated hardware-software solution. It also includes the Cray Graph Engine, which includes pattern-matching that takes advantage of the scalable parallelization and performance of the platform, according to the release. "The Cray Urika-GX system is the first agile analytics platform that fuses supercomputing abilities with open enterprise standards to provide an unprecedented combination of versatility and speed for high-frequency insights, tailor-made for life sciences research and discovery," the press release stated. Cray and Markley plan to quickly expand their offerings to include Cray's full line of infrastructure solutions.

The Enterprise Architecture Problem

In IT (Information Technology) most of it is commodity. Buying these commodities may, at most, get you what everyone else already has. Forget analyzing performance improvement here, there is little of it, so emphasize cost reduction, enterprise wide purchase agreements, and minimizing security vulnerability or TCO by restricting brands to those tested and approved. The real key lies in producing some enterprise IT that produces marked improvement in your business processes. If those are the same business processes everyone else uses, benchmarked against best practices elsewhere, you can buy it as a COTS (Off the Shelf) product and tweak it a bit. However the best of all is the automation of processes that only you have, completely custom. You will have these special processes either because you do business differently (differentiation) or because only you are in this business.

Quote for the day:

"Mistakes should be examined, learned from, and discarded; not dwelled upon and stored." -- Tim Fargo

Daily Tech Digest - May 19, 2017

3 critical steps to recover from a ransomware attack

One thing that IT security experts agree on this week is that the WannaCry attacks have raised awareness around data security and systems vulnerabilities. “There have been more than 4,000 daily ransomware attacks since early 2016 – a 300 percent increase over 2015,” according to Scott Kinka, chief technology officer at Evolve IP. “Victims paid a total of more than $24 million to regain access to their data in 2015 alone.” But Kinka believes the WannaCry epidemic raises the stakes, and organizations that haven’t placed a top priority on data security in the past need to now. The WannaCry attack “represents a massive ransomware explosion, even by these standards,” Kinka says. “Truthfully, it is impossible to stop the ransomware epidemic. However, taking the right proactive and reactive measures can help mitigate the damage.”

Red Hat's Cormier dishes on OpenShift.io and Container Health Index

In the past, people were playing with containers but not really betting their business on it. Now that they're starting to deploy them into production, security, manageability [and] lifecycle are more applicable now and you want a commercial-grade system to do commercial-grade containers in Linux. What we've done is containerize all of our products into a [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] container. With the Container Health Index, we scan the pieces of the OS that they've included … and tell them what shape it's in, if there's any known security vulnerabilities or any bugs and offer a newer version if available. We've done that for our own products and we're now exposing those tools to our partners so they can run containers they've built with our container kits. We're going to publish Container Health Index results on our portal.

Google weaves AI and machine learning into core products

One of the big announcements at I/O was Google Lens, a set of vision-based computing capabilities that seeks to understand what a user is looking at with their smartphone's camera, and help them take action based on that information. For example, a user can take a picture of a flower, and Lens will tell the user the kind of flower it is, Pichai said. Users will also be able to point their phone at a router, and it will connect them based on the given password. Google Lens will initially be rolled out to Google Assistant and Google Photos in the coming weeks. At last year's I/O, Pichai spoke about how computing was moving from mobile-first to AI-first, and that theme continued in 2017. Pichai said that Google is rethinking its computational architecture to build "AI-first data centers."

5 Steps To Ending Generational Stereotypes

Some of the most pervasive stereotypes surround millennials; those who are roughly 20 to 35 years old, says William A. Schiemann, CEO of Metrus Institute. Schiemann says he's continually faced with clients' confusion and misunderstanding about generational differences, and the stereotypes that arise from this confusion. "What's amazing is how often organizational leaders that I regularly interview at the Metrus Institute try to label these younger employees as needy, coddled, technology snobs, unprepared for organizational life or scores of other attributes. But digging deeper, I'll ask if there are differences between their 20-to-25-year-olds and their 30-to-35-year-old millennials. 'Oh, yes! The older millennials have clearer goals, understand corporate organizations better, they're more educated' and on and on. Dial this back for a moment -- Of course! They're more mature and experienced by about ten years!" Schiemann says.

