Daily Tech Digest - July 18, 2020

Digital Is Great, But Where Are The New Business Models?

While executives are knowledgeable and aware of digital technologies, "the bad news is that most companies do not seem to act on this knowledge to transfer their business to the future,” according to the study’s co-authors, Philip Meissner, chair of strategic management and decision making at ESCP Business School, and Martin Mocker, research affiliate with MIT CISR. “And creating such a business model does not seem to be top of mind for most executives either. Only one-third said that they primarily think of digital business models when they think about digitization. Two-thirds focus on digital processes instead." The single most important focus of a transitioned business model is the customer, pure and simple. "Digital business models take your company directly to the consumer, wherever they are,” Meissner and Mocker state. “Their smartphone is always with them and is so is your business.” The recent Covid-19 crisis demonstrated to the world the immense value of a digital, customer-focused business model, they add. “While some businesses saw revenues decrease by more than 80% within weeks, companies with a digital business model thrived.

Top 5 Questions (and Answers) About GRC Technology

Business continuity plans (BCP) — and solid governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) policies, in general — can help businesses prepare for and navigate many disruptive events, including natural disasters, cybersecurity breaches, terrorist attacks, fraud, and embezzlement. We believe in the benefits of implementing technology to streamline policies, automate processes, and create repeatable workflows so organizations can quantify risk into digestible dashboards to gain a singular source of truth. [Editor's note: The author's company is one of several providers of GRC technology.] Most businesses, we've found, have the same questions about implementing tech to strengthen their GRC programs. So we asked our customer success team, who all come from GRC consulting backgrounds, what they're typically asked. ... Before choosing to implement any GRC technology, it's important that organizations align people and teams to a common goal and define the existing processes surrounding GRC. One of the biggest mistakes we see GRC leaders make during an implementation is overcomplicating a process that should be simple. Don't get distracted by shiny bells and whistles at initial go-live.

Augmented Intelligence: Blazing a Trail in Business Enterprises

With number of headlines suggesting that AI will soon take over a great number of jobs, thereby leaving a large proportion of the workforce’s skills redundant, this advanced technology is often more feared than revered. However, our research shows that over half of UK workers (59%) don’t actually believe their jobs are at risk of being replaced by AI in the next decade, and instead, embrace it as a tool to help enhance the way they work. 64% of UK employees say AI as making them more efficient. This is the definition of Augmented Intelligence – a combination of human power and AI to achieve stronger results, time after time. Above all, this concept relies on a seamless collaboration between people and AI to innovate, solve problems, and improve workplace processes with precision and ease. London’s black cab drivers are a prime example of how Augmented Intelligence can assist workers in performing their roles better. For decades, drivers have been required to pass the gruelling knowledge test, which demands a virtually encyclopaedic mastery of London’s streets. However, GPS technology is now so advanced that it could eliminate the need for this extensive familiarity – and the tradition of acquiring it – in one fell swoop.

The Key Benefits for High Availability Load Balancing 

High availability, which is the ability of a system or system component to be continuously operational for a desirably long period of time, can help IT departments implement an architecture that uses redundancy and fault tolerance to enable continuous operation and fast disaster recovery. ... High availability begins with identifying and eliminating single points of failure in the infrastructure that might trigger a service interruption—for example, by deploying redundant components to provide fault tolerance in the event that one of the devices fails. Load balancing, whether provided through a standalone device or as a feature of an ADC, facilitates this process by performing health checks on servers, detecting potential failures, and redirecting traffic as needed to ensure uninterrupted service. While ensuring fault tolerance for servers is obviously critical, a high availability architecture must also consider the load balancing layer itself. If this becomes unable to perform its function effectively, the servers below run the risk of overflow, potentially compromising their own health as well as application performance and application availability. This makes redundancy just as important for the load balancer or ADC as for any other component in the data centre.

Cybersecurity Recuperation: Ensuring a Safe Return to Work

Unlike the rushed, unexpected manner in which many organizations sent their employees home, the return to the office is something that can be planned and prepared for in a more organized and orderly fashion. Cybersecurity teams must not miss this window – they need to act now to ensure the necessary processes and tools are in place before employees head back to their workplace. To reduce risk and facilitate a quick return to normal operations, cybersecurity teams need to consider what threats employees may bring back with them to the office environment. Once these are identified, cybersecurity teams must take proactive steps to mitigate these risks. Below, are three key factors to consider as organizations prepare to return to work. Patching: Remote working creates new cracks through which users can slip. For instance, a VPN might not be able to sustain the high traffic generated by so many employees working from home; with users not connecting to the VPN for extended periods their laptops or desktops may fall behind on regular updates and patches. Some computers and servers left on-premise may have been shut down throughout the home-working period and could also have missed regular security upgrades; before returning to the office, cybersecurity teams must make sure that all software is patched across all devices or may expose users to cyber risks.

