UK tops global cyber crime hit list

UK based criminals were the second highest originators of cyber crime attacks after the US in the second quarter, according to ThreatMetrix

UK is the top target for cyber criminals with UK businesses targeted more frequently than US counterparts, a study has revealed.

Apart from local threats, criminals in Nigeria, Germany, the US and Mexico lead the way in attacking the UK, according to a study published by security firm ThreatMetrix.

But UK-based criminals were the second highest originators of cyber crime attacks after the US, according to the study, which is based on more than a billion transactions monitored each month by the firm’s Digital Identity Network.
The study shows that online commerce worldwide has been particularly badly hit by cyber crime. Fraudulent attacks rose 20% in the second quarter of 2015 in which ThreatMetrix blocked 36 million fraud attempts estimated to be worth £2bn.

Account creation fraud was the highest risk, accounting for nearly 7% of transactions blocked by ThreatMetrix, while account login risk was lower at 3%. But ThreatMetrix said that, because there are many times more login transactions processed, this represents a significant account takeover or hijacking risk.

The study also found that cyber criminals targeting financial institutions are particularly focused on the online lenders. Attacks spiked significantly in the second quarter and focused mainly on new accounts originations and payment disbursements.

Online lending is a rapid growth industry because it provides an easier way for the unbanked and underbanked to gain access to loans in a matter of days – making it a top target for cyber criminals.

According to ThreatMetrix, major UK peer-to-peer lender, Zopa, has issued £829m in loans since it started ten years ago.

“Online lending is a hotbed for fraud because it is a less secure channel designed for the unbanked and underbanked population an attractive target for attackers,” said Stephen Moody, European solutions director at ThreatMetrix.

“The more businesses and consumers turn to the digital space to store and manage their financial information, the greater the opportunity for fraudsters, and ensuring digital identities are effectively protected should be high priority for everyone,” he said.

Cyber crime is a well organised global phenomenon, said ThreatMetrix, with criminals fast adopting new technologies and tactics to attack businesses.

With sophisticated technology and strong knowledge-sharing across organised crime rings, nation states and decentralised cyber gangs, the security firm said these cyber criminals continue to attack traditional and non-traditional sources of consumer data to stitch together identities that can exploited.

Criminals hiding in the noise

Mobile now makes up one third of all transactions analysed by ThreatMetrix and is the biggest emerging opportunity and risk for businesses and financial institutions trying to deliver frictionless experiences to their customers, the company said.

“The more mobile transactions you have, the more opportunities will arise for fraudsters to conduct spoofing attacks or identity theft, by increasingly impersonating other devices to facilitate attacks,” said Moody.

“With consumers constantly on the go, they prefer iPhones over iPads after work and at the weekends – people’s digital behaviour is changing and this provides new opportunities for fraudsters to hide in the noise,” he said.

While UK-based e-commerce sites also experienced a spike in fraud attacks in the second quarter, attacks on financial services remained steady and attacks on the media industry saw a fall compared with the first three months of 2015.

However, attacks on the media industry are still fairly high, accounting for 11.4% of transactions blocked – more than double the rate in the US. According to ThreatMetrix, media sites are often targeted as testing sites for stolen credentials.

Source: tops global cyber crime hit list by Warwick Ashford


Shawn Banerji: CIO role at inflection point

It’s tough being a CIO these days. Technology executive headhunter Shawn Banerji offers his advice on how not to be marginalized in 2015.

Shawn Banerji of the Russell Reynolds Associates executive search firm in New York was in a holiday state of mind. A week before Christmas, he had already been to three CIO events and had another coming up. “This is always an interesting time of year,” he said, “getting together with clients, with successfully placed candidates, fundraisers — I had a table of 10 CIOs to raise money for a good cause.”
At such events the talk inevitably turns to the year gone by and what’s in store for those in the CIO role; 2015 points to a divide between the hot and not-so-hot CIO.

“I really feel we’re at an inflection point, because you have a very significant portion of the CIO population that is very excited about living through a shift in their role,” said Banerji, managing director and a member of the global technology practice at Russell Reynolds.

Business partners, boards of directors and their companies’ customers are looking to these fired-up CIOs “in a genuinely unprecedented manner” to create business value, he said. “They can’t wait to step through that door. They really feel like this is the best time ever to be a CIO.”

But he said there is also “a not insignificant portion of the CIO population” that is troubled about these very same changes. These CIOs are telling him that the competencies they are expected to have and the initiatives they’re expected to lead are things they haven’t done before or been trained to do.

“They’re concerned by not being able to step through that door. They’re asking, ‘Am I at risk of being marginalized? Am I at risk of being completely dis-intermediated?'” Banerji said. Their fears are not unfounded.

“I have clients tell me, ‘I don’t need Russell Reynolds to just go find me a legacy operations CIO,'” Banerji said. Finding a top-notch traditional CIO to run IT operations is by no means an easy task, he added, but that isn’t what companies are hiring Russell Reynolds to hunt for.