How to defend against DDoS attacks like the one on the Dyn DNS service

“DDoS scrubbing services primarily use commercial cloud-based solutions,” says Andrew Howard, CTO, Kudelski Security. These are the kinds of solutions that have sufficient resources to make such an approach work, given the size of the traffic and the scrubbing task. You can buy services that run all the time or services that you turn up when you see DDoS attacks coming on. “With as-needed services, you’ll see a delay between the time when you come under attack and the time the mitigation starts—but we’re talking about a delay of minutes, not hours,” says Rachel Kartch, Researcher, CERT Division, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie-Mellon University. ... “Hybrid services include an always-on, on-premise scrubbing device and rerouting for traffic to scrubbing centers when you come under heavy attack,” says Kartch.

The Best Cybersecurity Investment You Can Make Is Better Training

Firms must recognize and react to three uncomfortable truths. First, cyber risk evolves according to Moore’s Law. That’s a major reason that technology solutions alone can never keep pace with dynamic cyber threats. Second, as with all threat management, defense is a much harder role to play than offense. The offensive players only need to win once to wreak incalculable havoc on an enterprise. Third, and worst yet, attackers have patience and latency on their side. Firms can be lulled into a dangerous state of complacency by their defensive technologies, firewalls, and assurances of perfect cyber hygiene. The danger is in thinking that these risks can be perfectly “managed” through some sort of comprehensive defense system. It’s better to assume your defenses will be breached and to train your people in what to do when that happens.

Echo who? Google just turned Home into a productivity powerhouse

Calls aside, the newly announced upgrade will bring Home a handful of other interesting flourishes. First, Home devices will soon harness your existing smartphone and TV screens to provide visual accompaniments to responses, as appropriate -- sending directions to your phone when you ask about the location of a business, for instance, or showing your calendar on a Chromecast-connected TV when you ask to see your agenda. It's a clever and very Googley way to accomplish what Amazon could do only by creating an entirely new product. Home will also soon gain what Google calls a "proactive assistance" feature. In short, the device will flash its lights when a timely and important message awaits -- like a pending reminder, a traffic delay relevant to your day at any given moment, or a status change for a flight you've booked. When you see the lights flashing, you simply say "Hey Google, what's up?" to get the info.

Here's why IoT testing is really going to matter to QA pros

The stories are engaging. They raise legitimate, even alarming, concerns. But frankly, IoT testing always seemed like a specialized discipline to me. If you weren't building software for cars, big box home appliances or tiny wearable devices, its immediate relevance to quality assurance (QA) pros escaped me. For years, I heard and read a lot about it, but it wasn't clear to me why IoT testing mattered outside its own arena. ... "It's always been about functional testing," she said. "Let's make sure the software works and get it out the door." But concerns about how IoT works in the real world place new emphasis on nonfunctional types of testing, including performance and security, she said. That presents a career path for software testers who spot the opportunity. "QA pros should build up their resumes for nonfunctional testing skills."

Consensual Software: How to Prioritize User Safety

In the age of smart devices, IoT, and ever invasive advertisement practices, it becomes imperative that we build explicit consent into every feature that we build. What will happen if the next television ad asks Alexa to purchase twenty rolls of a certain brand of toilet paper every time the ad plays? What if Google Home plays ads for medication to a user who hasn’t told the rest of the family about their condition? What if Alexa outs a LGBTQ user to their family and puts them in danger? Or endangers a person trying to leave their abusive spouse by suggesting ads for self-defense classes and survival supplies based on their browser history? ... The easiest way to protect user privacy is to give users the information they need to make informed, consensual decisions to use our products and to not assume passive, implicit consent.

10 bad habits IT helpdesk professionals must break

"The biggest mistakes helpdesk professionals make is communicating with customers in ways that feels impersonal," said Jamie Domenici, VP of SMB marketing at Salesforce. "While it may be easier to use a script, or send a templated email when you are trying to respond to a customer quickly, the more work service teams put into building exceptional customer service experiences, the more they'll get out." While being polite is a must for a helpdesk professional, very formal language may alienate your client, said Eirini Kafourou, communications specialist at Megaventory. "We have noticed that the people who contact our customer support are usually feeling bad that they had to ask for help and try to ask as few questions as possible," she said. "Replying in a playful tone helps them relax and continue asking more, as if they had a friend helping them."