Digital public services: How to achieve fast transformation at scale

Navigating public services can be bewildering. Information about how to access services is often presented in hard-to-understand bureaucratic language, and users must visit different websites or offices for each service. Applications routinely require hard copies of supporting documents to still be printed and signed, and many online forms are just as complicated to complete as the paper versions. Furthermore, the user experience tends to vary across government websites, and users often require multiple accounts and digital IDs to manage their needs. All of this stands in stark contrast to expectations. More and more often, people see no reason why public services should be more complicated than shopping online. They want to be able to quickly find the most relevant services. They want information in clear and simple language and expect to complete all transactions via digital channels—ideally, through a single digital journey. For example, new parents could get a birth certificate, apply for child benefits, register for parental leave, and access other relevant services through one easy process instead of interacting with multiple agencies, often in-person, and sharing the same information multiple times.

Twitter hack jolts companies into a social media security check

While the nature of this hack suggests there was little account holders themselves could have done to prevent themselves from falling victim to this particular hack, there are several security measures any company that manages social media accounts should take regularly to avoid other potential risks. On the day following the hack, one large advertising company sent around internal communications emphasizing the importance of password security and reminding employees to ensure that people who no longer require access to advertising management accounts are removed from those systems. Similarly, employees were reminded that only people with a certain level of seniority and sign off should have the ability to be administrators, according to an executive at that agency who declined to be named. On Twitter specifically, account holders can review the number of active “sessions” and opt to log out other users and devices within their account settings. Often in the advertising and media industries, mid-level employees can have access to powerful tools — from CMS access, to customer-relationship management software and client social media accounts.

Cybercriminals Targeted Streaming Services to Provide Pandemic Entertainment

Attackers not only sought access to video services, but also access to industry services—such as first-release movies—and data on the subscribers, such as their location. The increase likely had to do with a combination of attackers having time ans an increase in demand for streaming content, says Steve Ragan, security researcher at Akamai. "Credential stuffing is a low-hanging, high-reward type of attack," he says. "Easy to do, and if successful, a complete ATO [account takeover] is the result. The trends show that the problem is consistent and continuing to rise."  While much of the increase in the first quarter of 2020 can be attributed to a single campaign against a popular broadcast TV service—the identity of which Akamai declined to discuss—the overall trend underscores that digital services continues to be a major focus of credential-stuffing attacks. Such attacks attempt to use usernames and passwords stolen from one provider against other providers, in hopes that the victim reused their credentials across services. "The criminal economy is a chained instance, where everything is connected somehow, and no piece of information is without worth," Akamai stated in the report.

5 Trends in Big Data and SQL to Be Excited About in 2020

SQL and analytics are becoming more collaborative. As discussed earlier, getting insights from data is becoming more prolific. That means more people are getting involved in creating queries, analytics, and metrics. Collaborative work started with products like Google Sheets. The trend has continued to expand into SaaS products like Figma (collaborative design) and PopSQL (collaborative SQL). Technologies like PopSQL offer the ability for your team to collaborate and track your work on queries easily through folders and version control. Now you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally changing your query on a report or dashboard. Version control allows you to revert what the query was at a previously saved state. This ensures that your team is constantly on the same page as far as SQL and the logic you are using to calculate your metrics. You also can easily share queries, update them, fork them, and visualize data. Also, tools like Figma, Google Sheets, and PopSQL integrate easily with other collaborative tools like Slack. These integrations further allow your team to share charts, queries, designs, and insights with ease.

Banks need to think like Google and not just follow it

Banks have for a long time been huge IT organisations, with the biggest often recruiting more IT professionals than the major IT suppliers. But a change in recruitment practices was brought on by digital transformation and the need for banks to keep pace with a changing tech environment. Today it is more about recruiting senior thinkers rather than foot soldiers and the people that fit the bill often work for the tech giants. Gareth Lodge, analyst at Celent, said banks have always been IT companies that offer financial services, but the ethos within is changing. “It’s more a realisation that effective IT can be a competitive differentiator,” he said. “Until now, many banks have seen IT as how they deliver products.” One IT professional in the financial services sector agreed there has been a change in mindset, with banks realising they are increasingly IT-driven and happen to sell financial services. Now, through recruitment, they are “looking for inspiration on how to do that better”, he said. “It has taken banks a long time to accept that IT is no longer a painful cost to be outsourced and is the key to their future.” The need for a new approach to IT will require more recruitment from outside the banking sector because the tech-savviness of parts of the industry might be overestimated, according to David Bannister, analyst at Aite.

Quote for the day:

"It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from followers." -- Warren G. Bennis

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