“They are looking for people who understand digital and are able to drive those associated and broader transformations through the application of digital technology internally and with their external business partners,” he said.

That’s the language companies are using today when they talk about IT, but capitalizing on IT — really using information technology to drive business — remains a hard slog for most companies, Banerji said, even at companies that have managed to reel in that elusive transformational CIO. “These companies want to achieve certain outcomes, but their organizational structure — and in many cases, their corporate culture — is set up in a fashion that actually precludes or minimizes the ability for that CIO to be effective,” he said.

Companies and candidates alike tend to “get obsessed” over titles, budgets and reporting to the CEO, but those old measures of CIO role success are meaningless in a situation where major transformation is required. “Forget about titles, I tell them. It is about nailing down content: what does the job actually entail — and does the candidate have access to the appropriate people in order to be successful?” Banerji said.

2015 prescription: vendor relations, security, talent wars

CIOs can thank (or blame) the cloud for some of the upheaval around their jobs. Banerji said his corporate clients are increasingly comfortable with offloading commoditized IT operations to external providers that will provide all manner of computing as a service, or claim to be able to anyway. These service providers are extremely comfortable going directly to business power users to strike a deal, greasing the wheels with the following pitch: I can do it faster for you and more cheaply and in a more flexible manner than your own CIO can.

“So some of these CIOs are saying, ‘Boy, if I can’t create meaningful business value, and the organization feels it can partner with these specific service providers to address the commoditized or more operational aspects of IT, what is left for me?'” Banerji said.

To remain relevant in 2015, Banerji advised CIOs keep three questions foremost in mind:

How do I work with service providers and vendor partners to generate the desired outcomes without marginalizing myself and my IT organization?
How do I ensure that the security environment at my organization is robust and sustainable?
How do I ensure that the people I am attracting and retaining in my organization are the right people, given the fluidity of the skill sets needed to deliver business value?
An important FYI: If security is not at the top of your 2015 agenda, put it there now. The single fastest-growing part of the Russell Reynolds’ CIO role portfolio is an IT executive with security chops. A few years ago, that person would have gone by the title, chief information security officer, sat in the networks function of the IT department and reported up through the head of IT infrastructure to the CIO.

“What we have seen in the last six months — precipitated in part by the very high-profile security incursions and breaches — is that organizations are rethinking this position in an incredibly fluid manner,” he said.

How fluid? Not only is the role being elevated within the IT function, but in some cases it has also moved from under the CIO and placed under the CEO or, in some cases, as the head of enterprise risk.

Source: Banerji: CIO role at inflection point by Linda Tucci

People in CIO positions should stay off this list

Today, customers rule — CIOs who don’t submit put their careers at risk. Analyst Bobby Cameron details five binds that spell doom for CIO positions.

It takes a lot for a list to grab me. In the Internet blur of read-this-or-else language, most lists — no matter how urgently titled — just highjack valuable time. “CIOs’ Top Five Career-Ending Digital Transformation Challenges,” by Forrester Research analyst Bobby Cameron, is an exception.

Cameron’s blunt language is meant to underscore just how dire the situation is for CIOs in today’s business environment.

“There’s a lot of immaturity in CIOs that’s just got to go,” Cameron said in a telephone interview. Many are stuck in the past, he said, centered on internal operations. In the so-called age of the customer, though, when buyers wield more power than ever before, CIO positions must focus on technology that serves those buyers — and keeps them coming back.

But right now, Cameron said, fully two-thirds to three-quarters of CIOs are at risk of falling into one or more of these five career-ending predicaments:

1. They’re not trusted.

2. They can’t inspire meaningful change.

3. They’re stuck in technical debtor’s prison.

4. They think small.

5. They aren’t customer-obsessed.

The no-hit list

Let’s take them one by one, starting with the issue of trust. The main requirement of CIO positions is to deliver and safeguard the IT systems that keep businesses running; being perceived as untrustworthy is unthinkable for CIOs. Yet, if their IT organizations have a history of failures in delivering bread-and-butter service, the business side is going to have a hard time trusting the CIO to deliver the more advanced capabilities that can provide a competitive advantage, such as big data analytics or cloud computing.

A CIO also won’t be trusted, Cameron explained in the report, if the IT department doesn’t build systems that are “end-to-end” — integrated into all the other applications a business uses on a daily basis. At Home Depot, Cameron told me, a checkout clerk can ring you up, of course, but he can also let you know about a sale the store is having that day or check on the availability of another item you might need.

“All of a sudden it’s not a point-of-sale transaction,” he said. “I’m now invoking marketing systems, bundling systems, inventory systems, shipping.” Integrating these systems and making the data available to that checkout person is how IT organizations help their companies compete for today’s customers.

By inspiring meaningful change, Cameron meant using one’s CIO position to pave the path to becoming a full-fledged digital business — making all the necessary technology changes your customers are demanding and doing it fast. But it’s largely a cultural puzzle for IT, Cameron wrote, and one of the missing pieces for many CIOs remains communicating in a language the business side understands. In his report, Cameron quoted a CIO at a U.S. defense agency: “We need to enhance the competencies that we have as humans — using words that the others understand. But sometimes the best IT guys are the ones you want to keep locked in a room and let them out only when the coast is clear.”

