Daily Tech Digest - May 18, 2024

AI imperatives for modern talent acquisition

In talent acquisition, the journey ahead promises to be tougher than ever. Recruiters face a paradigm shift, moving beyond traditional notions of filling vacancies to addressing broader business challenges. The days of simply sourcing candidates are long gone; today's TA professionals must navigate complexities ranging from upskilling and reskilling to mobility and contracting. ... At the heart of it lies a structural shift reshaping the global workforce. Demographic trends, such as declining birth rates, paint a sobering picture of a world where there simply aren't enough people to fill available roles. This demographic drought isn't limited to a single region; it's a global phenomenon with far-reaching implications. Compounding this challenge is the changing nature of careers. No longer tethered to a single company, employees are increasingly empowered to seek out opportunities that align with their aspirations and values. This has profound implications for talent retention and development, necessitating a shift towards systemic HR strategies that prioritise upskilling, mobility, and employee experience.

Ineffective scaled agile: How to ensure agile delivers in complex systems

When developing a complex system it’s impossible to uncover every challenge even with the most in-depth upfront analysis. One way of dealing with this is by implementing governance that emphasizes incorporating customer feedback, active leadership engagement and responding to changes and learnings. Another challenge can arise when teams begin to embrace working autonomously. They start implementing local optimizations which can lead to inefficiencies. The key is that the governance approach should make sure that the overall work is broken down into value increments per domain and then broken down further into value increments per team in regular time intervals. This creates a shared sense of purpose across teams and guides them towards the same goal. Progress can then be tracked using the working system as the primary measure of progress. Those responsible for steering the overall program need to facilitate feedback and prioritization discussions, and should encourage the leadership to adapt to internal insights or changes in the external environment.

How to navigate your way to stronger cyber resilience

If an organization doesn’t have a plan for what to do if a security incident takes place, they risk finding themselves in the precarious position of not knowing how to react to events, and consequently doing nothing or the wrong thing. The report also shows that just over a third of the smaller companies worry that senior management doesn’t see cyberattacks as a significant risk. How can they get greater buy-in from their management team on the importance of cyber risks? It’s important to understand that this is not a question of management failure. It is hard for business leaders to engage with or care about something they don’t fully understand. The onus is on security professionals to speak in a language that business leaders understand. They need to be storytellers and be able to explain how to protect brand reputation through proactive, multi-faceted defense programs. Every business leader understands the concept of risk. If in doubt, present cybersecurity threats, challenges, and opportunities in terms of how they relate to business risk.

DDoS attacks: Definition, examples, and techniques

DDoS botnets are the core of any DDoS attack. A botnet consists of hundreds or thousands of machines, called zombies or bots, that a malicious hacker has gained control over. The attackers will harvest these systems by identifying vulnerable systems that they can infect with malware through phishing attacks, malvertising attacks, and other mass infection techniques. The infected machines can range from ordinary home or office PCs to DDoS devices—the Mirai botnet famously marshalled an army of hacked CCTV cameras—and their owners almost certainly don’t know they’ve been compromised, as they continue to function normally in most respects. The infected machines await a remote command from a so-called command-and-control server, which serves as a command center for the attack and is often itself a hacked machine. Once unleashed, the bots all attempt to access some resource or service that the victim makes available online. Individually, the requests and network traffic directed by each bot towards the victim would be harmless and normal. 

7 ways to use AI in IT disaster recovery

The integration of AI into IT disaster recovery is not just a trendy addition; it's a significant enhancement that can lead to quicker response times, reduced downtime and overall improved business continuity. By proactively identifying risks, optimizing resources and continuously learning from past incidents, AI offers a forward-thinking approach to disaster recovery that could be the difference between a minor IT hiccup and a significant business disruption. ... A significant portion of IT disasters are due to cyberthreats. AI and machine learning can help mitigate these issues by continuously monitoring network traffic, identifying potential threats and taking immediate action to mitigate risks. Most new cybersecurity businesses are using AI to learn about emerging threats. They also use AI to look at system anomalies and block questionable activity. ... AI can optimize the use of available resources, ensuring that critical functions receive the necessary resources first. This optimization can greatly increase the efficiency of the recovery process and help organizations working with limited resources.