Quote for the day:

"It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through." -- Zig Ziglar

Daily Tech Digest - May 18, 2017

The Promises and Limitations of Big Data

Although many people claim we have entered the era of big data, research firms tell us that most collected information is never used. It sits uncleaned, unanalyzed, unused in databases.  But when data analytics is used successfully, organizations reap the benefits. Financial services firms are using digital information about their customers to offer them a whole new range of customized products under the category of fintech. Cities are using data from Google Street View to guide economic development. And companies are finding that in some cases machines can make better hiring decisions than humans. In these stories from our recent archives, Harvard Business School researchers outline the promises of big data—and the limitations of trying to harness data from a firehose.

Financial Institutions in the U.S. Are Falling Behind In The Innovation Arms Race

In contrast to the other regions, the main barrier to innovation for the Americas seems to be culture rather than IT systems or lack of funding. While regulation and compliance issues are more of a challenge in the U.S. than most other regions of the world, this challenge is less of an issue today than it was just a couple years ago. “Innovation is simply not in the DNA of most bankers,” explains Nicols. “They’ve been trained throughout their whole career to identify and avoid risks, and innovation is about taking small risks and failing fast and cheaply and learning from those mistakes to get to the right answer quickly.” Nicols continues, “Another challenge is analysis paralysis. Most banks have too many silos with conflicting agendas, and that makes it hard to actually put new ideas into action. ...”

8 “Simple” Guidelines For Data Projects

Countless data posts out there will tell you to do things like “harness the cloud” or “run experiments.” The vagueness of these posts is not helpful. You can’t “tip and trick” your way to a successful data product. You have to have the right mindset. I got frustrated reading these posts and decided to write my own, but one that’s not presented as collection of tips, tricks, or rules, but as guidelines. Following all of these doesn’t guarantee success, but they might be useful for you… What follows is a collection of things I have recently observed at client meetings and also during project work. This post is inspired by an excellent article by Martin Goodson, “Ten Ways Your Data Project is Going to Fail” and includes my personal views on many things I currently see in data projects

73% of enterprises will run almost entirely on SaaS by 2020

Enterprises are rapidly shifting to Software as a Service (SaaS), with the industry poised to generate more than $112.8 billion in revenue by 2019, according to IDC. Enterprises now use 16 SaaS apps on average—up 33% from last year, according to a new report from BetterCloud. And 73% of organizations said nearly all of their apps (more than 80%) will be SaaS by 2020. BetterCloud—which, it should be noted, provides SaaS management software—surveyed more than 1,800 IT professionals for their report. Some 38% of tech workers said their company is already running almost entirely on SaaS, and that they run 2.1x more SaaS apps than the average organization, the survey found. Tech professionals from these SaaS-focused companies are 52% more likely to say that the delivery model helps them attract better talent than the average workplace, BetterCloud found.

Promise and pitfalls in the application of big data to occupational and environmental health

Big data and data sharing have the potential to inform occupational and environmental health by exploiting innovations related to non-traditional data sources or providers and novel partnerships. Promising applications include real time analysis and forecasting, and innovative analyses of clinical trial or observational data originally collected for other purposes. However, in order to support these innovations, advances are also required in data curation, protection of privacy and security, as well as data analysis methods. Challenges related to messy and unrepresentative data and spurious findings, as well as epistemological issues and equity considerations must also be addressed.

Financial services firms advised to ditch private datacentres and invest in cloud

“Cloud computing has reached the tipping point as the capabilities, resiliency and security of services provided by cloud suppliers now exceed those of many on-premise datacentres,” the whitepaper stated. “The combination of technology commoditisation with the scale and competition from public cloud suppliers is driving the unit prices of computing, storage and network services towards zero. “This gap will continue to grow at an accelerated rate, leaving laggards in cloud adoption at increased risk from a resiliency and cost perspective,” it added. This shift has altered the way organisations talk about cloud over the course of the past decade, with conversations about the safety and security of using it giving way to discussions about how shunning the technology could negatively affect an organisation.

The Promise of Blockchain Is a World Without Middlemen

In a world without middle men, things get more efficient in unexpected ways. A 1% transaction fee may not seem like much, but down a 15-step supply chain, it adds up. These kinds of little frictions add just enough drag on the global economy that we’re forced to stick with short supply chains and deals done by the container load, because it’s simply too inefficient to have more links in the supply chain and to work with smaller transactions. The decentralization that blockchain provides would change that, which could have huge possible impacts for economies in the developing world. Any transformation which helps small businesses compete with giants will have major global effects. Blockchains support the formation of more complex value networks than can otherwise be supported.

