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Volume 29, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

OSAP Accreditation Ensures Adherence to Health Data Processing Standards and Compliance With Security Infrastructure and Integrity Requirements

TYSONS, Va. – ByteGrid Holdings LLC, a leading provider of highly compliant hosting solutions, today announced that it is the first national data center platform to achieve full accreditation with the Outsourced Services Accreditation Program (OSAP) for Data Centers from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC). EHNAC's OSAP accreditation recognizes excellence in health data processing and transactions, and ensures compliance with industry-established standards and HIPAA regulations. Through this OSAP accreditation, other EHNAC candidates who use ByteGrid will not have to pay for additional site visits to the organization.

ByteGrid's interconnected data centers in Chicago, Seattle, Cleveland and Annapolis, Maryland as well as its flagship facility in Silver Spring, Maryland, have passed the EHNAC audit allowing ByteGrid to provide EHNAC compliant outsourced IT services.

Through the consultative review process, EHNAC evaluated ByteGrid in areas of privacy and security, technical performance, business practices and organizational resources as it relates to outsourcing policies and procedures. In addition, EHNAC reviewed the organization's process of managing and transferring protected health information and determined that the organization meets or exceeds all EHNAC criteria and industry standards. Through completion of the rigorous accreditation process, the organization demonstrates to its constituents, adherence to strict standards and participation in the comprehensive, objective evaluation of its business.

"Healthcare organizations are challenged by the need to create operational efficiencies and reduce costs while also managing increasingly stringent regulatory requirements for privacy, security and confidentiality for it and its business partners," says Debra Hopkinson, Vice President of Operations, EHNAC. "To be classified amongst the EHNAC OSAP-accredited organizations, ByteGrid has met a high standard in these areas as it relates to consent, authorization, authentication, access and audit procedures."

"ByteGrid is committed to being the industry's leading provider of highly secure and compliant hosting solutions," said Mike Duckett, Chief Executive Officer of ByteGrid. "Our EHNAC accreditation is objective evidence of our capabilities as a HIPAA compliant hosting provider and an indication of the detailed attention we incorporate with the technology and service delivery systems we have in place to ensure the availability, privacy, security and confidentiality of electronic protected health information."

Highly Compliant Cloud Hosting Platform

ByteGrid's fully validated data center platform is able to meet a broad spectrum of international GxP compliance expectations. Whether subject to the US FDA -- including 21 CFR Part 11, 210, 211 820, Canadian, Chinese FDA, EU Annex 11 -- or HIPAA and HITECH, ByteGrid now delivers the most cost effective, scalable, and reliable cloud hosting platform engineered for cloud implementation models including Community Cloud, Virtual Private Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud.

In addition to supporting a wide variety of physical and logical security standards such as PCI, HIPAA via EHNAC, HITECH, FISMA, FERPA, FedRAMP, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001, ByteGrid participates in industry standards organizations such as the National Public Health Data Standards, ISACA, ASQ, ISPE, AFCEA, and the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Overall, ByteGrid delivers services from eight data centers in six geographically dispersed markets encompassing more than 750,000 square feet of premier data center space meeting the highest standards for security and reliability serving some of the world's largest companies and government agencies, including numerous Fortune 50 companies.

About ByteGrid® - Compliance as a Service
ByteGrid is a trusted and leading provider of highly secure and compliant solutions serving the most demanding requirements of enterprise and government customers, including those in the Life Sciences and Health IT industries. ByteGrid focuses on technology solutions and services that ensure that regulatory expectations are always met. ByteGrid's robust, scalable and highly secure offerings in Colocation, Managed Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, and Compliance Services are delivered from an interconnected national platform of validated Tier 3 / 4 data centers. For more information visit www.ByteGrid.com

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) is a voluntary, self-governing standards development organization (SDO) established to develop standard criteria and accredit organizations that electronically exchange healthcare data. These entities include accountable care organizations, electronic health networks, EPCS vendors, eprescribing solution providers, financial services firms, health information exchanges, health information service providers, management service organizations, medical billers, outsourced service providers, payers, practice management system vendors and third-party administrators.

