Daily Tech Digest - June 16, 2022

High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) delivers impressive performance gains

In addition to widening the bus in order to boost bandwidth, HBM technology shrinks down the size of the memory chips and stacks them in an elegant new design form. HBM chips are tiny when compared to graphics double data rate (GDDR) memory, which it was originally designed to replace. 1GB of GDDR memory chips take up 672 square millimeters versus just 35 square millimeters for 1GB of HBM. Rather than spreading out the transistors, HBM is stacked up to 12 layers high and connected with an interconnect technology called ‘through silicon via’ (TSV). The TSV runs through the layers of HBM chips like an elevator runs through a building, greatly reducing the amount of time data bits need to travel. With the HBM sitting on the substrate right next to the CPU or GPU, less power is required to move data between CPU/GPU and memory. The CPU and HBM talk directly to each other, eliminating the need for DIMM sticks. “The whole idea that [we] had was instead of going very narrow and very fast, go very wide and very slow,” Macri said.

3 forces shaping the evolution of ERP

If there was any hesitation about moving to cloud-based ERP, it was quashed as the COVID crisis erupted, and corporate workplaces became scattered across countless home-based offices. On-premises ERP is seen as “not as scalable as people thought,” says Sharon Bhalaru, partner at accounting and technology consulting firm Armanino LLP. “We’re seeing a move to cloud-based systems,” to support remote employees who need to perform HR, financial and accounting tasks remotely. ... Next-generation ERP platforms “give companies real-time transparency with respect to sales, inventory, production, and financials,” the Boston Consulting Group analysts wrote. “Powerful data-driven analytics enables more agile decisions, such as adjustments to the supply chain to improve resilience. Robust e-commerce capabilities help companies better engage with online customers before and after a sale. And a lean ERP core and cloud-first approach increase deployment speed.” ... Unprecedented and ongoing supply chain disruptions underscore the need for greater visibility, more predictable lead times, alternative supply sources, and faster response to disruptions.

Interpol arrests thousands in global cyber fraud crackdown

The operation’s targets included telephone scammers, long-distance romance scammers, email fraudsters and other connected financial criminals, identified through a prior intelligence operation using Interpol’s secure global comms network, sharing data on suspects, suspicious bank accounts, unlawful transactions, and communications means such as phone numbers, email addresses, fake websites and IP addresses. “Telecom and BEC fraud are sources of serious concern for many countries and have a hugely damaging effect on economies, businesses and communities,” said Rory Corcoran. “The international nature of these crimes can only be addressed successfully by law enforcement working together beyond borders, which is why Interpol is critical to providing police the world over with a coordinated tactical response.” Duan Daqi, added: “The transnational and digital nature of different types of telecom and social engineering fraud continues to present grave challenges for local police authorities, because perpetrators operate from a different country or even continent than their victims and keep updating their fraud schemes.

Is Cyber Essentials Enough to Secure Your Organisation?

If you are to have confidence in your security controls, you must implement defence in depth. This requires a holistic approach to cyber security that addresses people, processes and technology. Key aspects of this aren’t addressed in Cyber Essentials, such as staff awareness training, vulnerability scanning and incident response. Employees are at the heart of any cyber security system, because they are the ones responsible for handling sensitive information. If they don’t understand their data protection requirements, it could result in disaster. Meanwhile, vulnerability scanning ensures that organisations can spot weaknesses in their systems before a cyber criminal can exploit them. It’s a more advanced form of protection than is offered with secure configuration and system updates, enabling organisations to proactively secure their systems. Conversely, incident response measures give organisations the tools they need to respond after a security incident has occurred. Most of the damage caused by a data breach occurs after the initial intrusion, so a prompt and organised response can be the difference between a minor disruption and a catastrophe.

Imagining a world without open standards

The open standard makes portability easier for software developers, provides integrators with choice in the building blocks for solutions, and enables customers to focus on solving business problems rather than integration issues. Open standards eliminate the need for organizations to expend energy wrangling with competitors on defining how systems should work, giving them the space and time to focus on building and improving how those systems actually do work. The real benefits, though, are downstream of vendors: open standards mean that businesses can effectively communicate and collaborate both internally and with peers. They mean that the expertise built up by a professional in one market or business can be taken with them wherever they want to work. They mean that a lack of knowledge resources is not the barrier that prevents businesses from making the move towards better, more efficient ways of working. In imagining a world without open standards, then, the image is one of businesses constantly having to navigate between the walled gardens of different technology vendors, reskilling and rehiring as they do so, before they can even begin the serious work of delivering value from that technology.

