Daily Tech Digest - June 25, 2024

Six Strategies For Making Smarter Decisions

Broaden your options - Instead of Options A and B, what about C or even D? A technique I use in working with client organizations is to set up a “challenge statement” that inevitably reveals multiple possibilities to be decided upon. I’ll have small groups of four or five people take 10 minutes to list all the options without discussing or critiquing them during the exercise. Frame challenge statements thusly: “In what ways might we accomplish X?” ... Listen to your gut - Intuition is knowing something without knowing quite how we know it. All of us have it, but in a data-driven world, listening to it becomes harder. Before making an important choice, one executive I interviewed gathers information, weighs all the facts – then takes time to stop and listen to what his gut is telling him. “When a decision doesn’t feel good,” one executive commented, “It feels like a stomachache. And when a decision feels right, it’s like I’ve eaten a great meal. If I don’t feel good in my gut about a decision, I don’t care if the numbers say we’re going to make a billion dollars, I won’t go ahead with it. That’s how important intuition is to me.”

Overcoming Stagnation And Implementing Change To Facilitate Business Growth: The How-To

Overcoming stagnation is about understanding that doing the same thing over and over again will give you the same results over and over again. But bringing about change in the former will naturally impact the latter. The three main objectives in any transformation initiative that aims to set up a strong foundation to scale or grow a business are: become financially lean with the ability to scale either up or down as per market demands, become internally efficient, and to run its day-to-day operations independent of its founder or leader. ... Ideally, it would be wise to aim to maintain 60-70% of the total operating cost as fixed costs, while keeping the remaining as variable costs, allowing for flexibility to adjust the costing structure based on business needs, while maintaining profitability throughout the transition- and beyond. When an efficient business achieves this level of financial optimization and is managed by a competent team, then the founder or leader will have the time to work on the business, concentrating on long-term growth strategic issues, instead of the day-to-day of the enterprise.

Build your resilience toolkit: 3 actionable strategies for HR leaders

Go beyond current job descriptions to identify talent or skill gaps. Focus on future-focused talent acquisition strategies and design upskilling and reskilling programs. Aim to close the skills gap and attract talent with transferable skill sets and a growth mindset. This approach keeps your workforce adaptable and prepared for future challenges. ... Adapting work models and fostering continuous learning cultures are essential. HR leaders can implement flexible work arrangements, such as remote or hybrid models. Encouraging experimentation and risk-taking within teams, and integrating continuous learning opportunities into performance management systems, are key actionable tips. Agile approaches help HR leaders adapt quickly to shifting business requirements. Collaborative work environments are critical in an agile HR strategy. ... Open communication and safe spaces are essential for a supportive culture. HR leaders can encourage employees to voice concerns by creating channels for open dialogue. This approach ensures employees feel heard and valued, contributing to a more inclusive workplace.

The 4 skills you need to engineer a career in automation

Automation engineers are often required to work cohesively with multidisciplinary teams and for that reason, it can be useful to have a solid grasp of workplace soft skills, in addition to compulsory hard skills. Automation engineers are expected to take complex, highly nuanced information and relay it back to not only their peers, but to people who do not have a strong technical background. This requires expert communication skills, as well as an ability to collaborate. ... If you are considering a career as an automation engineer, then a foundational understanding of programming languages and how they are applied is compulsory, as you will frequently need to write and maintain the code that keeps operation systems running. The choice of programming language greatly impacts the success of automation in the workplace, as it will provide and improve versatility, scalability and integration. ... As AI advances, global workplaces will have to evolve in tandem, meaning automation engineers will have to have a standard level of AI and machine learning skills to stay competitive. 

Navigating the Evolving World of Cybersecurity Regulations in Financial Services

Accountability for cybersecurity measures is a key element of the NYDFS regulations. CISOs now must provide a report updating their governing body or board of directors on the company’s cybersecurity posture and plans to fix any security gaps, Burke says. Maintaining accountability entails communicating with the board about cybersecurity risks, explains Kirk J. Nahra, partner and co-chair of the cybersecurity and privacy practice at law firm WilmerHale. “The board needs to understand that its job is to evaluate major issues for a company, and a ransomware attack that shuts down the whole business is a major risk,” Nahra says. “The boards have to become more sophisticated about information security.” ... The NYDFS calls for organizations to have cybersecurity policies that are reviewed and approved annually. Previously, regulations concentrated more on processes and best practices, Nahra says. Now, they are becoming more prescriptive, but multiple regulators are inconsistent, and their standards may conflict at times.

