Daily Tech Digest - January 06, 2021

Making CI/CD Work for DevOps Teams

The most fundamental people-related issue is having a culture that enables CI/CD success. "The success of CI/CD [at] HealthJoy depends on cultivating a culture where CI/CD is not just a collection of tools and technologies for DevOps engineers but a set of principles and practices that are fully embraced by everyone in engineering to continually improve delivery throughput and operational stability," said HealthJoy's Dam. At HealthJoy, the integration of CI/CD throughout the SDLC requires the rest of engineering to closely collaborate with DevOps engineers to continually transform the build, testing, deployment and monitoring activities into a repeatable set of CI/CD process steps. For example, they've shifted quality controls left and automated the process using DevOps principles, practices and tools. Component provider Infragistics changed its hiring approach. Specifically, instead of hiring experts in one area, the company now looks for people with skill sets that meld well with the team. "All of a sudden, you've got HR involved and marketing involved because if we don't include marketing in every aspect of software delivery, how are they going to know what to market?" said Jason Beres, SVP of developer tools at Infragistics.

How DNS Attack Dynamics Evolved During the Pandemic

The complexity of the DNS threat landscape has grown in the wake of COVID. According to Neustar’s “Online Traffic and Cyber Attacks During COVID-19” report, there was a dramatic escalation of the number of attacks and their severity across virtually every measurable metric from March to mid-May 2020 – particularly DNS-related attacks. That’s not surprising given the sharp rise in DNS queries from employees working from home. Whereas business networks tend to be relatively secure and protected by experienced security professionals, home routers are set up by un-savvy employees, and are therefore more vulnerable to DNS exploits. Hackers are taking advantage of this vulnerability using a technique called DNS hijacking. They gain access to unsecured home routers and change the devices’ DNS settings. Users are then redirected to malicious sites and unwittingly give away sensitive information like credentials, or permit attackers to remotely access their company’s infrastructure. Neustar has seen a dramatic rise in this type of attack since the onset of the pandemic. Given that many home networks remain exposed, this problematic trend is poised to continue well into 2021. Similar, simpler techniques are also becoming more prevalent.

Top 12 IoT App Trends to Expect in 2021

Automation requirements are everywhere, including industries, and IoT is well catering to all of them. IoT in industries has been mainly collecting and analyzing data and work routines for requirements of various devices and systems, and automating their working. Initially, the role of this technology was limited to increasing overall industry work efficiency and operation management with rationalization, automation, and applicable system maintenance in the manufacturing sectors, mainly within a smart factory environment. Coming forward, IoT is touted to cross $123 billion in terms of its industrial vertical only. The technology is set to help industries within the scope of optimization in their work procedures, intelligent manufacturing and smart industry, asset performance management, industrial control, moving towards an on-demand service model, amongst others, even for cross-industry scenarios in the coming times. It is also set to revamp the ways of providing services to customers and creating newer revenue models. It has been actively promoting and helping in enhancing aspects of industrial digital transformation.

‘The dawn of ‘Fintech 3.0’? ‘

“What we’re seeing is ecommerce moving up and down the value chain,” says Brear. “I don’t really know which one of the three credit cards I have is linked to Amazon. But I know, when I press that Amazon button, all of the fulfilment is done really well. Amazon is moving down that stack into the financial services space, and giving me three-to-four per cent cashback. Why would I not do that? “Universal banking as a principle was predicated on cross- and upselling, where banks were relying on the primacy of their customer relationship, and selling them 2.3 or 2.4 products, on average, to make the system work, from a profitability perspective. But, we’re now seeing that customer ‘ownership’ being unbundled and shared between other providers, whether Amazon or players like Snoop. They’re provoking customers into moving, and making it really easy for them to do so. “That’s the really scary thing. We’ve seen this play out in other industries – mobile network operators are a great example, because the consumer doesn’t care what that logo in the corner of the iPhone is now, they just care that it’s an iPhone. The networks have commoditised themselves into providing them with data and coverage, which every one of them does, so it doesn’t really matter [who they go with].

Why you should make cyber risk a business gain, not a loss

In a progressive approach to risk, compliance specialists come together with IT security and operations to improve posture and compliance across the organization. In theory, that means gathering and analyzing data on the regulatory environment, security and privacy, and configuration management at one time. Only through that deep level of operational alignment can true technology risk management take place. To do that effectively, we have to start by thinking of risk as something to gain, not to lose. In this view, risk becomes a window through which organizations can assess their health as it relates to operations, security and regulatory status—a view of the organization over time. ...  Many IT teams start their risk assessments by making decisions based on data from multiple products and discrete tasks. Unfortunately, this can result in a time-consuming process of reconciling these systems. ... Once data is gathered, it’s analyzed and categorized into various risk categories. Ideally, this is done continuously, not as a once-a-year effort. Infrequent assessments will fail to provide a clear and current picture of the organization’s risk posture. ... Once analysis is signed off, organizations should be well positioned to recommend or perform remediation actions to mitigate their risks.

What is a DataOps Engineer?

