Daily Tech Digest - December 01, 2022

Data-center requirements should drive network architecture

Fabric architectures for the data center are essential because of the issue of latency. Componentization of applications, the separation of databases from applications, and the increased interactivity of applications overall have combined to make applications sensitive to network delays. That sensitivity is addressed in the data center by fabric or a low switching architectures, but it also impacts the rest of the network. Few CIOs have included latency requirements in their SLAs in the past, but more are doing so now. In 2023, CIMI Corporation survey data shows that over half of the new network contracts written will include latency requirements, up 15% from 2022 and double the level of 2021. Mesh/fabric architectures connect everything to everything else with minimal delay, but universal connectivity isn’t always a good thing. To control connectivity, data-center networks can employ either explicit connection control—software-defined networks (SDN)—or a virtual network. 

UK Companies Fear Reporting Cyber Incidents, Parliament Told

The possibility of regulatory consequences to disclosing incidents drives a wedge between businesses and law enforcement, said Jayan Perera, head of cyber response at London-based Control Risks while testifying Monday before Parliament's Joint Committee on National Security Strategy. "The fear may not be that law enforcement will come and slap the handcuffs on them," Perera told the committee. Rather, they fear that calling police during a cyber incident "will then lead to, you know, some other broader fallout in terms of the regulatory environment." Reporting that allowed businesses to anonymously disclose incidents would result in more data, he suggested. ... Perera wasn't the only one during the hearing to suggest that companies are punished for disclosure. "The comment is also made … that the Americans tend to support their businesses, whereas the other comment also made is that the U.K. tends to find fault when someone gets into trouble," said Lilian Pauline Neville-Jones, a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

Know thy enemy: thinking like a hacker can boost cybersecurity strategy

“There is a misconception security teams have about how hackers target our networks,” says Alex Spivakovsky, who as vice-president of research at security software maker Pentera has studied this topic. “Today, many security teams hyperfocus on vulnerability management and rush to patch [common vulnerabilities and exposures] as quickly as possible because, ultimately, they believe that the hackers are specifically looking to exploit CVEs. In reality, it doesn’t actually reduce their risk significantly, because it doesn’t align with how hackers actually behave.” Spivakovsky, an experienced penetration tester who served with the Israel Defense Forces units responsible for protecting critical state infrastructure, says hackers operate like a business, seeking to minimize resources and maximize returns. In other words, they generally want to put in as little effort as possible to achieve maximum benefit. He says hackers typically follow a certain path of action: once they breach an IT environment and have an active connection, they collect such data as usernames, IP addresses, and email addresses.

Cybersecurity incidents cost organizations $1,197 per employee, per year

Perception Point’s report notes that one of the key challenges for defenders, is that threat actors have changed their attack toolkits beyond email and the web browser, with attacks on cloud-based apps and services, such as collaboration apps and storage, occurring at 60% of the frequency with which they occur on email-based services. Given that Gartner estimates that nearly 80% of workers are using collaboration tools for work, enterprises not only need to be able to prevent cyberattacks across on-premise and cloud environments that are cost-efficient, but they also need a robust incident response process to resolve security incidents in the shortest time possible. “In terms of the potential risk and damages — prevention of attacks has a greater financial impact on the organization,” said Michael Calev, Perception Point’s VP of corporate development and strategy. “One successful breach for an organization can cause damage amounting to millions of dollars — for bigger companies this could mean a significant loss in revenue, production capabilities, and a hit to their reputation, while for smaller companies it could spell disaster and even the end of their ability to operate,” Calev said.

Who Is Watching Your Data?

As data volumes grow, it will become increasingly important to master data observability. A recent study of senior professionals from IDC that was sponsored by my company found that a majority of organizations with the highest data intelligence maturity are on the path toward data quality and data observability. The future is really about what we will observe, and I believe it will move beyond data quality to the volume, frequency and behavior of data. We will start observing the infrastructure side, including how much storage is necessary, how much compute is necessary and how much it is costing. For instance, you might do an integration every night, but suddenly someone has made a small change, and it becomes 100 times more expensive. No one wants that surprise. I expect the scope of what we are observing to expand dramatically into other areas, too, particularly into security and privacy checks to ensure sensitive data is used only in the way it should be. In this cloud world, there are so many possibilities.

