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  • Common-sense security measures are vital to preventing data breaches related to privileged access management, yet many enterprises aren't diligent about enforcing basic practices. A recent study by BeyondTrust, "Five Deadly Sins of Privileged Access Management," reports that in many organizations, users play fast and loose with passwords; users with admin privileges are running amok; unpatched vulnerabilities pose enormous risks; Linux/Unix servers aren't protected; and cloud apps aren't secured. These five "deadly sins" cost the typical enterprise surveyed nearly $4 million annually, as a result of lost productivity, costs to mitigate incidents, and legal or compliance issues. Morey Haber, vice president of technology for BeyondTrust, urged security teams to get control of enterprise credentials by eliminating sharing and getting control over embedded credentials hardcoded in applications and service accounts. "It's imperative to remove local admin rights from all Windows and Mac end users," he added, noting that 94 percent of Microsoft system vulnerabilities in 2016 can be attributed to users with admin rights. "Rather than elevating the entire user on a machine, elevate the user's access to specific applications to perform whatever action is necessary as part of his or her role." The BeyondTrust study is based on a survey of 474 IT professionals from around the world who are involved in privileged access management.

  • A significantly larger number of women tech professionals than men believe that their gender is underrepresented in the IT industry, according to a recent survey from Harvey Nash, an IT recruiting, outsourcing/offshoring and executive search firm, and ARA, an organization that seeks to attract, retain and advance women in technology. The resulting report, "2017 Women in Technology: Overcoming Obstacles and Unlocking Potential," indicates that much of the issue takes shape at an early age for future tech workers: More men than women said they first grew interested in IT as a potential career in elementary or middle school. Men are also more likely to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes in college. It should come as no surprise, then, that a majority of survey respondents feel that it's key to encourage more girls to pursue tech subjects in school. "The visibility and value of a STEM education has skyrocketed in the last decade, but we're not yet seeing the full impact translate to the IT workplace," said Bob Miano, USA president and CEO of Harvey Nash. "School and home life can spark the first interest in technology, but individuals as well as companies need to take action throughout the lifecycle of IT careers to keep that enthusiasm alive. There's no shortage of viable career opportunities for those with an IT interest, whether they become interested early or later. Increasing and keeping women in IT is critical to meet the demand for tech talent in the midst of a permanent IT labor shortage." Nearly 660 women and men tech professionals took part in the research.

  • The cable television company deployed a next-generation analytics and AI platform to transform data into business insights and reduce the demand on IT resources.

  • The iconic ThinkPad reminds us of how far mobile computing has advanced in the past quarter of a century. In 1992, the ThinkPad changed everything.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize enterprises by increasing revenue, enhancing efficiency and providing a better experience for customers. But business leaders see serious challenges to implementation and return on investment (ROI). A Teradata study entitled "State of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprises" shows that four out of five enterprises have AI implementations in place, and one out of three believe they will need to invest more in AI over the next 36 months to keep pace with the competition. The industries that most anticipate positive impacts from AI are: IT, technology and telecom; business and professional services; consumer services; financial services; and manufacturing and production. The biggest potential might be in automating repetitive tasks, delivering new strategic insights and automating areas of knowledge work. But those benefits won't come easy. Virtually all the participants in the survey anticipate major hurdles, including inadeqate infrastructure, talent and budget. Perhaps surprisingly, only one in five worries about the impact of AI and automation on jobs and employee morale. Most believe the future of AI will be so significant for creating a strategy across business practices that they plan to install a chief AI officer (CAIO) to coordinate and mandate implementation throughout the enterprise. They also intend to work with vendors that will help them buy, build and deploy AI solutions. The Teradata study was conducted by Vanson Bourne, which surveyed 260 IT and business decision-makers at a vice president or higher level from organizations in the Americas, Europe and the Asia/Pacific arena with a global revenue of more than $50 million a year.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), "smart" apps, analytics and the further decentralization of technology architectures will be the biggest IT trends for the next year, according to recent research from Gartner. The accompanying report, "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018," points out that we live in a very intelligent world. In fact, ongoing innovation that essentially amounts to making machines smarter accounts for the majority of trends on this list. As a result, companies should position themselves to better visualize events such as customer experiences and more effectively anticipate business-impacting changes. "Digital business blurs the physical and virtual worlds in a way that transforms business designs, industries, markets and organizations," according to the report. "The continuing digital business evolution exploits emerging and strategic technologies to integrate the physical and digital worlds, and create entirely new business models. The future will be defined by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere. We call this mesh of interconnected people, devices, content and services the 'intelligent digital mesh.' It's enabled by digital business platforms delivering a rich intelligent set of services to support digital business. As a … technology innovation leader seeking to exploit the intelligent digital mesh, you must respond to the disruptive technology trends driving this future."

