July 08, 2015

7 Ways To Kill Data Center Efficiency
While it's impossible to approach system utilizations of near 100% or make sure that every device that is powered on is actually serving a purpose, there's plenty of room for improvement. For example, some of the servers identified in the report as comatose are likely to be servers that are set up as hot-standby or disaster recovery systems in case there is a failure. If that's the case, does the system truly need to be in a hot-standby mode or would a cold/warm standby mode be more cost-efficient and provide nearly the same amount of redundancy? Here are seven ways you can identify -- and resolve -- data center inefficiencies. If you have your own theories on why inefficiencies occur or how to resolve or prevent them, tell us in the comments section below.

10 compelling reasons to consider open source for your enterprise storage needs
Enterprise needs are a different beast from those of SMBs. Few areas define this as clearly as storage. Instead of storing a few hundred gigabytes, you're looking at terabytes and maybe even petabytes. Failover, redundancy, security, backups—all essential when it comes to enterprise storage. You might think the only viable solutions for such tasks are proprietary solutions. Fortunately, for businesses and those working within them, that assumption is incorrect. Open source has come a long way and now powers the backbone of enterprise computing—and that includes storage. Don't believe me? Take a look at the following 10 reasons why open source could be the right storage solution for your organization.

Why E-wallets may be the new headache for banks after bad loans
"According to me, banks launching ewallets is a really bad idea because technically when a banks already holds my account it already has a wallet,'' says Amrish Rau, MD and CEO of Citrus Payment, which has applied for a payments bank licence. "They are trying to circumvent the second factor authentication by putting up a wallet. If you think of it calmly what does a wallet do? A wallet holds money, as do bank accounts. But they are enamoured by the world of wallets." Still, banks cannot afford to be complacent. In advanced markets, technological developments are reshaping the way banking is done. In the UK, one bank will have no premises for a customer to walk in and seek drafts, transfers, or even payments. Atom Bank is the first UK bank to provide banking services only through apps.

How Companies Can Improve Recruitment And Engagement With Gamification
While gamification can have a tremendous impact on how you identify and hire people, it can be just as powerful—if not more so—as a tool for keeping them engaged after they’ve been hired. Engagement has become a hot topic today, with Gallup reporting that nearly 70% of U.S. employees overall (and more than 70% of Millennials specifically) are not engaged employees, which the polling company defines as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” Given that ADP estimates that the cost to a company of just one disengaged employee is more than $2,200 a year, it’s no wonder businesses are looking for ways to encourage employee engagement.

Competitive Disruption and Cybersecurity Beyond the Buzz
The security of products and services is a key element of the overall security of cyber-physical systems, but a number of things are affecting organizations’ ability to put in place a solid digital defense system. These include an expanded attack surface, inefficiencies in the development process, a weak security architecture of the entire system, lack of specialized security skill sets, and insufficient use of third-party support. Securing a cyber-physical system is a challenge, because of its multiple points of vulnerability. These include the products and the services involved, the embedded software and the data residing within, plus the data aggregation platform, the data centers used for analysis, and of course, the communication channels.

New Top-Level Domain Drives Thousands of Sign-ups
“By signing up for a .BANK domain, financial institutions are taking a clear step to ensure customers’ sensitive information receives an added layer of protection from cyber attacks,” FSR explained in a recent news release. “The award and use of a .BANK domain shows that the institution is a verified member of the banking community and upholds the strict standards of the .BANK community. These requirements go significantly further to protect consumer information than most commonly-used domains.” The groups aren’t trying to get ahead of themselves, however. “This is a marathon,” Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy, told American Banker. “It clearly isn’t a sprint.”

CIOs Rethink the IT Department
Technological changes and demographic forces are reshaping government IT departments. After delaying retirement plans during the recession, a large chunk of the public-sector IT workforce is once again poised to ride off into the sunset. ... At the same time, an improving employment market for skilled technology workers makes it tougher for government agencies to hire qualified replacements. With competition for tech talent heating up, agencies struggle to match private-sector salaries, office environments, schedule flexibility and other factors. It's little wonder that state and local CIOs consistently rank hiring and retaining skilled IT staff as a top concern.

Implementing Agile Delivery for Non-Software IT Projects
Needless to say, a majority of strategy, architecture, and consulting projects will come up with strong risks on all these four points, and therefore will almost always require high visibility, early risk mitigation, adaptability to constantly change, and quick demonstration of business value. Using Agile here is both undeniable and indisputable. In fact I would argue that Agile methods suit no other projects better than non-software projects. The next obvious question is, "How do we make this happen”? In my opinion, as soon as organizations stop practicing 'prescriptive Agile.' Even though the very foundation of Agile is to be adaptive and not prescriptive, prescriptive Agile is one of the major oxymorons across the Agile delivery landscape today.

Throw out the trust, and verify everything
Controlling access, and ensuring that users have the least privileges necessary is something we all should already be doing, but I have rarely reviewed an organization that is doing it well. In the recent OPM hack, the perpetrators were using stolen administrative credentials, rendering most other security measures useless. Zero Trust Lite will help prevent this issue, given that, for example, you could prevent an administrative user from network access outside of the LAN zone. You need to go a step further, however, and make sure users have the correct privilege. The challenge here is that you are managing users on a diverse group of systems.

The impossible war on encryption
In response, furious tech companies began to encrypt traffic - that is, scrambling it to make it impossible to be snooped on - as it travelled over the internet between their servers and their customers. Such a use of encryption didn't really present a huge problem for spies and police, because companies still have to decrypt the data when it reaches their own servers. They do this in order to sift through their customers' emails and web browsing habits themselves, if only to hit them with more targeted advertising (which is why when you write an email about getting married you might start to see adverts for wedding venues). In this case, all the police have to do is apply for a warrant and they can get access to the messages they want.

Quote for the day:

“Leaders fail when they begin to fall in love with negative mindsets of other people!” -- Israelmore Ayivor

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