EHNAC was founded in 1993 and is a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. Guided by peer evaluation, the EHNAC accreditation process promotes quality service, innovation, cooperation and open competition in healthcare. To learn more, visit www.ehnac.org, contact info@ehnac.org, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Twitter Tags: #complianthosting, #HIPAA, #EHNAC

Tweet This: ByteGrid first national data center platform to achieve #EHNAC OSAP
(http://hubs.ly/H025Z2s0) #complianthosting #HIPAA

One Third of Fortune 500 Companies Now Use Securonix

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – 2015 was a year of record growth and expansion for Securonix, the market leader in enterprise security analytics that predict, prevent, detect and respond to enterprise cyber security threats. Securonix is now the fastest growing enterprise security analytics solution provider offering innovative capabilities that combat advanced, targeted, cyber, and insider threats with near real-time automation.

"We're revolutionizing information security management with a suite of integrated solutions that are proven to be the most effective at rapidly mitigating threats. We'll continue to challenge the status quo, disrupt the market with innovations that solve core security challenges and support every customer with the exceptional service they have come to expect from us," said Securonix CEO Sachin Nayyar.

Securonix is the pioneer of user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) for cyber security. The company's products couple the latest advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence with advanced anomaly detection techniques. The Securonix Security Analytics Platform is purpose-built content derived by security practitioners within Securonix, as well as its customers and partners, to accurately predict, prevent, detect and respond to threats at machine speed.

One in three Fortune 100 financial services companies are now Securonix customers. One third of Fortune 500 companies across industries use Securonix. The Global 2000 and mid market companies are dramatically improving their security posture with Securonix co-managed services.

Key Securonix milestones:

  • Average revenue growth of 100 percent year over year for the past four years
  • Customer growth of 90 to 150 percent year over year for the past three years
  • Named 2015 Industry Innovator by SC Magazine 
  • Winner of Computer Technology Review's 2015 MVP Award for Data Exfiltration Intelligence
  • Named among the "20 Fastest Growing Security Companies" by Silicon Review
  • Joined the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA)
  • Joined the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) and the ICIT Fellowship program
  • Regularly briefs congressional security committees and influences future cyber security legislation and standards
  • Awarded a five-star rating by CRN's partner program guide for its Technology Partners Program and growth through its channel partners

Securonix is meeting the growing global demand for its sophisticated cyber security threat detection solutions through rapid expansion into Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Pacific Asian markets. New relationships with leading vendors through its Technology Partners Program are expanding its market penetration, along with tight integrations with security industry innovators and strategic partnerships like the company's OEM relationship with HPE.

Several of the foremost thought leaders in homeland security, cyber security and intelligence have joined Securonix. The company's strategic advisory board now boasts former NSA Director Mike McConnell, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Chief Information Officer of Bank of America Patrick Gorman, and former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis, among others.

"We're providing the most sophisticated and effective security analytics solution in the market and have been recognized for the value we provide to our rapidly growing customer base and satisfied customer renewals. The word is spreading and Securonix is being invited into the halls of the Fortune 500, Federal agencies, think tanks, and even into briefings on Capital Hill," said Nayyar.

About Securonix
Securonix is working to radically transform all areas of data security with actionable security intelligence. Our purpose-built advanced security analytics technology mines, enriches, analyzes, scores and visualizes customer data into actionable intelligence on the highest risk threats from within and outside their environment. Using signature-less anomaly detection techniques that track users, account and system behavior, Securonix is able to detect the most advanced data security, insider threats and fraud attacks automatically and accurately. Globally customers are using Securonix to address the most basic and complex needs around advanced persistent threat detection and monitoring, high privileged activity monitoring, enterprise and web fraud detection, application risk monitoring and access risk management. For more information visit www.securonix.com.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 00:00

'Just Enough' Isn't 'Good Enough'

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – During their recent earnings call, EMC Information Infrastructure CEO, David Goulden said, "Customers are buying 'just enough' and 'just in time' for their traditional environments. This is a surprisingly fair assessment of the traditional IT infrastructure market today. This isn't the same as buying 'on demand' which is the foundation for a cloud-first strategy. 'Just enough' means that many orgs are not investing in a platform or a strategy. If we are going to be brutally honest, it's because IT vendors have put their customers in a position where it is tough for them to be strategic and cost-effective as they plot out their long term IT strategy.