To work well with the business, IT needs to keep business goals top of mind — and drop the tech speak.

Technical debtor’s prison doesn’t sound like a particularly nice place to spend 40 or more hours a week in — so stay out, Cameron advised. It’s not that old technology alone will put you there — some old systems can in fact help you build a digital business. But if outmoded systems are holding you back, that’s when you should bust the joint.

Oil companies should take the hint, Cameron said. Many still use IBM 3270 computer terminals, which look at home in 1980s James Bond films but not in modern organizations.

“I’ve had CIOs from oil and gas recently sit down and tell me, ‘Oh, it’s fine for us; we don’t need anything else. We don’t want to pay to upgrade.'”

Though starting small in IT is generally considered a good thing, thinking small can spell doom for CIO positions, Cameron wrote. Popular technologies today shouldn’t be implemented as replacements for something that’s broken but rather as pieces of your emerging digital business. One way out of the fix is by funding the business outcome you’re targeting, not the project.

Not being customer-obsessed is Cameron’s final career killer, but it overlaps all the others. Customers are the reason the CIO position is under fire in the first place. They’re pushing the buttons, so CIOs must cater to them. That means having one, integrated view of all customers. It means having proper data governance policies and procedures. And it means using customer-focused performance metrics in IT as well as in sales and customer service.

CIO career Rx

Cameron said the first step for CIOs is simple: Recognize the need to change. Businesses that embrace change innovate and create new opportunities. He gave an example from the industrial sector: Manufacturer Timken Bearings put sensors in its roller bearings that would let a customer know when they were about to collapse. Those sensors now phone home, and Timken does maintenance and repair on equipment fitted with the bearings.

“It’s a brand new business, and they’re making a lot of money at it,” Cameron said.

Are there really CIOs who are guilty of all five items on Cameron’s career-ending list? He cited the example of a CIO from a life insurance company — “the most Luddite sector in the universe” — who got a directive from a new CEO to “go digital.” Sure, she told him.

“And then she calls me in and says, ‘What did our CEO mean?’ She’s probably not very long for this world,” he said with a sad chuckle. “And that’s not uncommon. It’s just the way it is.”

Source: in CIO positions should stay off this list by Jason Sparapani

Blackberry to acquire Good Technology

Enterprise mobile device vendor BlackBerry has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire mobile security provider Good Technology.
Good Technology is a mobile security provider headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States. The company says it has more than 5,000 enterprise customers worldwide in industries such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and utilities, legal, government, and technology.

According to Blackberry, the acquisition means that Good will be a part of BlackBerry’s strategy to offer customers the most complete, end-to-end solution that secures the entire mobile enterprise – across all platforms.

“Enhanced by Good, BlackBerry will expand its ability to offer a unified, secure mobility platform with applications for any mobile device on any operating system – supported with security that has been certified by governments around the world embedded in every component of the mobility infrastructure,” the company said in a statement.

“Good’s technology will integrate with BlackBerry’s enterprise portfolio and trusted global network.

“The BlackBerry product platform and Good Dynamics Platform are very complementary – which is why combining them makes so much sense. BlackBerry’s leadership in MDM, application management and secure connectivity combined with Good’s leadership in mobile containers, productivity suite, service management and SDKs will create a higher-value product stack with the capability to expand well beyond EMM collaboration and application enablement. Our complementary capabilities will provide the most comprehensive mobile platform in the market and deliver more value to your organisation.

“With BlackBerry’s growing portfolio of value added services, we have the most secure platform for mobile communications with the broadest portfolio of services that includes secure voice and messaging, enterprise identity and virtual SIM, just to name a few.

“This portfolio will be enhanced with the addition of more than 2,000 ISV and custom apps that are supported by Good on Good Dynamics and through its partner program.”

Blackberry expects the transaction to be completed in the company’s 2016 fiscal third quarter, which ends in late November. It is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Source: to acquire Good Technology

5 Key Downfalls that Can Wreck a Project

The potential for project failure looms over every project and has since the beginning of time.  Most surveys and reports have the project failure rate at greater than 50%….so you can see that true project success is often painfully difficult to obtain. So many variables go into each project, so many outside entities can affect the success or failure of any given project, and unknowns can enter the picture at any time – making risk planning…something that is often too overlooked – a very necessary piece to the early project planning puzzle.

I’d like to discuss what I consider to be five key things that can greatly diminish any projects chances of success – and in all likelihood, any one of these can absolutely squash the project undertaking. Keen project management skills are required to prepare for, plan for, and react to each of these…and these are merely the tip of the iceberg of things that can kill a project.