Brainstation's Fintech Panel Says Retraining Key To Preparing For AI Disruption

What big FIs should really be thinking of is, “what core competencies can we not afford to outsource?” says Gene. Once you’ve answered this, the options actually extend far beyond ‘buy versus build’ into buying, building, buying-then-customizing, investing, partnering, and incubating. EQ Bank, for instance, is a small bank with limited budget, meaning that both “buy” and purely “build” are not really on the table, says Dickinson. However, what EQ does instead is build infrastructure that enables integrations with FinTech companies. Then they invest in companies building the technologies their customers need. “We focus on an ‘execute what the customer wants’ mentality,” says Dickinson. “which means that investments and partnerships are good strategies for us.” BMO feels the same way, says Gene, explaining that BMO has three FinTech incubators, including one in Toronto.

Interview: Mark Potter, CTO, HPE

“The Machine’s architecture lends itself to the intelligent edge,” he says. One of the trends in computing is that high-end technology eventually ends up in commodity products. A smartphone probably has more computational power than a vintage supercomputer. So Potter believes it is entirely feasible for HPC-level computing, as is the case in a modern supercomputer, to be used in IoT to process data generated by sensors locally. Consider machine learning and real-time processing in safety-critical applications. “As we get into machine learning, we will need to build core datacentre systems that can be pushed out to the edge [of the IoT network].” It would be dangerous and unacceptable to experience any kind of delay when computing safety-critical decisions in real time, such as for processing sensor data from an autonomous vehicle. “Today’s supercomputer-level systems will run autonomous vehicles,” says Potter.

If Software Eats Everything, Are Network Engineers On The Menu?

In-house networking teams will need to match the speed of public cloud providers in tasks like spinning up new virtual machines, Stanford professor David Cheriton said, echoing a concern users expressed in private interviews at the conference. "At some point, the CIO is going to ask, 'Why is it that it costs so much more and it takes so much longer to do this (ourselves)?,'" Cheriton said. SDN takes over configuration tasks that some network engineers have spent their careers doing manually, which has raised concerns about job security and what these technicians should do next. There are big changes afoot, panelists and participants said. Freed from configuring ports and routes, some network engineers are taking on higher tasks like designing better systems.

Quote for the day:

"Never let the fear of what other people think stop you from being yourself." -- Joubert Botha

Daily Tech Digest - May 17, 2017

Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services: Opportunities and Challenges

Considering the future, while we realize that AI can prove to be invaluable to the growth of the fin-tech sector, the machines won’t take over just yet. While they may replace humans in some areas of functioning and play the role of personal assistants and digital laborers, there are challenges like bias, privacy, trust, trained staff and regulatory concerns that continue to be a hurdle to be dealt with. Augmented Intelligence, in which machines assist humans in their system functions, could be the more plausible answer. Another key area where AI will continue to play a pivotal role will be in big data. Sifting through and analyzing thousands of pages of data is a burden and a waste of human resource and more and more of these machines will be used to perform advanced analytics of patterns and trends.

Are CEOs Less Ethical Than in the Past?

Confidence and trust in large corporations and CEOs have been declining for decades. But the decline has accelerated since the financial crisis of 2007–08, the Great Recession, and the slow recovery that ensued. Corporations and executives received government bailouts, while seeming to suffer little in the aftermath. Although many companies paid large fines and settlements, few were charged criminally, even in instances where unethical and illegal activity was widespread and well documented. Media attention has also focused more and more on corporate tax avoidance and the offshoring of jobs, as well as record-high rates of executive compensation and rising income inequality in general. Those are the areas that, although not illegal, do not promote goodwill.

Automated Machine Learning — A Paradigm Shift That Accelerates Data Scientist Productivity

There is a growing community around creating tools that automate the tasks outlined above, as well as other tasks that are part of the machine learning workflow. The paradigm that encapsulates this idea is often referred to as automated machine learning, which I will abbreviate as “AML” for the rest of this post. There is no universally agreed upon scope of AML, however the folks who routinely organize the AML workshop at the annual ICML conference define a reasonable scope on their website, which includes automating all of the repetitive tasks defined above. The scope of AML is ambitious, however, is it really effective? The answer is it depends on how you use it. Our view is that it is difficult to perform wholesale replacement of a data scientist with an AML framework

The war over artificial intelligence will be won with visual data

This battle will be won by owning the connected camera. The majority of the data our brains analyze is visual, and therefore the majority of the data needed for artificial intelligence to have human (or better than human) skills, will rely on the ability for computers to translate high quality visual data. One of the business sectors that will be revolutionized by artificial intelligence is e-commerce. The Amazon’s Echo Look is a smart stake in the ground for Amazon. Adding a camera to their Echo validates a prediction of mine from last year called the Internet of Eyes which enables all inanimate objects to see. Inanimate objects with cameras enable companies to own the first step in gathering the data for computer vision and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze.

