Daily Tech Digest - February 16, 2023

Eyes on Data: The Elevated Role of Data Management and the CDO

As data becomes more prevalent for every single employee of every organization, it is imperative that organizations go beyond data governance to develop a strong data-driven culture. The importance of a data-driven culture was identified as a key factor in overall success. Data culture starts at the top. Senior executives must establish a data mindset across the firm, emphasizing the importance of a sound data management discipline. Getting the most out of an organization’s data means investing in the programs that support it and the people who are tasked with using it to ensure strong data awareness and literacy. Without a focus on data literacy, organizations are at risk of coming up short in achieving their objectives. ... Today’s data management professionals are assuming more and more responsibility for the public’s data. It is critical, therefore, that firms take responsibility for the ethical access and use of this data and do everything they can to avoid unintentional outcomes due to poor data quality, lack of data analytic model governance, or hidden data biases. 

What are the biggest challenges organizations face in their digital transformation efforts?

The leadership should give a big safety net to everyone by saying ‘Hey, we are going on this journey, we are going to learn a lot and, if you fail, if you have issues, that’s okay. We’ll cover you, we are on your side, let’s just go through this learning journey first.’ So give that safety net for everyone. At the same time, provide some kind of framework for learning. You can’t just say to a whole organization we are going to be transforming ourselves and we are going to be DevOps-enabled and just leave it at that. You should have a program, and some kind of learning mechanism, and probably some outside training if that is needed. You should have days set aside, maybe even give employees 80% of the time to do normal work but 20% to learn something new. This framework of learning and enabling is really important for people to upskill themselves. Think in a different way and basically be happy about the journey that they are on because once people are motivated and happy, then a bunch of stuff starts happening.

Operational Resilience: More than Disaster Recovery

The broader focus of operational resilience requires organisation-wide participation. You cannot simply leave it to a single department or team. Instead, everyone needs to be involved, from executives and the board of directors to individual employees in multiple departments. In today’s climate, it’s not just your own organisation that’s under threat. Your suppliers, partners, and vendors are targets, too. If a major supplier is compromised or taken down, your business might go down with them. Leadership needs to understand risk and to know the risk tolerance and risk appetite of the company. That even includes things such as procurement functions and agreements with third-party suppliers. Resilience must be built into everything down to every-day workflows, and if a single supplier is insufficient to manage risk, then diversity of supply is a must. There are many cases where a cyber event at a supplier rendered multiple organisations unable to fulfil their business outcomes. ... In the context of operational resilience, every risk management scenario and process must consider the supply chain.

Helping users and organizations build an instinctive data privacy habit

Although there’s no one-size-fits all measurement metric for engagement, there are a few guidelines we typically use. The first is tracking the level of engagement and participation from our stakeholders, including consumers, businesses, and other non-profit organizations we partner with. We look at the number of events and activities hosted (e.g., webinars, panel discussions, etc.) and how well attended those are, as well as media/social media mentions as a bellwether for gauge reach and impact of the campaign. Additionally, we also measure success by the extent to which we’ve achieved the objectives and goals we set at the beginning of each campaign. It’s an abstract metric, but for Data Privacy Week, our mission is to raise awareness and educate individuals and organizations about the importance of protecting personal information and championing transparency by companies relative to how they collect, store, and use consumer data. 

6 things ChatGPT can't do (and another 20 it refuses to do)

It won't write about anything after 2021 - As an AI language model, I was trained on a large dataset of text that only goes up to 2021. This means that I don't have access to information or events that occurred after that date. While I have access to a lot of historical data and information, I don't have access to current events, news, or updates that have occurred since my training data cutoff date. ... It won't predict future results of sports events or political contests - As an AI language model, I can process and analyze large amounts of data, including historical data on sports events and political contests. However, making accurate predictions for these types of events is not always straightforward. While historical data can be used to train machine learning models to identify patterns and correlations, it cannot account for unforeseeable events, changes in circumstances, or new variables that may impact the outcome. Additionally, humans make decisions and can change their behavior based on many factors, making it difficult to predict the outcome of an event with complete certainty.

