Daily Tech Digest - July 10, 2024

How platform teams lead to better, faster, stronger enterprises

Platform teams are uniquely equipped to optimize resource allocation because they sit in between developers and the cloud infrastructure and compute that developers need, and are able to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of software development processes. With their unique set of skills and expertise, they effectively collaborate with other teams, including developers, data scientists, and operations teams, to accurately understand their needs and pain points. Using a product approach, platform teams remove barriers for developers and operations teams by offering shared services for developer self-service, enabling faster modernization within organizational boundaries and automation to simplify the management of applications and Kubernetes clusters in the cloud. Fostering a culture of innovation, platform teams play a crucial role in keeping the organization at the forefront of emerging trends and technologies. This enables enterprises to provide innovative solutions that set them apart in the market.

Developing An AI Uuse Policy

An AI Use Policy is designed to ensure that any AI technology used by your business is done so in a safe, reliable and appropriate manner that minimises risks. It should be developed to inform and guide your employees on how AI can be used within your business. ... Perhaps the most important part for the majority of your employees, set specific do’s and don’ts for inputs and outputs. This is to ensure compliance with data security, privacy and ethical standards. For example, “Don’t input any company confidential, commercially sensitive or proprietary information”, “Don’t use AI tools in a way that could inadvertently perpetuate or reinforce bias” and “Don’t input any customer or co-worker’s personal data”. For outputs, guidance can reiterate to staff the potential for misinformation or ‘hallucinations’ generated by AI. Consider rules such as “Clearly label any AI generated content”, “Don’t share any output without careful fact-checking” or “Make sure that a human has the final decision when using AI to help make a decision which could impact any living person

Synergy between IoT and blockchain transforming operational efficiency

The synergy between the two technologies is integral to achieving Industry 4.0 goals, including digital transformation, decentralised connectivity, and smart industry advancements. Via this integration, organisations can achieve real-time visibility into production operations, optimise supply chain processes, and enhance overall efficiency. ... In regulated industries like pharmaceutical manufacturing, where compliance is crucial, integrating IoT and Blockchain lets companies onboard suppliers to upload raw material info, batch numbers, and quality checks to a blockchain ledger. IoT devices automate data acquisition during manufacturing and storage, ensuring data integrity and transparency. In smart city ecosystems, local authorities share data with service providers for waste management, traffic updates, and more. Traffic data from sensors can be securely uploaded to a blockchain, where third-party services like food delivery and ridesharing can access it to optimise operations. Logistics companies use IoT systems to gather data on location and handling, which is uploaded to a blockchain ledger to track goods, estimate delivery time, and provide real-time updates.

Ignore Li-ion fire risks at your peril

Li-ion batteries are prone to destructive and hard-to-control fires. There have been several reported incidents in data centers, some of which have led to serious outages, but they are not well-documented or systematically studied. ... A commonly held view is that Li-ion’s fire risk in the data center is overstated, partly as a result of marketing by vendors of alternative chemistries such as salt and nickel-zinc. If these products are promoted as a “safe” alternative, then it will (it is speculated) create a perception that Li-ion is “unsafe.” After assessing the evidence, examining the science, and hearing from data center operators at recent member meetings, Uptime Institute is taking a cautious and practicable stance at this point. While it is true that Li-ion batteries have a higher risk of fire compared with other chemistries, and these fires are particularly problematic, Uptime Institute engineers do not think Li-ion batteries should be rejected out of hand. ... Data center builders and operators should carefully consider the benefits of Li-ion batteries alongside the risks. As well as the obvious risk of serious fires, there are financial and reputational risks in preparing for, avoiding, and responding to such incidents.

More than a CISO: the rise of the dual-titled IT leader

Dual-title roles give CISOs new levers to work with and more scope to drive strategic integration and alignment of cybersecurity within the organization. ... Belknap finds having his own team of engineers puts him in a stronger position when working with partners. When looking for support or assistance with a project, his team will have already built something, reducing the amount of work needed from the partner team. “This means we can lean on them to be responsible for the things that only they can do. I don’t have to pull them into the work that only I can do or the work that’s not aligned to their expertise,” he says. These dual-title roles also recognize how CISOs are increasingly operating as technology leaders and operators of the organization, according to Adam Ely, head of digital products at Fidelity Investments who was formerly the firm’s CISO and has a long history in security. Ely says that as CISOs typically work across an organization, know how the business lines work, and are day-to-day leaders of people and technology as well as crisis managers, it stands them in good stead for dual-title or more senior positions. 