Poor or incomplete requirements.  Since I consider requirements to be the lifeblood of the project – and I’m sure I’m not alone here – it’s understandable that incomplete requirements can be project killers.  Indeed, if we don’t spend enough time capturing and documenting requirements during the planning phase of the project, the re-work later on can quickly flood the project budget, ruin customer satisfaction and confidence and bring the project to a halt long before deployment of a final solution ever happens.  It doesn’t matter how detailed a customer ‘thinks’ their requirements are coming into an engagement…the project manager and team still must go through the painstaking tasks of verifying existing requirements and extracting additional requirements.  Remember, many customers come into the project looking for a solution to a symptom…something that may not even be the real project need.

Inconsistent or limited communication with the project customer.  Communication is job one for the project manager.  So if communication with the customer is not going well – for whatever reason – it can be disastrous for the project.  In order to maintain effective and efficient communication with the customer, the project manager should:

  • Layout – during project kickoff – how communication on the project is going to happen
  • Ideally, create a project communication plan document (even if it’s very basic, it will still set good expectations)
  • Keep to a schedule on the important customer communications like status reporting, status meetings, etc.

It sort of goes back to the idea of “slow and steady wins the race.”  Don’t be all over the board – be consistent with the customer.  It sets expectations with them since communication is a two-way street.

Irregular meeting schedules.  Part of the downfall in the communication category is irregular meeting schedules.  I had one project that I took over from another project manager in the very late stages of the engagement.  I thought we were just really in a roll-out mode so I tended not to put too much emphasis on adhering to the meeting schedule, and status reporting schedules.  If the customer said they didn’t see a need for a meeting, I canceled it…I was so busy on my other projects I considered it bonus time!  That was a mistake.  Customer confidence faded a little and the inconsistency was the key factor – even though it was at their request.  So, I went back to the basics – keep everything on a regular schedule: meetings, communications, status reporting, etc.  It was no surprise that the customer’s confidence and satisfaction greatly increased and we ended the engagement on a much higher note.

An unmonitored project budget.  I’m sure this just sounds very logical anyway, but I always contend that a 10% budget overrun is much easier to deal with and correct than a 50% overrun.  So catch it early!  How?  By managing the budget weekly, applying actuals to it weekly, and reforecasting it weekly.  If you do that, you’ll know every single week where you stand and the project budget will never get so out of hand that proactive and corrective action can’t be administered to fix the situation.

Non-existent or very limited risk planning and management.  Finally, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, too many project managers – often myself included – tend to give too little emphasis to risk management. If we don’t take the time to properly identify risks at the beginning of the project, plan for risk mitigation and avoidance, and then track those risks throughout the engagement, then encountering them can bring the project down.  Period.  So, despite executive management’s resistance, sometimes, to spending too much time on risk identification and management, you must plan for it.  It’s critical to the success of your projects.

Summary /  call for input

Of course, there’s really no way to guarantee project success.  We can’t even guarantee it most of the time.  And while using strategic project management tools can enhance communication, collaboration and task management, it still won’t guarantee success.  The factors I’ve mentioned here need special attention – they must not be skipped.  And for every one mentioned, there are several more.

Source: Key Downfalls that Can Wreck a Project by Viewpath Support

Gartner Predicts Our Digital Future

Gartner’s Top 10 Predictions herald what it means to be human in a digital world.

Here’s a scene from our digital future: You sit down to dinner at a restaurant where your server was selected by a “robo-boss” based on an optimized match of personality and interaction profile, and the angle at which he presents your plate, or how quickly he smiles can be evaluated for further review.  Or, perhaps you walk into a store to try on clothes and ask the digital customer assistant embedded in the mirror to recommend an outfit in your size, in stock and on sale. Afterwards, you simply tell it to bill you from your mobile and skip the checkout line.

These scenarios describe two predictions in what will be an algorithmic and smart machine driven world where people and machines must define harmonious relationships. In his session at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Orlando, Daryl Plummer, vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow, discussed how Gartner’s Top Predictions begin to separate us from the mere notion of technology adoption and draw us more deeply into issues surrounding what it means to be human in a digital world.

Gartner’s Top Predictions 

1-Robo-writers create content

By 2018, 20 percent of business content will be authored by machines.

Content that is based on data and analytical information will be turned into natural language writing by technologies that can proactively assemble and deliver information through automated composition engines. Content currently written by people, such as shareholder reports, legal documents, market reports, press releases and white papers are prime candidates for these tools.

2-Things will need help

By 2018, 6 billion connected things will be requesting support.

In 2021, 1 million new IoT devices will be purchased every hour of every day. What happens when they require help and support? Organizations will need to develop strategies and mechanisms for responding to things in different ways than when communicate with and problem-solve for people.

3-Agents get independence

By 2020, autonomous software agents outside of human control will participate in 5 percent of all economic transactions.

Algorithmically driven agents already participate in our economy, but are tethered to mechanisms controlled by humans in our corporate, legal, economic, and fiduciary systems. In what Gartner calls the programmable economy, new autonomous software agents will hold value themselves and be set free on the blockchain, capable of banking, insurance, exchanges, and all other types of financial instruments.