Enterprises have been very clear about their strategic IT priorities. They want:

  • Demonstrated long term cost-effectiveness to support business strategies
  • A roadmap to leverage existing IT investments with the flexibility to transition resources as business priorities change
  • Simplicity
  • Control of data for security and compliance
  • Ability to leverage public, private and hybrid clouds

No surprises here... but what they have been getting for the last few years is almost the exact opposite. In the race to be all things to all people, the largest IT vendors have been offering multiple "cloudy" solutions, usually the result of an acquisition to fill in their own technology gaps. While this might serve their business interests, migrating to the latest cloud storage platform has become an expensive headache for the enterprise.

So yeah, it's no wonder their customers are buying 'just enough'. There's no room to be strategic when you are constantly being told you have to migrate to the next great thing.

In contrast, the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) has been uniquely consistent. With over 1,300 diverse customers, HCP is one of the fastest growing solutions in our portfolio because it is wildly simple, cost-effective and specifically addresses the highest priorities for IT with broad application across nearly every industry vertical.

It also scales… MASSIVELY. We have over 50 customers who have scaled their environments to well over a petabyte on HCP.

At its core, HCP is an object storage solution that allows IT organizations and cloud service providers to store, share, synchronize, protect, preserve, analyze and retrieve file data in a single system. With HCP, you have the freedom to move data to your choice of public clouds automatically, based on policy, and still retain control and visibility at all times because the metadata is securely stored on site. The system is more efficient, easier to use, and handles much more data than traditional file storage solutions. HCP also automates day-to-day IT operations, such as data protection, and readily evolves with changes in scale, scope, applications, and storage and server technologies over the life of data.

Instead of diving into speeds-n-feeds in this post, I want to talk about three real world use cases that I think show the breadth of solutions HCP can address.

Public Cloud Storage:  Photobucket

Photobucket has 26.4 million users in the U.S. across mobile and desktop, with 54 million global unique visitors per day. Photobucket's audience recently surpassed Yahoo's Flickr user base, and they are closing the gap with leaders Pinterest and Tumbler. Photobucket has also become the default photo sharing platform for Twitter as more than 2.25 million images are shared daily, accounting for 1.25% of all Tweets posted.

HDS provided a cloud-based solution with HCP which now allows Photobucket to move out of the infrastructure business and focus on application development. The results? The solution allowed Photobucket to:

  • Move to an OPEX model to contain costs
  • Migrate from NAS to flexible object storage solution to manage substantial growth
  • Ingest over 8PB of photo and image objects with petabyte-scale year-over-year growth
  • Support for 54 million global unique visitors per day

Data Archive:  Starz

Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ and ENCORE pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies. As of June 30, 2014, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 55.9 million subscribers, including 22.0 million at STARZ, and 33.9 at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S.

HDS provided a multi-business unit archiving platform to replace tape and manual/USB procedures as well as provide a user interface for search, access, archive, and restore operations. The results? The HCP-based solution allowed Starz to:

  • Manage data growth and contain costs
  • Archive from multiple sources, including Hyper-FS, GPFS (DDN), and DIVArchive data movers from Front Porch Digital
  • Leverage a unified Platform for IT, Graphics and Media Post-Production

Private Cloud Storage:  Global Pharmaceuticals Company

This Fortune 500 company is one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies in the world with tens of thousands of employees serving patients and clinicians in more than 100 countries. As with many healthcare companies, regulation and compliance requirements around data management are critical elements for their environment. Application integration was also a critical component of the solution.

HDS provided a fully compliant HCP solution that addressed multiple business challenges with a simple, consolidated content repository. The results? HCP enabled this pharmaceutical company to:

  • Optimize IT costs
  • Restore performance and reliability
  • Virtualize for data consolidation

This is just a quick snapshot of customer use cases for HCP. It's also critical to our own IT requirements. HCP has been broadly deployed within HDS and is the backbone for our file sync-and-share requirements leveraging HCP Anywhere. With HCP Anywhere we get similar functionality as Dropbox or Box without creating separate silos of data that needs to be managed: It's integrated directly with our storage resources.

