Daily Tech Digest - December 21, 2017

AI Bot
In essence, AI has made it possible for customer service teams to focus more squarely on addressing and resolving customer needs through the automation of information gathering and other simple processes. ... The time savings alone means they can help more customers get the answers they need. That’s the ultimate end goal. Here’s something else to think about – and this goes against the beliefs of skeptics suggesting that AI will eventually replace humans altogether (which is just not reality). As intelligent as machine learning can be, it serves a very specific purpose today: to make humans more effective. AI is not and, in my humble opinion, will never be a full replacement for humans within a brand’s business, customer service operations, or otherwise. There are just certain things that humans can do that technology can’t. For all the efficiencies that AI and bots bring to the digital customer experience, there’s nothing that can ever replace a real “human touch,” especially in high-stress or complex situations.

 Technical Capacity Is The Biggest Challenge for Building Smart Cities

Elaborating further on the technology side of the whole story of Smart Cities, Kunal Kumar, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation said, “The more advanced technologies like AI and machine learning are the tech capabilities which need to be enhanced. I believe that we should urgently come up with a Smart Cities academy where engineers and officers are trained to think and work on completely different paradigms.”  Kumar goes on to include that Innovation hubs are also required in every state and city where local entrepreneurs, startups and other industry partners get to come and experience what is required by these cities. "innovation hubs for entrepreneurs and industry partners can help them start rolling out their research and development accordingly. It is very important that we do this virtually as well as it is already performed on physical platforms."

Six Cybersecurity Predictions for The Year Ahead

In the year ahead, we’ll continue to see a distinct lack of in-house cloud expertise resulting in security troubles for many organizations. While cloud providers offer adequately secure platforms, users still have a responsibility to ensure they are doing their part toward securing their data in the cloud. This includes monitoring for security threats within the cloud environment, and equally ensuring cloud environments are properly configured. But, many IT and security professionals aren’t aware of their role in cloud security, or are aware but don’t know the best way to execute on their responsibilities. There have been countless cases in 2017 whereby enterprises have left private information publicly exposed, which has resulted in huge breaches. While most resulted from a failure to properly secure Amazon Web Services buckets, this is not the only cloud vulnerability. For example, many people also found that their information was shared publicly via Microsoft’s docs.com service.

Fintech Disruptors Warn: ‘You Can’t Use Past Solutions to Fix Future Problems’

The biggest challenge may be “how do we avoid using past solutions to solve future problems?” So, when we designed our solution, we really didn’t pull in any lenders. We didn’t want their perspective, because we knew we had to innovate something that wasn’t in the marketplace, and so we had to set ourselves up for success and just say “let’s not create any barriers or boundaries on how we want to deliver this.” We just had to understand the market need, and what was being delivered out there today, and make sure whatever we did surpassed that. ... We are a cloud solution provider, and that was somewhat challenging at the beginning – working with FIs that were not necessarily comfortable with the cloud. From the early stages, we decided to take on security and have been PCI certified for seven years. I think the industry has seen a shift, where financial institutions are now recognizing the benefits in working with cloud providers.

Frugal Innovation: Doing More With Less

Frugal innovation is at its core a mindset and hence can be, and should be, applied to each stage and various practices in the SDLC. In my firm, The Cobalt Partners, we work primarily in Africa, with clients who are often doing work where their customers earn and live on less than $1 a day, or where our clients simply have very limited budgets. We ask and answer the hard questions to develop a skinny form of the SDLC we’ve typically used in the developed world. How do we do this without pair-programming (!) since human resources are one of the most expensive? How do we reuse open source components? How do we effectively understand the context … is our design thinking phase well-executed? Who has to maintain this software afterwards? In fact, we provide hosting services in addition to software engineering services for over half our clients since many of our clients do not have staff who can provide or adequately advise them on local and cost-effective hosting solutions.