Good Habits That Every Programmer Should Have

We can become good at a specific technology by working with a particular technology for a long time. How can we become an expert in a specific technology? Learning internals is a great habit that supports us to become an expert in any technology. For example, after working some time with Git, you can learn Git internals via the lesser-known plumbing commands. You can make accurate technical decisions when you understand the internals of your technology stack. When you learn internals, you will indeed become more familiar with the limitations and workarounds of a specific technology. Learning internals also helps us to understand what we are doing with programming every day. Motivate everyone to learn further about their tools’ internals! ... Sometimes, we derive programming solutions from example code snippets that we can find on internet forums. It’s a good habit to give credit to other programmers’ hard work when we use their code snippets, libraries, and tools, even though their licensing documents say that attribution is not required.

Reducing Cybersecurity Security Risk From and to Third Parties

There are a number of ways in which organizations may be able to obtain attack information from third parties, if they agree. Ideally, such requirements should be included in service agreements and partnership contracts for vendors, outsourcers, and partners, as listed in the article, “Using Contracts to Reduce Cybersecurity Risks.” Employment contracts, nondisclosure agreements and license agreements may also include requirements that protect organizations against third-party risk. While it is helpful to request vendors, outsourcers and partners to commit to risk reduction in the contractual terms and conditions, it is even more beneficial for an organization to have direct access to partners’ and suppliers’ security monitoring systems. ... More modern forms of protection monitor messages for origin and content and respond with information about unauthorized sources—as with IDSs—or preventive action—as with IPSs. Advancements in these systems include observation of unusual behavior and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to determine threats.

How Upskilling Could Resolve The Cybersecurity Skills Gap

With a shortage of new candidates, upskilling provides the answer to the cybersecurity skills gap. And it brings multiple benefits for both employees and businesses. One of the first is that, ultimately, cybersecurity is everyone’s business. From the CEO to the new employee at home, everyone has a role to play in ensuring systems are robust in the face of a growing wave of attacks. While this does not mean that everyone in a company needs to be a cybersecurity professional, it does mean that everyone should be aware of the risks, how to spot potential vulnerabilities and attacks and the practical measures they must take to prevent them. However, it can also produce a supply of cybersecurity professionals. Waiting for qualified entrants to the jobs market will take too long and, in practice, it’s likely they will not be qualified for long! The cybersecurity environment changes so rapidly, the knowledge many graduates gain at the start of their course may not be relevant by the end. Instead, identifying existing staff with the soft skills,or power skills, to develop, adapt, and learn may be the quickest and easiest path to take.

12 tips for achieving IT agility in the digital era

“If your tech stack is streamlined, easy to access, and easy to use, your workforce can quickly respond to business or customer needs seamlessly,” says Fleetcor’s duFour. Key to this is getting a handle on application sprawl by rationalizing the IT portfolio. Voya Financial’s simplification journey began with such an effort, a process that reduced its application footprint by 17% and its slate of technology tools by one quarter. The work continues as part of its cloud migration work. “This practice is instilling standards and discipline that will only help to ensure our environment remains uncluttered and contemporary for the long term,” Keshavan says. As a result, the IT group is faster and more flexible, recently deploying five new cloud services for data science and analytics developers to use within four hours —something that would have taken a cross-functional IT team several weeks to deploy in the past. Reining in application sprawl has also been valuable at Snow Software. “Oftentimes, companies and teams will invest in applications with similar purposes,” says Snow Software CIO Alastair Pooley. 

True Component-Testing of the GUI With Karate Mock Server

There’s an important reason why old-style end-to-end tests are often more expensive than needed: you tend to test paths that are not relevant to the frontend logic. Each of these adds to the total test suite run. Consider a web application for your tax return. The user journey in this non-trivial app consists of submitting a series of questionnaires, their content customized depending on what you answered in previous steps. There is likely some logic on the frontend to manage the turns in that user journey, but the number-crunching over your sources of income and deductibles surely happens on the backend. You don’t need a GUI test to validate the correctness of those calculations. With a mock backend that would be entirely pointless. You set it up to tell the frontend that the final amount to pay is 12600 Euros. You can test that this amount is properly displayed, but there’s no testing its correctness. All the decisions are made (and hopefully tested) elsewhere, so we can treat it as a hardcoded test fixture.

Quote for the day:

"Leaders begin with a different question than others. Replacing who can I blame with how am I responsible?" -- Orrin Woodward

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