Protocol support

The system is also more efficient, easier to use, and handles much more data than traditional file storage solutions. Support for traditional (NFS/CIFS) and newer cloud (S3, REST, etc.) means you can get all kinds of data in and out as needed, and because the system is more efficient, easier to use and handles much more data that traditional file systems, it becomes an ideal repository. With all this content in one place, it also becomes easier to manage and analyze with built in metadata tools.

To wrap, here's a quick list of additional features of HCP:

  • High-density, high-efficiency storage with adaptive cloud tiering to access capacity in Hitachi Data Systems storage services and other popular cloud storage offerings.
  • Reliable, utility-grade, global-access topology architecture.
  • Multi-tenancy and scalability.
  • Multiple data protection options, including RAID and erasure coding.
  • A cost-optimized, erasure-coded, highly scalable storage tier option.
  • Compatible with open source technologies.
  • Easy to set up, manage and adapt.
  • Unique metadata gathering and intelligence tools.
  • Support for Internet protocols IPv4 and IPv6 as well as legacy, contemporary and emerging storage protocols and media types.
  • Safe, secure file synchronization and sharing with Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere.
  • Integrated with Hitachi Data Ingestor to connect remote and branch offices.

'Just enough' isn't a strategy. With HCP, the conversation is different. Let's talk about how IT can make investments that are strategic and consistent for long term business value.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Rackspace data team today unveiled early access for Data Connectors, which allows customers to intelligently move and analyze data that previously required coding and posed significant difficulties when integrating with BI and data visualization tools. With Data Connectors, and built-in automation for ObjectRocket Elasticsearch, customers can seamlessly connect MongoDB instances to Elasticsearch and Kibana.

While ObjectRocket MongoDB offers a faster way to build and scale applications for a variety of use cases, including Internet of Things, mobile, personalization and content management, Elasticsearch and Kibana help you search and analyze data with customizable dashboards, unlocking insights and visualizations from a range of sources. Data Connectors simplify the task of moving between these data sources and tools without the time-consuming and expensive investment required at the onset.

For more information about Data Connectors, read the full Rackspace Blog post.

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Project Hosts, a CSP and leading provider of Secure Cloud Services for Azure and hosted Microsoft solutions, announced today that its FedRAMP SaaS-compliant Federal Private Cloud now supports websites powered by content management systems from Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress. U.S. federal and state government agencies can now quickly and easily create and manage their websites while having complete assurance that they are fully secured and meet all of the GSA's FedRAMP SaaS-level compliance controls. 

"If you're an agency who needs to build and maintain a FedRAMP compliant website using Drupal, Joomla! or WordPress, we have exactly what you need," said Scott Chapman, CEO and co-founder of Project Hosts. "Unlike FedRAMP Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) website offerings where you still have to put in place and manage all of the scanning, patching, log correlation, intrusion detection, incident response and other security services required for FISMA compliance, our FedRAMP SaaS-level compliant websites allow you to focus on your website content and leave all of those security controls to us."

Project Hosts is a CSP (Cloud Services Provider) with a FedRAMP Agency ATO (Authority To Operate) for its Federal Private Cloud (FPC) for Windows and Linux applications. The Federal Private Cloud includes a variety of applications and tools, among which are the world's most popular website development and content management systems. The company offers a standard FedRAMP compliant website package that is specifically designed for federal and state government agencies and includes the following features:

  • FedRAMP compliant website with database
  • Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla! as the content management system (CMS)
  • 3 customer users to manage the CMS
  • 200 GB Bandwidth per month
  • 10 GB storage
  • Daily backup retained 30 days
  • Disaster Recovery / RPO (Recovery Point Objective) of 1 hour and RTO of 1 day
  • 99.9% availability guarantee

The cloud service is available immediately and pricing is available in two configurations; shared and dedicated server platforms:

  • Pricing for website on shared servers: $275/Month ($3,000/year)
  • Pricing for website on dedicated servers: $990/Month ($11,000/year)

The following applications and solutions are now available from Project Hosts in its FedRAMP SaaS-level Compliant Federal Private Cloud (FPC):