  • With a significant share of professionals spending a quarter of their work week collaborating, the majority run into frequent, tech-related difficulties in attempting to connect and communicate with co-workers, according to a recent survey from Softchoice. The resulting report, "Collaboration Unleashed: Empowering Individuals to Work Together from Anywhere," indicates that most employees need to collaborate with people in different locations, and they expect their employer to provide the tech tools required to make that happen. These employees want to take advantage of apps that promise the latest in instant messaging, videoconferencing, teleconferencing and other collaborative capabilities. But the tech-related problems, which include quality and connectivity issues, continue to get in the way. "Bringing together individuals with varying disciplines, perspectives and experience generates fresh thinking and innovative results," according to the report. "It benefits the business when employees learn from one another by bringing their collective knowledge to bear on a single goal. Collaboration technology, when applied right, enhances the productivity of the group, and creates better connectivity among collaborators regardless of geography. … Before deciding on a technology solution, organizations must first understand how employees work and interact—and how technology can remove barriers to collaboration and support them in achieving their business goals." The report also includes findings about automation trends, and we've included some of those here. An estimated 1,000 North American office workers who use computers and/or mobile devices for most of their workday took part in the research.

  • Employees spend less than half of their day doing the job they were hired to do, according to a recent survey from Workfront. The fourth annual "State of Enterprise Work" report indicates that attending time-wasting meetings, fielding excessive emails and taking unexpected phone calls account for far too much of the day. But productivity is also restricted because workers are constantly limited to traditional and often outdated office tools, such as old email systems, spreadsheets or even handwritten to-do lists. However, they believe that with automation, at least one-fifth of their tasks could be handed over to a machine. With this, they're convinced they'd have more time to be innovative and to complete primary work functions. "Forward-looking companies must recognize today that tomorrow's enterprise work cannot be executed via yesterday's email and spreadsheets," according to the report. "Tomorrow's solutions must automate the manual work of organizing, communicating and reporting on work and provide the right data at the right time so human knowledge workers can do their best work, faster than ever before." As a somewhat humorous finding, the report includes the most overused office buzz words or phrases, and we've included those here. More than 2,000 employees took part in the research, which was conducted by Regina Corso Consulting.

  • The diversity of technologies covered at the Strata Data Conference resulted in lively conversations—both in the sessions and on the show floor.

  • Phishing attacks have escalated sharply in recent years. What was once a nuisance has become a mainstream—and increasingly dangerous—problem. In addition to an increase in the frequency of attacks, phishing methods have become far more sophisticated. From staff members to executives in the C-Suite, employees have been duped into providing log-in data and other credentials that put an organization at risk. Wombat Security's second annual "Beyond the Phish" report, offers some perspective on this issue. "Spear-phishing, business email compromise (BEC), and email-based ransomware are keeping response and remediation teams on their toes," the report notes. "But these are far from the only ways attackers can gain a foothold within an organization or compromise sensitive data and systems." The key to thwarting attacks and minimizing risk? Employee education and training. Wombat examined 70 million responses to its CyberStrength Knowledge Assessments from June 2016 to May 2017. Here are some of the key findings from the research, as well as the firm's 2017 "User Risk Report."

  • The majority of executives queried believe that compliance with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will ultimately benefit them—especially in boosting the effectiveness of their data governance efforts, according to a recent survey from SAS. Set to go into effect in May 2018, the GDPR will increase organizational accountability for personal data protection, with companies required to document how and where data is stored, and how it is processed. The GDPR also offers consumer protections: In the "right to be forgotten" section, for example, customers can demand to have their data erased and halt any further processing of it. The SAS survey report, "Working Toward GDPR Compliance," reveals that most organizations are already taking steps to prepare. In addition to improved data governance, survey respondents feel that compliance with the regulation will enhance trust levels between their company and its customers. What's more, many expect the GDPR to expand IT's capabilities. "Compliance doesn't have to be a scary word—even when facing the multifaceted challenges of meeting the European Union's May 2018 deadline for [GDPR]," according to the report. "In fact, charting a course for sustainable GDPR compliance now can have other long-term benefits for your organization. That's because it sets you on track to gain a competitive edge as you learn to rely on data-driven decisions across the board." A total of 340 global business executives took part in the research.

  • The telecommunications company needed to invest in technology that would support the services side of its business, which had been run on outdated applications.

  • There's been an influx of tech freelancers, so you must stand out from the crowd in order to earn a competitive salary and attract as many clients as possible.

  • Innovation problems happen when companies train employees to fight failure at all costs, and then they wonder why team members aren't coming up with new ideas.

  • Are you aware that there's a form of open source that has nothing to do with software coding? Do you know why many organizations fail in attempting to build engagement? Are you curious about the bad habits that companies need to break? If these topics pique your interest, you'll probably want to check out the following list of insightful tech and business-themed books for fall. Some titles focus on self-improvement, including one that promises to help you shake off that "been there … done that" sense of inertia and recharge your "inspiration gene." Others examine the current state of organizational strategy, operations and culture—taking critical views of "business as usual" thinking and encouraging a "shift ahead" mentality to keep pace with business and technology trends in order to outpace the competition. There also are new titles that reveal fresh, compelling insights about the "big four" lineup of tech companies—Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google—as well as seven Silicon Valley pioneers you may want to learn more about. (As always, the publication dates listed are subject to change.)