Daily Tech Digest - December 14, 2016

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid Cloud - Exploring the use Cases

Despite some of the challenges and associated costs of the private cloud model, many bigger firms are compelled to choose private due to the security risks of public. The potential damage to a company’s brand and the loss of customer trust after a public cloud breach can exponentially surpass the costs of the private cloud. ... Implementing a private cloud securely can prove difficult unless you utilize the help of a third-party service. This is where a qualified IT consultancy such as TechBlocks can provide critical guidance on the best practices for implementation, and perhaps discuss the case for a hybrid public-private approach. ... The hybrid cloud is increasingly the path for organizations that desire a customizable approach with reduced maintenance costs and time. Pursuing a hybrid approach is often the path IT will take to convince upper management that the cloud is safe and a good option for critical data.

The mainframe is hindering application delivery

“Organisations face both business and technical challenges on the mainframe, preventing them from innovating and transforming into a digital business. To avoid issues with the mainframe, organisations are working around it, re-platforming, or modernising. However, each of these tactics creates new issues. The good news is that those companies embracing DevOps deliver faster and at a higher quality, all while fostering collaboration,” said Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley Compuware, which commissioned the study, has been aggressively leading the transformation of the mainframe into a fully Agile and DevOps-enabled platform where development, testing and operations processes can occur at the same rapid pace as they do on distributed and cloud platforms.

10 Clear Principles for the 96% that Need Culture Change

“Although it’s important to engage employees at every level early on, all successful change management initiatives start at the top, with a committed and well-aligned group of executives strongly supported by the CEO.” It is imperative for the top team to be on the same page regarding both why the change is necessary and “the particulars for implementing it.” The top leader or any member of the top team will dramatically undermine change efforts if they are directly or indirectly sending messages that are in conflict with the change effort. They must act in a different way that’s consistent with the change effort and visible to all. ... “Mid-level and frontline people can make or break a change initiative. The path of rolling out change is immeasurably smoother if these people are tapped early for input on issues that will affect their jobs.”

Advocate Congress establish a permanent joint committee on information technology

This joint committee was formed in response to both a dramatic threat and an incredible opportunity. The threat was the potential of nuclear war. The opportunity was the potential to use nuclear science to generate electricity to power cities as well as naval vessels, as well as opportunities to use nuclear science in medicine and industry. It was clear to congress at the time that success in response to the threat and success in gaining national benefit from nuclear energy would require a different way of doing things. So, the response was the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1946. For over 30 years the Joint Committee this act set up provided bi-partisan solutions broadly supported and widely credited with bringing unity of effort to many multiple complex activities.

DevOps capabilities vary widely by industry vertical

DevOps maturity varies according to the business sphere that companies occupy, and some are constrained by the characteristics of their markets -- from heavy regulation in the financial services and life sciences industries to stifling technical debt in the retail and media and entertainment sectors. Other markets, such as healthcare and transportation, face unique cultural challenges to bringing a DevOps mindset to the software development process. ... The philosophy of increased IT automation and collaboration between development and operations -- which, in some industries, are no longer separate groups at all -- is here to stay. "Consumers, empowered by rich software interactions with access to internet resources, have never had more power or choices," wrote Forrester Research analysts in their report "The State of DevOps Industry Adoption for 2016 -- Where's the Heat?"

Nine Questions to Ask to Determine IoT Device Safety

While IoT brings forth many benefits to consumers—from convenience to energy efficiency, to monitoring babies and locating lost pets—it also brings risk. ... These IoT devices were used them to take out the Dyn DNS Server this September. As a consumer, you might think… “why should I care if my device is involved in a DDoS attack? As long as it works, I don’t mind.” Well, some 20,000 residents in Finland found out the hard way why it matters, when their building’s IoT connected thermostats stopped functioning because the devices were enslaved to a botnet conducting a DDoS attack (By the way, it’s cold in Finland in November). Whether you are a consumer considering a connected device as a gift for the holidays, or a reporter about to review the next wave of IoT devices launching at CES, we have put together a list of questions you should ask before diving in:

Why soft skills outweigh hard skills for IT-business collaboration

The skills needed in IT change so frequently that businesses are more interested in finding qualified candidates with strong soft skills -- workers who can grow and adapt in a quickly changing landscape, says Palm. Qualified workers can always take a course or complete training in areas where they need more knowledge, but it's not as easy to teach someone how to be collaborative or to communicate effectively. Palm says she's seen an increase in applicants that fit this "t-shaped personality," which means "an individual has a broad set of skills, but only a few areas where the skillset goes deep." T-shaped workers are the type of employees who are "agile and able to rapidly adapt to new changes," she says. They constantly adjust to new and uncharted territory, learn new skills as needed and stay up to date on emerging trends.

Don't Like Russian Cyberspies? Tips To Stop State-Sponsored Hackers

“Customers are looking for a magical button to stop all these threats,” he said. Businesses will then buy the tools and assume they’re safe, when in reality they aren’t properly being used. For example, many businesses often fail to install security patches with their IT products -- including the antivirus software -- exposing them to hacks that otherwise could have been prevented. They may also ignore the warnings that pop up from security software, believing them to be a false positive. Or they’ll even forget to turn the software on.  However, in other cases, the businesses had limited expertise on staff to deal with the cyberthreats the security tools encountered. “If you buy the tools without hiring the right people, you are not going to solve your nation-state hacking problem,” Firstbrook said.

Blockchain – The Next Big Thing for Middleware

Fascinating new technologies are emerging these days. Everybody talks about cloud, containers, big data and machine learning. Another disrupting technology is blockchain. You might have heard about blockchain as the underlying infrastructure of Bitcoin. But Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg. This article explains the use cases and technical concepts behind blockchain, gives an overview about available services, and points out why middleware is a key success factor in this space. ... Welcome to the world of blockchain where smart contracts process such a scenario automatically and in a secure way. Governments in conjunction with global non-profit airline associations like International Air Transport Association (IATA), which “support aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency and sustainability,” could enforce airlines to compensate customers automatically as it is defined by law.

Google Tries To Advance IoT Security With Android Things

Android Things comes after the world got some more glimpses into how insecure many products can be. IoT devices were used to take down popular websites on the East Coast (and elsewhere) in October. Then in November, critical vulnerabilities were discovered in popular IoT cameras--a problem that repeated itself when backdoors were found in Sony's internet-connected cameras in early December. The IoT market had a bad couple of months. These issues have led to calls to improve the security of IoT devices. The problem is that many companies drag their feet in responding to problems, lack the infrastructure to push updates to devices that have already been sold, or simply don't care about the security of their products. Making sure these devices are safe for their owners and for the internet at large just isn't a priority for the manufacturers churning them out.

Quote for the day:

"Most people who sneer at technology would starve to death if the engineering infrastructure were removed." -- Robert A. Heinlein

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