4-You work for a robo-boss

By 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a “robo-boss.”

Some performance measurements can be consumed more swiftly by smart machine managers aka “robo-bosses,” who will perform supervisory duties and make decisions about staffing or management incentives.

5-Smart buildings are vandalized

By year-end 2018, 20 percent of smart buildings will have suffered from digital vandalism.

Digital vandals will plunge buildings into darkness or deface signs in exploits that may be more nuisance than threat, but which require adequate perimeter security and a strategy that links building security with the larger organizational security process.

6-More smart machines go to work

By 2018, 45 percent of the fastest-growing companies will have fewer employees than instances of smart machines.

It will happen with startups and new companies first, but the speed, cost savings, and productivity improvements of employing smart machines means that some companies will use machines over human workers, such as in a fully automated supermarket, robotic hotel, or security firm with drone-only surveillance services.

7-Customer digital assistants hold conversations

By year-end 2018, customer digital assistants will recognize individuals by face and voice across channels and partners.

Multichannel customer experience will take a big leap forward with seamless, two-way engagement between customer digital assistants and customers in an experience that will mimic human conversations, with both listening and speaking, a sense of history, in-the-moment context, tone, and the ability to respond.

8-Employees wear trackers

By 2018, 2 million employees will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a condition of employment.

For people whose jobs can be dangerous or physically demanding, wearable devices can provide remote monitoring of heart rates, respiration, and potentially, their stress levels, to send help immediately if required.

9-Smart agents manage our tasks

By 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40 percent of mobile interactions, and the post-app era will begin to dominate.

Instead of using discreet apps, we’ll rely on smart agents in the form of Virtual Personal Assistants (VPA) or newly built business agents to predict our needs, build trust, and act autonomously on our behalf.

10-Customers cause cloud failures

Through 2020, 95 percent of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.

Many organizations still harbor security concerns about use of public cloud services. However, only a small percentage of security incidents impacting enterprises using the cloud have been due to vulnerabilities that were the provider’s fault. Customers increasingly will use cloud access security brokers products to manage and monitor their use of SaaS and other forms of public cloud services.

Source: Gartner- Gartner Predicts Our Digital Future

Dell-EMC deal comes with plenty of risks

Dell finalized its purchase of EMC this week, in a deal that analysts said could pay dividends for enterprise customers – if it succeeds, that is.

Dell’s acquisition of EMC and VMware should have strategic merit for enterprise customers, but the deal is also a risky one.

After weeks of speculation, Dell formalized its acquisition of EMC for $67 billion, the largest tech acquisition of all time.

The deal benefits are clearly advantageous to Dell, said Charles King, president of Pund-IT of Hayward, Calif.

Dell does very well in the SMB enterprise space but has had trouble cracking the code for larger organizations, he said. Meanwhile, large enterprises are EMC’s sweet spot and it has a massive portfolio of hardware, software and services that are aimed specifically at the needs of enterprises, he said.
EMC has done well to expand its footprint in software and outreach to developers through Pivotal, King said, something that could be an invaluable resource for Dell. Pivotal and the EMC Federation have done well to engage with the software industry and as EMC goes under Dell’s private ownership, it will allow it to manage the products and services it has without any second guessing by outside groups.

“The fact is – the addition of EMC [products] and services will benefit Dell but so will EMC’s relationships with thousands of larger enterprise organizations,” King said.

Another analyst however contends the merger is risky business.

The respective core markets for all three companies, particularly, Dell and EMC are under attack, according to Dana Gardner, principal analyst with Interarbor Solutions, LLC in Gilford, NH. Dell faces increasing pressures in the server markets with competition from HP and Lenovo – a market that is already declining. And EMC faces similar competitive pressures in the storage market from competitors old and new.

“This is a very risky undertaking because you have two companies that are struggling in their own markets and at the same time trying to enter new markets where essentially only VMware has a presence in,” Gardner said.

“VMware has to be the point on the spear for any forward progress for both of these companies.”

Dell’s hybrid strategy gains an ally

Dell’s focus on becoming the hardware supplier of the cloud makes sense, but the company needs to find ways to better facilitate enterprises use of hybrid cloud, said Michelle Bailey, an analyst and vice president of data center initiatives and digital infrastructure at 451 Research LLC in New York.

“They’re behind, there’s no doubt about it,” she said, adding that Dell hired away Jim Ganthier from HP last year to help with its cloud strategy. Dell needs to form partnerships with the world’s 25,000 cloud providers and become a systems integrator with tools such as Dell’s Boomi instead of taking on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Enter VMware, which has struggled in the public cloud market.

VMware faces its own competitive headwinds, Gardner said, as it tries to enter new markets itself with its existing and upcoming hyper-converged infrastructure offerings, which have had little success, as well as a new open source initiative.

Also, VMware’s public cloud strategy has not worked out, favoring now a move toward hybrid cloud and software defined data centers (SDDC), Gardner said. VMware can succeed in the hybrid cloud and SDDC markets but is up against the steel of the industry including IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and HP, all of whom will not be preoccupied dealing with a one or two-year long transition of fully integrating its products with those of one of the largest IT suppliers in the industry, Gardner said.

