March 24, 2016

University IT departments struggle to stay always open, always secure

If IT "cannot be agile enough in its review and implementation of cloud services, the path of least resistance for users may be to go it alone, without institutional IT involvement," Juckiewicz said. In the process, users can unwittingly put institutional or individual data at risk. Often called "shadow IT," the tendency to look beyond the central IT department for software and other technology became more widespread in organizations once people started bringing smartphones and tablets to work and using them to accomplish work tasks. Cloud applications available over the Internet, software as a service, made it even easier for departments outside IT to get whatever they wanted. It has happened in every industry, and higher education is no exception.

IAM is the future for managing data security

IAM systems prevent hackers from escalating privileges and gaining access to sensitive applications and data once they have compromised an employee’s credentials. They can also mitigate the reach of malicious insiders. IAM also helps to achieve regulatory compliance. Auditors are getting smarter about enforcing regulatory compliance. IAM helps to satisfy compliance mandates around separation of duties, enforcing and auditing access policies to sensitive accounts and data, and making sure users do not have excessive privileges. It can also improve employee productivity and reduce helpdesk costs. Good IAM processes and tools alleviate employee and customer frustration by letting users log in faster, such as by using single sign-on (SSO).

The Power of Next-Generation Profitability Analytics

A well-built, multidimensional profitability solution becomes a solid finance foundation, especially when coupled with a single, integrated analytic data platform or similar cloud-based business intelligence platform. Technologies such as these not only help define and run your profitability model, but they also offer the ability to make changes quickly, run ad-hoc analyses, manage very large data sets and provide reporting and dashboarding beyond what’s available with ERP solutions. What’s more, this type of finance foundation can ultimately serve as the single source for all of the diverse types of analytics performed within the CFO department, because there is a direct link back to the General Ledger.

What Everyone Should Know About Cognitive Computing

The goal of cognitive computing is to simulate human thought processes in a computerized model. Using self-learning algorithms that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing, the computer can mimic the way the human brain works. While computers have been faster at calculations and processing than humans for decades, they haven’t been able to accomplish tasks that humans take for granted as simple, like understanding natural language, or recognizing unique objects in an image. Some people say that cognitive computing represents the third era of computing: we went from computers that could tabulate sums (1900s) to programmable systems (1950s), and now to cognitive systems.

Are you ready for an SDN deployment?

The principal motivation behind SDN deployments and hyper-convergence is the need for a responsive and nimble IT organization. While it's definitely the future, not all are ready for it. The shift can be too drastic for enterprises still struggling with the basics of managing an efficient infrastructure. Are you saddled with technical debt? Could your policies, standards and procedures use work? Do you have staffing challenges? The first steps toward deploying an SDN or SDDC strategy should include a phased design, with an analysis of the current environment addressing any gaps that are barriers to the future road map.

FBI, Apple battle may leave lasting legacy

"Never before have I seen encryption being in the public eye so much," said Rod Schultz, vice president of product at Rubicon Labs. "Time magazine, John Oliver -- if you told me this would happen a year ago, I would think it was impossible." The case has become an opportunity to educate the public about encryption and privacy, he said. "I think customers and the public are becoming very very savvy," he added. "For me, that's the best outcome right now." When combined with the recent memory of the Snowden leaks, he added, it makes for a strong argument against giving governments backdoors around encryption and weakening security. And the battle over unlocking Rizwan Farook's phone was just the tip of the iceberg, said Harvey Anderson, chief legal officer at AVG Technologies

DDoS attack threat cannot be ignored

One of the reasons why DDoS is such a significant threat is the relative simplicity of arranging an attack. There have been reports of a DDoS attack being hired as a ‘service’, sometimes for as little as £10. The distributed nature of DDoS attacks, combined with the anonymous nature of the internet, means the instigators are rarely caught. To have an appropriate level of planned safeguards in place for a DDoS attack, companies need to assess how much of their revenue is generated through their website. This revenue can range from orders taken online or appointments being booked, through to sales of digital goods and ordering of online services. Naturally, the ratio of digital revenue to physical sales will determine the appropriate level of response and preparation. As a worst-case scenario, companies should also plan how they would continue to operate if their website went down.

The Challenge of Monitoring Containers at Scale

Application functionality is becoming more granular and more independently scalable and resilient, which is a challenge for traditional monitoring solutions. If a single component within a microservice architecture fails, there may be no business impact, and so the severity of alert should match this fact. The traditional monitoring tool approach of testing whether something is 'up' or 'down' falls short, and accordingly some organisations are building their own monitoring systems. The transient nature of containers also presents new challenges with monitoring, especially when combined with the emerging popularity of scheduling and orchestration systems, such as Kubernetes, Mesos and AWS ECS.

How FinTech is shaping Financial Services

New digital technologies are in the process of reshaping the value proposition of existing financial products and services. While we should not underestimate the capacity of incumbents to assimilate innovative ideas, the disruption of the financial sector is clearly underway. And consumer banking and payments, already on the disruption radar, will be the most exposed in the near future, followed by insurance and asset management. ... The investment industry is also being pulled into the vortex of vast technological developments. The emergence of data analytics in the investment space has enabled firms to hone in on investors and deliver tailored products and automated investing. Additionally, innovations in lending and equity crowdfunding are providing access to asset classes formerly unavailable to individual investors, such as commercial real estate. 

The Networked World

"Today when we virtualize some functions, whether it's load balancing or a policy engine or whatever we can do in an SDN construct, we can do it because we can virtualize those functions without giving up performance. We couldn't do that 10 years or even six years ago,” Mehra says. "We are in the middle of this software-defined revolution, but it was made possible by multiple pieces all falling in place: advancements on the semiconductor side, advancements with other hardware, and advancements related to how we can consume software in the networking world." This coalescence of new developments is, in fact, what is enabling the Internet of Things: advances in sensors, in wireless networking, in software control, in distributed intelligence, and in big data tools that make it possible to extract actionable intelligence from a plethora of data points.

Quote for the day:

"The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for." -- Oscar Wilde

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