Forbes Forecast for 2017: What Does This Mean for IT?
Remember, back in the day, when Artificial Intelligence was uttered mainly in those deep conversations around the water cooler, chatting it up about how AI will be "making decisions for us" in the future?
Well, the future is here. At least according to a recent article in Forbes, which you can read in its entirety here.
What do all these articles and all this talk about deep data mean for today's IT departments, already challenged with finding ways to parse and organize mountains of new data streams coming from new sources?
The good news is that, if you're an IT guy (or gal), you're becoming more vital to your company with every new "prediction" that comes along. But, seriously, there are technologies looming out ahead that, like the mirror outside your car window are "closer than they appear".
Here are a few to whet your appetite (or ruin your holidays, depending on your mood):
AI, in the form of "machine/deep learning", leveraging, of course, upon "big data".
Cybersecurity vulnerabilities, as brought on by the IoT.
Conversational Interfaces, otherwise known as "chatbots".
Deep Learning, as will be found in such things as "image recognition" and "machine translation".
The good news is that, for most companies, these concepts have yet to hit the mainstream. But cell phones were once a concept and, well, we all know where that went.
If you run an IT/Telecom department and you're either ignoring this stuff completely or wringing your hands in despair, consider the fact that there are things you can do prepare and gain some sense of control.
Here's what we recommend:
1) Take some time (holidays are great for this) and catch up on your reading and online forums. Knowledge has a way of knocking things down to size.
2) Start looking at ways these technologies can have a positive impact within your organization and with your clients.
3) Make it a point to set up a weekly meeting with your crew, and others who might show an interest, and start laying some groundwork for how you plan to deal with these emerging technologies.
4) Create a report that sums up the notes from your meetings and deliver it to your C-level executives each month. They may have some thoughts of their own to add to the conversation.
At the very least, by taking these actions, you will be preparing yourself and your organization for some of the great
technology and great challenges that lie ahead. You and your department may even get some well-deserved credit for getting ahead of the curve.
After all, being the information "go to" guy (or gal) isn't a bad way to start 2017.
The CDR-DATA team of IT/Telecom veterans is ready to help with whatever Forbes throws your way! We live and breathe technology. And, we can help with what's challenging you right now. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you address your IT/Telecom challenges, whatever they might be.
Kevin Young, Founder and CEO
High Tech Gifts For Under $100?
Portable turntable for those retro vinyl LPs? Or iPhone camera lenses?
Here are some great techie gifts we found for last minute Christmas shopping.
It's November and the IT predictions for 2017 are rolling in! True, some are over the top, but there are others well worth noting.
After checking out several sources, here are some of the predictions that stood out to us:
The Internet of Things: What list would be complete without a "take" on what will happen in 2017 with IoT. What will happen? Growth, to put it mildly. Gartner predicted a 30% increase from 2015 to 4 billion connected devices in 2016. And it's expected to continue its climb up to 20.8 billion by 2020. There's no turning back on IoT. And who would want to?
5G Technology: Still years away from full deployment, but we will start to hear more about 5G from some of the big guys such as AT&T. They have already ironed out a plan for "Release-15", considered to be the first release that incorporates 5G specifications.
Mobile Payment Technology: Right now, an estimated 20% of consumers are using mobile pay solutions. As security issues are addressed and trust grows, however, that number is expected to rise dramatically.
Value Chain Partnerships: Strategic collaborations and partnerships are expected to rise to meet the escalating demands of a more sophisticated user base. Competition will increase and organizations will "team up" to provide best of breed solutions.
Security: The issue that never grows old. Network security solutions will be on the rise to address the increased security risks that the growing number of connected devices bring with them. Hacking methods have become more sophisticated, such as DDoS, cyber extortion, etc. Security will remain one of the top issues for all organizations.
What did we miss here? Let us know what your top IT initiatives are for 2017.
The CDR-DATA team of IT/Telecom veterans loves the challenges associated with new technologies. We live and breathe what's "around the corner". Contact us to find out more about how we can help you address your IT/Telecom challenges, whatever they might be.