What businesses are failing to see about AI

When machines take care of crunching data, conducting micro-analysis, and managing workflow, humans are free to focus on the bigger picture. Imagine a marketing team huddled around a table, plotting strategy. Right now, if they have a question, they might have to ask an analyst and wait hours or days for a response. In a few years, that team will be able to ask an AI chatbot and get an answer within seconds. That will allow them to brainstorm more productively. It’s still the humans’ job to come up with a brilliant marketing strategy — the robots just help them do it quicker. Or consider Kensho, a financial analytics AI system. According to a Harvard Business review, the program can answer 65 million possible question combinations — even off-the-wall ones like “Which cement stocks go up the most when a Category 3 hurricane hits Florida?”

Superintelligence: Myth or Pressing Reality?

All binary computers are literal at their core. Ultimately, they operate based solely on binary numbers, ones or zeros. Humans, endowed with true embedded neural networks with astounding connective complexity, tend to increasingly learn literate behavior. ... Humans are uniquely capable of ascribing specific amplifying context. This makes us capable of abstracting meaning to localized events and utterances that might otherwise be legitimately interpreted in myriad ways. These attributes of mind permit humans to form vast social networks, thus creating living societies and enduring cultures. This time-honored behavior tends to reinforce, grow, and replicate human intelligence. It underscores the essence of Type III AI. For example, the ability of a Type II AI self-driving car to adhere to navigation and physical rules of the road becomes secondary to the Type III AI that understands the reason for the trip. Here, theory of mind adjusts AI to meet a broader worldview.

How CISOs can answer difficult questions from CEOs

CEO: We hear all the time about bigger threats and greater urgency. How do we get security right for our organization – and for our customers?; CISO: Proactive engagement between key stakeholders before an incident occurs will ensure that the organization is able to respond quickly and effectively to modern cyber threats. In the end, what we mean when we say that it's really important to get security right is that we must lead by example. We can't do the same old thing. We can't tell customers that they need to get to the “next-gen paradigm shifts” if we aren't doing these things ourselves. We must think prevention first, reduce the attack surface within our own environments, augment with strong detect and disrupt capabilities, and we must continue to innovate in automating security into the business.

A guide on how to prevent ransomware

At its heart, ransomware is simply another form of a computer virus, albeit a very potent one. The methods it uses to infect a computer are the same ones other computer viruses employ. This article details several recommendations to help you in reducing the likelihood of future infection by ransomware, or indeed any other computer viruses or malware, against systems within your organisation. Note that each of these recommendations should be assessed for their applicability to your specific environment and you should conduct a thorough risk assessment to determine if the recommendations outlined in this document are suitable for your environment and are proportionate to the identified threat and risk. For ease of use the recommendations in this document have been divided into three categories and colour coded accordingly.

Machine learning in cybersecurity moves needle, doesn't negate threats

Only 6% of respondents said they're either not planning on or not interested in deploying these technologies. Forte said it's no surprise that the appetite for AI and machine learning in cybersecurity is strong. Tech vendors and their corporate clients are deploying these advanced technologies in a variety of functions within the enterprise, and starting to see returns on investment. He said early use cases show that these tools likewise have great potential in cyber defense, too. "There is a little bit of hype right now, but I think it's a promising hype," agreed Sebastian Hess, the immediate past CISO of Isabel Group, a Belgium-based financial firm. Hess listed the advantages that machine learning and AI platforms bring to cybersecurity.

Fog Orchestration for Internet of Things Services

Traditional Web-based service applications are deployed on servers within cloud data centers that are accessed by end devices such as tablets, smartphones, and desktop PCs. In contrast, IoT applications deployed within fog computing systems consist of the cloud, fog node, and “things,” as Figure 1 shows. In this context, a fog node is defined as equipment or middleware and is served as an agent that collects data from a set of sensors. This data is then transmitted to a centralized computing system that locally caches data and performs load balancing. Things include sensors and devices with built-in sensors. Similar to Web-based service applications, the cloud provisions centralized resource pools (compute, storage) to analyze collected data and automatically trigger decisions based on a predefined system logic.

