April 17, 2015

Cyber extortion: A growth industry
Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk, also said in her experience, cyber extortionists have kept their side of the deal. She said for most of her clients, it comes down to a business decision. “I have seen IT guys say, ‘No way, we aren't negotiating or paying a dime,’” she said. “But then the CFO or another C-suite executive gets involved, evaluates the amount of money requested, and says it is a no-brainer: They are going to pay and keep the business running. It would cost more to have the system down.” Of course, not all extortionists are so “honorable”. According to Saengphaibul, “if you look hard enough, you’ll find numerous victims experiences showing hackers not upholding their end of the deal by not unlocking computers after ransom is paid.”

How To Build Better Products by Building Stronger Teams
So what is “great culture?” Too often, the visible trappings of culture -- free food, free drinks, yoga classes, Aeron chairs, video games, office Nerf guns -- are equated with culture, but this is a mistake. Yes, a lot of companies, especially in the technology business, are offering these things,, and they are great, but they have nothing to do with culture. Culture is how we talk, work, organize, win, and lose together. It is not something that you can pinpoint, but that leads to happier, more productive employees. All the free food and office perks in the world are useless if people feel afraid of failure, trapped in a rigid hierarchy, or that their employer values profits over people.

How one company is using artificial intelligence to develop a cure for cancer
Thanks to partnerships formed with universities, hospitals, and even the U.S. Department of Defense, Berg and its supercomputers have been able to analyze thousands of patient records and tissue samples to find possible new drug targets and biomarkers. All this data crunching has led to the development of Berg’s first drug, BPM 31510, which is in clinical trials. The drug acts by essentially reprogramming the metabolism of cancer cells, re-teaching them to undergo apoptosis, or cell death. In doing so, the cancer cells die off naturally, without the need for harmful and expensive chemotherapy.

Big data is easier than ever with Google Cloud Dataflow
Big data applications can provide extremely valuable insights, but extracting that value often demands high overhead – including significant deployment, tuning, and operational effort – diverse systems, and programming models. As a result, work other than the actual programming and data analysis dominates the time needed to build and maintain a big data application. The industry has come to accept these pains and inefficiencies as an unavoidable cost of doing business. We believe you deserve better. In Google’s systems infrastructure team, we’ve been tackling challenging big data problems for more than a decade and are well aware of the difference that simple yet powerful data processing tools make. We have translated our experience from MapReduce, FlumeJava, and MillWheel into a single product, Google Cloud Dataflow.

What's the real key to building a great tech team?
"Successful IT management is all about the people," he says, suggesting CIOs must understand the motivations of individuals both inside and outside the workplace. "I personally spend fifteen minutes with everyone that's about to join the organisation - and that's before we make an offer. Whether it's a help desk employee or an infrastructure director, it's crucial that I understand what they're like as an individual and what their interests are, and not just what they're like in a workplace," he says. Harley says his checks help ensure the HR team have explained to candidates the nature of the role and the likely pressures. "We're a very driven organisation and we're very busy. So, I reinforce that message. I want people to be resilient. People need to be a good fit culturally," he says.

IT's cloud security concerns do not correlate to actual failures
But in reality, cloud security is much different than what these surveys indicate. Indeed, the larger cloud service providers are doing a good job. Because cloud computing is still a fairly new technology, the providers use current approaches and mechanisms, such as identity-based security and advanced encryption for data at rest and in flight -- mechanisms many enterprises don't use internally. I suspect that most of the worries are driven by the natural fear that comes from not having direct control over your systems and data. To adopt the cloud, you must put your trust in other organizations. The cloud providers perhaps have not done a great job of explaining their true competence when it comes to security.

Why businesses need self-service business intelligence
Self-service business intelligence is not just for business leaders. Rather than limit access to data to senior management, organisations are finding it is crucial to properly equip all employees with intelligence they can act on. This is particularly so for small to medium sized businesses, where investing in larger enterprise level solutions that require multiple resources may not be a viable option. For small companies where employees wear many hats, to the largest of enterprises, it’s about making data analytics fit simply into the day-to-day. Rather than data belonging to IT, it’s about real people in business, who understand the topic and the environment, using data to get insight that’s actionable, and will positively impact their bottom line.

Business Rewritten By IT: A Mass Requirement for Automation
The disruptive impact that IT has had on almost every business can be traced back to its ability to deliver on those principles – efficiency, agility, better products. IT-led businesses must be agile in order to disrupt slow-moving market leaders and take advantage of the business opportunity differentiation offers. Technology-driven startups have to be efficient so they can battle with the balance sheets of the Fortune 500. (These balance sheets and huge investments often are in parallel to lethargy in reacting to the changing business landscape). IT-driven companies must be able to deliver ultimately better solutions to spark such dramatic market change in a relatively short period of time, and to drive businesses to incorporate IT into their offerings and infrastructures.

Big Data Processing with Apache Spark - Part 2: Spark SQL
Spark SQL, part of Apache Spark big data framework, is used for structured data processing and allows running SQL like queries on Spark data. We can perform ETL on the data from different formats like JSON, Parquet, Database) and then run ad-hoc querying. In this second installment of the article series, we'll look at the Spark SQL library, how it can be used for executing SQL queries against the data stored in batch files, JSON data sets, or Hive data stores. Spark 1.3 is the latest version of the big data framework which was released last month. Prior to this version, Spark SQL module has been in an “Alpha” status but now the team has removed that label from the library.

Quote for the day:

"Leading by example yields loyalty, leading by position yields frustration." -- @RichMcCourt

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