Kevin Young, Founder and CEO
The Internet (Nightmare) of Things.
It almost goes without saying that the more devices we connect to, the more potential for security headaches. Or nightmares, according a an article from ZDNet.
As the article starts off, "The baby monitors transmitting a live feed onto the internet for all to see -- and the smart teddy bear that could be hijacked. The car that allows hackers to take control of systems remotely. The power grid knocked offline by attackers accessing industrial control systems."
Scary stuff. For more "thrills" read the article here.
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Amazingly enough (or maybe not), these are your biggest security risks. But before you start ringing necks, you should know that much of the fraud committed by employees is unintentional. So they may not even realize that they are delivering your organization into the arms of hackers.
Here are the three of the most common ways a hacker can get into your network:
Phishing: Remains one of the most common ways employees inadvertently invite hackers into their personal systems and into those of their employers. An employee responds to an urgent email that appears to be authentic, and follows a link to provide them with passwords and PINs. Voila! They're in. Only after hours and hours (and possibly thousands of dollars) can you begin to untangle the mess. And you have one pretty embarrassed employee on your hands as well.
Social media: Today there is so much cross over between what is "personal" and what is job related that it's no wonder companies are reluctant to use social media, let alone allow employees to post. It is an incubator for hackers as personal information flows, is captured and combined with other personal data, all used to mount a successful (and devastating) personal attack within an organization.
Fraud: And, yes, there are plenty of reported incidents of employee involvement in crime rings, assisting cybercriminals in hacking into their employers' systems and getting out again, often so ingeniously that tracing the activity can be challenging. Catching the employee can be equally challenging.
What to do? Here are some ideas to help reduce the threat of hackers:
You may be surprised at what even your most astute employees do not know. Educating your employees about phishing and other "points of entry" hackers use, can go a long way towards avoiding it. Make sure each employee has access to your technical team in the event he or she comes across a suspicious email, asking them to share personal or corporate information.
What experts, such as Rik Ferguson, VP of security research at Trend Micro, suggest is to tailor the training to the job function of your employees, and even to try to make it interesting.
In aZDnet interview, Rik stressed the importance of this."You need the right mediums for the right people. You can't have a one-size-fits-all training program; if you're training your developers, you're going to need different content to what you're using to train your sales people, finance or HR people."
Give them a "sandbox":
One great way to get employees serious about doing their part in protecting against cyber fraud is to let them experience what it can do, first hand. Well, almost. Experts recommend giving them their own sandboxes. As Trend Micro suggests"Let them mess up in a safe environment because then they realize they can mess up, nobody's perfect. Dare to fail, learn from your mistakes, analyze and improve."
Not only awareness between you and your employees, but between employees as well. Keep your eyes and ears open and encourage them to do the same.
Remember, all a hacker needs is one vulnerable point of entry. Just one. So, considering the growing list of devices we all use, that point of entry will become easier to find, not harder. More connections, more devices, more points of entry for hackers. And more headaches for IT.
Thankfully there are companies that know how to untangle and help mitigate security risks. At CDR-DATA we've been collecting data and uncovering fraudulent data and voice activities for over 20 years. There are few things we haven't seen and helped protect against.
As your list of potential security breaches continues to grow, don't wait until it becomes a mountain of confusion.Contact us now, so we can help you protect your tomorrow.
Kevin Young, Founder and CEO
Facebook Off Estimates by 80%? Oh Oh.
Here's something to pass along to your marketing department. More specifically, to those in charge of your digital advertising.
There has been a lot of concern, lately, as to the transparency, or lack thereof, of some of the major social media advertising vehicles.
Here's an interesting article from Wall Street Journal that sheds some light on the subject.
IT and Millennials: Oil and Water? or Spark and Ignite?
Okay, we'll state the obvious: millennials,
or Gen Y, is now the largest generation in America. And they are
pushing the technology envelope in ways we couldn't imagine even a
decade ago. If you run an IT department, you are no doubt painfully
aware of this.
