Daily Tech Digest - July 18, 2017

Why automation isn’t everything in cybersecurity

Some new generation solutions are purely focused on AI and machine learning. The promise is you turn it on in your environment and after a few days of the system learning on its own, it will be able to detect all the bad stuff. However, these systems suffer from a fatal flaw: missing the business context, adaptability and explainability needed to be truly effective. What do human analysts know better than any system or, more importantly, any intruder? They know their own environment and the enterprise context, as well as having an intuition about how their system operates and what is normal versus what is questionable. Humans also adapt quickly to fast changing conditions and can always explain why they did something. On the other hand, humans cannot scale and could struggle with mistakes and inconsistencies. Machines, as we know, are exponentially faster and consistent.


NEC claims new vector processor speeds data processing 50-fold

The company said its vector processor, called the Aurora Vector Engine, leverages “sparse matrix” data structures to accelerate processor performance in executing machine learning tasks. Vector-based computers are basically supercomputers built specifically to handle large scientific and engineering calculations. Cray used to build them in previous decades before shifting to x86 processors.  It fell out of favor as x86 closed the performance gap, but NEC has a series of supercomputers called SX that really up the ante. Each CPU in the new generation, SX-ACE, can crank out 256 gigaFLOPs of performance and address 1TB of memory, which is pretty powerful.  NEC said it also developed middleware incorporating sparse matrix structures to simplify machine-learning tasks.


How To Create An Effective Business Continuity Plan

Because restoring IT is critical for most companies, numerous disaster recovery solutions are available. You can rely on IT to implement those solutions. But what about the rest of your business functions? Your company's future depends on your people and processes. ... "There's an increase in consumer and regulatory expectations for security today," says Lorraine O'Donnell, global head of business continuity at Experian. "Organizations must understand the processes within the business and the impact of the loss of these processes over time. These losses can be financial, legal, reputational and regulatory. The risk of having an organization's "license to operate" withdrawn by a regulator or having conditions applied (retrospectively or prospectively) can adversely affect market value and consumer confidence. Build your recovery strategy around the allowable downtime for these processes."


Amazon Alexa is so smart it's stupid

Today, Alexa skills are somewhat like obscure command line directives: “Alexa, ask the Magic 8-Ball if I’ll ever remember any of these skills.” Amazon has built intelligence into Alexa that makes it easy for me to use Amazon services (e.g., buy replacement air filters, play Audible books, etc.) but has left much of the skills territory to third-party developers. This would be awesome if, as mentioned, it were easier to uncover these skills. But wait, you say, there’s a website devoted to helping you find new and exciting Alexa skills. That’s correct. Not only to discover but then enable a new skill—Alexa skills nearly always require enablement and then a special set of voice commands to trigger them—you have to visit a website. It’s a voice interface that requires you to type into a desktop web interface. Kinda silly, don’t you think?


Who controls the marketing tech stack in 2017: The CIO or CMO?

In an earlier era, one simply had to go through the IT department to get the technology one needed that would actually work with the existing infrastructure, technology standards, and enterprise architecture. No longer. The cloud and especially software-as-a-service (SaaS), has changed this equation forever. Every IT department is now faced with the most formidable possible day-to-day competitor: The combined services inventory of the entire SaaS industry, along with all the available mobile and enterprise app stores. These new sources of marketing IT collectively represent to the CMO -- as marketing technology tracker Scott Brinker has noted in his terrific industry analysis -- a genuine explosion of new options, going from a mere 150 business-ready marketing apps in 2011 to over an astonishing 3,500 in 2016.


'Absolutely Necessary': How Blockchain Could Help Tech Giant Cisco Reboot

It turns out, not only is Cisco exploring how to distribute identity to simplify employee logins across more than 20 of the company's subsidiaries, but that Cisco's customers themselves may someday use the service to better audit the transactions of suppliers. According to Greenfield, many database standards still have difficulty recognizing that a subsidiary is actually part of a parent company, making it hard to track who conducted which transactions and under whose authority. "We wanted to create a blockchain ID use case that uses the different APIs across these different organizations, and internal applications to establish one identity for internal users," he said. "But also customers as well, where it’s going to be easier to perform analysis."


3 compliance considerations for containerized environments

Instead of going to an operations team to get an app up and running, developers often build and deploy it themselves This means that many of the traditional workflows that organizations used to check for compliance before deploying new systems may no longer be in the loop. For example, in the past your operations team may have been responsible for ensuring PCI compliance before your retail app was updated. In a model in which the dev team can push that upgrade directly to production themselves, that manual check adds friction and delays to the process, if it happens at all.  Rather than relying on manual interaction, organizations can benefit from tools that integrate directly with the workflow and stress efficiency and prevention, rather than manual tasks and reaction.


Painlessly Migrating to Java Jigsaw Modules - a Case Study

The feature you’ll hear most about in the context of Java 9 is Project Jigsaw, the introduction of modules to Java. There are lots of tutorials and articles on exactly what this is or how it works, this article will cover how you can migrate your existing code to use the new Java Platform Module System. Many developers are surprised to learn that they don’t have to add modularity to their own code in order to use Java 9. The encapsulation of internal APIs is probably one of the features that concerns developers when considering Java 9, but just because that part of Jigsaw may impact developers does not mean that developers need to fully embrace modularity in order to make use of Java 9. If you do wish to take advantage of the Java Platform Module System (JPMS), there are tools to help you, for example the jdeps dependency analyzer, the Java compiler and your own IDE.


The 5 Fundamentals Of Effective Cloud Management

“A big mistake that many companies make is that they treat, particularly public cloud service, as though it is cable service, where you use it every month and pay a bill at the end of the month,” says Dennis Smith, a Gartner analyst who tracks the cloud management space. “Many find they’re spending more money than they did before [using their on-premises service]. Public cloud providers aren’t going to tell you there are more efficient ways of using their services. You need to manage it similar to the way you’d manage on-premises infrastructure." CIOs need to learn to manage those cloud systems with regard to cost, capacity planning, security and other conditions. That need has spawned a modest but growing market for cloud management tools, which companies use to apply policy to as well as automate and orchestrate across public and private cloud services in a uniform way, according to Smith.


How to sell to the CIO

There is good news: IT sales teams who develop a proactive, personal approach to CIOs can get a permanent foot in the door. Yet there's no room for complacency once a contract is signed. Proactivity must also extend to ongoing account management, which can be a merry-go-round. CIOs suggest salespeople tend to move accounts regularly, often as an IT leader has got used to a manager and the individual in question has begun to understand the demands of the CIO and his or her business. "The churn risk is huge," says interim CIO and consultant Toby Clarke, who adds that consistency will be rewarded. "The companies I've brought products from tend to have longevity in their account management team. It shows me that they have faith in the stuff they're selling because they're still working for the company."



Quote for the day:


"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday's logic." -- Peter Drucker