Daily Tech Digest - May 13, 2020

What is Chaos Monkey? Chaos engineering explained

What is Chaos Monkey? Chaos engineering explained
The principles of chaos engineering have been formally collated by some of the original authors of Chaos Monkey, defining the practice as: “The discipline of experimenting on a system in order to build confidence in the system’s capability to withstand turbulent conditions in production.” In practice this takes the form of a four-step process: Defining the “steady state” of a system to set a baseline for normal behavior; Hypothesize that this steady state will continue in both the control group and the experimental group; Introduce variables that reflect real world events like servers that crash, hard drives that malfunction, or network connections that are severed; and Try to disprove the hypothesis by looking for a difference between the control group and the experimental group. If the steady state is difficult to disrupt, you have a robust system; if there is a weakness then you have something to go and fix. “In the five years since ‘The Principles’ was published, we have seen chaos engineering evolve to meet new challenges in new industries,” Jones and Rosenthal observe.

Companies across EMEA lack tools to unlock data opportunity

Companies across EMEA lack tools to unlock data opportunity image
The lack of relevant skills and knowledge within companies is another major concern. Over a third (36%) of those surveyed said “not having the skills in place to manage the explosion of data” was one of their biggest concerns. Meanwhile the biggest fear among respondents is that “our employees won’t align with data policies”, cited by 28%. To improve their skills and knowledge base around data, the report recommends that organisations focus on upskilling existing employees with deep sector knowledge, hiring a chief data officer with specific responsibility to organise and extract value from data, and creating data governance groups that include decision-makers from across all key business functions, ensuring their needs are reflected in data strategy and management. “A lot of the most precious knowledge is already within a company,” says report contributor and tech philosopher Tom Chatfield. “Skilling up your employees so they can have conversations with computer scientists and use APIs is often much more valuable than asking a computer science PhD to quickly gain an understanding of a new sector.”

Microsoft: Bosque is a new programming language built for AI in the cloud

Bosque, according to Marron, is about designing an IR that overcomes challenges to automated program reasoning. Marron says Bosque's purpose is to "connect a constrained core-language IR to a developer friendly and high-productivity programming experience" in a way that allows developers to take advantage of cloud programming stacks – which include languages like TypeScript – without losing the ability to analyze code. He'll also address the question: "Can we go beyond simply matching the productivity of mainstream languages in this space and improve on the state of the art beyond improved tooling with novel language features?" Marron also reckons that Bosque could be particularly adept at using hardware accelerators such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), with which AWS, Google, and Microsoft have been loading up their clouds to support machine-learning workloads. While Bosque currently lacks I/O and runtime utilities, the language has attracted interest from banking giant Morgan Stanley, which is exploring Bosque for Morphir.

In A Time Of Crisis, A Global Lockdown Needs A Digital Unlocking

In a time of crisis, a global lockdown needs a digital unlocking - CIO&Leader
Even before the current crisis, we were seeing huge investments in new streaming services. But what’s happening now, in response to lockdowns around the world, will change the game in many areas of activity. The current transformation of attitudes, processes and systems will continue to echo through the post-Corona era. People are taking the time to keep in touch with their loved-ones on a more regular basis. To value the time they have together, despite the distance. Many employers are looking into how remote working benefits business continuity and supports their employees to master challenges. But beyond this, decision makers are also beginning to recognize the long-term benefits of a more profound digital transformation. Companies are taking a long, hard look at how they manage their offices, how staff interact, how teams collaborate, what business travel is actually essential, whether meetings can be reconceived to be more productive. They are becoming aware of how the move online can unlock the potential to save money and increase revenues.

What crashing COBOL systems reveal about applications maintenance

COBOL is also continually updated -- most recently in September 2019 -- and it currently handles 95% of the world’s ATM swipes with no problem. The real problem? These COBOL applications and the COBOL developer experience have been allowed to languish -- and what we’re seeing right now is the direct result of some states’ failure to properly update and maintain critical COBOL code. When this code was needed the most, this failure became evident -- at the worst possible time. The hard lesson learned is that tech systems aren’t something that can be set up once and never looked after again. This is particularly true in the case of so-called legacy systems. It’s not that these systems aren’t up for the job -- quite the contrary -- it’s just that they can’t be expected to keep up with ballooning transaction volumes on the front-end, with absolutely no care and feeding on the back-end. COBOL developers cannot keep these systems up-to-date if they are not provided with a modern, familiar developer experience that enables them to be comfortable coding on the mainframe. The private sector, unlike the government sector, acknowledges the increasing demand.