  • AvePoint -- SharePoint Governance, Compliance & Management
  • BrightWork -- Project Management Solution
  • Dynamics CRM (MSFT) -- Advanced Customer Relationship Management
  • Drupal -- Website Content Management System
  • Gimmal -- SharePoint Information Governance Solution
  • Innovative-e -- Project Management On Your Terms (PMOYT) solution
  • Joomla! -- Website Content Management System
  • Nintex -- Workflow Automation Solution for SharePoint
  • Project Server (MSFT) -- Industry Leading Project and Portfolio Management
  • Remote (virtual) Desktop (MSFT) -- Eliminate Security Risks with ZERO local data
  • SharePoint (MSFT) -- Advanced Collaboration and Document Management
  • Team Foundation Server (MSFT) -- Connect, Collaborate and Deliver Projects On Time
  • UMT360 -- Enterprise Portfolio Management Solutions
  • Urban Turtle -- Advanced Development and Collaboration Platform
  • WordPress -- Website Content Management System

Project Hosts delivers a trusted government cloud platform that federal and state agencies can rely on to gain all the advantages of cloud computing quickly and affordably and with security they require. Options are available for community, hybrid and private cloud models, giving offices and agencies the flexibility to implement customizations, use approved third-party applications and add-ons, and real-time business intelligence reports. For a complete description of Project Hosts' FedRAMP Federal Private Cloud solutions visit: http://www.projecthosts.com/fedramp-saas-clouds.aspx. Federal and state government agencies can procure Project Hosts FedRAMP SaaS-level compliant solutions directly from the GSA Schedule listing of Federal Private Clouds.

About FedRAMP: FedRAMP is a U.S. government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. The program was developed to significantly reduce the effort and expense that would be incurred by government agencies to achieve high-level standards for securing government data. Designed as an "approve once, deploy many" program, authorized Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) would attain a provisional Authority To Operate (ATO) and provide cloud services for many agencies. Government agencies can then select an authorized CSP in an effort to save taxpayer expense on government IT infrastructure and cloud applications. The JAB is the primary governance group of the FedRAMP program, consisting of the chief information officers of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. General Services Administration. The FedRAMP program supports the U.S. government's "Cloud-First" initiative to enable U.S. federal agencies to use managed service providers that enable cloud computing capabilities. The FedRAMP program is designed to comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA). All government agencies are required to use FedRAMP.

About Project Hosts: Project Hosts is a CSP (Cloud Services Provider) with a FedRAMP Agency ATO (Authority To Operate) for their Federal Private Cloud (FPC) for Windows and Linux applications. Project Hosts provides Secure Cloud Services for Azure Subscriptions and Hosted Microsoft Solutions and ISV applications. Federal and state government agencies, leading enterprises and medium-sized businesses rely on Project Hosts to deliver a highly secure and dedicated cloud environment that can be customized to meet their specific business needs, security standards, IT governance and integration requirements. www.projecthosts.com -- info@projecthosts.com

Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2016/2/12/11G082767/Images/proj0212-65adba08cee8bb90ae689a5d05c48334.jpg

Change, convergence, complexity and convenience. These are words that describe the technology landscape as businesses look to create digital enterprises. Digital transformation, while not new, is evolving. Every part of a business is changing as a result of the rise of mobile, cloud computing, big data and analytics. In the past, companies could typical focus on one or two technology transitions at a time. Increasingly, executives across the organization are being asked to make multiple technology decisions. One the IT side, there are too many choices and companies are seeking convergence. At the same time, employees and line of business managers want to eliminate complexity while gaining the convenience of anywhere access to services.

Vendors must respond to these changes or risk being cast aside. In response to these trends, VMware VMW +0.69% launched a new product last week called the Workspace ONE Platform which is aimed at allowing people to work anywhere. Obviously not a new concept but the difference may be in the execution. Workspace ONE offers a simple and secure digital workspace, integrating identity, device management and application delivery. Let’s look at the functionality the platform provides and how it fits into the market.

