Daily Tech Digest - April 29, 2024

The end of vendor-backed open source?

Considering what’s happened over the last few years, I hope we are witnessing the end of single-vendor-backed open-source projects. Many of these companies see open source as a vehicle to drive the adoption of their software and then switch to a prohibitive license once the software starts to reach massive adoption through a cloud provider. This has happened more times in recent years than I care to count. There are only a few companies that can reliably provide open-source software without hurting their own bottom line. These are the software giants like AWS, Google, and Microsoft. They can comfortably contribute to open-source software and collaborate with companies who specialize in some of the more niche use cases. They may not have been able to cover these niches on their own, but with the help of the community they can. And at the end of the day, even the smaller companies who provide managed offerings need somewhere to host them, right? I see a bright future for Valkey, the open-source fork of Redis. It’s starting off right in the Linux Foundation, where companies contribute freely without fear of a single company dictating the direction of a project.

The Rise of Augmented Analytics: Combining AI with BI for Enhanced Data Insights

Traditionally, data analysis has been the domain of highly skilled data scientists and BI experts. Augmented analytics changes this dynamic by empowering non-technical users to participate actively in the insight-generation process. Augmented analytics automates complex tasks and presents information in a user-friendly format so that employees across departments can easily access, explore, and derive insights from their organization’s data. This will both streamline and simplify business processes – no more worrying about how many business accounts you should have, whether or not your financing option offers optimal interest rates, or if adopting new standards of technologies is worth it in the long run. The relevant teams can easily use data to find the right information without waiting for an expert to analyze it. ... One of the most significant challenges faced by businesses is the shortage of data science expertise. Augmented analytics helps alleviate this bottleneck by reducing the reliance on specialized data professionals.

The 4 Types Of Generative AI Transforming Our World

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) emerged in 2014 and quickly became one of the most effective models for generating synthetic content, both text and images. The basic principle involves pitting two different algorithms against each other. One is known as the ‘generator,’ and the other is known as the ‘discriminator,’ and both are given the task of getting better and better at out-foxing each other. ... Neural Radiance Fields (NeRFs) are the newest technology covered here, only emerging onto the scene in 2020. Unlike the other generative technologies, they are specifically used to create representations of 3D objects using deep learning. This means creating an aspect of an image that can't be seen by the ‘camera’ ... One of the latest advancements in the field of generative AI is the development of hybrid models, which combine various techniques to create innovative content generation systems. These models draw on the strengths of different approaches, such as blending the adversarial training of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) with the iterative denoising of diffusion models to produce more refined and realistic outputs.

Closing the cybersecurity skills gap with upskilling programs

The power of upskilling is undeniable but putting it into practice with employees is the real challenge. The top reason organizations struggle to implement successful upskilling programs has not changed in the last three years of this study: lack of time. Despite clear barriers, organizations can unlock upskilling engagement with a culture of continuous learning. The first step is to identify existing skills in order to see the gaps. Leaders need to stay engaged in this process: only 33% of executives completely understand the skills their IT teams need and 68% of technologists say leadership at their organization is not aware of a tech skills gap. When it comes to discovering what drives employees to upskill, a new #1 motivation to participate emerged this year: stronger job security and improved confidence. This is yet another proof point in upskilling contributing to higher employee engagement that can drive performance and innovation. With 78% of organizations abandoning projects partway through because of not having enough employees with the right tech skills, there is no time to waste in closing the gap.

Are Enterprises Overconfident About Cybersecurity Readiness?

Comparing statistics for global companies and their overall state of readiness, between the years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, shows certain surprising changes. The number of Mature companies dropped to 3% this year from 15% in the previous year. The number of Progressive companies dropped by 4% this year; however, the number of Formative companies increased by 13%. In addition, more Beginners were included in the index this year. Raymond Janse van Rensburg, VP, specialists and solutions engineering, APJC, Cisco, said this should not be considered as a static comparison, as the benchmark was done with “a lot more capabilities” this year. "Digitization continues to accelerate around us. We see that there is pressure on organizations to transform. But with that, the attack surface is changing, and there is a lot of technology advancement that is taking place as well," said van Rensburg. "We need to keep pace with change, with the transformation of the organizations, and also to keep pace with change for cybersecurity and the capabilities we bring in across the industry to provide the necessary protections."

