Daily Tech Digest - December 16, 2016

How Startups Can Use Big Data To Their Advantage

Not using big data is no longer an option; it is a necessity. Taking into account the amount of data that is generated every year and the key information they are missing out on could prove to be disastrous for the future success of the company. Today, the world is all about making well informed decisions and delivering customers with the most efficient and robust service. These can only be achieved by carefully studying the market trends, deriving key insights and building business strategies upon them. Small businesses can use big data solutions as they have become much more affordable in recent years. Additionally, they are simple to implement and use and are many times automated. These surely eliminates the biggest fears of startups thinking of using big data. It also gives them all the reasons to use it as long as they know how to best use it for their business.

The next wave of IT: Where do we go from here?

The tightly coupled, procedural, synchronous computing models we've been using for decades don't just stop working, where they do still work, they become inefficient. They're also associated with a new set of endpoints, not just the familiar PCs and smartphones, but also wearable devices, wall screens, and a whole host of IoT hardware, from devices like Amazon's Echo to Apple's Watch, and to the screens in your car. One aspect of this shift is that it no longer matters where an application is running. Thanks to virtualised userlands via containers the same code can run on a phone, on a PC, on a cloud server - and now it can also run in the network, thanks to container support in the latest core routers and switches. We've virtualized not just compute and storage, virtualized networks are at the heart of our modern clouds. User interfaces can take advantage of flexible web technologies, bringing responsive design across all our platforms.

GitHub Is Building a Coder’s Paradise. It’s Not Coming Cheap

In GitHub’s cultural hierarchy, the coder is at the top. The company has strived to create the best product possible for software developers and watch them to flock to it. In addition to offering its base service for free, GitHub sells more advanced programming tools to companies big and small. But it found that some chief information officers want a human touch and began to consider building out a sales team. The issue took on a new sense of urgency in 2014 with the formation of a rival startup with a similar name. GitLab Inc. went after large businesses from the start, offering them a cheaper alternative to GitHub. “The big differentiator for GitLab is that it was designed for the enterprise, and GitHub was not,” says GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij. “One of the values is frugality, and this is something very close to our heart.

Ten Myths of Cloud Computing

The cloud can be cheaper, but the reality is that when you look at total costs, you could very well end up paying more. Chances are you are paying more because you are getting more. Being in the cloud allows a greater degree of agility and scalability; it provides access to security, storage, applications, and other benefits supplied by your cloud provider. It is possible that moving to the cloud will save you money, but it should not be your organization’s primary goal. The decision should be driven by benefits available through cloud computing – benefits that are not free. You might save money if, for instance, you have variable workloads and variable demands. A cloud service provider (CSP) can enable you to switch servers off during times of low demand, and to spin up more virtual machines at high-demand times, charging you only for the computing power you use.

Thanks to mobile computing and the cloud, we’re all starting to work from home more

What’s surprising, however, is that the biggest increase won’t be coming from trendy new alternative workspaces or other nontraditional worksites. Instead, it’s working at home. Toiling in your PJs (or whatever attire you choose to wear at home) is expected to jump from 11 percent of the total work week to 16 percent in two years.  ...  Not surprisingly, when people were asked in a separate question about the benefits of working at home, the top reason they cited was — you guessed it — work-time flexibility. Clearly, the move to mobile computing devices, more cloud-based applications and internal IT support for enabling work from remote locations has had a large impact on employee’s expectations about how, when and where they can work. And, well, there’s no place like home.

The Shift to Cloud Security Spend Continues

According to the IDC report, the business segments that will have made the largest investments in security this year include banking at roughly $8.6 billion. Banking is one of the four industries that will constitute nearly 40% of global security spending in the next five years, followed by discrete manufacturing, government, and process manufacturing. The industries that will grow the most rapidly in the next five years, each growing more than 9% annually, include: healthcare, telecommunications, utilities, state and local government, and securities and investment services. ... I think another aspect of the spend is the result of a little fighting the battles of today with the strategies of yesterday when it comes to cloud security. Too many organizations are investing in legacy toolsets that have been “cloudwashed” as cloud security alternatives.

How DevOps is changing business and moving companies towards a cloud-first strategy

The shift in moving to a DevOps-oriented view of systems development and management requires that teams align according to the products they are working on rather than by technical or functional discipline. Historically, software design and production environments are owned by two disparate teams; so removing the separation between Development and Operations gives developers the responsibility for the operational system and gives operations teams the ability to influence and work within the development lifecycle. DevOps is not just a realignment of teams; it is also a cultural shift. To be successful, businesses have to be able to take advantage of this shift. Change is hard and is something that people generally struggle with. The key is to find tangible ways to help teams connect with the value of the transformation on a business, technical and personal level.

Lessons learned from the 7 major cyber security incidents of 2016

Cyber incidents dominated headlines this year, from Russia’s hacking of Democrat emails to internet cameras and DVRs launching DDoS attacks, leaving the impression among many that nothing should be entrusted to the internet. These incidents reveal technical flaws that can be addressed and failure to employ best practices that might have prevented some of them from happening. The most important lesson is that cybersecurity is a perpetual battle in which neither side gets the upper hand for long and that requires constant incident post-mortems to discover the next measures to keep data and communications safe. Here is a look at seven such incidents and what lessons they afford.

Conduct a power cycling test to stay ahead of hardware failures

If an unexpected system crash or power disruption causes an unplanned system reboot, the system's internal firmware may see these problems and refuse to complete the boot process. For example, if the server's south bridge chip fails and USB or onboard disk controller functions don't initialize or respond, the boot process will stop, even though the enterprise may not use the server's USB ports and accesses storage across a network instead. Now, IT must attempt to recover from an unexpected disruption and address defective systems at the same time. To avoid this, conduct a periodic and proactive power cycling test to force a system restart in low-level hardware. Instead of scrambling during unplanned outages or downtime, use planned restarts to ensure data protection and migrate VMs or storage instances off target devices in an organized manner.

Quantifying Cyber Risks

“Cyber is absolutely a top risk in the organization. In fact, we’ve actually begun disclosing it as such in our public filings, alongside our business and operations risks,” said Eric Dobkin, the director of insurance and risk management at Merck. “It’s gotten attention from all levels.” Similarly, Laura Winn, the director of risk management and treasury at Time, said the media giant’s board considers attacks on the company’s computer systems a “top-three risk.” Prompted by the board, the company’s risk management department is working to quantify the company’s exposure to cyber attacks so that it can transfer some of the risks to insurers, she added. Culling the media company’s cyber-risk-management information together in a meaningfully predictive way is a tough task, however. That’s because “our organization is siloed,” she said.

Quote for the day:

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” -- Les Brown

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