“They are going to be so busy pulling all this together at a time when they need to dominate this hybrid cloud market,” Gardner said. “These other players are not going to be encumbered by the burden of the largest merge in the history of technology.”

The big question is whether Dell can continue to innovate after it takes on the combined $40 billion debt from the deal and spends time focusing on the integration of the two companies. For on-premises data centers, virtualization and the software-defined data center, the deal will bring the benefits of cloud computing, said CEO Michael Dell in a conference call.

Dell said he was looking forward to the combination of EMC’s RSA Security LLC and Dell SecureWorks Inc. in the growing security market, plus the addition of VMware’s enterprise mobility management product, AirWatch.

The tech industry has a long history of collaboration, Dell said, pointing to Dell’s existing partnerships with Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and Red Hat, Inc., which he said will all continue.

Dell also said the new combined company won’t strictly use virtualization software from VMware.

VMware has had a strong partnership with HP and Lenovo Group Ltd, said Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO.

Bailey, from 451, said it will be important for Dell and EMC to remain impartial on virtualization software and said VMware shouldn’t do anything to make it harder for enterprise users to run VMware virtualization software on HP servers.

Expanding the VCE portfolio

EMC will continue its partnership with Cisco Systems, Inc. in privately-held VCE and it will continue to work with the broader ecosystem, company officials said.

A majority of VCE products are aimed at enterprises, particularly in industries such as telecommunications and financial organizations. . While Dell does have some products that perform similar functions to VCE’s VBlock and other converged infrastructure, none are really aimed at the enterprise.

“There is probably less overlap there than one might think,” King said. It would be wise for Dell to maintain and expand the VCE portfolio, he said.

The deal will give EMC stockholders $33.15 per share. VMware will stay a public company.

While Dell said jobs cuts are likely, he noted some other tech companies have seen much more significant cuts lately, such as the 30,000 job cuts that HP revealed last month. Dell said its new $30 billion enterprise data center business will be headquartered in Hopkinton, Mass. and the new combined business will have three hubs – Austin, Silicon Valley and Boston.

Source: TechTarget-Dell-EMC deal comes with plenty of risks

Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016

Analysts Explore Top Industry Trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015, October 4-8 in Orlando

Gartner, Inc. today highlighted the top 10 technology trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2016. Analysts presented their findings during the sold-out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through Thursday.

Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organization. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to the business, end users or IT, the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. These technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.

“Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends will shape digital business opportunities through 2020,” said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “The first three trends address merging the physical and virtual worlds and the emergence of the digital mesh. While organizations focus on digital business today, algorithmic business is emerging. Algorithms — relationships and interconnections — define the future of business. In algorithmic business, much happens in the background in which people are not directly involved. This is enabled by smart machines, which our next three trends address. Our final four trends address the new IT reality, the new architecture and platform trends needed to support digital and algorithmic business.”

The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2016 are:

The Device Mesh
The device mesh refers to an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. The device mesh includes mobile devices, wearable, consumer and home electronic devices, automotive devices and environmental devices — such as sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT).

“In the postmobile world the focus shifts to the mobile user who is surrounded by a mesh of devices extending well beyond traditional mobile devices,” said Mr. Cearley.

While devices are increasingly connected to back-end systems through various networks, they have often operated in isolation from one another. As the device mesh evolves, we expect connection models to expand and greater cooperative interaction between devices to emerge.

Ambient User Experience
The device mesh creates the foundation for a new continuous and ambient user experience. Immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality hold significant potential but are only one aspect of the experience. The ambient user experience preserves continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another.

“Designing mobile apps remains an important strategic focus for the enterprise,” said Mr. Cearley. “However, the leading edge of that design is focused on providing an experience that flows across and exploits different devices, including IoT sensors, common objects such as automobiles, or even factories. Designing these advanced experiences will be a major differentiator for independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises alike by 2018.”

3D Printing Materials
Advances in 3D printing have already enabled 3D printing to use a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials. These innovations are driving user demand, as the practical applications for 3D printers expand to more sectors, including aerospace, medical, automotive, energy and the military. The growing range of 3D-printable materials will drive a compound annual growth rate of 64.1 percent for enterprise 3D-printer shipments through 2019. These advances will necessitate a rethinking of assembly line and supply chain processes to exploit 3D printing.

“3D printing will see a steady expansion over the next 20 years of the materials that can be printed, improvement in the speed with which items can be printed and emergence of new models to print and assemble composite parts,” said Mr. Cearley.

Information of Everything
Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. This information goes beyond textual, audio and video information to include sensory and contextual information. Information of everything addresses this influx with strategies and technologies to link data from all these different data sources. Information has always existed everywhere but has often been isolated, incomplete, unavailable or unintelligible. Advances in semantic tools such as graph databases as well as other emerging data classification and information analysis techniques will bring meaning to the often chaotic deluge of information.

