Top 5 Careers in Cyber Security

In early November 2018, a hacker using the net-handle FBSaler posted private information on 120 million Facebook user accounts for sale on an anonymous internet forum, according to Louise Matsakis’ Wired article, “Hack Brief: Someone Posted Private Facebook Messages From 81,000 Accounts.” The BBC, with the help of cyber security firm Digital Shadows, discovered that of these 120 million accounts, about 81,000 of them contained personal Messenger conversations.

The culprit, in this case, was discovered to be malicious browser extensions. Every time internet users install a browser extension (e.g., to change the visual appeal of their browser or to keep track of login and password information for internet accounts), they run the risk of installing malicious programs right into their browser without realizing the risks.

cyber security

These extensions can capture and send sensitive information to hackers, who then sell it on internet marketplaces or darknet sites. Once sold, the purchaser can search all the data for anything they think they can exploit, such as 16-digit strings of numbers (credit card info), compromising photographs, or any number of other bits of data that can be used to steal a person’s identity or blackmail people by threatening to expose secrets.

To combat these threats, a number of exciting and lucrative careers in cyber security are available to those with the right education and skills who are interested in finding and exposing cyber criminals. People who already work in the tech field may want to pursue an online cyber security master’s degree to obtain the credentials to secure a position with more responsibilities and higher salaries.

The Value of Diversifying Experience

Cyber security positions range from penetration testers to security engineers and architects to Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) on a company’s board of directors. The best cyber security personnel, though, generally have tech experience outside of strict cyber security training.

“The thing that will make you good at security is that you are great at something else first,” Laurence Bradford writes in “How to Start a Lucrative Career in Cyber Security” in Forbes. “For example, become a master of the fundamentals of data networks, be an expert at administrating multiple operating systems or be proficient at multiple scripting languages (Python, Bash, etc.).”

Having a wide variety of technical skills related to security ultimately makes applicants more attractive. Also, the cyber security career path can lead to upper management, but the most attractive leadership candidates will have skill sets beyond security. They will understand how and why security interacts with other departments, such as mobile application development, software engineering and IT vendor management.

For this reason, cyber security professionals with an eclectic tech background are attractive to companies striving to pull away from siloed IT departments and follow a more cross-functional business model.

Related:- Colocation vs Cloud: Why Not Both?

Exciting Career Opportunities in Cyber Security

Within the cyber security field is a broad spectrum of career opportunities requiring a graduate-level cyber security skill set. According to Alison DeNisco Rayome’s TechRepublic article, “Want a Career in Cyber Security? Here Are 10 Jobs to Explore,” the top cyber security careers include:

  • Security Consultant: In the field of cyber security, consultants are outsiders hired to look at a company with an unbiased eye and recommend a well-rounded cyber security strategy tailored to a company’s needs. Consultants advise their corporate clients on how to protect against attack, test for vulnerabilities, respond to incidents and keep their systems updated. Consultant teams often employ ethical hackers, or penetration testers.
  • Security Engineer: Within the company, security engineers develop systems capable of handling any problems that arise. Among their many responsibilities, engineers install firewalls, detect intrusions, test for vulnerabilities, and develop and implement automated scripts to accomplish security solutions around the clock. A background in programming is a must for security engineers.
  • Computer Forensics Expert: Almost every cyber security incident involves criminal activity. Forensics experts act as investigators after the fact, recovering lost data, examining affected systems and compiling credible evidence for legal purposes. More often than not, computer forensics experts work for consulting firms, law enforcement agencies and other government entities.
  • Penetration Tester: Also known as ethical hackers, penetration testers are legally authorized to hack into secure networks, from corporate systems to government databases, to pinpoint vulnerabilities. Pen testers will also (especially in recent years) work in a sort of undercover capacity, using social engineering to trick employees and vendors into divulging passwords and other private information that can be used to gain access to a system.
  • Security Software Developer: Most cyber security solutions require the development of software designed to automate and simplify the task of securing a company’s network for the sake of non-cyber security personnel. People who also have a strong background in software development and programming languages can specialize in developing security software, such as software to detect and prevent malware and viruses.

Hardly a day goes by without a headline about a major hack threatening to expose the private, sensitive information of millions of people. Social networks, health care companies, major retailers, insurance corporations and financial institutions are all vulnerable to attack. And all are constantly targeted by hackers. Cyber security is an absolutely essential function of IT in our connected, digital age. Students pursuing a master’s in cyber security will find that they are in high demand after graduation.