8 signs you’ve mistimed a major IT initiative

Indecision and a poor risk appetite are two common reasons why CIOs frequently delay an important IT initiative. “Nimble, forward-looking leaders put execution speed at the center of performance discussions; indecisive IT leaders tend to rely on consensus decisions and endless risk evaluations,” says Colm Sparks-Austin, president and managing director of business advisory firm Capgemini Canada. To correctly time a major IT initiative, the decision-maker should align the initiative with business goals. “If the business isn’t spearheading the initiative, or is not aware of it, it’s clear that something is wrong,” Sparks-Austin says. CIOs should also ensure they’re analyzing all IT spend through a business goals lens, Sparks-Austin advises.  ... Unrealistic funding almost always plays an important role in initiative timing, observes Ravi Malick, CIO at cloud-based content management, collaboration, and file-sharing tool provider Box. Overly optimistic funding is almost always a main part of the equation when an initiative fails, he notes. 

How to make progress on managing unstructured data

“As the CIO, your job is to be able to provide the information a business needs in order to make decisions,” Minetola said. “The ability to now see into that 80 per cent of the data and make decisions based off that . . . is significant.” ... When thinking about all the data sources an organisation needs to grapple with as part of its transformation, it makes sense. For instance, consider a bank with thousands of computer systems in over a hundred countries. “You need technologies that close silos,” Evelson said. “Whenever we talk about digital transformation, data and analytics platforms that unify everything that I just talked about, like search-powered technologies, are at the top of everyone’s mind.” ... Search-powered technology should bring two critical capabilities to the table: a visualisation layer and machine learning. Visualisation improves the ability to extract insights from large volumes of data. “It’s one thing to be able to have data,” Minetola said. “It’s another thing to understand it.” Furthermore, machine learning such as natural language processing or vector search can help join data sources to create more relevance and context.

What Ukraine's IT Industry Can Teach CIOs About Resilience

The agile, remote structure refined during the pandemic has served Ukrainian IT companies well as they operate using a hybrid workforce -- some employees live abroad, some are on the move due to Russian attacks, and others serve in the military. Unlike traditional industries, many IT jobs are service-oriented. “​​All you need is a computer, Internet, and electricity. You can literally work from anywhere,” Kavetskyi says. Both companies and individuals have engaged in a sustained process of business continuity planning. Now, most organizations have it down to a science. “They have power generators in their offices and Starlinks,” Kavetskyi claims. He emphasizes the power of knowledge sharing: “The IT clusters helped small and medium-sized companies implement basic continuity plans. Everyone working in this industry had a chance to see what others were doing.” “Of course, there was data that couldn't be shared,” he adds. “But in general, big companies were willing to [share their strategies]. Mainly, we had to find time to organize those meetings, considering the logistical challenges.”

Soft skills: How well-rounded IT pros can push your business forward

With organizational spend under greater scrutiny, it’s critical for every new hire you onboard to add value to the business. Productivity and technical skills are paramount in demonstrating resource value. But when you have two candidates with comparable technical skills, you need to consider the value each person’s soft skills bring to the table. ... Soft skills impact how teams communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve, and these capabilities determine the success of your IT projects and client relationships – and, ultimately, your organizational culture. Company culture also plays a crucial role in your brand reputation: You want clients and job candidates to view your team as pragmatic, business-minded problem solvers and communicators. So as non-technical skills continue to play a critical role in the IT arena, it’s time to reconsider the qualities you search for and foster in employees. Skills tests like coding problems and design scenarios make it relatively easy to gauge an applicant’s technical skills. 

Evolving cyberattacks, alert fatigue creating DFIR burnout, regulatory risk

Magnet Forensics’ respondents generally agreed that addressing the burnout and alert fatigue facing DFIR professionals is hampered by recruiting and hiring challenges as well as onboarding difficulties and a lack of automation. Increased investment in automation would be “highly” or “extremely” valuable for a range of DFIR functions including the remote acquisition of target endpoints and the processing of digital evidence, half of respondents said. However, while automation such as security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) is already in place in many SOCs, those solutions orchestrate and automate cybersecurity runbooks by taking telemetry, enforcing actions and using other tools, the report noted. “While important for threat containment and remediation, these runbook-related activities are distinct from those performed by digital forensics automation solutions, which execute a data transformation pipeline by orchestrating, automating, performing, and monitoring forensic workflows,” it added.

Quote for the day:

"Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in." -- Andrew Jackson

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