Quote for the day:

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." -- Mark Twain

Daily Tech Digest - May 16, 2017

What are the key functions to look for in API management platforms?

One of the most important questions to ask when weighing the pros and cons of API management software is this: Why is one unified platform better than multiple, targeted tools? If your organization already has an established API, it's entirely possible that you have a piecemeal solution in place for API management. Documentation, testing, security and scalability are all big areas where individual tools exist. While using multiple API tools might feel like less of a commitment, they can often leave something to be desired. These tools may lack in how they integrate with each other, and how accessible they are to employees outside of the engineering team. So, when ultimately considering the purchase of an API management platform, what features should you actually consider? While this might seem like a pretty loaded question, the answer isn't nearly as complicated as you'd think.

5 ways to reduce insider security risks

Policies can be as straightforward as 'employees shouldn't have more access to confidential data than their current job requires' and then implementing a program to review access on a regular basis. Too often employees accumulate access rights that aren't revoked when they move to new projects. Firms often roll out a 'privileged account management' tool to control what their IT admins do, and then ignore the far reaching risks associated with non-privileged employees: the call center reps accessing customer records, contractors accessing finance records, partners accessing design docs, etc. Strong security policies will follow the 'Mini-Max' rule - minimize access where possible, maximize monitoring of that same access, for unusual patterns."

The ‘cobots’ are coming. Is your IT team ready?

Meet today's robot workforce. Manuel is a collaborative robot (or cobot) that's helping Creating Revolutions build electronic tabletop devices for the restaurant industry. The startup didn't always rely on a gunmetal grey robot arm to assemble its devices, which allow restaurant customers to text requests to busy wait staff. But faulty assembly was causing double-digit failure rates. "The problem is you can't efficiently repeat a specific process the exact same over and over again as a human being," says Einar Rosenberg, CIO of Creating Revolutions. With Manuel on the payroll, Creating Revolutions has reduced its product rejection rate to nearly zero. Changes to manufacturing processes can be made in real time for greater flexibility. And by cost-effectively increasing production rates, Creating Revolutions has managed to reduce its overhead by double digits.

Be proactive to minimize exposure to cyberattacks

Recommendations from Shelhart included blocking some commonly used remote access tools; investing in file integrity monitoring systems to validate operating systems and software; locking out or segmenting vendors, whose data systems may be more vulnerable than your own; reducing the lateral movement of data within a company without crimping essential communication; and not spending a lot on “silver bullet” tools that may not work as advertised.  Jeff Jensen, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor now with the Husch Blackwell law firm, described 10 components of how to respond if a breach occurs. They included quickly securing an information system before the damage spreads, complying with breach notification laws, calling in a digital forensic expert, checking what insurance coverage is in place or getting coverage if it’s not, and thinking through how to respond to press and other inquiries.

Warren Buffett’s cybersecurity wake-up call — are we listening?

he government needs to heed Uncle Warren’s warning and treat cybersecurity with the utmost urgency. Here are four steps the administration can take immediately to better protect the government and industries it regulates from cyber threats. ... There are encouraging signs this could happen. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Clayton — who had spent more than 20 years working for Wall Street companies on mergers, acquisitions and federal regulatory compliance — said he did not think public companies were providing investors with enough information about cybersecurity. He also told the Senate Banking Committee he supports a Senate bill that would require companies to disclose whether their board of directors have a cybersecurity expert.

Medical Device Security Focus in Recent NCCoE Collaboration

A tiered risk management approach will also benefit organizations, the guide states. This involves reviewing the organization, the mission/business process, as well as the information system – the environment of operation. “Vulnerabilities may be present in infusion pumps and their server components since these devices often include embedded operating systems on the endpoints,” NCCoE wrote. “Infusion pumps are designed to maintain a prolonged period of useful life, and, as such, may include system components (e.g., an embedded operating system) that may either reach end-of-life or reach a period of degraded updates prior to the infusion pump being retired from service. Patching and updating may become difficult over the course of time.”

More disruptions feared from cyber attack; Microsoft slams government secrecy

In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: The ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool, built by the U.S. National Security Agency, that leaked online in April. "This is an emerging pattern in 2017," Smith wrote. "We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world." He also poured fuel on a long-running debate over how government intelligence services should balance their desire to keep software flaws secret - in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare - against sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet.

