Daily Tech Digest - March 30, 2024

The future of Banking as a Service: Banking trends 2024

Reflecting on the banking industry trends and emerging technologies explored, what does the future hold for Banking as a Service? And is the banking system changing as a result? The unbanked remains high while financial inclusivity is low, but Banking as a Service systems are helping to change that. While their impact on the customer isn’t direct, it enables non-bank providers to explore new and untapped markets, and expand their embed offerings to underserved consumers. With these non-bank providers, fueled by BaaS, consumers aren’t restricted to traditional banking requirements and now have a wider variety of payment and credit options. As this sector progresses, we could see access and inclusivity to financial services increase, with more personalized finance solutions diversifying the industry’s offering. The adoption of Banking as a Service by traditionally non-financial entities is also a top area to watch. Companies in areas such as telecommunications, energy and utilities, and even education are integrating financial services into their systems, streamlining transactions and improving customer experience.

From Despair to Disruption: Zafran Takes on Cyber Mitigation

Zafran aims to close the gap between threat detection and remediation by anticipating and neutralizing threats before they can be exploited by attackers, according to Yashar. She wants to use the funding led by Sequoia Capital and Cyberstarts to make Zafran's platform more scalable, integrate AI to refine the mitigation knowledge base, and assemble a team of top-tier developers, researchers and analysts. "Raising is not hard when you're solving a real pain,"" Yashar said. "The biggest money is going toward the platform and hiring the best talent." On the risk assessment side, Zafran wants to take a customer's existing controls under consideration when determining what vulnerabilities pose the biggest risk to them, which Yashar said will help organizations optimize their return on investment. The company's dashboard helps customers see what risk is most exploitable as well as risk reduction activity they could carry out with their existing controls. Zafran has built a war game simulation that allows customers to check how well their cyber platform defends against existing threats and how much risk is reduced by paying for additional controls. 

Infrastructure as Code Is Dead: Long Live Infrastructure from Code

Despite the clear benefits to scale and automation that come with IaC, it remains very complex because cloud infrastructure is complex and constantly changing. As more teams are involved with cloud provisioning, they have to agree how best to use IaC tools and learn the nuances of each one they choose. With these added pressures, fresh solutions promising to improve the developer experience without increasing risk are emerging. To create the next generation of solutions, organizations need to understand where the problems truly lie for development, platform engineering and security teams. ... With multiple tools and frameworks to choose from, learning new languages and tools can be difficult for teams whose experience stems from manual infrastructure provisioning or writing application code. In addition to requiring a new programming language and interface, most IaC tools define and support infrastructure and resource management using declarative languages. That means teams must learn how to define the desired state of the infrastructure environment rather than outlining the steps required to achieve a result, a challenge for new and experienced programmers alike.

The most versatile, capable category twisted pair ever

There are still many situations that don’t require the versatility and performance of Cat6A throughout the entire network but require at the very least multi-gigabit in specific areas of the network for specific applications, but without the hassle of mitigation efforts. The GigaSPEED XL5 solution, a new addition to the GigaSPEED family, addresses the growing sweet spot for a Category 6 solution that can support the intermediate 2.5 and 5.0 GBE bandwidth demands, guaranteed and without mitigation. GigaSPEED XL5 cables can support four connections in a 100 meters channel to support 5G Ethernet. So, it’s ideal for connecting wireless access points located in the ceiling. And because the cable diameter is only slightly larger than GigaSPEED XL cables, the installation tools and procedures are the same as well. Some companies are now beginning the transition from Wi-Fi 6 to more bandwidth heavy Wi-Fi 6E. It will be several more years before the migration to Wi-Fi 7 and its 10+ GbE demands. As a result, the GigaSPEED XL5 solution has an important role to play in enterprise networks for many years to come.

OpenAI Tests New Voice Clone Model

With hyper-realistic voice generation, a criminal could trick family members into scams or worse. And with an election cycle coming up, concerns about deepfakes used to spread misinformation are growing. “This is a massive, dual-edged sword,” Saxena tells InformationWeek in a phone interview. “This could be another nail in the coffin for truth and data privacy. This adds yet more of an unknown dynamic where you could have something that can create a lot of emotional distress and psychological effects. But I can also see a lot of positives. It all depends on how it gets regulated.” ... Max Ball, a principal analyst at Forrester, says voice cloning software already exists, but the efficiency of OpenAI’s model could be a game-changer. “It’s a pretty strong step in a couple ways,” Ball tells InformationWeek in an interview. “Today, from what the vendors are showing me, you can do a custom voice, but it takes 15-20 minutes of voice to be able to train it. While 15 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time, it’s tough to get anyone to sit down for 15 minutes during a day of work.”