Advanced Machine Learning
In advanced machine learning, deep neural nets (DNNs) move beyond classic computing and information management to create systems that can autonomously learn to perceive the world, on their own. The explosion of data sources and complexity of information makes manual classification and analysis infeasible and uneconomic. DNNs automate these tasks and make it possible to address key challenges related to the information of everything trend.

DNNs (an advanced form of machine learning particularly applicable to large, complex datasets) is what makes smart machines appear “intelligent.” DNNs enable hardware- or software-based machines to learn for themselves all the features in their environment, from the finest details to broad sweeping abstract classes of content. This area is evolving quickly, and organizations must assess how they can apply these technologies to gain competitive advantage.

Autonomous Agents and Things
Machine learning gives rise to a spectrum of smart machine implementations — including robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart advisors — that act in an autonomous (or at least semiautonomous) manner. While advances in physical smart machines such as robots get a great deal of attention, the software-based smart machines have a more near-term and broader impact. VPAs such as Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri are becoming smarter and are precursors to autonomous agents. The emerging notion of assistance feeds into the ambient user experience in which an autonomous agent becomes the main user interface. Instead of interacting with menus, forms and buttons on a smartphone, the user speaks to an app, which is really an intelligent agent.

“Over the next five years we will evolve to a postapp world with intelligent agents delivering dynamic and contextual actions and interfaces,” said Mr. Cearley. “IT leaders should explore how they can use autonomous things and agents to augment human activity and free people for work that only people can do. However, they must recognize that smart agents and things are a long-term phenomenon that will continually evolve and expand their uses for the next 20 years.”

Adaptive Security Architecture
The complexities of digital business and the algorithmic economy combined with an emerging “hacker industry” significantly increase the threat surface for an organization. Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organizations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs for customers and partners to integrate with their systems. IT leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats, as well as more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks. Application self-protection, as well as user and entity behavior analytics, will help fulfill the adaptive security architecture.

Advanced System Architecture
The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organizations. Providing this required boost are high-powered and ultraefficient neuromorphic architectures. Fueled by field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) as an underlining technology for neuromorphic architectures, there are significant gains to this architecture, such as being able to run at speeds of greater than a teraflop with high-energy efficiency.

“Systems built on GPUs and FPGAs will function more like human brains that are particularly suited to be applied to deep learning and other pattern-matching algorithms that smart machines use,” said Mr. Cearley. “FPGA-based architecture will allow further distribution of algorithms into smaller form factors, with considerably less electrical power in the device mesh, thus allowing advanced machine learning capabilities to be proliferated into the tiniest IoT endpoints, such as homes, cars, wristwatches and even human beings.”

Mesh App and Service Architecture
Monolithic, linear application designs (e.g., the three-tier architecture) are giving way to a more loosely coupled integrative approach: the apps and services architecture. Enabled by software-defined application services, this new approach enables Web-scale performance, flexibility and agility. Microservice architecture is an emerging pattern for building distributed applications that support agile delivery and scalable deployment, both on-premises and in the cloud. Containers are emerging as a critical technology for enabling agile development and microservice architectures. Bringing mobile and IoT elements into the app and service architecture creates a comprehensive model to address back-end cloud scalability and front-end device mesh experiences. Application teams must create new modern architectures to deliver agile, flexible and dynamic cloud-based applications with agile, flexible and dynamic user experiences that span the digital mesh.

Internet of Things Platforms
IoT platforms complement the mesh app and service architecture. The management, security, integration and other technologies and standards of the IoT platform are the base set of capabilities for building, managing and securing elements in the IoT. IoT platforms constitute the work IT does behind the scenes from an architectural and a technology standpoint to make the IoT a reality. The IoT is an integral part of the digital mesh and ambient user experience and the emerging and dynamic world of IoT platforms is what makes them possible.

“Any enterprise embracing the IoT will need to develop an IoT platform strategy, but incomplete competing vendor approaches will make standardization difficult through 2018,” said Mr. Cearley.

Source: Gartner-Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016


Top 10 Technology Trends Signal the Digital Mesh

An evolving digital mesh of smart machines will connect billions of things into a continuous digital experience.

We sit at the center of an expanding set of devices, other people, information and services that are fluidly and dynamically interconnected. This “digital mesh” surrounds the individual and new, continuous and ambient experiences will emerge to exploit it. In his session revealing Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends at Gartner/Symposium ITxpo 2015 in Orlando, David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow, shared three categories for this year’s trends: the digital mesh, smart machines, and the new IT reality.


The Digital Mesh

Trend No. 1: The Device Mesh

Here, all devices such as cars, cameras, appliances, and more are connected in an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information, or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. As the device mesh evolves, Gartner expects connection models to expand and greater cooperative interaction between devices to emerge. We will see significant development in wearables and augmented reality, especially,virtual reality.