Steps for Fortifying Your Organization’s Data in the Cyber War

The business of cyber war is changing and evolving rapidly. Through our direct engagements helping enterprises improve defenses and improve incident response we have seen direct evidence of how adversaries are evolving in their attacks. We can now view adversary actions in cyberspace as if it is a new, but evil, business market. The adversaries and their capabilities and actions have the same characteristics of actors in a business market and every executive should pay attention to how this horizontal is growing and changing. The evolution to a mature industry has started and will continue at an ever increasing pace as adversaries become more sophisticated. In the past, cyber attacks were aimed at single individuals- stealing your personal information for short-term gain.

Paying The WannaCry Ransom Will Probably Get You Nothing

"The odds of getting back their files decrypted is very small," said Vikram Thakur, technical director at security firm Symantec. "It's better for [the victims] to save their money and rebuild the affected computers." The WannaCry ransomware, also known as WanaDecryptor, broke out last Friday, infecting vulnerable Windows systems like a computer worm. More than 300,000 machines in 150 countries have been hit so far, U.S. homeland security advisor Tom Bossert said in a press briefing on Monday.The infection strikes by encrypting all the files on the PC and then displaying a ransom note demanding US$300 or $600 in bitcoin. Victims who don’t pay will have their files erased after seven days. Owners of these machines may be tempted to pay the ransom, but don’t count on getting your files back, said Matthew Hickey, director of security provider Hacker House.

Google moves Android out of the app and into the auto with Volvo, Audi partnerships

Drivers will not need to plug in an Android phone to access any of the system’s features, and car makers will have the ability to customize the controls, interface, and applications pre-loaded into the operating system, just like phone makers do. The version of the software that Bloomberg saw had “three main windows for users: a central panel for playing music, making calls and navigating; another with a grid of core car functions; and a third that lists installed Android apps. A button on the steering wheel and a voice command can activate the Google Assistant.” Google said it will be previewing the new Volvo and Audi Android Auto systems at I/O this week.

Quote for the day:

"When human judgment and big data intersect there are some funny things that happen." -- Nate Silver

Daily Tech Digest - May 14, 2017

Digitally transforming with the right cloud strategy

In recent years, a technological and material shift has led to customers seeking products and services that meet their specific, individual requirements. This has filtered through from the retail into the business community where many organisations are now looking to digital transformation as a means of offering the “single complete view of customer” that will allow them to hyper-personalise their interactions. In addition to implementing the data analytics that will provide the necessary insight, businesses must also take steps to “SaaSify” their products, and ensure their applications are supported by platforms sufficiently robust to cope with the peaks and troughs in demand that will come.

Are You Ready For The AI Revolution?

Developers have to anticipate numerous variables, program rules, and defined inputs to anticipate what users will say to machines and what machines may say (or do) in response. Consequently, AI conversation will not thrive until it can understand not just the words a person is using but also their underlying meaning. For example, someone speaking a dialect of southern U.S. English might ask a friend to “carry” her to the store. Any native speaker would know that this person is asking for a ride in the friend’s vehicle. Someone not familiar with this expression would certainly request a clarification. An effective AI system needs to possess enough awareness to be able to understand the intent of a question or a command or, at least, when to ask for clarification that will result in the desired action or outcome.

In Digital Transformation, Culture Change Goes Hand in Hand with Tech Change

The digital transformation effort then uses strategic education, mentoring, and specific activities (these might be hackathons, MOOCs, certification efforts, reverse mentoring, and #changeagents outreach) to proactively shift mindset across the organization and build the requisite digital skills and ideas. These include counter-intuitive notions that can be hard to otherwise learn: Designing advantageously for loss of control and using the intrinsic strengths of digital technology to change more rapidly and scale out faster. As the organization comes together and engages together on the change platform, it then generates the framework to identify their starting point and guide the ongoing process using rigorous measurement and action-taking, which are two other key success factors, though proactive communication remains the most important action to take.

5 new jobs of the robot generation

While some robots may be out to take our jobs, there’s a big skills gap in the AI-fueled services industry just waiting to be filled There will be two major drivers around the jobs of the future. The first will be what can be automated, and the second will be what level of comfort do we have for things being automated. However, far from the widespread fear that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will make human workers redundant, it seems people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of automation and AI in the workplace every day. Recent research conducted by Adecco Group reveals that many employees feel AI will have a positive impact in creating a future workplace with a myriad of opportunities for more flexible, rewarding work. So if our current roles in the workplace are set to be replaced, what will we be doing instead?

