Daily Tech Digest - February 01, 2022

Why the metaverse experience isn’t quite a CX revolution yet

The metaverse aims to solve a key CX sticking point with the current state of the Internet, which is a lack of interactive, engaging, and immersive experiences. But there are a number of startups and companies working on improving the Internet experience without the need for a metaverse. From interactive content to immersive experiences, the future of the Internet is looking a lot more interesting, and it all relies on data. In other words, we can use data to create innovative customer experiences, the metaverse notwithstanding. For one, the current state of internet content is largely static. Websites are filled with text, images, and videos, and there’s very little that allows users to deeply interact with and change the course of the content. This is changing with the rise of interactive content, such as quizzes, polls, surveys, and games. One of the best ways to use interactive content is to create customer feedback loops. This involves using interactive content as a way to gather customer data, which can then be used to improve the customer experience. There are several ways to do this, but one of the most common is to use quizzes and surveys. You can gather data on customer preferences, demographics, and even purchase history.

Solana Uses Rust to Pull in Developers and Avoid Copypasta

Yakovenko, who is the engineering brains of Solana, firstly noted Rust’s popularity. “​It’s not like we picked Haskell or something,” he joked (a dig at Solana’s rival blockchain, Cardano, currently ranked 6th on CoinMarketCap, which did choose Haskell). He went on to explain why they didn’t choose to build with Solidity and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). “The hard part with EVM,” he said, “is are you gonna get, like, really smart people full-time thinking about […] how do I build in scale? […] Or are you just going to get somebody that copies something from Solidity and then slaps a token on it?” What Yakovenko is getting at is that Solidity, in his opinion at least, attracts developers that are more likely to copy-and-paste smart contract code from existing blockchain projects (a practice known colloquially as “copypasta”). So by choosing Rust, which is a harder language to learn than Solidity and is much more likely to be used by professional programmers, they are hoping to attract developers who can build custom, scalable programs.

Success of web3 hinges on remedying its security challenges

The success of web3 hinges on innovation to solve new security challenges created by different application architectures. In web3, decentralized applications or “dApps” are built without relying on the traditional application logic and database layers that exist in Web 2.0; instead, a blockchain, network nodes, and smart contracts are used to manage logic and state. Users still access a front end, which connects to those nodes, to update data such as publishing new content or making a purchase. These activities require users to sign transactions using their private keys, typically managed with a wallet, a model that is intended to preserve user control and privacy. Transactions on the blockchain are fully transparent, publicly accessible and immutable (meaning they cannot be changed). Like any system, this design has security trade-offs. The blockchain does not require actors to be trusted as in Web 2.0, but making updates to address security problems is harder. Users get to maintain control over their identities, but no intermediaries exist to provide recourse in the event of attacks or key compromises.

Rust-Coded Malware Key Factor in BlackCat's Meteoric Rise

According to some researchers, one of the key factors responsible for BlackCat's success and rapid growth is reported to be usage of the Rust programming language in its malware code. Security researchers from cybersecurity firm Recorded Future say that BlackCat is the first professional ransomware group to use Rust. The first ransomware strain coded in Rust as a proof-of-concept was released on GitHub in 2020. In May 2021, the Buer Dropper malware was updated using a code written in Rust. At the time, researchers from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint told ISMG that the new code, named RustyBuer, made the modified malware version harder to detect. Photon researchers tell ISMG that ransomware is most commonly coded in C, C++ or Go. But they add that Rust has many advantages: "It features good performance but more crucially, secure memory management, which reduces the probability that the malware will crash before it can be executed." Several other languages use a garbage collector to clean unused memory spaces automatically, but that trades off some performance, the researchers say.

Understaffing persistently impacting enterprise privacy teams

“People are an essential component of any privacy program, both the privacy professionals driving the work forward and employees across the enterprise who follow good data privacy practices,” says Safia Kazi, ISACA Privacy Professional Practice Advisor. “Enterprises need to sufficiently invest in their privacy programs and teams, not only to retain privacy staff and upskill talent to fill open roles, but to also prioritize privacy training efforts to ensure all employees are supporting privacy initiatives.” Despite issues with staffing and skills gaps, 41 percent of respondents report they are very confident or completely confident in the ability of their privacy team to ensure data privacy and achieve compliance with new privacy laws and regulations. One in 10 respondents’ enterprises have experienced a material privacy breach in the last 12 months, consistent with last year’s results. ... “Privacy professionals are vital in driving transparency and accountability across their organizations, and that has never been more important, as more consumers, employees and investors dictate the success of organizations that they do, or don’t, trust,” notes Alex Bermudez, OneTrust Privacy Manager.

