September 03, 2014

Privacy laws create obstacles for e-discovery in the cloud
In many countries outside the United States -- and increasingly inside the [U.S.] within specific industries such as healthcare and financial services -- national laws are protecting how personally identifiable information such as our name, our address, our health condition or our banking history is collected and used. Generally, those laws have a restriction that personally identifiable information cannot cross national borders unless the receiving location or entity can provide assurances that the interests for persons for whom the data is relevant are being protected.

Building Lambda Architecture with Spark Streaming
Spark is well known as a framework for machine learning, but it is also quite capable for ETL tasks, as well. Spark has clean and easy-to-use APIs (far more readable and with less boilerplate code than MapReduce), and its REPL interface allows for fast prototyping of logic with business users. Obviously, no one complains when the aggregates execute significantly faster than they would with MapReduce. But the biggest advantage Spark gave us in this case was Spark Streaming, which allowed us to re-use the same aggregates we wrote for our batch application on a real-time data stream.

Top 10 Ways In-Memory Computing Can Revitalize Tech at Federal Agencies
With IT experts agreeing that RAM is the new disk, in-memory computing is being seen as the secret to cost-effective modernization. As a result, more and more organizations are moving data into machine memory and out of disk-based stores and remote relational databases. While still more prevalent in the commercial sector, the public sector is rapidly learning that if data resides right where it’s used – in the core processing unit where the application runs – several benefits arise. Below are the top 10 reasons why federal agencies are embracing in-memory computing:

When It Comes to Innovation, Small Ideas Can Mean Big Wins
A common criticism of big companies, regulated companies, and companies with “traditional” cultures is that they move slower than a snail crawling through peanut butter. Government compliance and accounting for the widespread impacts of an idea are necessary steps in the innovation process. Necessary or not, these steps are time-consuming and frustrating for employees and partners trying to push fresh ideas forward. Employees interpret the meetings and approvals as a fear of innovation among executives. When things don’t move fast enough, team members give up and stop suggesting ideas all together.

Insurers will now be able to track driver behavior via smartphones
A new usage-based insurance (UBI) software platform will allow companies to track drivers' behavior through smartphone sensors and geolocation services. Agero, one of the nation's largest suppliers of roadside safety software and services to automakers and insurance companies, said its new UBI telematics suite will transmit to insurers the information needed to offer discounts to good drivers, penalize others, and send alerts to emergency assistance service providers.

IT jobs' big threat: Robots, automation; The solution: More humanity
A survey that went along with ZDNet's special report on IT jobs found that 59 percent of technology workers worried that their skills would become obsolete. Mainframe programmers, systems admins, help desk technicians and small business IT managers are becoming obsolete. Systems admins are likely to be automated in the future. Data scientists, IT architects, mobile software developers and security analysts are in demand. It's unclear how many workers that are out of demand can be morphed into ones that are coveted.

Google says Android Wear about to get even smarter
One of the things we're going to be able to do is add the ability for these devices to start working with some of the other devices you might wear on your body. So we'll have an update coming that allows you to pair a Bluetooth headset with your watch. And that means you can play music stored on your watch directly on your Bluetooth headset. Alongside that, we're introducing GPS support for the platform. So that's obviously only for devices that have the GPS hardware. But we're excited about those two features together because it unlocks a whole set of new use cases.

Cloud economics subject to business drivers, customer perception
"It's always perception that we're battling, right?" Nustad said. "If a client perceives for any reason that there's less security, it's not worth the hassle to try to dissuade them, because it's always going to be a 'gotcha' if something does go bump in the night, God forbid." Cloud-based business applications, however, are another story. "It's pretty easy to get a Salesforce, Silkroad, a Red Carpet … that are tuned to what the business team needs," she said. Indeed, HMS' use of SaaS predates her tenure, Nustad said, noting that these apps are now mature enough to either meet or beat any on-premises solutions she could come up with -- and they save her maintenance costs.

Agile Business Intelligence: Leaving the Comfort Zone
Agile methods, whether adhered to strictly or more in spirit, can provide a framework and road map for business and IT to improve collaboration. "Managing Agile BI for the Enterprise" is the theme of the TDWI World Conference coming up in San Diego (September 21-26, 2014). Many organizations today are seeking to replace waterfall development with iterative approaches that involve closer, ongoing partnerships between business and IT professionals. Agile approaches have enabled organizations to accelerate the pace of projects, apply shared best practices, consolidate siloed efforts, and continuously improve quality.

Hackers make drive-by attacks stealthier with fileless infections
Fileless malware threats are not new, but their use is rare, especially in large scale attacks, because they don't persist across system reboots when random access memory (RAM) is cleared. In a typical drive-by download attack the victims visit a compromised website that redirects their browsers to an attack page -- usually an exploit kit's landing page. The exploit kit scans browsers for outdated versions of Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Java or Microsoft Silverlight and tries to exploit known vulnerabilities in those plug-ins to install malware.

Quote for the day:

"A great man is one who can have power and not abuse it." -- Henry L. Doherty

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