Daily Tech Digest - March 05, 2023

Transforming transformation

Transformation has been a way of extracting value rather than re-invention. Financial services companies are particularly guilty of this. For example, in banking, digital has been a way of reducing costs by moving the “business of banking” into the hands of the end customer – hence why we all do things ourselves that the bank used to do for us. This focus on cost reduction has meant that processes have been optimised for the digital age at the expense of true innovation. The days of extracting value are almost over for the financial services industry. There are not many places left to reduce costs. So, they must become value creators, which means taking a leaf out of the digital giants’ book and finding ways of identifying and solving problems. ... But, according to Paul Staples, who was, until recently, head of embedded banking for HSBC, success will not be determined by technology but by the proposition, approach, and processes that the banks wrap around it. Pain points and value must be identified up front, forming the basis of what gets delivered.

Five Megatrends Impacting Banking Forever

The first megatrend impacting banking is the democratization of data and insights. More than ever, data is being collected everywhere, and it is the lifeblood of any financial institution. The democratization of data and insights refers to the process of making data and insights accessible to a wider audience, including both employees and customers. ... The explosion of hyper-personalization is driven by the use of significantly larger amounts of data, such as browsing and purchase history, interests and preferences, demographics and even survey information. With advanced technologies that include facial recognition, augmented reality and conversational AI, it is now possible to also offer customers highly personalized experiences that cater to their unique delivery preferences – in near real-time. ... Traditionally, banks and credit unions have viewed their relationship with consumers as a series of transactions. However, in recent years, there has been an increasing focus on providing a seamless and integrated engagement opportunity that can result in a more stable and long-term relationship. 

Understanding the Role of DLT in Healthcare

Finding actual healthcare circumstances where this DLT technology could be useful and relevant is crucial. Instead of implementing a solution without first identifying an issue to answer, organizations must take into account any current requirements or challenges that the technology may help address. Organizations employing this technology must be aware of and receptive to the new organizational paradigms that go along with these solutions. Recognizing the paradigm shift to decentralized, distributed solutions is essential to evaluating this technology. ... In shared ledgers, the validity and consistency of which are maintained by nodes using a variety of processes, including consensus mechanisms, protecting the secrecy of data entail ensuring that only authorized access is granted to data. Institutions are employing a multi-layered strategy for blockchain in healthcare, using private blockchains where all of the linked healthcare organizations are well-known and trusted.

Control the Future of Data with AI and Information Governance

“The average company manages hundreds of terabytes of data. For that data to prove an asset rather than a liability, it must be located, classified, cleansed, and monitored. With so much data entering the organization so quickly from so many disparate sources, conducting those data tasks manually is not feasible.” “For organizations to make accurate data-driven decisions, decision makers need clean, reliable data. By the same token, AI-powered analysis will only prove useful if based on complete and accurate data sets. That requires visibility into all relevant data. And it requires exhaustive checks for errors, duplicates, and outdated information.” “An important aspect of information governance includes data security. Privacy regulations, for example, require that organizations take all reasonable measures to keep confidential data safe from unauthorized access. This includes ensuring against inappropriate sharing and applying encryption to sensitive information.”

BI solution architecture in the Center of Excellence

Designing a robust BI platform is somewhat like building a bridge; a bridge that connects transformed and enriched source data to data consumers. The design of such a complex structure requires an engineering mindset, though it can be one of the most creative and rewarding IT architectures you could design. In a large organization, a BI solution architecture can consist of: Data sources; Data ingestion; Big data / data preparation; Data warehouse; BI semantic models; and Reports. At Microsoft, from the outset we adopted a systems-like approach by investing in framework development. Technical and business process frameworks increase the reuse of design and logic and provide a consistent outcome. They also offer flexibility in architecture leveraging many technologies, and they streamline and reduce engineering overhead via repeatable processes. We learned that well-designed frameworks increase visibility into data lineage, impact analysis, business logic maintenance, managing taxonomy, and streamlining governance. 

