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Summer Journal

Volume 29, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Although major hacks generate news headlines, most companies and institutions quietly contend ongoing web-based probes and attacks, with the average CISO at the largest businesses managing ecosystems of 50-75 vendors in hopes of catching security breeches.

Level 3, a leading telecom and Internet services provider (also one of the world’s dozen-plus tier one, or backbone networks), has innovated a different solution, one that uses predictive behavior mapping to help stop attacks before they can happen.



Tuesday, 26 July 2016 00:00

P&C Insurers Face Lower Profit Margins

High insured losses from natural catastrophes, challenges from the personal auto business and pricing competition will make it more difficult for the property and casualty industry to maintain the favorable underwriting results it has seen for the past three years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In its U.S. P&C Insurance Market Report, S&P predicts an increase in the industry’s statutory combined ratio to 99.5% in 2016 from 97.6% in 2015 and reduction of pretax returns on equity to 8.7% from 10.8%—or to 7.5% from 9.9% when adjusting for the impact of prior-year reserve development.

“Profit margins are projected to be much narrower than they have been in the last few years, unless something dramatic happens,” report authors Tim Zawacki, senior editor and Terry Leone, manager of insurance research at S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a statement. “While insurers have wisely accounted for the fact that they haven’t been able to depend on investment gains to subsidize underwriting losses, they still need to practice restraint as they seek growth.”



Business analysts or product owners developing software requirements in a regulated industry have surely encountered the challenges that come with defining and managing regulatory compliance requirements. And unfortunately, those requirements are among the most critical to get right. Faulty compliance requirements not only put your projects at risk, but they can put your organization itself in a dangerous position legally and financially.

Understanding the challenges associated with defining and managing high-quality regulatory compliance requirements is the first step to doing just that. Here are six challenges that top the list:



Cognitive computing is starting to impact the enterprise by changing the way data is analyzed and the manner in which employees and customers interact with computerized systems. This is happening across various industries, ranging from healthcare and retail to banking and financial services. Since I have been delving into the financial area of late, I wanted to provide a glimpse into how banks and other financial institutions are utilizing cognitive applications and commercial solutions within their organizations.



How mature is your organization when it comes to business continuity? Does your business continuity management (BCM) program crawl, walk or run? From self-governed to synergistic, we have identified six levels of BCM maturity that most companies fall into. What is your organization’s level? Here is our breakdown:



PwC analysis identifies the 'Essential Eight' technologies that businesses should consider
NEW YORK – With no shortage of technological breakthroughs affecting businesses today and many moe on the horizon, how can C-suites develop effective emerging technology strategies?
For its new report, Tech breakthroughs megatrend, PwC evaluated more than 150 technologies globally and developed a methodology for identifying those which are most pertinent to individual companies and whole industries. The result is a guide to the “Essential Eight” technologies PwC believes will be the most influential on businesses worldwide in the very near future:
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Internet of Things
  • Augmented reality
  • Robots
  • Blockchain
  • Virtual reality
  • Drones
  • 3D printing
The specific technologies that will have the biggest impact on each industry will vary, but PwC believes the list of eight comprises technologies with the most cross-industry and global impact over the coming years.
“Most companies have laid a foundation for emerging technology, investing in areas such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud,” said Vicki Huff Eckert, PwC’s Global New Business Leader. “Now it’s time for executives to take a broader view of more advanced technologies that will have a greater impact on the business.”
To arrive at the Essential Eight, PwC filtered technologies based on business impact and commercial viability over the next five to seven years (as little as three to five years in developed economies). The specific criteria included a technology’s relevance to companies and industries; global reach; technical viability, including the potential to become mainstream; market size and growth potential; and the pace of public and private investment.
What makes technological breakthroughs a megatrend? 
Companies continually wait for the “next big thing,” believing that a particular technology trend either won’t amount to much, or that it won’t affect their industries for years to come. But disruption is happening today at a faster rate and higher volume than ever before. Innovations throughout history have tipped the balance in favor of the innovators. In that sense, technological breakthroughs are the original megatrend. The ubiquity of technology, with increased accessibility, reach, depth, and impact are what will expedite adoption of the Essential Eight.
Key questions and actions for the C-suite
PwC believes the Essential Eight technologies will shake up companies’ business models in both beneficial and quite challenging ways. Across industries and regions, the emerging technology megatrend will influence strategy, customer engagement, operations and compliance. As a result, leadership teams should find effective answers to three fundamental questions:
  • Do we have a sustainable innovation strategy and process?
  • Have we quantified the impact of new technologies? If not, how can we do that—and how soon?
  • Do we have an emerging-technologies road map? If so, are we keeping it up to date?
According to PwC’s report, executives should not treat the Essential Eight technologies as a sort of checklist to delegate to the CIO or CTO. Rather, exploring and quantifying emerging technologies—and planning for them—should be a core part of a company’s corporate strategy.
Before developing an innovation strategy and exploring and quantifying emerging technologies, executives should educate (or re-familiarize) themselves with these technologies and what they can do. Explore PwC’s Tech Breakthroughs Megatrend site and download the new report at www.pwc.com/TechMegatrend.
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​.
© 2016 PwC. All rights reserved. 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.