Related:- What is Business Email Compromise?

University of North Dakota’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Program

In a connected world, where everything from smartphones to watches, vehicles, TVs, appliances and even warehouse inventory equipment is on a computer network, cyber security can be the first line of defense against our Internet of Things devices being used maliciously against us.

UND’s Higher Learning Commission-accredited online cyber security master’s degree program is ranked in US News & World Report’s Top 25 Most Innovative Schools (2018), alongside such prestigious institutions as Stanford, Harvard and MIT.

UND prepares students for careers in cyber security, with average annual salaries ranging from around $80,000 to more than $110,000. Concentrations in Autonomous Systems Cyber Security, Cyber Security and Behavior, Data Security, and General Cyber Security are available.

What is Business Email Compromise?

As technology and business evolve, so do the cyber crimes that threaten our success. Hackers are always coming up with new techniques to steal confidential company data and exploit businesses in the hopes of stealing their precious cash flow. One of the more prevalent threats of the current era is the Business Email Compromise (BEC).

business

In essence, BEC is a trick employed by hackers who pose as a trustworthy entity in an attempt to obtain confidential information from unsuspecting employees and steal money from the organization. It is a threat that is even more plausible in these days of constant impersonal email communication, and falling for it could mean serious trouble for your company. To prevent this threat from wracking damage to your company, educate your staff about this issue and implement the following strategies.

What is Business Email Compromise?

As of 2018, business email compromise scams have translated to over $12 billion in corporate losses, and there is no sign that hackers are planning to stop this lucrative scam any time soon. If we didn’t have your attention before, we should have it now.

As mentioned earlier, this scam is essentially the work of a hacker posing as an authority figure, a vendor, or a member of upper management that an employee at an organization is already familiar with to avoid suspicion. These emails are often sent through to the finance department. For the best results, hackers have a list of characters or personas that they find to be most effective.

For instance, they may pose as the CEO of the company with a fake request to transfer money to a new account. Criminals may also disguise themselves as vendors that already work with your organization and make a false request to revise a billing address or change where funds are sent. Other times, a hacker will impersonate an attorney asking for confidential business information. When acting as a lawyer, hackers will often target newer employees who may be quicker to respond out of fear before recognizing the threat.

The real issue with BEC scams is that they can cause damage in any industry, even the medical field. Recently, an email was sent to a medical center in New York by a hacker who pretended to be a senior staff member. In it, they requested the files on hundreds of patients. While it does not seem that the information was used maliciously, any of the confidential information in those files, including birthdates, insurance information, and more, could have been used or sold on the black market for financial gain.

Related:- Colocation vs Cloud: Why Not Both?

How Hackers Obtain Email Contacts

When it comes to limiting the dangerous effects of business email compromise, it is all about preventing exposure of confidential data to prying eyes. In some cases, the criminal can hack into the network with malicious software, install the malware, and then extract email addresses. However, in other cases, they will need outside help.

One of the easiest ways to gain access to your system is by guessing your password. Hackers will often use a technique called a brute force attack, which attempts a barrage of commonly used passwords in hopes of finding the correct combination. Outside of guessing, hackers can also use the details that employees share on social media, such as the street they live on, the family pet, or other specific details as clues.

Once the hacker gains access to your system, they can then look through your email contacts and company directories to obtain the information they need. To keep company data secure, all employees should use a complicated password that has a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and all passwords should be updated regularly.

In addition to these deceitful tactics, hackers can also find the email addresses of potential victims by searching the contact page on the corporate website. They may also search a current or former employee’s LinkedIn page to find their company email address of those of their co-workers.

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How to Prevent BEC Scams

Since BEC scams are real and frequent, the management team at your organization must communicate with their staff about how the threat can be avoided. A business email compromise is just another form of social engineering, similar to when users receive phishing emails at home. The hacker is sending an email that is made to look like it is from a person or entity that you know.

To separate the malicious emails from authentic communications, it all comes down to the details. If you receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, but the request is unusual, look at the email address. In many cases, hackers will use an email address similar to the real one but add in an extra letter or piece of punctuation. Also, like phishing emails, there are typically red flags to consider, and they can include:

●    Misspellings in the subject or body
●    A general greeting, such as “To whom it may concern”
●    A request asking you to click on a link or attachment

If you are still unsure if the email is legitimate, pick up the phone and call the individual or vendor and confirm that they sent the request.