So the question is: Are you paving the
way with an infrastructure that can support this new tech savvy
generation of workers? Or are you trying to hang onto the status quo as
long as possible?
article in CIO.com
discusses the millennial "shake-up" in workplaces throughout the U.S. as
management struggles to get their arms around the new communications
styles, the mobilized ways of working and the technology that enables it
Here are three key elements that stand out
as consistently creating challenges for IT/Telecom when it comes to
building a millennial communications model. If you can embrace the
following on the front end, the back end processes should fall more
evenly into place.
1. Legacy systems are out.
A joint survey,
conducted by Microsoft and SurveyMonkey, targeted 1,000 millennials in
the U.S. in an effort to learn what would help them to "thrive in the
workplace". Ninety-three percent of those polled identified having
up-to-date modern technology as one of the most critical aspects in the
2. Variety and choice are essential.
there are plenty of tools and apps; many of which accomplish basically
the same goals. But try to force a single corporate solution on younger
employees and you may quickly come to wish you had taken the time to
offer more options. Taking a one size fits all approach doesn't work for
digital communications. Ironically, in this case, a single uniform
communications method tends to isolate people, rather than facilitating
integrated communications, like it did a couple decades ago.
3. Listening really will pay off.
you invest in what you think is the next great platform, take the time
up front to listen to your employees. Ask them what they need to improve
their own job performance, and how they can be more productive. True,
you may spend more on the front end to give people more choices, but you
will avoid the hassle and waste of trying to please everyone with a set
of watered down tools that no one, regardless of their age, will want
The bottom line is that millennials,
like any group of employees, want access to the best technology to do
their jobs. And they will continue to push until they get it. But that's
something IT folks have grown used to over the years. As soon as one
piece of technology kicks in and runs smoothly, chances are it's already
out of date.
Use the input of your millennials to keep pace. You may find that they are the spark that ignites innovation!
Kevin Young, Founder, CEO/CDR-DATA
Big Data or Small Data?
about Big Data all the time now; transactional data, behavioral data,
data from devices and applications, and the list goes on.
But what about the data that is sitting right in front of you?
managers will tell you that one of the things that drives them nuts is
when an employee says "That's not my job." Or, "That's not in my job
It is a mentality that, thankfully, is becoming
less prevalent; especially as technology continues to blur the lines
between job functions, even rendering some obsolete. And, if you are
still using old methods of measuring productivity, you may soon be
changing those as well.
Boston Consulting Group holds an annual breakfast, at which they bring
together an assortment of thought leaders to discuss major issues, such
as productivity, in the face of today's digital transformation; in other
words, how technology and automation are changing the way we measure
is amazing, of course, is the fact that we are now talking seriously
about self-driving cars and robots, not as futuristic phenomena, but as
deliverables! Of course, those technologies still lie on the outskirts
of our day-to-day management lives. But things are changing. And,
regardless of what business you are in, these changes are set to rock
your world, in terms of your goals, your business plans and, most
importantly, the kind of employees you hire.
Below is graphic created by the Future of Jobs Report,
from the World Economic Forum. It's interesting in that it spotlights
the shift in importance of the key employee attributes, known to link to
how "creativity" has moved from last place to third place. And, there
are a few new ones added, such as "emotional intelligence". As for the
demise of "quality control"; well maybe technology will have that
covered by 2020.
You can look up what all these terms mean, but
the point is that the business world is changing to one where creativity
is highly valued and negotiation skills; well, maybe not so much.
bottom line is that technology is rapidly changing the characteristics
of what we deem an ideal employee. But the good news is that if
employers can begin to hire people who, instead of moaning "That's not
my job" can deploy technology to handle more rote tasks and use their
creativity and emotional intelligence to help reach new business
heights, then the old jobs of the past are really "Not anyone's job"
ready to hire a new generation of young, tech-savvy workers to help you
find creative new ways to solve a new generation of challenges? Let us know what you think. After all, we're all in this "brave new world" together!