You Can’t Wish Away Technology Complexity

Every business succeeds because of technology. Every person gets paid by technology. The value of our currency itself is about technology. Of course, it is not only about technology. But tell that to the CFO or CLO. When it is about finance, there is very little pushback in saying it is all about money. When it is about legal, there is no push-back about it being about law. I’ve noticed only technologists pull back and say, “You’re right, it’s not about technology.” ... See what people often forget that technology complexity is cool on multiple levels. It gives us the ability to make different choices for stakeholders and customers (I mean real customers not stakeholders that think they are customers – note to business stakeholders, you and I get our paychecks from the same place, you are not my customer. Our customer is my customer). But while this complexity allows for choice, it also creates a dependency on understanding those choices. Or a dependency on a professional who does. I don’t pretend to understand medicine. That is why I ask doctors what to do.

Electronic Health Record Errors Are a Serious Problem

The exposure of healthcare records, in even minor ways, leaves patients highly vulnerable. “I never reached out to this woman [whose records were entered into my father’s], but I had all her contact information. I could have gone to her house and handed her the copy of the results I had found in my dad’s records,” Hollingsworth says. ... Data aggregators pose a further risk. These organizations may collect deidentified data to perform analyses on population-level health issues for both healthcare organizations and insurance companies. “Are they following the same security standards that we follow in the health care transaction world?” Ghanayem asks. “I don’t know.” ... Clear distinctions between important information fields must be made to cut down on adjacency errors. Concise patient summaries at the beginning of each record and usable search features may increase usability and decrease frustration that leads to the introduction of errors. And refining when alerts are issued can decrease alert fatigue, which may lead providers to simply ignore alerts even when they are valid.

Diversifying cyber teams to tackle complex threats

To make a significant change and deliver a more diverse cyber workforce, we need to focus on leadership and change our language and processes for recruitment. This takes courage and is the biggest challenge organizations face. Having a diverse team helps others see it is a place for them. It isn’t just about attracting talent; it’s also about openness and retaining talent. Organizations need to help individuals from diverse backgrounds to see themselves as role models who need to be out shouting about the opportunities within the sector. Diversity fosters a sense of belonging and inclusivity making the cybersecurity field more attractive to a wider range of individuals. When potential recruits see relatable role models within a team, it breaks down the traditional and somewhat homogenous perception of cybersecurity. This inclusivity is crucial for attracting talent from underrepresented groups, particularly women and minority groups, who may not have traditionally seen themselves in cybersecurity roles. A diverse team with strong role models creates a positive feedback loop. 

Nanotechnology and SRE: Pioneering Precision in Performance

Nanotechnology offers the opportunity to transform SRE at the atomic level — addressing individual tasks, subtasks, and tickets. For example, extra-sensitive nanosensors can continuously monitor system performance metrics, including temperature, voltage, and processing load. When placed in data centers, these sensors enable real-time data collection and analysis, detecting electrical and mechanical issues before they escalate and extending the lifespan of technological components. Nanobots can be programmed to address hardware issues and routine maintenance tasks. Together, these technologies can integrate into a self-healing and continuously improving system in line with SRE principles. ... Nanotechnology can potentially transform SRE, leading to enhanced system reliability and performance. Nanotechnology-enabled solutions can allow more precise monitoring, optimization, and real-time improvements, supporting the key pillars of SRE. At the same time, the foundational principles of SRE can be applied to ensure the reliability of advanced nanotechnology systems. 

Three Areas Where AI Can Make a Huge Difference Without Significant Job Risk

Doing a QC job can be annoying because even though the job is critical to the outcome, your non-QC peers and management treat you like a potentially avoidable annoyance. You stand in the way of shipping on time and at volume, potentially delaying or even eliminating performance-based bonuses. We are already discovering that to assure the quality of an AI-driven coding effort, a second AI is needed to assure the quality of the result because people just don’t like doing QC on code, particularly those who create it. ... In short, properly applied AI could highlight and help address problems that are critically reducing a company’s ability to perform to its full potential and preventing it from becoming a great place to work. ... Calculating an employee’s contribution and then using it to set compensation transparently should significantly reduce the number of employees who feel they are being treated unfairly by eliminating that unfairness or by showing them a path to improve their value and thus positively impact their pay.

Quote for the day:

"When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you." -- Lolly Daskal

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