Three Years After WannaCry, Ransomware Accelerating While Patching Still Problematic

If there is a lesson from the WannaCry incident, it's this: Companies that use outdated systems and do not rigorously patch those systems are at risk, not just for data breaches — which firms have historically shrugged off — but for attacks by operations-disrupting ransomware. Unfortunately, many companies continue to ignore those lessons and are still using out-of-date software that is vulnerable to destructive attacks, said Jacob Noffke, senior principal cyber engineer at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, in a statement sent to Dark Reading.  "Many have upgraded older operating systems, aggressively patched their systems, better isolated unpatched systems behind firewalls, and have sound backup solutions to minimize the impact and chance that ransomware will wreak havoc on their networks in the future," he said. "But, unfortunately, not all organizations have taken note — and as ransomware attacks continue to evolve, those with weaker defenses will be a prime target for cybercriminals looking to capitalize on WannaCry-inspired attacks."

The cybersecurity sector needs more women: Here's why

The cybersecurity sector needs more women: Here
Gone are the days when technical professions were still seen as a man's business. More and more women are interested in the field of technology - and are increasingly creating leadership positions. The “Women in Cybersecurity” study recently published by the SANS Institute deals with precisely this topic, namely the current situation of female decision-makers in cybersecurity. In the survey, women in management roles as IT security experts report on their work and professional career, which has led them into this field. One of the results of the SANS report is that there are a number of ways to get into this profession. For 41 percent of those surveyed, entering a senior position in cybersecurity was primarily a question of whether they were in the right place at the right time. If you want to take your luck into your own hands, you should focus on certificates: For 34 percent of the participants in the study, certificates acquired were relevant to the advancement of their career. Mentoring can also play an important role in professional development.

Can Pandemic-Induced Job Uncertainty Stimulate Automation?

The pandemic-induced job uncertainty has markedly different effects from a reduction in the level of labor productivity. Both types of shocks generate a recession, but they operate through different channels. The uncertainty shock reduces aggregate demand and therefore pushes up unemployment and lowers inflation. In contrast, the first-moment shock reduces potential output and therefore raises both unemployment and inflation. More importantly, the two types of shocks have different impacts on automation. While uncertainty about worker productivity induces firms to shift technology toward automation and thus increases robot adoption, a negative labor productivity shock generates a large recession that reduces the incentive to automate. ... Facing increased job uncertainty, firms would want to shift the production technology from using workers to using robots. At the same time, the uncertainty shock reduces aggregate demand, and the recessionary effects make it less attractive to adopt robots.

Coronavirus Diary: the impact on senior level recruitment in the technology industry

Coronavirus Diary: the impact on senior tech recruitment image
As you’d expect, HR is busier than ever. We’ve seen a number of chief people officer roles push ahead and almost every tech business that needs a HR leader needs help realigning pay structures, implementing furlough schemes and, in some cases, hiring and onboarding new staff remotely. Whilst some of this might sound negative, it’s not. A lot of tech businesses are making the smart move and securing leaders who can plan workforces for every eventuality, including future growth and restructuring, or phases of both. Like HR, we had a number of CTO or VP (software) engineering roles in play that pressed ahead in spite of coronavirus. The resilience and scalability of both B2B and consumer platforms are being tested heavily right now, and the tech firms who own them want to ensure they can handle the pressure, and in some circumstances, scale-up in a condensed timeframe. This responsibility falls at the feet of the CTO. These are incredibly busy people right now.

Digital transformation: It's time to invent the future we want

In any disruptive event, it's natural to batten down the hatches, control costs, and explore ways to cut costs. And unfortunately, we see this in every level from employees, to assets, to technology. The CFO is essentially in control right now, and rightly so. The thing, though, is that before the pandemic, I used to talk about it in a loving way, of course, this, I called it out-of-touch-ness, which was essentially, executives in many ways focused on shareholder value, on making decisions based on the matrix, or spreadsheets, or visualized data. And we sort of lost the humanity in a lot of this. When you're driven by numbers, you work toward those numbers. I actually believe that if you put the CFO in control, the CFO's going to make decisions, of course, based on costs and numbers, like they should. But this isn't necessarily just a time to say, "OK. We're going to hold down the fort, cut costs. And then when this all clears, we're going to come back out stronger than ever," because we're not going back to normal. And normal was actually part of the problem to begin with.

Quote for the day:

"Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance." - J. Donald Walters

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