DataOps engineers’ holistic approach to the data development environment separates them from other technical team members. At CHOP, data engineers mostly work on ETL tasks while analysts serve on subject matter teams within the hospital. Mirizo, on the other hand, works on building infrastructure for data development. Some of his major projects have included building a metric platform to standardize calculations, creating an adaptor that allows data engineers to layer tests on top of their pipelines, and crafting a GitHub-integrated metadata catalogue to track document sources. On a day-to-day basis, he provides data engineers with guidance and design support around workflows and pipelines, conducts code reviews through GitHub, and helps select the tools the team will use. Prior to the creation of his position, CHOP’s data team relied on human beings to manually check Excel spreadsheets to ensure everything looked okay, engineers emailed proposed changes to code and metadata back and forth, and the lack of shared definitions meant different pipelines delivered conflicting data. Now, thanks to Mirizio, much of that process is automated and tools like Jira, GitHub, and Airflow help the team maintain continuous, high-quality integration and development.

Unlocking Your DevOps Automation Mindset

Today, enterprises are shifting from waterfall to agile weekly and daily releases. My belief is that every enterprise needs to adopt a 100% agile methodology, just like BMW did. Testing and continuous improvement/continuous development (CI/CD) is key for deploying code in small chunks and reducing merge issues and refactor efforts. Ultimately, this increases developer velocity and decreases lead time. The shift from a partial to a 100% agile model requires more than simply senior leadership’s resolve. It needs a dedicated pool of certified DevOps automation consultants, coaches and subject matter experts with experience in SAFE, LESS, Scrum and Kanban frameworks. Best-in-class enterprises and OSS toolchains that cater to DevSecOps, service meshes and omnichannel apps are essential. Simultaneously, agile-based delivery coaching, audits and continuous support to existing and new delivery teams are a must. While DORA metrics can serve as a good measure of an enterprise’s DevOps performance, businesses will need tools to assess DevOps maturity, improve developer productivity and provide specific recommendations for improvement. Data will play an important role in decision making and aid every developer’s performance, more than at any time in the past.

5G, behavioural analytics & cyber security: the biggest tech considerations in 2021

With transmissions speeds reaching ten gigabits per second, and latency less than 4-5 times that of 4G, 5G will first and foremost revolutionise IoT and innovative new edge computing services. With this comes the potential for the wider adoption of driverless cars and the remote control of complex industrial machinery, to name but two applications. These examples, however, are just the headlines. Behind the scenes, 5G holds huge potential for businesses across all sectors looking to ramp up their digital capabilities. Lower latency and greater bandwidth mean that the finance and retail industries can perform data analytics in real-time, paving the way for AI to power bespoke customer service experiences. Similar applications will be seen in the manufacturing and transportation sectors, where faster information gathering and enhanced IoT offers both safer and faster execution of services. An even bigger area of flux is in the relationship between IT and the workplace. Last year’s shift to remote working was one of the biggest occupational overhauls in recent memory, and as it stands, more than four-fifths of global workforce are ruling out return to office full-time, creating new priorities for CIOs.

Top Considerations When Auditing Cloud Computing Systems

Securing data in your cloud environments comes with unique challenges and raises a new set of questions. What’s the appropriate governance structure for an organization’s cloud environment and the data that resides within them? How should cloud services be configured for security? Who is responsible for security, the cloud service provider or the user of that cloud service?  Cloud compliance is becoming front of mind for organizations of all sizes. Smaller companies with limited staff and resources tend to rely more on cloud vendors to run their businesses and to address security risks (we’ll get into why this is a bad idea later in this article). Often roles will overlap with team members wearing many hats in smaller operations. Larger enterprises frequently keep more security and compliance duties in-house, using vast resources to create individual teams for threat hunting, risk management, and compliance/governance programs. Regardless of size, the challenge of balancing security and business objectives looms large for all companies. Security must be built around the business, and Jacques accurately describes the nature of the relationship: “Security is always a support function around your business.”

Every CIO now needs this one secret 'superpower'

"Emotional intelligence is something we define as self-awareness, self-management and relationship management," Rob O'Donohue, senior director analyst at Gartner, who worked on the report, told ZDNet. "With emotional dexterity, it's the next level. You have the ability to adapt and adjust to challenges from a soft-skills, emotional perspective." Historically, said O'Donohue, CIO roles have tended to focus on technical skills rather than emotional ones. But as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world, forcing entire organizations to switch to remote working overnight, IT teams were in the spotlight as they worked relentlessly to keep businesses afloat. "This put CIOs in a position where they needed to keep a hands-on, door-open policy, and show themselves as a leader that is willing to listen," said O'Donohue. This is where emotional skills came in handy – not only to support employees, but first and foremost to better manage the crisis from a personal point of view. O'Donohue's research, which surveyed CIOs working directly throughout the crisis, showed that those who self-scored above average on performance metrics over the past year were also more likely to cite daily commitments to self-improvement and self-control practices that helped them weather the crisis.

Quote for the day:

"Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you." -- Peter F. Drucker

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