Financial services organizations (FSOs) generate huge volumes of unstructured data -- volumes that roughly double every two years according to an IDC report. To the innovators this signifies increased opportunity for better business insights. However, mass volumes of data, although promising potential value, can also pose as a substantial challenge if the appropriate underlying infrastructure is not in place to enable organizations to store, protect and understand data, unlocking the value of information as a strategic business enabler.
Ever-increasing amounts of electronic data, growing standards of accountability, new rules governing data use and security have resulted in a need for a new approach for managing digital assets that support business policies and ensure long-term preservation of data -- without compromising quick discovery and access, should the need arise.
As online retailers in the US attempt to benefit from the opportunities of global eCommerce, they must rethink their business requirements and systems from the ground up. To successfully conduct business across borders and cultures, there are several considerations that US-based entities must acknowledge, including variances in taxes and regulations, content and process localization, and seamless experiences for mobile customers.
To fulfill the requirements of these issues, they must also choose the right technologies to manage them all.
The consumerization of information technology (IT) takes many forms, but the three technologies that employees have become comfortable with in their role as consumer and now wish to leverage in their role as employee are mobile devices, cloud services (for example, file storage), and social networks. All three technologies raise security and compliance concerns for enterprises because of the difficulties surrounding control of their use. The loss of control experienced by IT teams regarding enforcing IT and security policy is a result of employees’ ability to use these technologies to create shadow IT operations on their own.
While each of these three technologies is having a far-reaching impact on enterprises today, the use of mobile devices is most impactful because it allows employees to more easily access both cloud services and social networks. Securing the use of mobile devices is therefore an absolutely critical requirement for businesses today. Actually securing a device that might be owned by an employee and will therefore be unmanageable is, however, a tall order. A better strategy is to assume the device is in fact untrustworthy and to decide that trust is better established at the application level. Secure mobile apps can be built that are isolated from the rest of the device.
The iPad wasn't the first tablet on the market, but it was certainly the first to capture the public's attention in a big way. And now, we live in a world where predictions tell us nearly weekly that the reign of the desktop PC is coming to an end.
That may or may not be true, but the fact remains: the tablet is here to stay, and it’s one of the fastest-selling electronic devices in recent history. While the newly unveiled iPad Air and iPad mini Retina are bringing people in droves to local Apple stores, Google continues to impress with its Android-powered Nexus tablets, and Windows-based tablet computers like the Surface 2 are gaining traction in an increasingly crowded market.
December 1998. I started my Internet career at one of the first European e-commerce websites. At the time, we used to call it New Information and Communication Technologies. In 2013, 15 years later, some of these technologies are still seen as "New". But while in some countries seniors are stigmatized just when their experience is at its fullest, we refuse to see technologies age and be fully integrated. Ironic isn’t?!
Fear of technologies that are difficult to master is understandable, but why reject them all? Why not fully embrace them and establish the boundaries of what is understandable and useful as well as personal privacy limitations? These same technologies allow us to voice our opinions directly to those who created them and to provide collaborative feedback so they may be continually improved upon in order to enhance and remain relevant to our daily lives.
As the use of smartphones and tablets becomes mainstream in enterprises, organizations need to address some fundamental security concerns. While we have yet to see these devices succumb to malware threats in the way that previous endpoints have, there are legitimate data protection issues associated with their use. Between June 2012 and June 2013, travelers lost more than 10,000 electronic devices, including laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, in just the world’s seven largest airports, according to Airport Lost and Found, a global database.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) products gained early traction in the enterprise as a means to address some of the security and management issues associated with the use of consumer mobile devices on corporate networks. While MDM can solve some problems, in spite of being a fairly heavy-handed approach, it does not allow for the fine-grained security controls that many enterprises require.
In August 2011, Google purchased Motorola Mobility (which was Motorola's cellular phone division prior to 2011). Google was good at software and services, but had little experience in making hardware for the mass market. Motorola had plenty of experience in building cell phones, starting with the first flip/clamshell mobile phone, the StarTAC, which was released in 1996. On paper, a good marriage, but the detractors complained that it was coming at too high a cost ($12.5 billion) even though buying Motorola Mobility gave Google ownership of a potentially valuable patent portfolio that it could use to defend itself against Apple and Microsoft.
The first child of this marriage, born in August 2013, was Moto X -- an Android smartphone that was to be Motorola's competitor to the iPhone. The main idea behind the Moto brand was to focus on user experience rather than technical specs. Focusing on the later had resulted in the Droid brand, which, although quite successful when it launched in 2009, perhaps owed most of its success due to a massive marketing campaign and the fact that it was the only decent smartphone available on the Verizon network (at that time, in United States, the iPhone was only available on the AT&T network). In 2013, with the smartphone market dominated, at least profit-wise, by Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy phones, it was time to try a new approach.