Workspace ONE Platform offers one-touch mobile Single-Sign On access leveraging  Secure App Token Systems (SATS) that establishes trust between the user, device, enterprise and cloud. Once authenticated, employees can subscribe to any of the corporation’s mobile, cloud or Windows application based on a company’s policies. It also enables unified management of BYO and corporate owned devices. With the new solution, an employee can self-configure BYO laptops, smartphones and tablets choosing the level of services and IT restrictions they are comfortable to use, increasing adoption of BYO programs  and reducing the risk of data loss. Of course, IT will still set acceptable use and minimize access to corporate access based on various profiles. According to VMware, securing the data from the application through to the cloud with NSX is one of the companies main differentiators.  In truth, this only works it you purchase a full VMware stack. But if you do, it can deliver on that promise.



Results from PwC’s 19th Annual Global Survey of more than 1,400 CEOs, which includes responses from 101 CEOs in the insurance sector in 43 countries, reveal more than 70% of insurance CEOs are making significant changes to the way they use technology to assess and meet customer expectations. 79% cite data and analytics and 76% cite relationship management systems as providing the greatest potential contribution to improving engagement with customers.

According to PwC, a new generation of analytics is enabling insurers to anticipate what will happen (predictive analytics) and also to shape outcomes such as reduced accident rates or improved health and well-being (prescriptive analytics). This more proactive and preventative approach marks a change in purpose for insurers, which will deliver considerable social as well as financial value.

However, technology is also creating new benchmarks for customer experience, response and cost and making it easier for customers to judge and compare insurers against their competitors.  For insurance firms, the ability to meet these challenges is often hampered by slow and unwieldy legacy systems and traditional ways of working.

In fact, nearly 70% of insurance CEOs see the speed of technological change as a threat to growth and more than 60% are concerned about shifts in consumer spending and behaviour.

Many of these new competitive benchmarks are being set by FinTech entrants, which are constantly probing for gaps and weak points in the marketplace, applying digital insights to sharpen customer understanding, and utilizing cost-efficient digital distribution to undercut incumbent competitors.

Even bigger changes lie ahead as technology creates new sources of collaboration and revenue. For example, data from car and equipment sensors can be shared with manufacturers and repairers and thereby pave the way for new joint ventures in design and maintenance. According to PwC, possible revenue models could increasingly gravitate from premiums to premiums plus subscriptions. Some insurers may reinvent themselves altogether – from protecting against risk to managing and monetising information, for example.

Stephen O’Hearn, Global Insurance Leader at PwC comments:

“Technology and innovation will be critical in delivering the outcomes stakeholders want at a cost customers and investors are willing to pay. The insurers developing pre-emptive protection against cyberattacks, annual premiums of which PwC estimates could reach $7.5 billion by the end of the decade, or safer road usage through sensor-based pay-as-you-drive insurance, show that it is possible to deliver more for less.

PwC’s survey shows economic headwinds are strengthening once again. Compared to 40% in 2015, only 28% of insurance CEOs now believe the global economy will improve over the coming year, reflecting a dip in optimism.  Interestingly, whilst 38% of insurance CEOs are very confident about their ability to increase revenues, this is down from 44% in 2015.

Accordingly, 70% of insurers are planning to implement a cost cutting initiative over the next 12 months and technology is the trend insurance CEOs see as most likely to transform customer expectations over the next five years.

PwC’s O’Hearn notes cost cutting by itself cannot ensure a boost in returns over the long-term and points out that savvy companies are opting for sustainable process improvement initiatives which increase efficiencies and improve productivity.  For example, artificial intelligence and robo-advisers (automated investment advice platforms) can significantly cut costs by automating routine transactions and research, which can also allow agents and brokers to spend more time developing customised solutions and focus on more complex and higher value accounts.

“The agenda is real business transformation, doing things differently as opposed to simply the same with less people.  An increased use of shared service centres, off-shoring to lower cost locations and out-sourcing are all prevalent trends throughout the industry.

“In tandem, insurers are harnessing technologies - the use of telematic sensors, data analytics, and other sources of digital insight and connectivity, paving the way for real-time risk evaluation, pricing and continuous customer engagement.”

O’Hearn concludes:

“Findings from our survey underline the fact that those insurers out in front are embracing technological disruption as a growth opportunity rather than a threat. They are harnessing the creativity of their people to tap into new value chains and transform operational speed and cost. They are also seeking out new sources of data and making the most of client touch points to enhance customer experience, outcomes and whole new possibilities in what the business can deliver.”


About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

©2016 PricewaterhouseCoopers. All rights reserved.