Apple acquires AI company Lattice Data, a specialist in unstructured ‘dark data’

What exactly is dark data? Our connected, digital world is producing data at an accelerated pace: there was 4.4 zettabytes of data in 2013 and that’s projected to grow to 44 zettabytes by 2020, and IBM estimates that 90 percent of the data in existence today was produced in the last two years. But between 70 percent and 80 percent of that data is unstructured — that is, “dark” — and therefore largely unusable when it comes to processing and analytics. Lattice uses machine learning to essentially put that data into order and to make it more usable. Think of it in terms of a jumble of data without labels, categorization or a sense of context — but with a certain latent value that could be unlocked with proper organization.

Implementing IoT Technology: 6 Things to Know Before You Start

Organizational and Cultural Changes Are Often Underestimated. This is the number one challenge we hear about when we talk to end-users who have implemented IoT projects and ask them about their biggest lessons learned. Take the German cleaning machine manufacturer Kärcher, for example. Their director of digital product, Friedrich Völker, mentioned that when they started rolling out their connected fleet management solution “our team had no experience in pitching software and virtual offerings to the customers. Rather than making a one-off sale, they are now in continued talks with the customer regarding the ongoing performance of the machine. This change in mindset, as well as the education of the sales team, takes time, and it is just one of many organizational challenges we are faced with.”

New Trends in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Data is anticipated to be the ruler of the digital world in the coming years. It is observed that the world’s data doubles every 18 months while the cost of cloud storage decreases at almost the same rate, which suggests that data will be available in abundance after a few years. This availability of high amount of data will open the doors of better and extensive machine learning experiments as well as deployment. With the use of the improved machine learning services we will be able to get a hold on more refined data. Ultimately the users of these services will increase which will give us more data. This data flywheel will keep on rolling and expanding. For instance, Tesla’s data flywheel is planning to release a self-driving car by 2018, and for that project they have collected a massive driving data of 780 million miles and are adding a new million within every tenth hour.

New Stanford biodegradable wearable takes your data to its grave

The need for biodegradable tech in an era when new gadgets are constantly being introduced and quickly discarded, causing tons of electronic waste, presented the key concern and main focus for the team of researchers who have shared this new device. ... Having a biodegradable wearable option presents an answer to the privacy problem that occurs when new devices are discarded in favor of new ones, hoping that the cautionary measures taken to erase old data are effective enough to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. The decomposing polymer that the device is made of ranks as one of the thinnest and lightest electronic gadgets that’s ever been made. The team has synthesized the biodegradable semiconductor by utilizing a molecule taken from tattoo ink, and has created a base by weaving plant fibers into a new, extra-thin film. Inside the structure are embedded electronics.

Towards the dynamic governance of digital assets

Systemic methodologies allow us to study systems, to model them, and to therefore use them as a communication vehicle. A systemic methodology that seems promising to apply to the governance of IT is the viable system approach, which focuses on active learning, adaptability, and control. This methodology is deemed useful for the understanding and governance of complex phenomena. Digital disruption is a major concern for many contemporary organizations, and provides challenges that, due to their digital nature, should ultimately be accounted for in the IT governance system. Failure to adapt to constantly-changing circumstances can be problematic for organizations, as was the case with Eastman Kodak. It is said that their collapse was primarily induced by their inability to keep up with technology change and digital disruption.

Understating value characteristics toward a robust IT governance application

IT systems and services procurement must be decided and approved, and the management should disclose the proper investments regarding infrastructure and competencies by confirming assigned responsibilities, ensuring appropriate ways and means, and having sufficient expertise to uphold and care for the IT schemes and systems Zhang & Harte, which are accompanied by a smart investment in workforce and proper IT-related human resource planning and recruitment, and a planned retention scheme of skilled IT staff. RM is documented in various learning studies such as in the study by Drucker as the critical essentials in manipulating the productivity and innovation in an organization, where it can be seen as the key activities to be implemented in the organization. RM entails performing risk awareness, risk understanding, and assessing the organizational desire for risk.

Quote for the day:

"Half of the harm done in this world is due to people who want to feel important." -- T.S. Eliot