Daily Tech Digest - August 29, 2022

6 key board questions CIOs must be prepared to answer

The board wants assurances that the CIO has command of tech investments tied to corporate strategy. “Demystify that connection,” Ferro says. “Show how those investments tie to the bigger picture and show immediate return as much as you can.” Global CIO and CDO Anupam Khare tries to educate the board of manufacturer Oshkosh Corp. in his presentations. “My slide deck is largely in the context of the business so you can see the benefit first and the technology later. That creates curiosity about how this technology creates value,” Khare says. “When we say, ‘This project or technology has created this operating income impact on the business,’ that’s the hook. Then I explain the driver for that impact, and that leads to a better understanding of how the technology works.” Board members may also come in with technology suggestions of their own that they hear about from competitors or from other boards they’re on. ... Avoid the urge to break out technical jargon to explain the merits of new cloud platforms, customer-facing apps, or Slack as a communication tool, and “answer that question from a business context, not from a technology context,” Holley says. “

From applied AI to edge computing: 14 tech trends to watch

Mobility has arrived at a “great inflection” point — a shift towards autonomous, connected, electric and smart technologies. This shift aims to disrupt markets while improving efficiency and sustainability of land and air transportation of people and goods. ACES technologies for road mobility saw significant adoption during the past decade, and the pace could accelerate because of sustainability pressures, McKinsey said. Advanced air-mobility technologies, on the other hand, are either in pilot phase — for example, airborne-drone delivery — or remain in the early stages of development — for example, air taxis — and face some concerns about safety and other issues. Overall, mobility technologies, which attracted $236bn last year, intend to improve the efficiency and sustainability of land and air transportation of people and goods. ... It focuses on the use of goods and services that are produced with minimal environmental impact by using low carbon technologies and sustainable materials. At a macro level, sustainable consumption is critical to mitigating environmental risks, including climate change. 

Why Memory Enclaves Are The Foundation Of Confidential Computing

Data encryption has been around for a long time. It was first made available for data at rest on storage devices like disk and flash drives as well as data in transit as it passed through the NIC and out across the network. But data in use – literally data in the memory of a system within which it is being processed – has not, until fairly recently, been protected by encryption. With the addition of memory encryption and enclaves, it is now possible to actually deliver a Confidential Computing platform with a TEE that provides data confidentiality. This not only stops unauthorized entities, either people or applications, from viewing data while it is in use, in transit, or at rest. ... It effectively allows enterprises in regulated industries as well as government agencies and multi-tenant cloud service providers to better secure their environments. Importantly, Confidential Computing means that any organization running applications on the cloud can be sure that any other users of the cloud capacity and even the cloud service providers themselves cannot access the data or applications residing within a memory enclave.

Metasurfaces offer new possibilities for quantum research

Metasurfaces are ultrathin planar optical devices made up of arrays of nanoresonators. Their subwavelength thickness (a few hundred nanometers) renders them effectively two-dimensional. That makes them much easier to handle than traditional bulky optical devices. Even more importantly, due to the lesser thickness, the momentum conservation of the photons is relaxed because the photons have to travel through far less material than with traditional optical devices: according to the uncertainty principle, confinement in space leads to undefined momentum. This allows for multiple nonlinear and quantum processes to happen with comparable efficiencies and opens the door for the usage of many new materials that would not work in traditional optical elements. For this reason, and also because of being compact and more practical to handle than bulky optical elements, metasurfaces are coming into focus as sources of photon pairs for quantum experiments. In addition, metasurfaces could simultaneously transform photons in several degrees of freedom, such as polarization, frequency, and path.

Agile: Starting at the top

Having strong support was key to this change in beliefs among the leadership team. Aisha Mir, IT Agile Operations Director for Thales North America, has a track record of successful agile transformations under her belt and was eager to help the leadership team overcome any initial hurdles. “The best thing I saw out of previous transformations I’ve been a part of was the way that the team started working together and the way they were empowered. I really wanted that for our team,” says Mir. “In those first few sprints, we saw that there were ways for all of us to help each other, and that’s when the rest of the team began believing. I had seen that happen before – where the team really becomes one unit and they see what tasks are in front of them – and they scrum together to finish it.” While the support was essential, one motivating factor helped them work through any challenge in their way: How could they ask other parts of the IT organization to adopt agile methodologies if they couldn’t do it themselves? “When we started, we all had some level of skepticism but were willing to try it because we knew this was going to be the life our organization was going to live,” says Daniel Baldwin