How Banks Can Get Past the AI Hype and Deliver Real Results

If the bank’s backend systems aren’t automated, all the rapidly responding chatbot has done is make a promise that a human will have to solve when they finally get to that point in the inbox, Bandyopadhyay says. When they ultimately get back to the customer, that efficient chatbot doesn’t actually look so efficient. Bandyopadhyay explains that this is merely meant as an illustration of the bank has to be ready for front ends and back ends of customer-facing systems to be in synch. The potential result is alienating customers with significant problems. ... The real power of GenAI is its ability to digest and deploy unstructured data. But Bandyopadhyay points out that most banks use legacy systems that can’t capture any of that information. “It’s not data that you put in rows and columns on a spreadsheet,” says Bandyopadhyay. “It’s what language we write and that we speak.” To truly implement GenAI in the long run, he continues, banks will have to lick the longstanding legacy systems problem. Until then, most of their databases aren’t talking GenAI’s language.

Singapore lays the groundwork for smart data center growth

In a move that stunned industry observers, Singapore announced on May 30 that it would release more data center capacity to the tune of 300MW, a substantial figure and a new policy direction for the nation-state. ... The 300MW will come as part of a newly unveiled Green Data Centre (DC) Roadmap drawn up by IMDA, so it does have conditions attached. According to the statutory board, the roadmap was developed to chart a “sustainable pathway” for the continued growth of data centers in Singapore to support the nation’s digital economy. Per the roadmap, Singapore hopes to work with the industry to pioneer solutions for more resource-efficient data centers. One way to view it is as a carrot that it can use to spur data center operators to innovate and accelerate data center efficiency on both hardware and software levels. It is all well and good to talk about allocating hundreds of megawatts of capacity for data centers. But with electrical grids around the world heaving from electrification and sharply rising power demands, is Singapore in a position to deliver this capacity to data center operators today?

Information Blocking of Patient Records Could Cost Providers

Information blocking is defined as a practice that is likely to interfere with the access, exchange or use of electronic health information, except as required by law or specified in one of nine information blocking exceptions. ... Under the security exception, it is not considered information blocking for an actor to interfere with the access, exchange or use of EHI to protect the security of that information, provided certain conditions are met. For example, during a security incident, such as a ransomware attack, a healthcare provider might be unable to provide access or exchange to certain EHI for a time, and that would not constitute information blocking. ... So, as of now, if a healthcare provider does not participate in any of the CMS payment programs that are currently subject to the disincentives, they do not face any potential penalties for information blocking. But that could change moving forward. HHS officials during a briefing with media on Monday said HHS is considering adding other disincentives for healthcare providers that do not participate in such CMS programs. 

How is AI transforming the insurtech sector?

The use of AI also brings risks and ethical considerations for insurers and insurtech firms. “With all AI, you need to understand where the AI models are from and where the data is being trained from and, importantly, whether there is an in-built bias,” says Kevin Gaut, chief technology officer at insurtech INSTANDA. “Proper due diligence on the data is the key, even with your own internal data.” It’s essential, too, that organisations can explain any decisions that are taken, warns Muylle, and that there is at least some human oversight. “A notable issue is the black-box nature of some AI algorithms that produce results without explanation,” he warns. “To address this, it’s essential to involve humans in the decision-making loop, establish clear AI principles and involve an AI review board or third party. Companies can avoid pitfalls by being transparent with their AI use and co-operating when questioned.” AI applications themselves also raise the potential for organisations to get caught out in cyber-attacks. “Perpetrators can use generative AI to produce highly believable yet fraudulent insurance claims,” points out Brugger. 

Evaluating crisis experience in CISO hiring: What to look for and look out for

So long as a candidate’s track record is verifiable and clear in its contribution to intrusion events, direct experience of a crisis may actually be more indicative of future success than more traditional metrics. By contrast, be wary of the “onlookers,” those individuals with qualifications but whose learned experience comes from arm’s length involvement in a crisis. While such persons may contribute positively to their organization, the role of the crisis in their hiring should be de-emphasized relative to more conventional metrics of future performance. ... The emerging consensus of research is that being present for multiple stages of the response lifecycle — being impacted by an attack’s disruptions or helping with preparedness for a future response — is far better experience than simply witnessing an attack. Those who experience the initial effects of a compromise or other attack and then go on to orient, analyze, and engage in mitigation activities are the ones for whom over-generalization and perverse informational reactions appear less likely.

Quote for the day:

"The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example." -- John Wooden

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