Financial Markets Regulatory Outlook 2018

Our first theme examines industry’s efforts to “get over the line” in terms of compliance. Our second theme is Brexit, and we set out what industry will need to do against a backdrop of political and regulatory uncertainty. Third, we look at the business model challenges posed by the macro-economic environment, competition initiatives, and regulatory change. Fourth, we examine whether and how industry efforts to utilise customer data in novel ways can be reconciled with new data protection rules and supervisory expectations of the fair treatment of customers. Fifth, we observe significantly higher supervisory expectations and approaches regarding the treatment of vulnerable customers. Sixth, we consider the ever-present threat posed by cyber attacks, and the increasing supervisory emphasis on cyber resilience. Last, but not least, we assess the evolving landscape for model risk management in an environment in which a large proportion of assets in the financial system

Ransomware of IoT will become a new security nightmare in 2018

Ransomware of IoT will become a new security nightmare in 2018
The impact of ransomware on smart devices extends well beyond a criminal simply preventing a user from being able to access the data on their devices – it could also interfere with the functionality of the device itself, a situation that can have real, and potentially dangerous, physical implications. For example, ransomware that infects a smart thermostat could potentially turn up the heating to full in the middle of summer, or turn it off completely in the winter unless a ransom is paid. While this might be only an annoyance for most people, it could prove harmful to some vulnerable victims. An infected smart lock could lock people in or out of their houses, or remain permanently open, allowing full access to a victim’s home and belongings. Infection of smart fridges, smart bulbs, or any number of smart devices in a home, could also cause disruption.

Why Cisco, McAfee Say Security Vendors Must Share Threat Intel to Beat the Baddies

Why Cisco, McAfee Say Security Vendors Must Share Threat Intel to Beat the Baddies
It differentiates the group from traditional Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) or Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs), said CTA President Michael Daniel. Prior to joining the CTA he served as special assistant to President Obama and cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council. Traditional threat sharing groups usually have low participation rates. They also don’t share information on a real-time basis or provide context. The CTA, on the other hand, requires members to submit a daily minimum. It uses a scoring algorithm to reward quantity, quality, and speed of submission. “We say you have to submit on average 10,000 points worth of intelligence per day,” Daniel said. “We weigh context and timeliness very highly. Don’t just tell me this is a bad binary, tell me what malware family it’s part of, what stage in the kill chain you think this belongs to, do you think this is a criminal or a nation state?”

Juniper brings AI bots to intent-based networks

Juniper brings AI bots to intent-based networks
It’s fair to say that all the great advancements the industry has seen in networking over the past few years — which includes the shift to software, increased adoption of white boxes, new operating systems, and the shift to software models — have enabled us to do so much more with our networks. But they have also increased the complexity of running a network. The shift to the cloud has also raised the importance of the network, as we are now literally connecting everything to the network. Businesses have had to hire more people with new skill sets just to maintain the status quo. Automation is something that network professionals seem more open to today than they did just a few years ago, but what to automate and how remains somewhat of a mystery. At the event, Juniper provided a data point from its research that found 43 percent of respondents said a lack of internal education and skills are preventing the use of network automation.

Security Worries? Let Policies Automate the Right Thing

In fact, most security breaches and system failures are the result of people not operating systems correctly. They forget to do something or give themselves permission to do an action, then leave that permission open so that bad actors can take advantage of it. These missteps could be avoided by a security approach that automatically directs, guides, or encourages system operators to do the right thing or blocks them from doing bad things. It is an enlightened security leader who prioritizes and budgets for this kind of security policy enforcement; without active and automated enforcement of policy, the breaches keep coming, costs keep rising, and heads keep rolling. To draw an analogy from the parenting world, the dominant security model today is the equivalent of raising kids only by punishing them when they do bad. A more effective approach is to encourage kids when they do the right thing — thereby building a decision-making framework in their frontal cortex that will override bad behavior. 

Quote for the day:

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." -- Marcus Aurelius