Daily Tech Digest - January 10, 2017

U.S. intelligence agencies envision the world in 2035

The trends are global. Mega cities are sinking, about half of the world's aquifers are being bled dry, and in 20 years, half of the world's population will experience water shortages and in some places severe shortages, said Rod Schoonover, director of environment and natural resources, National Intelligence Council, at a webcast panel about the report. Capabilities and basic science will also exist for individuals to develop their own, do-it-yourself weapons of mass destruction, said Suzanne Fry, director of the Strategic Futures Group at the National Intelligence Council. These terrorists will operate with the goal of "bringing armageddon to everybody," she said.


8 Retail Technology Predictions For 2017

Shoppers opened their pocketbooks wide over the holidays in 2016, pushing retail growth estimates (the Wall Street Journal reported the fastest growth rate since 2005) and consumer confidence to new heights — with ecommerce a particular bright spot with over $110 billion in sales, according to Forrester Research. Technology contributed mightily to that retail success, at every stage and angle of the shopping journey, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online — from browsing, point-of-sale and shipping to checkout, supply chain, payments and much more. That won’t change in 2017, as top retailers have already long-planned their technology priorities for the coming year. Here, experts weigh in on some of their top technology prediction


Chaos Engineering

Over time, we realized that these activities share underlying themes that are subtler than simply “break things in production.” We also noticed that organizations such as Amazon,4 Google,4Microsoft,5 and Facebook6 were applying similar techniques to test their systems’ resilience. We believe that these activities form part of a discipline that's emerging in our industry; we call this discipline chaos engineering. specifically, chaos engineering involves experimenting on a distributed system to build con dence in its capability to withstand turbulent conditions in production. These conditions could be anything from a hardware failure, to an unexpected surge in client requests, to a malformed value in a runtime con guration parameter. Our experience has led us to determine principles of chaos engineering, which we elaborate on here.


Microservices or death: Diffusing the monolith time bomb

A change leader should first recognize that not everyone in their company is willing to accept change. Like it or not, there will always be two groups of developers in your organization: Those who embrace and drive change, and those who resist it at every turn. Competent and well-intentioned as this latter group may be, changing their attitude to follow the new microservices model is a cultural shift that must happen—and sooner rather than later. Often, this shift involves long, painful meetings, and sometimes even letting people go. Even Amazon, the poster child of service-oriented architecture, required a top-down directive from Jeff Bezos before turning the corner. The best way to overcome this is “leading by example” by having those early adopters roll out a few microservices and show that they are indeed easier to operate and develop than monoliths.


Convergence of mobile, payments and security in 2017

Most enterprises have focused on data breach protection measures with varying degrees of success, sometimes accepting calculated risks as attacks tended to primarily yield payment card information. However, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting PII with the intent to steal and monetize identities. With connected applications and devices – such as connected home, car, medical devices and more – there is a dawning realization that a security breach can cause physical harm to the individual person. Here too a data-centric approach to protecting sensitive data at the data level mitigates risk and neutralizes the effects of a cyberattack. At the same time, there is increasing focus on just how much data privacy consumers are knowingly and unknowingly giving up with today’s technologies.


The Need for Better Cybersecurity Prioritization Metrics

Clearly, a lot of time has been spent by various organizations to come up with 10,000’s of controls. However, anyone who has tried to implement cybersecurity across an organization has likely experienced that there are too many topics to cover and there are no good sources to explain what the top areas to focus on should be. In fact, many players in the cybersecurity industry’s “marketing machine” spend considerable effort to sell customers on one kind of product or another without really helping them with overall prioritizing. Customers can only do a few things. “I only have time to do the top 10 – but what are those?!” In order to figure out what those top 10 are for a customer’s organization, we as the defender ecosystem need generally accepted structure and metrics.


Bots may send your liability risk soaring

Consider a typical fintech company, a bank. It uses a bot to cover the most commonly asked retirement fund questions, but someone programmed the wrong answer into the system. Let’s assume that the error causes a customer to miss a key deadline, which causes that customer to have an opportunity-loss of a lot of money. If this matter goes to litigation and a jury or judge is deciding an appropriate resolution, will they view this differently than if an associate gave that wrong answer?  Let’s say that the human associate is a 22-year-old with just one week on the job. A jury might decide that her error was deserving of some leeway. The same jury might take a completely different view if the error resulted from code that was written, reviewed and approved at multiple levels — including two people in the Legal department — over several months.


Microsoft's Dropped A Huge Windows 10 Preview Build 15002

Windows 10's Creators Update is due early this year, and Microsoft served up what you might call a hearty appetizer Monday morning: its massive Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15002, with so many improvements that we’ve broken out the back-end ones, which include pauseable updates, app throttling and even a new Green Screen of Death, into a separate article. Build 15002 is being released for the PC only, as part of the Fast Ring of Insider builds. Be aware of a few bugs: Miracast connections won’t work, and the Netflix app probably won’t render video (instead, use Edge). Why this matters: Microsoft didn’t specifically mention the Creators’ Update in the context of the new build, but this truckload of features has certainly been added with that update in mind. All of this will probably arrive on non-Insider PCs later this spring.


Adding Purpose to Scrum with Holacracy

Scrum is typically implemented in hierarchical organisations and often only applies to organising the work at the level of one or more teams. Above and around the Scrum teams everyone still works in a hierarchical style and the team is therefore limited in authority and autonomy. As Agile coaches we implement Scrum and give teams a great tool to organise their work, only to find that they are still limited by the hierarchical systems around them. Holacracy helps us govern our organisations and completely replaces the hierarchical systems. It helps us coming up with clear purposes and lets us evolve our organisation around that. Holacracy also has tools for getting work done, but in my experience Scrum is more suited for day-to-day cooperation within teams. Scrum offers concrete tools for visualisation, communication, setting goals, prioritising work, etc.


90 Percent of IT Pros Worry About Password Reuse

Ninety percent of enterprise IT professionals are concerned that employee reuse of personal credentials for work purposes could compromise enterprise security, according to the results of a recent Gemalto survey of 1,150 IT professionals worldwide. At the same time, 68 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable allowing employees to use their social media credentials on company resources. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they're facing increasing pressure to implement the same types of authentication methods typically seen in consumer services, such as fingerprint scanning and iris recognition, and 63 percent said they believe security methods designed for consumers provide sufficient protection for enterprises. In fact, 52 percent of respondents expect consumer and enterprise security methods to merge entirely within the next three years.



Quote for the day:


"If you command wisely, you'll be obeyed cheerfully." -- Thomas Fuller