Daily Tech Digest - July 24, 2019

Business Intelligence in Microservices: Improving Performance

microservice design
One of the main benefits of the microservice design is its scalability. You can scale several services without changing the whole system. So, you save resources and keep the app less complex. One of the most famous cases that prove this fact is Netflix user base. The company had to cope with the growing subscribers’ database. The microservice design was a great solution for scaling it. Each microservice needs its own database. Otherwise, you can’t use all the benefits of the modularization pattern. The variety of databases leads to challenges in the reporting process. We will discuss the problem later. Microservice design speeds up app development and allows us to launch the product earlier. ... The process of generating reports required engagement with different services. Thus, it caused performance issues. That’s why Freshcode team decided to optimize the app architecture by creating a separate reporting microservice. It received data from all the databases. Then, it saved them and transformed into custom reports.

Supervised Learning

Supervised Learning is one of the two major branches of machine learning. In a way, it is similar to how humans learn a new skill: someone else shows us what to do, and we are then able to learn by following their example. In the case of supervised learning algorithms, we usually need lots of examples, that is, lots of data providing the input to our algorithm and what the expected output should be. The algorithm will learn from this data, and then predict the output based on new inputs that it hasn’t seen before. A surprising number of problems can be addressed by using supervised learning. Many email systems use it to classify emails as either important or unimportant, automatically whenever a new message arrives in the inbox. More complex examples include image recognition systems, which can identify what an image contains purely from the input pixel values.

Ransomware: Why cities have become such a big target for cyberattacks

While some cities, such as Baltimore and Atlanta have opted to spend millions on rebuilding systems rather than giving into the demands of attackers, others have made the decision to pay, authorising their insurers to negotiate with the cybercriminals because it appears to be the simplest short-term option. It's possible that criminals aren't targeting cities on purpose, rather they're searching for any internet facing vulnerabilities they can find. However, it's also possible that groups have become aware that cities are easy pickings. Councils running small and medium-sized cities aren't flush with funds, meaning IT security doesn't have the investment it requires and security holes are left open. And, with a population totalling over 327 million people, there are thousands of small cities in the USA which make perfect targets for attackers. "These organisations are usually less secure then private institutions, they're not as cybersecurity-orientated. They're very prone to cyberattack -- and if something goes wrong, they can lose everything," says Marina Kidron, director of threat intelligence at Skybox Security.

Best practices for building an information governance program that will last

You need to make the case for change by creating the conditions that cause change. The best way to do this is through policies and procedures driven by laws, rules, regulations, standards, guidelines and best practices for managing the lifecycle of information. For example, I recently identified that a group within the agency had a process for storing information that resulted in multiple copies of PDFs being stored in multiple locations. I pointed out the IG issues with the process, but there was some resistance to change: “This is how we’ve done it for a long time, and there are good reasons for doing it this way.” Instead of arguing about process, I focused on changing the RIM policy to address how document drafts and extra copies are managed and disposed of. With that new policy in place, when I do assessments across the agency, I can point to the compliance policy as the rationale for change. Groups are far more receptive to change when compliance with clear policies are at stake.

Growing opportunities in the Internet of Things

The connectivity layer of the IoT technology stack is most tightly bound to mobile-network operators that offer standard cellular connectivity. A small number of well-financed start-ups have targeted this layer of the stack and have made progress in subsegments such as low-power wide-area connectivity. Connectivity technology occupies a still-growing market that’s strongly influenced by international standardization in this technology layer. In the third layer of the stack is cloud computing (which facilitates central processing and storage of data) and enablement platforms (which facilitate access to devices, data across devices, and connectivity standards). Complementary analytics and computational tools have emerged to interpret, visualize, and produce insights from device data. Together, these platforms have proliferated and developed over the past five years and now simplify device integration and application implementation—a favorable growth outlook for key players. The final and top layer, business applications, will continue to be highly fragmented, with many disparate solutions and established companies coexisting with significant start-up activity. 

