Survey: CIOs Well Respected by CEOs Print E-mail

Survey: CIOs Well Respected by CEOs

According to a recent survey most CEOs believe their IT department is either delivering good ROI.

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HP's Revolutionary New Computer, "The Machine" Planned for 2016 Print E-mail

By James Finnan

HP is working on a new computer system and architecture that could potentially shrink a data center to the size of a refrigerator by 2016. The new computer operates faster and more power efficient than today's current systems. HP has called their new ambitious product "The Machine."

The driving force behind the development of the new system is recognition that as data volumes and BI applications become increasingly more computer resource intensive, soon or later existing architectures will hit the wall and fall short of cost effectively delivering the acceptable results.

The goal of the project is to design better memory systems, CPUs, and faster CPU to memory channels to increase overall throughput by a factor of 10.

HP announced the project in June 2014 and a new report from MIT Technology Review reports the first working prototype is likely to appear in 2016.

Again, "The Machine" is a new type of computer architecture designed to replace the giant data centers that currently power giant companies. MIT notes that it could be especially appealing to a large company such as Google since they rely on thousands of computer servers to power their operations.

HP is busy developing a new type of software platform that will work with its powerful new computer, according to a Businessweek report.

The first version of the operating system, which will reportedly be called Linux++, will be released in 2015 enabling developers and systems integrators to begin working with the OS and the interfaces. The final version of the operating system will be called Carbon, and HP is said to be constructing it from an entirely new original codebase.

HP CTO Martin Fink said in June that computer operating systems have been "dormant or stagnant for decades."

There are two main differences that make HP's new super computer more powerful than today's systems.

First, HP is working on a new type of computer memory that can store both temporary and long-term data. Current computers, as MIT explains, use two different types of memory. They store operating systems, files, and programs on either a hard disk drive or a flash drive. But when the computer is up and running, it must fetch data needed to power apps and open files from that disk or flash drive and load it into a different kind of memory, called RAM. But RAM can't store data densely or when a computer is turned off.

Secondly, HP's new computer will transfer information through optical fiber instead of copper wiring.

Combining these two enhancements — to the computer's memory and transfer speed — could make The Machine about six times more powerful than current systems while using about 1.25% of the energy currently used by most computers, according to MIT.

Is the construction of the new system possible in the timeframe suggested by HP? One would think not given all of the engineering work required to make the system a reality. IBM has been experimenting in the laboratory for a decade with fiber optic and Laser based computers but failed to yet produce a commercial application so what makes HP believe they can be successful?

Time will tell but in the meantime Google, IBM, Facebook, Amazon, and others continue to make significant investments in power efficient data centers located near large supplies of cheap energy.


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Intel Acquires PasswordBox Print E-mail
Intel has announced the acquisition of PasswordBox, a Montreal-based provider of a cross-platform identity management service. Primary product functionality enables users a convenient way to log into all of their websites and applications from any device without having to type or remember passwords. According to Intel, PasswordBox will become a part of the Safe Identity organization within Intel Security Group.
The Safe Identity organization provides solutions that reduce the pain of passwords, simplify and strengthen security and providing consumers with easy access to their digital lives. According to most cybersecurity experts and CISOs, secure passwords are essential to protecting sensitive personal and corporate data.
According to a recent report by Deloitte, more than 90 percent of user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking because 10,000 of the most common passwords could access close to 98 percent of all accounts.
Additionally, last year an Experian survey reported the average user possesed 26 password-protected online accounts but used only five different passwords. In fact, nearly 37 percent of users have asked for assistance on their username or password for at least one website per month. Intel Security and PasswordBox will work together to target and try to eliminate these problems.
“Everyone can relate to password fatigue. The PasswordBox service has already brought relief to millions of consumers who now enjoy simple, instant login,” said Chris Young, SVP and GM of Intel Security Group. “Intel Security and PasswordBox share the same goal of improving digital identity protection across all devices and platforms. We believe we have the technology, expertise and reach to bring simple, secure access to consumers worldwide.”

