Daily Tech Digest - July 24, 2020

The challenges and opportunities of shadow IT

As more organizations adopt practices like self-service SaaS and BYOD, the need for greater visibility into their overarching corporate network of devices becomes even greater. Many organizations faced this crunch when moving their workforce remote only a few months ago as a response to COVID-19. Typically, the larger and more widespread an ecosystem of devices is, the more difficult it becomes for IT teams to maintain visibility and consequently cyber hygiene of those devices. We can expect many of the challenges around Shadow IT to only grow in the next few years as more enterprises adopt practices like BYOD, or even on an operational level, more flexible remote work policies. Consequently, enterprises will put a greater focus on automation to better identify and secure devices across their widened infrastructure. ... SaaS tools bring immediate dangers of freely shared file data that is not classified or labeled. Or to say this in a more technical manner, there is zero data governance in collaborative hybrid work environments over shared files. DLP tools fail to bring effective results in shared environments. For effective data protection, organizations must have virtual file labeling that offers an automated process in which all the relevant security, privacy, and operational policies are considered, and continually fine-tuned.

Open Banking – The Novel Mainstay of Digital Banking

Open banking is a safe way to give suppliers access to your financial data. It is establishing a statistics architecture, where a group of organizations can share the information via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These APIs are used by banking and financial companies to exchange data between them, thus helping to serve consumers better. Open banking allows banks to offer customized financial services to their consumers, majorly payment solutions. The revolution is both developing the industry toward platform-based, hyper-relevant distribution, and offering banks a precious opportunity to develop their networks and extend reach. In short, we can say open banking is more about sharing financial data by electronic means, securely, and only under circumstances when consumers agree. Therefore, when you share data voluntarily owing to legal reasons, you become a part of the open banking community. Gear up for a world of websites and apps, where one can select modern economic services and products from providers policed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and European equivalents.

Balancing UX and Privacy With IoT

When we consider the compromised privacy of individuals, we are talking about each individual’s loss of control over personal information. When people invest in these interconnected devices, they are not entirely aware of how much of their personal information is tracked and saved by the manufacturer in a bid to improve user experience. An individual can lose control if someone hacks into their smartphone or computer and remotely operates other devices. There’s no doubt that our smartphones carry a majority of our information. They are linked to our bank accounts, email accounts and even systems that need authorization. In fact, experts predict that there would be about 31 billion connected IoT devices by the year 2021. Usually, hackers employ methods that are undetected, so more connections would mean an increase in hacking activities as well. The data collected from an individual’s smartphone or laptop can give hackers a detailed look into their activities, including internet searches and purchasing power. The information is typically used to work on user experience, but also can be used to target particular products to the individual. Sometimes, this data is even sold to other organizations that are looking for a target audience to sell their products.

Improving data management in the life sciences industry

If an email account is breached, the data on that user’s account will be visible to the attacker. Should emails featuring product artwork or containing sensitive information be visible to the employee, they will also be accessible to a cybercriminal who has admittance to the account. Despite stricter serialisation regulations and the efforts of the wider industry, the full supply chain remains at risk of this information being sold to counterfeiters. Addressing this possibility should be a priority for regulators now that a number of serialisation laws in key markets are over the line. New technologies provide opportunities to deliver better communication and collaboration while ensuring compliance and security. Often, this cannot be guaranteed by unsecure tools like email. Using platforms or systems that offer a shared workspace, accessible by multiple organisations, enables collaborative project management, with a clear, immutable audit trail. They also support companies in the gathering and analysis of data which has a number of high value use cases. One of the most promising and impactful will be improved supply and demand forecasting.

How Does Data Management Drive Efficiency for Organizations?

In an ideal business world, many different Data Management professionals collaborate and execute best practices to extract the maximum business value from their enterprise data assets. These professionals are data architects, data engineers, data modelers, DBAs, developers, data quality experts, and data governance experts, who work alongside executives and high-level, decision-makers to conceptualize, design, develop, and implement the desired Data Management infrastructure. Data Management teams often work with real-time data, which requires superior data capture, data integration, data preparation, and data analytics platforms — now available due to AI and ML. Many associated technologies like data fabric, graph processing, IoT, big data, edge computing, and so on need to work in conjunction with each other to make the unified Data Management system work. At a more nitty-gritty, technical level, complex Data Management tasks happen through Metadata Management, Master Data Management, advanced data compliance tasks, and continuous monitoring. A relatively new Data Management effort creates “data catalogs” to document which data is available where, including business glossaries, data dictionaries, and data lineage records.