AWS CEO urges enterprises to do more in the cloud in the face of economic uncertainty

“If you’re looking to tighten your belt, the cloud is the place to do it,” said Selipsky – because of the flexibility it offers enterprises when it comes to scaling up or down their operations in the face of fluctuating demand. He went on to share the story of app-based holiday rental company Airbnb which, because of its earlier foray into the public cloud, was better equipped to weather the downturn in demand for its services during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Airbnb was already a significant cloud user,” said Selipsky. “And with all their expertise in the cloud, and the efficiencies that they’ve already captured, they were far more prepared than many others when the bottom fell out of the hospitality industry in 2020. “Airbnb was able to take down their cloud spending by 27% – quickly. And then, when the world began to emerge from the worst of the pandemic, Airbnb was able to quickly turn on the cloud infrastructure that they needed, and continue to drive innovation.”

Could Software Issues Delay Widespread Electric Vehicle Adoption?

Key obstacles EV software developers face include software development complexity and the rapid pace of technology evolution, says Mathew Desmond, automotive industry solutions architect at business advisory firm Capgemini Americas. Other challenges include the pressure to continually provide new features to meet customer expectations and the need for enhanced vehicle safety requirements despite an accelerated development pace. Alex Oyler, a director with SBD Automotive, a global research and consulting firm, believes that EV software developers face two primary challenges: dual-track development and immature tools. “Many software developers are trying to develop software for both combustion engine and EV platforms at the same time, essentially doubling the complexity of their software stack,” he explains. Meanwhile, the sophisticated high-performance computers powering many modern EVs require multiple advanced development tools and skillsets. “Most of these tools are immature, with many companies developing tools and skills as they develop their cars.” Oyler says.

API Security: From Defense-in-Depth (DiD) To Zero Trust

Being able to observe security risks is critical in combating targeted attacks. After a hacker has breached the outermost layer of defenses, we need observability mechanisms to identify which traffic is likely the malicious attack traffic. Common means of implementing security observability are honeypots, IDS (Intrusion Detection System), NTA (Network Traffic Analysis), NDR (Network Detection and Response), APT (Advanced Persistent Threat), and threat intelligence. Among them, honeypots are one of the oldest methods. By imitating some high-value targets to set traps for malicious attackers, they can analyze attack behaviors and even help locate attackers. On the other hand, APT detection and some machine learning methods are not intuitive to evaluate. Fortunately, for most enterprise users, simple log collection and analysis, behavior tracking, and digital evidence are enough for the timely detection of abnormal behaviors. Machine learning is an advanced but imperfect technology with some problems like false or missed reports. 

Why security should be on every IT department's end-of-year agenda

For many IT teams, hiring is fraught with inconsistency. This makes the end-of-year agenda extremely important for IT teams and their hiring counterparts. Deciding which employees will be promoted, what new positions can be created, and backfilling employees who have moved on to new roles is a puzzle for both IT department leads and hiring managers. For many organizations, the end of the year means focusing on organizing this turnover ahead of the new year. From reclaiming devices of past employees to redistributing unused licenses to save funds, there are multiple staffing-related tasks to complete before year-end. With this in mind, IT teams must discuss their hiring needs for the new year and what roles they ideally would like to fill by the end of the current year. Many people leave their jobs toward the end of the year, so there will soon be more open positions than usual for cybersecurity employees. Make sure your team is clear and organized on your hiring strategy: If you’re hiring, align on priorities and more emergent vacancies. 

Ending the DevOps vs. Software Engineer Cold War

What’s at the heart of this war? To understand that, let’s unpack two major issues that emerge from this not-so-smooth but all-too-familiar scenario. First, without a common language and clear communication channels, no two parties can work together even on simple tasks, let alone complex ones. Second, even with a common language, all the excess work, context switching, delays, and the inevitable friction, lead to cold-war-level frustration brewing within your organization. Adding to these issues are the blurred lines of responsibility that the DevOps model has created for both software engineering and DevOps (aka operations) teams. But the reality is that: Software engineers want to code, implement features and run them on infrastructure (so the customers can use them), without a lot of hassle and without getting bogged down in the operational details; DevOps want to focus on streamlining and keeping production stable, optimizing infrastructure, improving monitoring and general innovation, without getting sucked into the rabbit hole of end-user (e.g., software engineers’) service and access requests.

Quote for the day:

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on." -- Walter Lippmann

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