AutoML: The Promise vs. Reality According to Practitioners

The data collection, data tagging, and data wrangling of pre-processing are still tedious, manual processes. There are utilities that provide some time savings and aid in simple feature engineering, but overall, most practitioners do not make use of AutoML as they prepare data. In post-processing, AutoML offerings have some deployment capabilities. But Deployment is famously a problematic interaction between MLOps and DevOps in need of automation. Take for example one of the most common post-processing tasks: generating reports and sharing results. While cloud-hosted AutoML tools are able to auto-generate reports and visualizations, our findings show that users are still adopting manual approaches to modify default reports. The second most common post-processing task is deploying models. Automated deployment was only afforded to users of hosted AutoML tools and limitations still existed for security or end user experience considerations. The failure of AutoML to be end-to-end can actually cut into the efficiency improvements.

Best Practices for Building Serverless Microservices

There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to structuring your repositories for an application: monorepo vs multiple repos. A monorepo is a single repository that has logical separations for distinct services. In other words, all microservices would live in the same repo but would be separated by different folders. Benefits of a monorepo include easier discoverability and governance. Drawbacks include the size of the repository as the application scales, large blast radius if the master branch is broken, and ambiguity of ownership. On the flip side, having a repository per microservice has its ups and downs. Benefits of multiple repos include distinct domain boundaries, clear code ownership, and succinct and minimal repo sizes. Drawbacks include the overhead of creating and maintaining multiple repositories and applying consistent governance rules across all of them. In the case of serverless, I opt for a repository per microservice. It draws clear lines for what the microservice is responsible for and keeps the code lightweight and focused. 

5 Super Fast Ways To Improve Core Web Vitals

High-quality images consume more space. When the image size is big, your loading time will increase. If the loading time increases, the user experience will be affected. So, keeping the image size as small as possible is best. Compress the image size. If you have created your website using WordPress, you can use plugins like ShortPixel to compress the image size. If not, many online sites are available to compress image size. However, you might have a doubt - does compression affect the quality of the image? To some extent, yes, it will damage the quality, but only it will be visible while zooming in on the image. Moreover, use JPEG format for images and SVG format for logos and icons. It is even best if you can use WebP format. ... One of the important metrics of the core web vitals is the Cumulative Layout shift. Imagine that you're scrolling through a website on your phone. You think that it is all set to engage with it. Now, you see a text which has a hyperlink that has grasped your interest, and you're about to click it. When you click it, all of a sudden, the text disappears, and there is an image in the place of the text. 

Cyber-Insurance Firms Limit Payouts, Risk Obsolescence

While the insurers' position is understandable, businesses — which have already seen their premiums skyrocket over the past three years — should question whether insurance still mitigates risk effectively, says Pankaj Goyal, senior vice president of data science and cyber insurance at Safe Security, a cyber-risk analysis firm. "Insurance works on trust, [so answer the question,] 'will an insurance policy keep me whole when a bad event happens?' " he says. "Today, the answer might be 'I don't know.' When customers lose trust, everyone loses, including the insurance companies." ... Indeed, the exclusion will likely result in fewer companies relying on cyber insurance as a way to mitigate catastrophic risk. Instead, companies need to make sure that their cybersecurity controls and measures can mitigate the cost of any catastrophic attack, says David Lindner, chief information security officer at Contrast Security, an application security firm. Creating data redundancies, such as backups, expanding visibility of network events, using a trusted forensics firm, and training all employees in cybersecurity can all help harden a business against cyberattacks and reduce damages.

Data security hinges on clear policies and automated enforcement

The key is to establish policy guardrails for internal use to minimize cyber risk and maximize the value of the data. Once policies are established, the next consideration is establishing continuous oversight. This component is difficult if the aim is to build human oversight teams, because combining people, processes, and technology is cumbersome, expensive, and not 100% reliable. Training people to manually combat all these issues is not only hard but requires a significant investment over time. As a result, organizations are looking to technology to provide long-term, scalable, and automated policies to govern data access and adhere to compliance and regulatory requirements. They are also leveraging these modern software approaches to ensure privacy without forcing analysts or data scientists to “take a number” and wait for IT when they need access to data for a specific project or even everyday business use. With a focus on establishing policies and deciding who gets to see/access what data and how it is used, organizations gain visibility into and control over appropriate data access without the risk of overexposure. 

Quote for the day:

"Leadership is a journey, not a destination. It is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a process, not an outcome." -- John Donahoe

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