Underwater datacenters could sink to sound wave sabotage

In a paper available on the arXiv open-access repository, the researchers detail how sound at a resonant frequency of the hard disk drives (HDDs) deployed in submerged enclosures can cause throughput reduction and even application crashing. HDDs are still widely used in datacenters, despite their obituary having been written many times, and are typically paired with flash-based SSDs. The researchers focused on hybrid and full-HDD architectures to evaluate the impact of acoustic attacks. The researchers found that sound at the right resonance frequency would induce vibrations in the read-write head and platter of the disks by vibration propagation, proportional to the acoustic pressure, or intensity of the sound. This affects the disk's read/write performance. For the tests, a Supermicro rack server configured with a RAID 5 storage array was placed inside a metal enclosure in two scenarios; an indoor laboratory water tank and an open-water testing facility, which was actually a lake on the Florida University campus. Sound was generated from an underwater speaker.

Agile Design, Lasting Impact: Building Data Centers for the AI Era

While there is a clear need for more data centers, the development timeline of building new, modern data centers incorporating these technologies and regulatory adaptations is currently between three to five years (more in some cases). And not just that, the fast pace at which technology is evolving means manufacturers are likely to face the need to rethink strategy and innovation mid-build to accommodate further advancements. ... This is a pivotal moment for our industry and what’s built today could influence what’s possible tomorrow. We’ve had successful adaptations before, but due to the current pace of evolution, future builds need to be able to accommodate retrofits to ensure they remain fit for purpose. It's crucial to strike a balance between meeting demand, adhering to regulations, and designing for adaptability and durability to stay ahead. We might see a rise in smaller, colocation data centers offering flexibility, reduced latency, and cost savings. At the same time, medium players could evolve into hyperscalers, with the right vision to build something suitable to exist in the next hype cycle.

Quantum internet inches closer: Qubits sent 22 miles via fiber optic cable

Even as the biggest names in the tech industry race to build fault-tolerant quantum computers, the transition from binary to quantum can only be completed with a reliable internet connection to transmit the data. Unlike binary bits transported as light signals inside a fiber optic cable that can be read, amplified, and transmitted over long distances, quantum bits (qubits) are fragile, and even attempting to read them changes their state. ... Researchers in the Netherlands, China, and the US separately demonstrated how qubits could be stored in “quantum memory” and transmitted over the fiber optic network. Ronald Hanson and his team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands encoded qubits in the electrons of nitrogen atoms and nuclear states of carbon atoms of the small diamond crystals that housed them. An optical fiber cable traveled 25 miles from the university to another laboratory in Hague to establish a link with similarly embedded nitrogen atoms in diamond crystals.

Cyber resilience: Safeguarding your enterprise in a rapidly changing world

In an era defined by pervasive digital connectivity and ever-evolving threats, cyber resilience has become a crucial pillar of survival and success for modern-day enterprises. It represents an organisation’s capacity to not just withstand and recover from cyberattacks but also to adapt, learn, and thrive in the face of relentless and unpredictable digital challenges. ... Due to the crippling effects a cyberattack can have on a nation, governments and regulatory bodies are also working to develop guidelines and standards which encourage organisations to embrace cyber resilience. For instance, the European Parliament recently passed the European Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), a legal framework to describe the cybersecurity requirements for hardware and software products placed on the European market. It aims to ensure manufacturers take security seriously throughout a product’s lifecycle. In other regions, such as India, where cybersecurity adoption is comparatively evolving, the onus falls on industry leaders to work with governmental bodies and other enterprises to encourage the development and adoption of similar obligations. 

How to Build Large Scale Cyber-Physical Systems

There are several challenges in building hardware-reliant cyber-physical systems, such as hardware lead times, organisational structure, common language, system decomposition, cross-team communication, alignment, and culture. People engaged in the development of large-scale safety-critical systems need line of sight to business objectives, Yeman said. Each team should be able to connect their daily work to those objectives. Yeman suggested communicating the objectives through the intent and goals of the system as opposed to specific tasks. An example of an intent-based system objective would be to ensure the system can communicate to military platforms securely as opposed to specifically defining that the system must communicate via link-16, she added. Yeman advised breaking the system problem down into smaller solvable problems. With each of those problems resolve what is known first and then resolve the unknown through a series of experiments, she said. This approach allows you to iteratively and incrementally build a continuously validated solution.

Quote for the day:

"Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability." -- Patrick Lencioni

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