The Intel Security Group combines the security expertise of the previous acquisition of McAfee, with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel. Intel Security is focused on solving some of the largest challenges in digital security today. These solutions will help provide users with peace of mind by knowing they can access their content more simply. Intel Security will incorporate PasswordBox’s current and future technologies to deliver three benefits to consumers:
1. Reduced Password Fatigue – PasswordBox’s solution utilizes one of the most accurate form fillers on the market, with patent-pending one-tap (on mobile devices) and one-click (in browsers) login to simply and seamlessly provide secure access from any consumer device. Intel Security will continue to extend and expand these capabilities to provide consumers a convenient way to access their favorite sites and apps.
2. Security Simplified – In an era of catastrophic data breaches, consumers are expected to create increasingly complex passwords that include capital letters, numbers and symbols to protect their digital identities. Intel Security will incorporate the simplicity of the PasswordBox solution with new, user-friendly authentication technologies that enable users to get the benefit of improved security in a manner that is simple to set up and use.

3. Experience Next Generation Solutions – Intel Security has assembled world-class innovators in hardware engineering, software and services, to build solutions that address the most pressing security challenges. Combining the power of Intel Security with PasswordBox’s expert team, Intel is committed and well positioned to innovate and deliver new, ground-breaking, next-generation solutions on a regular cadence to meet the needs of consumers.
PasswordBox was a privately held company founded in 2012, with 44 employees and headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. All current employees have joined Intel Security. Since its debut one year ago, PasswordBox secured VC funding, led by OMERS Ventures, won best mobile app at CES 2014, and has been downloaded 14 million times worldwide. Intel’s acquisition of PasswordBox is effective immediately. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed and are not material to Intel’s operations.
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The CIOs Guide To Mitigating Attacks & Ensuring DDoS Protection Print E-mail

What keeps the CIOs awake at night? An IT Business Edge survey of CIOs conducted earlier this year showed cybersecurity as among the top ten threats that CIOs worry about every day. While cybersecurity itself is an umbrella term encompassing various frauds and threats like phishing, hacking, SQL injection, etc. one threat that has exponentially risen over the past few years is DDoS. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks happen when the server is hit persistantly from multiple systems at the same time. The attacks are aimed at hogging bandwidth and server resources in order to make the website unavailable to genuine visitors.

One reason why DDoS is more critical than the other cybersecurity issues is because of the ease with which such an attack can be carried out. There are free tools like Stacheldraht that are available online that allow anybody with an internet access to initiate a DDoS attack on a website they dislike. Not surprising then that businesses as big as Sony, Blizzard and Paypal have experienced DDoS attacks in recent years.

While DDoS attacks do not steal any of your confidential information, they are still an expensive headache to fight. As a CIO what are some things that you can do to mitigate the potential disaster? Here are some viable recommendations:

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) : The primary job of a CDN is to protect your servers from bandwidth hogging when one of your pages get popular. CDNs primarily create a cache of your static website content so that visitors to your site are delivered cached information from the CDN servers instead of these visitors hitting your servers each time. CDNs are also extremely helpful during DDoS attacks. CloudFlare, for instance, has an 'I'm under attack' mode that provides a sophisticated layer of security during DDoS attacks. In addition to caching your content, what they also do is that they mask your real IP address. You might also choose to point your domain name to the localhost ( – this way, when the attackers do not know your IP address and hence choose to attack your domain name instead, they would be hitting their own localhost.

DDoS Mitigation Appliance : According to a Neustar report, nearly 20% of businesses use either a purpose-built DDoS protection system or have a DDoS mitigation appliance implemented on their servers. Services like FireBlade provide SaaS based tools that monitor your web pages for SQL injections, cross site scripting and other kinds of application level attacks. In addition to this, such services provide bot detection systems on both the application and network layers to nip potential DDoS attacks in the bud and thus mitigate such attacks.