Crypto and NFTs: A New Digital Footprint for Enterprises?

There can be a dark side to this new frontier. Increased use of decentralized assets has brought concerns of exploits -- such as cryptocurrency money laundering. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global organization that combats money laundering, has been looking at how to mitigate risks around cryptocurrency, says Malcolm Wright, head of strategy for global regulatory and compliance solutions with Shyft Network. Regulators in the United States already had policy and guidance in this arena in place, he says, but the task force proposed wider suggestions on dealing with these emerging issues. “FATF doesn’t create legislation but it does lay down recommendations and evaluates countries against how well they’ve implemented them,” Wright says. Shyft is a public protocol for validating identity to secure cryptocurrency, establishing trust in blockchain data. FATF laid out recommendations in 2019 with the expectation that countries would regulate within two years and industry would look to comply within two years, he says. This was a way to mitigate the risk that illicit actors pose.

Nothingness at the top of the heap

Business leaders faced with these issues, as most people sooner or later are, will want to consult a brilliant and energetic executive by the name of David Levinsky. You’ll find a few by that name on LinkedIn, of course, but the one you most need to know exists only between covers. The Rise of David Levinsky is probably the first important American Jewish novel, yet its themes—the ambiguous nature of “success,” among them—remain as timely and universal as when the book was first published more than a century ago, in 1917. If that were all Levinsky offered, it would be enough, as we sing at Passover. But the book delivers far more, succeeding as literature even as it illustrates the difficulties of starting a business in a new country, the importance of manufacturing in fostering innovation, the social tensions that arise from extreme inequality, and the effects of imposter syndrome—for Levinsky, a lifelong affliction. “At the bottom of my heart,” he will reflect as a middle-aged tycoon who employs his own chauffeur, “I cow before waiters to this day.

Better Metrics for Building High Performance Teams

Not surprisingly, VP’s of Engineering get a lot of pressure to quantify value and productivity from the engineering department for bosses or peers who don’t often have the same perspective or skillset, and these metrics are an easy way to understand activity in the field. But there’s a big issue: Lines of code rewards bloated solutions, and likewise, optimizing for faster cycle time may not solve a problem’s root cause. These metrics are often used to compare individuals against each other and teams to one another. These are dangerous paths to walk down: you will quickly fail to see the realities the team or individual may be facing (poor onboarding perhaps, or even that someone has been pulled off a project to help on something else - making the dashboard look bad.) When you begin surveilling engineers to get this kind of data, and then making management decisions based on that flawed information, you’ll drive turnover and discontent in the organization.

2022: the year of the open source tiger

Open source brings economic savings, that’s true, but beyond this it supports societal values including collaboration, skills development and improved and diverse innovation. The UK Government’s digital focus in 2022 will be on “Funding, People and Ideas,” according to Digital Minister, Chris Philp. The values of open source align directly with this ambition. Talent will be actively nurtured, and the UK financial sector will be tasked with a significant increase in its investment in digital start-ups through UK pension funds. The current 12% level will be driven towards the 65% US equivalent pension. This increase in investment should create a larger pot for all, helping to support businesses in establishing their operations and building sustainable models that take advantage of circular economy models, rather than than going for all-out perpetual growth. With a greater focus on scaling UK digital businesses, some of the Brexit pain will be alleviated with a new fast track visa route launching in March or April, offered to organisations demonstrating 20% financial or people growth over the last three years.

Hybrid work: 5 tips for prioritizing the employee experience

In a broader sense, IT plays one of the most important roles in removing any employee friction. We have opportunities to automate or digitize manual processes, remove duplicative systems or logins, and fix systems that don’t talk to one another. We can avoid pushing out patches when they’re in the middle of something important, we can reduce the time they spend on a help desk call, and we can simplify how many logins they must manage. When we proactively remove these big rocks from the employee’s backpacks, we lighten their load and enable them to focus on more value-added work. Some of the opportunities IT tackles to improve the employee experience wouldn’t be labeled as groundbreaking, cutting-edge initiatives. But it’s necessary work. Take time to sit and talk with your employees and get as much data as you can out of your help desk and ticketing systems. This will help you identify trends and proactively tackle problems in the employee experience – before your employees get so burned out that they leave. When the organization knows you care about the “little” things, you’ll earn the trust you need to tackle the big things.

Quote for the day:

"A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, but is miles ahead in results." -- W. Wilcox

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