Trend No. 2: Ambient User Experience

All of our digital interactions can become synchronized into a continuous and ambient digital experience that preserves our experience across traditional boundaries of devices, time and space. Users can interact with an application in a dynamic multistep sequence that may last for an extended period. The experience blends physical, virtual and electronic environments, and uses real-time contextual information as the ambient environment changes or as the user moves from one place to another. Organizations will need to consider their customers’ behavior journeys to shift the focus on design from discreet apps to the entire mesh of products and services involved in the user experience.

Trend No. 3: 3D-Printing Materials

We’ll see continued advances in 3D printing with a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials for practical applications expanding into aerospace, medical, automotive, energy and the military.

Recent advances make it possible to mix multiple materials together with traditional 3D printing in one build. This could be useful for field operations or repairs when a specific tool is required and printed on demand. Biological 3D printing — such as the printing of skin and organs — is progressing from theory to reality, however, politicians and the public don’t have a full understanding of the implications.

Smart Machines

Trend No. 4: Information of Everything

Everything surrounding us in the digital mesh is producing, using and communicating with virtually unmeasurable amounts of information. Organizations must learn how to identify what information provides strategic value, how to access data from different sources, and explore how algorithms leverage Information of Everything to fuel new business designs.

Trend No. 5: Advanced Machine Learning

Advanced machine learning is what makes smart machines appear “intelligent” by enabling them to both understand concepts in the environment, and also to learn. Through machine learning a smart machine can change its future behavior. For example, by analyzing vast databases of medical case histories, “learning” machines can reveal previously unknown insights in treatment effectiveness. This area is evolving quickly, and organizations must assess how they can apply these technologies to gain competitive advantage.

Trend No. 6: Autonomous Agents and Things

Advanced machine learning gives rise to a spectrum of smart machine implementations — including robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart advisors — that act in an autonomous (or at least semiautonomous) manner. This feeds into the ambient user experience in which an autonomous agent becomes the main user interface. Instead of interacting with menus, forms and buttons on a smartphone, the user speaks to an app, which is really an intelligent agent.

The New IT Reality

Trend No. 7: Adaptive Security Architecture

The complexities of digital business and the algorithmic economy, combined with an emerging “hacker industry,” significantly increase the threat surface for an organization. IT leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats, as well as more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks.

Trend No. 8: Advanced System Architecture

The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organizations. They’ll get this added boost from ultra-efficient neuromorphic architectures. Systems built on GPUs and field-programmable gate-arrays (FPGAs) will function more like human brains that are particularly suited to be applied to deep learning and other pattern-matching algorithms that smart machines use. FPGA-based architecture will allow distribution with less power into the tiniest IoT endpoints, such as homes, cars, wristwatches and even human beings.

Trend No. 9: Mesh App and Service Architecture

The mesh app and service architecture are what enables delivery of apps and services to the flexible and dynamic environment of the digital mesh. This architecture will serve users’ requirements as they vary over time. It brings together the many information sources, devices, apps, services and microservices into a flexible architecture in which apps extend across multiple endpoint devices and can coordinate with one another to produce a continuous digital experience.

Trend No. 10: Internet of Things Architecture and Platforms

IoT platforms exist behind the mesh app and service architecture. The technologies and standards in the IoT platform form a base set of capabilities for communicating, controlling, managing and securing endpoints in the IoT. The platforms aggregate data from endpoints behind the scenes from an architectural and a technology standpoint to make the IoT a reality.

Source: gartner-Top 10 Technology Trends Signal the Digital Mesh

CIOs spur business agility and growth

The economy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is starting to recover, which means  investment in IT across the region is also starting to return. This issue of CW Europe  investigates how the boost in IT is changing the role of the CIO, from supporting the business to driving its growth.

In this issue hear from Michel Clement, head of Oracle in the CEE region, discussing how the present state of technology development is providing CIOs in CEE with unique capabilities. Read how CEE enterprises are using a more forward-looking approach to IT tools, with
more CIOs realising they can undergo more business activities with less hardware and software by restructuring their whole ecosystem.
Also find out why the Dutch Cyber Security Council (DCSC) says privacy will be one of its main focuses in 2015 and going forward.
The Netherlands has one of the highest percentage of internet users in the world and 80% of its citizens use online banking. Furthermore, 62% of the nation’s retailers are connected to the internet. This issue reveals why the DCSC is set to focus on cyber security this year and how the organisation plans to tackle the issue. Just how will the Netherlands remain an open and economi‑cally promising digital society – and secure at the same time?
On page 10 read about Easynet’s poll which suggests that cloud computing is
now the IT deployment model of choice for 74% of European enterprises – is it
the model of choice at your company?
According to the report – which surveyed over 600 European IT decision makers – public cloud is the least favourite source of off-premise service and only one in five respondents (17%) ticked the option for a hybrid cloud model.
Hear from Easynet’s unified communications, hosting and cloud services division managing director, Phil Grannum, as he tells CW Europe why he believes the private cloud is most popular with businesses right now – and how this is likely to pave the way for wider
hybrid cloud adoption in the future.

Read more at: CWEurope- CIOs spur business agility and growth