Automating Machine Learning: Google AutoML-Zero Evolves ML Algorithms From Scratch

Evolutionary algorithm (EA) is a subset of evolutionary computation, a family of population-based trial and error problem solvers with a metaheuristic or stochastic optimization character. In evolutionary computation, an initial set of candidate solutions is first generated and then iteratively updated. Each new generation is produced by stochastically removing less-desired solutions and introducing small random changes. Evolutionary algorithms use mechanisms inspired by biological evolution such as reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection. EAs often perform well in approximating solutions to a range of problems that would otherwise take too long to exhaustively process. The use of evolutionary principles for automated problem-solving was formally proposed and developed more than 50 years ago. Artificial evolution became a widely recognized optimization method as a result of the work of German researcher Ingo Rechenberg, who used evolution strategies to solve complex engineering problems in the 1960s and early 1970s. In 1987, Jürgen Schmidhuber published his first paper on genetic programming, and later that year described first general-purpose learning algorithms in his diploma thesis, Evolutionary Principles in Self-Referential Learning.

Rise of automation creates new RPA job descriptions

Automation engineers by nature need to have a broad set of capabilities in order to support a mix of no-code platforms, API integrations and traditional coding practices to build fully functional offerings for clients. Traditional development teams often look for talent that has deep capabilities in narrow fields. In contrast, Cottongim said automation engineers should be conversant in a wide variety of tools and techniques but not necessarily a master in any one. Automation engineers will also need to have skills beyond traditional roles for engaging with their business partners and being able to distill business needs into rapidly executed automation offerings. They will also need to be able to apply a customer-centric view and build in an agile manner, while partnering closely with their business teams. Cottongim also expects to see more demand for cloud architects and cloud engineers that can support intelligent automation needs. They will need to understand how to create applications built from a mix of VMs, databases, networking and high-availability management techniques. 

Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

On the bright side, there are protections in place and limitations; overseen by the regulator. Users completely own their data and can revoke the access they give to third-parties at any time. There are also restrictions on companies’ ability to sell the data directly to third-parties. Instead, companies holding the data can monetise it by recommending new pension providers and taking a commission fee, for instance, or charging consumers for the service (like Monzo has done). “What’s going to make or break the success longer term is ‘do you feel confident that you know where this data is going?'” Grose noted, highlighting the need to educate users on their data rights and companies’ use of their data. Nonetheless, Levine warned that some companies might be tempted to charge a so-called ‘privacy premium’, whereby consumers get a worse deal or product based on their financial data. “It only takes one kind of major loss of trust or issue that we find ourselves in a place where actually the whole industry is hurt, and we may be going backwards,” Levine said. Meanwhile, Vans-Colina added there’s a big risk that open banking and finance data will get hacked and leaked.

Data Governance: Stay Non-Invasive in Your Approach

People naturally rebel against the idea of being governed. Data governance is known in some circles as “People Governance” because it is people’s behavior – how they define, produce and use data – that is being governed. In other words, the data will do what we tell it to do, so we must govern people’s behavior if we want to improve the quality, value, and understanding of the data. Therefore, the approach the organization takes to govern the data (and the people) can make or break whether the data governance program is accepted or rejected by the organization. I have been known to say that, “the data will not govern itself.” Let me add to that with, “the documentation about the data, or the metadata, will not govern itself either.” Most of us have experienced data and metadata that has been left ungoverned. Why? Because people are not held responsible for the quality and/or value of the data or the documentation. As a result, there is no way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the way data assets are being leveraged. Ungoverned data is replicated many times over with many different versions of the “same” data. 

Creating a modern data governance strategy to accelerate digital transformation

Though it’s early in our journey toward modern data governance, we do have a few best practices to share. Primarily, we recommend that you address your data governance strategy holistically. As illustrated below, we designed our approach so that standards, embedded into the engineering process and data centralization on the modern data foundation worked together to ensure end-to-end modern data governance. Build standards into your existing process and implement them as engineering solutions. By approaching data governance during the design phase of the larger Enterprise Data strategy, we have been able to institutionalize “governance by design” into the engineering DNA—and apply it to data at every touchpoint. We are building our data governance controls into the centralized analytics infrastructure and analytics processes. Consider implementing a modern data foundation with integrated toolsets. The EDL, with its built-in governance services and capabilities, does more than scale data governance efforts—it enables enterprise analytics for the whole organization. 

Quote for the day:

"Be so good at what you do that no one else in the world can do what you do." -- Robin Sharma

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