Programmes to streamline and improve finance functions that do not consider the tax function related impacts of their changes, could fail to deliver their cost saving benefits.

PwC’s latest Tax Function of the Future report, examining the impact on tax functions of broader transformation programmes in finance teams, warns that the implications could also open organisations up to new potential financial, reputational and operational risks.

Streamlining and reorganising finance functions has been common in large organisations after the economic downturn, driven by regulation, cost cutting or business changes.

The report highlights how the operations and processes of both tax and finance teams have had to undergo significant re-evaluation to support new business, regulatory and investor requirements, adapt to technology, and provide better support for business decisions, often with low levels of investment for increased resources.

In addition, as a result of expansion into new markets, and the increasing information requirements from external markets and regulatory bodies, finance teams are increasingly responsible for operational changes related to core areas of tax expertise including intercompany transactions, transfer pricing, new tax and accounting policies and requirements.  BEPS alone is likely to require multinational companies to disclose to tax authorities an unprecedented level of information related to their business globally including operations, profits and employees putting pressure on both tax and finance functions.

But reorganisations are often failing to join up finance transformation initiatives with tax requirements that could leave many organisations facing a bigger bill for integrating and upgrading technology and processes, than the original savings the change programme created.

Mark Schofield global tax reporting and strategy leader, PwC comments:

“Tax is a highly complex business function, often only fully understood by those running it, so it’s no surprise that integration with changes in the finance team does not happen readily. But in reality, you can’t have a tax team without a finance function and vice versa. 

“Tax teams are built on the information the business gathers and shares through its finance team, and tax costs are critical to understanding the financial health of a business. Transformation programmes in finance teams that don’t understand and integrate tax requirements, functions and skills could end up conflicting with the most basic requirements of both of their team’s responsibilities, creating tax risk and undermining the effectiveness of business decisions, not to mention waste valuable investment.”

The report highlights how data analytics, tax – ready information, and increased use of automation, promises to eliminate time consuming and error – prone manual tasks and spreadsheets, while also supporting higher performance in the business. The move will mean new opportunities for tax professionals.

Mark Schofield global tax reporting and strategy leader, PwC adds:

“The tax professional of the future is radically different to traditional perceptions. Alongside professional qualifications, they are tech savvy, highly skilled in data analytics, statistics, business and management skills and decision making. This transformation is already underway in some businesses, and provides stronger insights that in turn leads to better business decisions and performance.”


PwC’s Tax Function of the Future series examines why and how the skills, responsibilities and role of tax professionals and tax teams will change. The series makes predictions for how tax functions will operate in the future given new legislative and regulatory challenges and what the implications are.

Find out more at www.pwc.com/taxfunctionofthefuture​​​.

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com​.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see http://www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

© 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

Only 6 percent of the world’s top 1500 companies have appointed a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to oversee the digital transformation of their business, but their ranks are growing, according to the results of a new study about the role from Strategy&, PwC​'s strategy consulting business.

The 2015 Chief Digital Officer Study looks at the top 1,500 public and private companies around the world by revenue to better understand how many companies have appointed a Chief Digital Officer, who they are, and where the position fits into companies’ hierarchies.



The tragic events in Paris last year represented a step change in the way that civilians were targeted at their most vulnerable, not only because of the primary mode of assault, but also in the way that the media responded. There has been a lot of analysis and discussion around this but for now, I would like to focus on the way that we responded to the incident using both the media and also social media.


This infamous video, marked a step change of how information is reported during an incident. The video represented one of the first times that live footage was instantly streamed of an attack in a Western country. The images from this video would never have been shown by any reputable media outlet as there are very strict controls in place to prevent this. Therefore we are seeing an evolution in the way that we communicate.

This was crystallised by the Facebook safety check, the social good media response – a method whereby our friends can let us know that they are safe during an incident. This represents very well how we can as a population respond to a crisis. Twitter is also an interesting media. It is the first port of call to find out what is going on, but you have to take the information with a pinch of salt, as sometimes the information on Twitter isn’t correct. Twitter was used during the Paris attacks for both good and bad, for example, the local hospitals used it to say that they urgently needed blood.

Where does this media evolution leave us as business continuity/crisis managers?