Malware-based Attacks Dropped 20% Worldwide

Much of the malware decline has to do with the popularity of so-called fileless attacks and attackers using legitimate Windows and security tools to drill down deeper into their victim's network. Some regions had very different stats, the study found: the US experienced the most dramatic drop in malware attacks - 17% - while Switzerland was hit with a 72% jump in malware attacks. They're also abusing encrypted channels such as HTTPS and SSL-based VPN channels to camouflage their traffic and malicious code. SonicWall has seen some 1,100 encrypted attack attempts per day per customer, Conner says. Many organizations mistakenly assume encrypted traffic is legit traffic, he notes. The attackers are able to place malware in a file and "come through that Web channel and via that VPN," he explains. "They either go to the HTTPS site or right to the end user's desktop."

Businessman touching internet of things in 5G network showing the push of 5G IoT market towards edge computing
Technology has evolved over time from storing data on a central mainframe, then to personal computing, and later to cloud computing. Edge computing is the next logical step in this progression. This next evolution is only possible because devices are stronger yet cheaper to produce. The expectation of perennial internet connection means modern devices come loaded with additional computing power, and progressing to these agile devices is simply not as expensive as it once was. Consider the retail prices of small SD or USB flash drives, then reverse calculate for factory prices. Contemporary cloud data is primarily hosted by, well, cloud servers – which means it is primarily hosted by a handful of multinational tech companies. For example, Amazon’s public cloud accounted for 47 percent of the market in 2017. However, the increase to capable devices throughout the modern home makes edge computing not only viable, but practical. Instead of hosting personal data on the leased cloud storage of a company, why not keep it at home on the devices that produced the data?

Bosque: Microsoft’s New Programming Language

Bosque is heavily inspired by TypeScript syntax and types, as well as the semantics of ML and Node/JavaScript. If you have a JavaScript background, Bosque should look familiar and feel pretty natural. In an attempt to improve upon the structured model of the 70s that most people know and use in many programming languages, Bosque aspires to be a language for modern developers and shuns a lot of the complexity traditionally associated with programming languages. The team wondered if you started from a blank slate, with modern development needs in mind, how would you design a new programming language. Mark has always had an interest in semantic programming, creating a compiler is a natural extension of this interest. One of the other aims of Bosque is to create a language that is easier for machines to understand, and by reducing some language boilerplate, this is simpler. It also aids the development of developer tooling such as IDEs and IDE plugins; an important area of business for Microsoft.

Zuckerberg responsible for Facebook privacy compliance after $5bn FTC fine

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will also be personally responsible for the company’s data protection practices, having to report to the FTC every three months to prove that user data is being safeguarded adequately. The order also imposes other significant privacy requirements on Facebook, including prohibiting it from using telephone numbers obtained to enable two-factor authentication for advertising, requiring it to provide clear and conspicuous notice of its use of facial recognition technology, and forcing it to establish and maintain a comprehensive data security programme. “The magnitude of the $5bn penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC,” said FTC chairman Joe Simons. “The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations. ...”

Do you really know what’s happening with your servers?

As performance optimization is pushed from an ever more demanding user base, the need to use the right platform for the right jobs is becoming key. With the demand for more servers on more platforms increasing, the ability to spin these up (and down) in the cloud becomes an easier route than on-premises hosting. In fact, there has been a 15% increase in people using SQL Server in the cloud for at least part of their estate in the last year, with the use of hybrid estates becoming ever more common. For example, it may be that organizations chooses to retain sensitive data on on-premises servers, while data that is not classed as personally identifiable information (PII) is located in the cloud. With your data spread across different server platforms in different locations in such a way, maintaining an overview of estate health becomes a lot more difficult. As a result of all these changes, migrations are also becoming a headache. From ensuring servers are on the latest version, to transferring data to cloud platforms, respondents to the survey revealed that migrating servers will be their biggest challenge this year.

Quote for the day:

"Effective team leaders realize they neither know all the answers, nor can they succeed without the other members of the team." -- Katzenbach & Smith

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