OpenStack, the open source project that allows enterprises to run an AWS-like cloud computing service in their own data centers, added support for containers over the course of its last few releases. Running OpenStack itself on top of containers is a different problem, though. Even though CoreOS has done some work on running OpenStack in containers thanks to its oddly named Stackanetes project, that project happened outside of the OpenStack community and the core OpenStack deployment and management tools.

Soon, however, thanks to the work of Mirantis, Google and Intel, the OpenStack Fuel deployment tool will be able to use Kubernetes as its orchestration engine, too. Ideally, this will make it easier to manage OpenStack deployments at scale.

“With the emergence of Docker as the standard container image format and Kubernetes as the standard for container orchestration, we are finally seeing continuity in how people approach operations of distributed applications,” said Mirantis CMO Boris Renski. “Combining Kubernetes and Fuel will open OpenStack up to a new delivery model that allows faster consumption of updates, helping customers get to outcomes faster.”



Stephen Cobb from ESET wrote a blog post last week discussing the security of today’s computer-driven vehicles and the threat of malware infection. Cobb specifically talks about what is called jackware, which he described as:

malicious software that seeks to take control of a device, the primary purpose of which is not data processing or digital communications. . . . So think of jackware as a specialized form of ransomware. With regular ransomware, such as Locky and CryptoLocker, the malicious code encrypts documents on your computer and demands a ransom to unlock them. The goal of jackware is to lock up a car or other device until you pay up.

Cobb made a point that I think we need to start talking about more often and that is the insecurity of the Internet of Things (IoT). Actually, Cobb called it the Internet of Insecure Things. It is clear to see why security of these devices has to become a higher priority: a Vodafone study found that more than 75 percent of businesses find IoT is a critical part of their tech infrastructure, but they recognize the risks involved:



Now, the Proactive Notifications and Alerting feature in Citrix Director is equipped with 7 more alerting categories and a new policy “User Policy” type, to monitor and troubleshoot user-specific scenarios.

The proactive notifications and alerting feature introduced in Director with the release of XenDesktop 7.7 helps administrators keep an eye on XenDesktop environment. Configuring simple Notification Policies, specifying environment thresholds, then leaving the rest to Director and Monitoring Service to notify the administrator when a threshold breaches. This way the administrator can then take action to resolve the issue at an early stage.



Tuesday, 26 July 2016 00:00

Beyond the Public-Private Cloud Divide

The cloud is getting bigger, the data center is getting smaller, and it would seem these two trends are destined for one conclusion: migration of virtually all enterprise workloads to third-party infrastructure.

But with such a broad and diverse IT ecosystem in the world today, is such an absolute transition inevitable? And is it reasonable to assume that while most of our data activities will move to the cloud, the really important stuff will remain behind the firewall, thus increasing the value of owned-and-operated infrastructure to a substantial degree?

There certainly is no shortage of voices calling for an all-cloud infrastructure, even for highly regulated industries like banking and health care. As Stephen Garden of consulting firm CorpInfo told SiliconANGLE recently: “Any company that is launching today — they would never consider building a traditional data center.” Since these are the start-ups that are disrupting traditional industries with nimble, data-driven business models, it stands to reason that established firms should get on the bandwagon as well, before they are left in the dust. And indeed, Garden says many of his established clients are reaching the same conclusion: that the cost of building and maintaining on-premises infrastructure simply does not produce an adequate return.



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