Daily Tech Digest - June 15, 2023

The five new foundational qualities of effective leadership

Today’s leaders have to be able to establish a compelling destination and then navigate through the fog with a compass. “You have to be ready to make a decision today, realizing that you may get new data tomorrow that means you have to reverse the decision you just made,” a veteran CEO of a Fortune 25 company told us. “You have to have the courage to follow that new information. The job’s always been ambiguous. But the environment has never been this fluid.” Boards and CEOs expect succession candidates to be adept at providing direction and key performance indicators that will signal whether course adjustments are necessary. “We’re living in an age with many more discontinuities than we had a generation or two ago,” said Mark Thompson, former CEO of the New York Times Company and now board chairman of Ancestry. “It’s not about trying to find the perfect strategies. It’s more about helping organizations to be more open, flexible, and adaptable to change.” This shift demands a more dynamic, individual leadership approach, as well as a reimagining of basic organizational processes. 

5 best practices to ensure the security of third-party APIs

Maintaining an API inventory that automatically updates as code changes is an instrumental first step for an API security program, says Jacob Garrison, a security researcher at Bionic. This is an instrumental first step for an API security program; it should distinguish between first-party and third-party APIs. And it encourages continuous monitoring for shadow IT — APIs brought on board without notifying the security team. “To ensure your inventory is robust and actionable, you should track which APIs transmit business-critical information, such as personally identifiable information and payment card data,” he says. An API inventory is complementary to third-party risk management, according to Garrison. When developers utilize third-party APIs, it’s worthwhile to consider risk assessments of the vendors themselves. ... Frank Catucci, chief technology and head of security research for Invicti Security, agrees that including an inventory of third-party APIs is critical. "You need to have third-party APIs be part of your overall API inventory and you have to look at them as assets that you own, that you are responsible for," he says

Generative AI’s change management challenge

“The hardest part of AI acceptance is creating a space where employees can still add value and not feel they are competing with AI to create value,” Bellefonds added. “A lot of the work we do when it comes to change management and coaching is to help employees work with AI and at the same time, change the way they add value, so that a part of their job is taken by AI but their part refocuses on higher value-adding tasks.” Exactly how those processes are rewired and the working methods changed will vary from one enterprise to another, he said. There are other ways in which employees’ concerns about AI is unevenly distributed, too. Leaders are more likely to be optimistic, and frontline workers concerned, BCG found. And while 68% of leaders believe their companies have implemented adequate measures to ensure responsible use of AI, only 29% of their frontline employees feel that way. Despite BCG’s findings of optimism in the workforce, there’s a darker side. Over one-third of respondents think their job is likely to be eliminated by AI, and almost four-fifths want governments to step in and deliver AI-specific regulations to ensure it’s used responsibly.

As Machines Take Over — What Will It Mean to Be Human?

Biocomputing is a field of study that uses biologically-based molecules, such as DNA or proteins, to perform computational tasks. Imitating the genius of nature can completely shift the paradigm of understanding when it comes to the computation and storage of data. The field has shown promise in cryptography and drug discovery. However, biocomputers are still limited compared to non-bio computers since they aren't good at cooling themselves and doing more than two things simultaneously. Advancements in AI, however, have been booming. Since 2012, interest in AI, especially in machine learning, has been renewed, leading to a dramatic increase in funding and investment. Machine learning models ingest large amounts of data and infer patterns. More recently, generative AI has become extremely popular with the release of large AI models such as MidJourney, ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion. Generative AI is a class of AI algorithms that generate new data or content extremely similar to existing data, nearly identical to human-made data.

What is SDN and where is is going?

There are three main components to a software-defined network: controller, applications, and devices. The controller has taken over the role of the control plane on each individual network device. It populates the tables that the data planes on those devices use to do their work. There are various communication protocols that can be used for this purpose, including OpenFlow, though some vendors use proprietary protocols. Communication between the controller and devices is referred to as southbound APIs. The software controller is, in turn, managed by applications, which can fulfill any number of network administration roles, including load balancers, software-defined security services, orchestration applications, or analytics applications that keep tabs on what's going on in the network. These applications communicate with the controller (northbound APIs) through well-documented REST APIs that allow applications from different vendors to communicate with ease. 