When finops costs you more in the end

Don’t overspend on finops governance. The same can be said for finops governance, which controls who can allocate what resources and for what purposes. In many instances, the cost of the finops governance tools exceeds any savings from nagging cloud users into using fewer cloud services. You saved 10%, but the governance systems, including human time, cost way more than that. Also, your users are more annoyed as they are denied access to services they feel they need, so you have a morale hit as well. Be careful with reserved instances. Another thing to watch out for is mismanaging reserved instances. Reserved instances are a way to save money by committing to using a certain number of resources for a set period. But if you’re not optimizing your use of them, you may end up spending more than you need to. Again, the cure is worse than the disease. You’ve decided that using reserved instances, say purchasing cloud storage services ahead of time at a discount, will save you 20% each year. However, you have little control over demand, and if you end up underusing the reserved instances, you still must pay for resources that you didn’t need.

Core Wars Shows the Battle WebAssembly Needs to Win

So the basics are that you have two or more competing programs, running in a virtual space and trying to corrupt each other with code. In summary:The assembler-like language is called Redcode. Redcode is run by a program called MARS. The competitor programs are called “warriors” and are written in Redcode, managed by MARS. The basic unit is not a byte, but an instruction line. MARS executes one instruction at a time, alternatively for each “warrior” program. The core (the memory of the simulated computer), or perhaps “battlefield”, is a continuous wrapping loop of instruction lines, initially empty except for the competing programs, which are set apart. Code is run and data stored directly on these lines. Each Redcode instruction contains three parts: the operation itself (OpCode), the source address and the destination address. ... While in modern chips, code moves through parallel threads in mysterious ways, the Core War setup is still pretty much the basics of how a computer works. However code is written it, we know it ends up as a set of machine code instructions.

Data Fear Looms As India Embraces ChatGPT

Considering the vast amounts of data that OpenAI has amassed without permission—enough that there is a chance that ChatGPT will be trained on blog posts, product reviews, articles and more—its privacy policy raises legitimate concerns. The IP address of visitors, their browser’s type and settings, and the information about how visitors interact with the websites—such as the kind of content they engage with, the features they use, and the actions they take—are all collected by OpenAI in accordance with its privacy policy. Additionally, it compiles information on the user’s website and time-based browsing patterns. OpenAI also states that it may share users’ personal information with unspecified third parties without informing them to meet its business objectives. The lack of clear definitions for terms such as ‘business operation needs’ and ‘certain services and functions’ in the company’s policies creates ambiguity regarding the extent and reasoning for data sharing. To add to the concerns, OpenAI’s privacy policy also states that the user’s personal information may be used for internal or third-party research and could potentially be published or made publicly available.

Booking.com's OAuth Implementation Allows Full Account Takeover

While researchers only divulged how they used OAuth to compromise Booking.com in the report, they discovered other sites with risk from improperly applying the authentication protocol, Balmas tells Dark Reading. "We have observed several other instances of OAuth flaws on popular websites and Web services," he says. "The implications of each issue vary and depends on the bug itself. In our cases, we are talking about full account takeovers across them all. And there are surely many more that are yet to be discovered." OAuth provides an easy solution to bypass the user login process for site owners, reducing friction for which is a "long and frustrating" problem, Balmas says. However, though it seems simple, implementing the technology successfully and securely is actually very complicated in terms of proper technical implementation, and a single small wrong move can have a huge security impact, he says. "To put it in other words — it is very easy to put a working social login functionality on a website, but it is very hard to do it correctly," Balmas tells Dark Reading.

More automation, not just additional tech talent, is what is needed to stay ahead of cybersecurity risks

Just over three-quarters of CISOs believe that their limited bandwidth and lack of resources has led to important security initiatives falling to the wayside, and nearly 80% claimed they have received complaints from board members, colleagues or employees that security tasks are not being handled effectively. ... Stress is also having an impact on hiring. 83% of the CISOs surveyed admitted they have had to compromise on the staff they hire to fill gaps left by employees who have quit their job. “I’ve never tried harder in my career to keep people than I have in the past few years,” said Rader. “It’s so key to hang onto good talent because without those people you’re always going to be stuck focusing on operations instead of strategy.” But there are solutions — and it’s not just finding more talent, says George Tubin, director of product marketing at Cynet. He said CISOs want more automated tools to manage repetitive tasks, better training, and the ability to outsource some of their work.

Quote for the day:

"No great manager or leader ever fell from heaven, its learned not inherited." -- Tom Northup

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