Risk orchestration: Addressing the Misconceptions – Hub Platform vs True Orchestration Performance

A true risk orchestration platform synchronises workflows and data and enables customisable journeys. Waterfalling reduces friction and saves costs, ensuring appropriate checks are only applied as necessary. Genuine customers are fast-tracked, while others are routed for additional due diligence. The technology unites complex systems and processes to create a single view of customer risk, a unified risk score and automated decision making. ... In true risk orchestration, all of these processes are seamlessly synchronised to deliver a single view of customer risk. Informed decision making is made simpler, smoother, more accurate and efficient. The impact of this is felt not only in customer satisfaction, which can be vastly enhanced by the speed at which individuals are authenticated and served, but in the overall effectiveness of compliance processes too, in terms of how much time and resource is spent. To that end, there’s a genuine bottom-line benefit to be realised through effective risk orchestration of your compliance processes. 

If Software Quality Is Everybody’s Responsibility, So Is Failure

Quality failures tend to stem from broader organizational and leadership failures. Scapegoating testers for systemic issues is counterproductive. It obscures the real problems and stands in the way of meaningful solutions to quality failings. ... To build ownership, organizations need to shift testing upstream, integrating it earlier into requirements planning, design reviews, and development processes. It also requires modernizing the testing practice itself, utilizing the full range of innovation available: from test automation, shift-left testing, and service virtualization, to risk-based test case generation, modeling, and generative AI. With a shared understanding of who owns quality, governance policies can better balance competing demands around cost, schedule, capabilities, and release readiness. Testing insights will inform smarter tradeoffs, avoiding quality failures and the finger-pointing that today follows them. This future state reduces the likelihood of failures — but also acknowledges that some failures will still occur despite best efforts. In these cases, organizations must have a governance model to transparently identify root causes across teams, learn from them, and prevent recurrence.

Navigating personal liability: post data-breach recommendations for CISOs

The single most important guidance that you should follow is to involve counsel promptly and frequently. Upon your first knowledge of a claimed data breach, you should promptly determine who your organization’s legal counsel is for such matters and contact those lawyers. ... It can be tempting for CSOs and CISOs to take the reins in data breach incidents, given their technical expertise or sense of personal responsibilities. However, this can lead to unintended legal complications. In the aftermath of a data breach, it’s critical to let your organization’s legal counsel guide decision-making processes. They can ensure that the response to the data breach complies with applicable laws and that both communication and remediation efforts are handled appropriately to minimize potential liability. ... Although it’s rare to face personal liability or criminal charges, there can be situations where it could be a real or feared risk. Independent legal advice can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation, to identify where your interests may be different from those of your organization, to allay your concerns, all of which can be protected under attorney-client privilege.

Change Healthcare Admits to Making Ransom Payment to Protect Patient Data, Discloses That Hacker Broke in Days Before Attack

Even though a ransom payment was made, the attack was nevertheless devastating to the processing of health insurance claims and payment information across the country. The UnitedHealth Group update indicates that 99% of pharmacies are now back to normal ability to process claims, and that its internal payment processing capacity is back to 86% of normal. 80% of the function of its major platforms and products has also been restored and the group expects a full recovery in a matter of weeks. It also says that medical claims are back to near-normal processing levels, but that it is working directly with some smaller providers that remain hampered by the attack fallout and is seeking to set up alternate methods of submission for them. The ransom payment had been widely reported prior to the company’s admission, due to an otherwise inexplicable Bitcoin transaction (equaling about $22 million) traced to a wallet known to be associated with AlphV. The RaaS provider also opted to pull what appeared to be an “exit scam” after this payment rolled in, leading to the bag-holding affiliate taking to dark web forums to accuse the group of theft.

Top 10 barriers to strategic IT success

The State of the CIO Study found that staff and skills shortages was the No. 1 challenge cited by CIOs when asked what most often forces them to redirect resources away from strategic tasks, with 59% saying as much. “Talent — or the lack of it — is a huge, huge issue, and when we look at the demographics, we don’t see that changing in the future,” says Chirajeet (CJ) Sengupta, managing partner at Everest Group, a global research firm. Sengupta acknowledges that layoffs at the tech giants in the past year or so eased the talent crunch a bit — but only for other big companies who could offer highly-competitive salaries to those laid-off workers. And while CIOs are working to train internal candidates within IT and the business units for tough-to-fill tech jobs or are using contractors to fill in staffing gaps, Sengupta says those practices create talent challenges, too. Upskilling takes time, and contracted workers aren’t usually as close to the business as employees. Now there’s news that the competition for tech workers may heat up even more this year.

Quote for the day:

"'To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.'' -- Friedrich Nietzsche

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