Using Trauma-Informed Approaches in Agile Environments

Software is, by definition, very abstract. For this reason, we naturally tend to be in our heads and thoughts most of the time while at work. However, a more trauma-informed approach requires us to pay more attention to our physical state and not just to our brain and cognition. Our body and its sensations are giving us many signs, vital not just to our well-being but also to our productivity and ability to cognitively understand each other and adapt to changes. Paradoxically, in the end, paying more attention to our physical and emotional state gives us more cognitive resources to do our work. Noticing our bodily sensations at the moment, like breath or muscle tension in a particular area, can be a first step to getting out of a traumatic pattern. And a generally higher level of body awareness can help us fall less into such patterns in the first place. Simplified - our body awareness anchors us in the here and now, making it easier for us to recognize past patterns as inadequate for the current situation.

How Pyramid Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Data Strategy

Before devising a corporate data strategy, the main things you need to know are the strategy and objectives of your organization as a whole. Data can be a truly transformative tool, but even the sharpest knife needs to be used accurately to get the best results -- which is why you need to know the end goal before you can understand how data can help you achieve it. This end goal forms the very peak of the pyramid and it is by looking downwards from it that you can understand the role that data can play. For organizations struggling to pinpoint that goal (as oftentimes happens when the business strategy isn’t well-defined and documented), it is worth considering key business problems and the consequent opportunities for improvement. ... Identifying business goals gives you the basis upon which to build your data strategy, and with that you can begin to be more specific about the change you are looking to make. An actionable and measurable formula helps you shape those changes with clarity, such as “we want to do x by measuring/tracking/analyzing y in order to do z.”

Network spending priorities for second-half 2023

Security is the area where most users expect to spend more, but at the same time an area where they believe their spending is most likely to be sub-optimal. Three-quarters of buyers think they already spend too much on security because they’ve layered things on without considering the whole picture. You hear terms like “holistic approach” or “rethinking” a lot in their comments, but at the same time, less than an eighth of the users expect to redo their security strategies in any way.  ... The reasons for the seemingly mindless AI enthusiasm is a simple reversal of an old saying: “Where there’s hope, there’s life.” AI could (theoretically) reduce operator errors. It could (hopefully) improve network capacity planning. It could (presumably) help secure applications and data and spot malefactors. All these things are recurring problems that seem to defy solution, and AI offers a hope that a solution might be near at hand. What’s not to love, provisionally of course.

Biodiversity Means Business

Technology can play a key role in navigating biodiversity issues. Predictive analytics, machine learning, digital twins, blockchain and the Internet of Things can deliver insight, visibility and measurability into sourcing, supply chains and environmental impacts. However, Katic emphasizes that these tools must be used to drive real change. “They must support a paradigm shift to new, sustainable models of development, rather than entrenching business as usual. They must deliver enhanced transparency and accountability,” she says. Ultimately, companies must imbed biodiversity deep into their business strategies and daily operations, Katic says. This includes the use of science based methods that revolve around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and its Global Biodiversity Framework. It can also incorporate tools such as the S&P’s scoring system, part of its UN-linked GlobalSustainable1 initiative, which provides dependency scores, ecosystem footprint insights, and other biodiversity data that can guide decision-making. In addition, the SBTN framework can serve as a valuable resource. More than 200 organizations helped shape the initial set of methods, tools, and guidance.

5 roadblocks to Rust adoption in embedded systems

Rust is not a trivial language to learn. While it does share common ideas and concepts with many of the languages that came before it, including C, the learning curve is steeper. When a company looks to adopt a new language, they hire engineers who already know the technology or are forced to train their team. Teams interested in using Rust for embedded will find themselves in a small, niche community. Within this community, not many qualified embedded software engineers know Rust. That means paying a premium for the few developers who know Rust or investing in training the existing internal team. Training a team to use Rust isn’t a bad idea. Every company and developer should be investing in themselves constantly. Our field changes so rapidly that you’ll quickly get left behind if you don’t. However, switching from one programming language to another must provide a return on investment for the company. Especially when switching to an immature language like Rust. 

Quote for the day:

"Don't focus so much on who is following you, that you forget to lead." -- E'yen A. Gardner

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