Better IT Architecture : There are a dozen ways to mitigate DDoS attacks and this includes sophisticated firewalls, IPS based prevention tools, ISP blackholing, routers, etc. But nothing would work if your fundamental IT architecture is not sophisticated enough. For instance, your IPtables rules must be set up to drop repetitive connections from the same IP address. Also, you must always make sure that your Apache configuration is not vulnerable to slowhttprequest. You could solve this problem by making use of nginx too. It's recommended that your company orders an external IT security audit every 6-12 months to ensure that your systems are built to withstand any kind of DDoS or other security related attacks.

All said and done, no amount of preparation can prevent an attacker who is knowledgeable enough to take down your system. Ultimately, cybersecurity requires constant evolution and learning. Only a real world attack will tell you how comprehensive your security preparation has been.

CIOs Target Innovation, Decision Making in 2015 Print E-mail

Employees' comfort level with technology and how they use it to perform their jobs continually changes. For example, Microsoft Powerpoint is out for presentations, instead the tool of choice is  Prezi when giving a talk or presentation. (Microsoft is responding with Microsoft Sway, its new presentation app. Sway lets you drag and drop photos, videos, files from your computer, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or cloud storage. It works via a Web browser or an app for your phone and the presentation is stored on the Web.)

CIOs and IT professionals can focus on several areas in response to employees tech demands to enable collaboration and foster growth. These include innovation, timely and well informed decision making, IT talent development, and making the most of business led IT.

1. CIO Innovation
A recent CEB survey of 166 IT executives demonstrates 33 percent of the 2014 IT budget is earmarked as “business opportunity and innovation.”  CEB defines business opportunity as “Investments that deliver new capabilities 
that drive the realization of business benefits; typically involve initiatives that expand your organization’s current line of business (e.g., a new customer-facing system).” Innovation is defined as “Transformative sources of competitive advantage; investment returns are typically hard to measure; typically involve initiatives that are outside your organization’s current line of business, (e.g., a system for sharing competitive intelligence).”  This is an increase from 31 percent of the budget for 2013.

Additionally, CEB notes a reduction in the share of the budget allocated to maintenance spending, which is at 57 percent in 2014 compared to 63 percent in 2011. Perhaps Cloud migrations are driving down overall maintenance costs.

2. Timely CIO Decision Making
Decision-making has changed as the amount of data generated has grown exponentially over the last decade. However, even as companies increasingly invest in systems to derive insight from the information streaming in from suppliers, customers, and internal operations, less than 40% of employees have sufficiently mature processes and skills to use data effectively.

According to CEB, Big data needs to be complemented by “big judgment.” Big data and more advanced analytics will dramatically amplify the effects of human decisions. Teams and functions with the highest “insight IQ” – the ability to find and analyze relevant information to make better decisions – performed, on average, 24% better than their peers across a wide range of metrics, including effectiveness, productivity, employee engagement, and market share growth.

3. CIOs Must Make the Correct IT Talent Decisions
 Today’s work environment demands wholesale restructuring of IT talent. But most IT organizations are unprepared for the changes taking place today and will simply not be able to make the leap.

The highest performing CIOs spend more time on talent development than any other activity. This approach requires advising up-and-coming staff on how to boost their performance, brokering opportunities for them to gain new experiences, helping them learn from those experiences, and championing their careers with other stakeholders.

By getting talent decisions right, IT organizations can help their companies drive up to a 12% increase in revenue.

4. Derive Value from  Business-led IT

Nearly two-thirds of business leaders feel that corporate IT is not effective at providing capabilities for the collaboration, analysis, and mobility needed to improve productivity and achieve their objectives.

Business leaders increasingly find innovative ways to use analytic, social, mobile, and cloud technologies. And so they reallocate significant shares of their own budgets to technology – up to another 40% on top of the CIO’s budget – and blur the boundary between IT and business responsibilities.

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