Earlier this month, I delivered a keynote at Gartner's annual symposium and published a blog post about the rapidly evolving landscape of business technology. The rise of cloud computing and ubiquitous, powerful mobile devices means that organizations can reduce their IT bills significantly while boosting employees' productivity and collaboration. Moving to the cloud is no longer a questionable proposition -- it's inevitable.
This led some of the organizations I work with to ask: "That all makes sense, but how do we actually get started?"
Gigabit Internet has arrived, and it's time to figure out just what we should do with it. A gigabit is a billion bits per second. Average Internet speeds today range around 5 million bits per second. It's a bit of a speed mismatch, the cheetah vs. the caterpillar -- and the cheetah gets a head start. At these speeds, the "what" and "how" to use it far outreach the way we use the Internet today.
Forget the speed, for a moment. Not to downplay the value of instantaneously downloading a season of The Wire but ultrafast Internet is about more than speed. Innovation grew in the space where 50 kbps Internet was once seen as lightning fast -- a space with email, file transfers and remote logins. What modernization will emerge from this new space?
Analysts and journalists periodically voice concerns over smart machines stealing middle-class jobs. According to Kenneth Brant, research director at Gartner, "Most business and thought leaders underestimate the potential of smart machines to take over millions of middle-class jobs in the coming decades".
This is quite an assumption to make. Machines have been tools for efficiency for centuries now. They’re not as terrifying as some might think. The results have actually been quite the contrary. Rather than leaving workers on the streets, using "smart machines" to automate repetitive, manual tasks has allowed people to progress to more skilled labor, work fewer hours, and experience greater job satisfaction overall. It makes employees more strategic and empowered. And the story continues. Now, as computers grow ever faster and more powerful, we’re on the edge of another Industrial Revolution -- not on the factory floor -- but in the back office of business.
In recent months, the US has been at the root of the global EMV discussion (the name EMV comes from Europay, MasterCard and Visa). With adoption of the new standard slow-going, the US is one of the last major economies to make the transition. As a result, it has found itself on the receiving end of fraud migrating from mature EMV markets, exposing itself as a point of weakness for fraudsters.
In 2012, 20 US states reported an increase in ATM fraud via skimmed cards according to analytics vendor Fico. Meanwhile, EMV in the UK has seen overall card fraud decrease from $275 million in 2009 to just $68 million in 2012, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Despite this, the UK is still plagued by skimmers, with attempts to steal card holder data from ATMs almost tripling, from 2,553 to 7,525 incidents over the past year. Fraudsters can use data from the mag-stripe, which remains on Chip-enabled cards, to then clone cards and use them where mag-stripe payments are still accepted. Therefore, as long as regions such the US continue to accept mag-stripe cards to withdraw cash, there will remain a global issue of fraud migration.
Google, OpenOffice, LibreOffice and my company Zoho have all offered free office suites for years, and on Tuesday, Apple announced that its productivity suite iWork will now also be available for free on all new Apple Macs and iPads.
Given that Microsoft Office has long been the de-facto monopoly, none of these rival companies have anything to lose in commoditizing the office suite market. That is the nice thing about facing a monopoly in an adjacent market -- every player other than the monopoly would win if they get a non-zero share of a massively shrunk market. If the $20 billion market shrinks to $2 billion, we at Zoho would celebrate it, as long as we can hope to get a share of that shrunken market. In fact, competitors would win even if they don't get any share of the shrunken market, because it denies the monopoly the ability to use its cash cow to dominate adjacent markets they do have an interest in.
Recently, I was a guest on the CNBC program, Squawk on the Street. The discussion centered on the possible outcome of a limited strike by the US on Syria, and I had the opportunity to provide my opinion on the retaliatory cyber implications for US interests. During the program, I disagreed strongly with the position taken by McAfee Worldwide CTO, Mike Fey: that the Syrian Electronic Army is no more than a hacktivist group. In my opinion, this is a dangerous assertion based on industry group-think and marketing rhetoric.
Two books that I have co-authored have examined attack sophistication in terms of categorizing a threat actor. Ultimately, I am not concerned with which organization or entity carries out an attack. I am, however, concerned with identifying and stopping malicious activity. For example, were a nation-state to engage in industrial espionage against a defense industrial-based contracting firm or critical infrastructure, such as a power grid, this typically would be classified as advanced persistent threat (APT).
As a growing number of businesses migrate to the cloud to manage their most important information, and an increasing number of cyber vulnerabilities are identified on a daily basis, the integrity of cloud security has become an important and ubiquitous concern.
However, smart companies are putting panic mode on hold in favor of educating themselves on how best to protect their vital data. No solution by itself can make your business hacker-proof, but there are several precautionary measures that help to minimize risk. One important step is backing up your cloud data.
Great news: Downloadcrew Giveaway is back! We’re providing a number of free serial codes for the latest software -- all you have to do is enter and you might win one! Winners are picked at random by the system after the giveaway promotion expires. Closer to Christmas we also hope to offer a number of full, unrestricted downloads too.
The current offer is Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, worth $59.95. We have 10 licenses to give away. Hurry as this offer ends midday (GMT) Wednesday.