How to Tame Technical Debt in Software Development

Huizendveld provided some heuristics that have helped him tame technical debt: If you can fix it within five minutes, then you should. Try to address technical debt by improving your domain model. If that is too involved, you could resort to a technical hack. In the event that that is too involved, try to at least automate the solution. But sometimes even that is too difficult; in this case, make a checklist for the next time. Agree on a timebox for the improvement that you introduce with the team. How much time are you willing to invest in a small improvement? That defines your timebox. Now it is up to you and the team to honour that timebox, and if you exceed it, make a checklist and move on. Don’t fix it yourself, if it can be fixed by machines. If it is messy because you have a lot of debt, then make it look messy. Please don’t make a tidy list of your technical debt. The visual should inspire change. Only people with skin in the game are allowed to pay off debt, in order to prevent solutions that don’t work in practice.

How New Tech Is Changing Banking

At its core, blockchain provides a shared record of transactions that is updated in real time. This allows complete transaction transparency while eliminating inefficiencies and risks associated with manual processes. All participants in a blockchain network can view a single source of truth. For banking, blockchain delivers enhanced security and lower fraud risk. Records cannot be altered without agreement from all network participants, preventing falsified or duplicated transactions. Data is also cryptographically secured and distributed across the network. Even if one location is compromised, the data remains validated and secured. Blockchain also brings new levels of efficiency to banking. With an immutable record and smart contracts that execute automatically, blockchain eliminates laborious reconciliation and confirmation steps. Settlement times can be reduced from days to minutes. These efficiencies translate into lower operational costs for banks. By removing intermediaries and allowing peer-to-peer transactions, blockchain also opens up new opportunities in banking. From micropayments to decentralized finance, blockchain enables models that are impossible with traditional infrastructure.

Cloud Email Filtering Bypass Attack Works 80% of the Time

After examining Sender Policy Framework (SPF)-specific configurations for 673 .edu domains and 928 .com domains that were using either Google or Microsoft email servers along with third-party spam filters, the researchers found that 88% of Google-based email systems were bypassed, while 78% of Microsoft systems were. The risk is higher when using cloud vendors, since a bypass attack isn't as easy when both filtering and email delivery are housed on premises at known and trusted IP addresses, they noted. The paper offers two major reasons for these high failure rates: First, the documentation to properly set up both the filtering and email servers is confusing and incomplete, and often ignored or not well understood or easily followed. Second, many corporate email managers err on the side of making sure that messages arrive to recipients, for fear of deleting valid ones if they institute too strict a filter profile. "This leads to permissive and insecure configurations," according to the paper. ... the fact that configuring all three of the main email security protocols — SPF,  DMARC, and DKIM — are needed to be truly effective at stopping spam.

RPA promised to solve complex business workflows. AI might take its job

Like most enterprise software companies, RPA vendors are experimenting with generative AI technologies. "Generative AI is poised to amplify the accessibility and scalability of RPA, mitigating the predominant obstacles to entry, namely the need for specialized developers and the risk of bot failure," Saxena said. Alex Astafyev, co-founder and chief business development officer at ElectroNeek, agreed that generative AI will make it much easier to use RPA technology inside companies that have their expensive software developers committed to other projects. "While many RPA platforms follow a low-code approach, thus allowing non-tech users to build automation bots, the knowledge of variables and programming logic might be needed in certain cases. Integration of AI lowers the barrier even further," he said. ... Generative AI technology will also allow RPA systems to deal with complicated problems described with natural language inputs, Pandiarajan said. “In the near future, it is conceivable that you could ask a bot about the status of a customer's package in the fulfillment process, and the AI would understand the process and provide real-time updates," he said.

Why CDOs Need AI-Powered Data Management to Accelerate AI Readiness in 2024

Historically, data and AI governance have been marred by complexity, hindered by siloed systems and disparate standards. However, the urgency of the AI-driven future demands a paradigm shift. Enter modern cloud-native integrated tools – the catalysts for simplifying the adoption of data and AI governance. Pezzetta wishes to leverage AI to clean data and look for anomalies. By leveraging a modernized solution approach, organizations can streamline governance processes, breaking down silos and harmonizing standards across disparate datasets. These tools offer scalability, flexibility, and interoperability, empowering stakeholders to navigate the complexities of data and AI governance with ease. ... “We need to bring AI into our processes. Therefore, we need to define governance processes to develop AI and data together with hubs in business on centralized platforms with integration patterns. I would love to get AI functions in ETL (extract, transform, and load) processes. I hope that we start to use AI in the data pipelines to enhance data quality,” Zimmer adds.

Quote for the day:

“When you fail, that is when you get closer to success.” -- Stephen Richards

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