Beyond watching for the signs, all companies must take the proper preventive precautions to secure their corporate data. Generally speaking, many predict these precautions to be a part of the future of cybersecurity. These strategies include encrypting all incoming and outgoing data within your organization, frequent backups, and putting your security protections in the hands of professionals via cloud-computing services.

Sometimes it may seem that with every new day, there is a new security threat, but it is not all doom and gloom. By staying aware of common threats, including business email compromise, you can defend against hackers and protect your precious financial information.

Colocation vs Cloud: Why Not Both?

Colocation vs cloud may seem like a battle of opposition but they actually go hand and hand. In the last few years, enterprises have chosen a mix of infrastructure solutions that include both cloud and colocation deployments. This cloud and colo combo is often referred to as the hybrid cloud, and we will go more in-depth on that in this article.

Colocation

But first, let’s give an overview of the different types of infrastructure to choose from.

The Difference Between Cloud and Colocation

Colocation is where you provide the equipment, and the colocation provider hosts it in their data center and provides the space, power, rack, and bandwidth. The cloud is not a place, rather software and/or hardware available via the Internet.

Smaller operations and startups usually opt for the cloud because of the scalable cost, low overheard, and no need for an IT staff. Larger enterprises often go the colocation route to house their servers because it saves money in the long run, and it offers the benefit and flexibility that comes with total server control.

Related:- 3 Tips for Optimizing Ecommerce Copy

Let’s drill down deeper and look at the difference types of clouds available:

PUBLIC CLOUD: This is infrastructure featuring a large amount of servers, being used by many different businesses. These are Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings from cloud service providers. What is often the case, as it is with HostDime’s cloud, is the client pays only per usage for the CPU, RAM and disk space.

PRIVATE CLOUD: This is infrastructure in a data center (on-site or third party) that runs only your data, designed to your needs. This private network is dedicated only to your organization. Colocation falls into the private cloud family; the enterprise would purchase their own servers and equipment which would reside in their personal rack space in a data center.

HYBRID CLOUD: This is a co-existence of public cloud and private cloud environments. Hybrid combines on-premises or colocation servers with public clouds so that data and applications can move between the two clouds for increased agility, security, and cost-effectiveness.

The real battle may not be colocation vs cloud, but more specifically on-premises vs hybrid cloud. We are seeing a migration from servers in closets at businesses to hybrid solutions in data centers. Why is this? Because of agility specifically.

You need flexibility in this age of multichannel selling across many platforms. For instance, you can run certain applications in the private cloud but then shift to the public cloud when you need to quickly gain additional capacity. Put your workloads across various clouds and see what works best, and then expand to a specific cloud when needed.

Enterprises need to identify the correct allocation of resources across the cloud, colocation facilities, and/or their own on-premises data center. The hybrid cloud model offers the flexibility and security to achieve this.

Related:- What is AWS? Cloud Computing 101

Hybrid Cloud Colocation from HostDime

Manny Vivar recently discussed the current trends in our industry, specifically businesses adopting the hybrid cloud approach. We help many large enterprises craft a hybrid solution of cloud and colocation to meet their needs and save them money. This hybrid set-up can save your enterprise over the long run, versus scaling only in the public cloud. Open a ticket with our local sales team to create your own customizable hybrid cloud solution.

3 Tips for Optimizing Ecommerce Copy

Writing copy for eCommerce can be tough. Chances are there are a ton of pages to optimize and limited space to write in. So how can you make the most of this opportunity to both bring potential customers to your site and get them to buy once they’re there?

eCommerce

Here are 3 tips to get you started on writing better eCommerce copy to boost your conversions:

1. Mine Your Paid Search Data

As you may know, at Seer, we’re huge fans of using PPC data to find SEO opportunities. This can be incredibly useful when it comes to optimizing on-page copy for eCommerce websites too! Simply grab a search query report from Google Ads and start filtering by your target keywords for the page.

You’ll likely find there’s a ton of long-tail keyword opportunity that users are searching for and converting on the paid side but that you might not be optimizing for in your on-page copy.

Seeing users convert on a bunch of size-related keywords? Maybe add a section to your copy talking about the sizes of the product that are available.

Are users converting on color modifiers? Make sure you’re talking about the colors of the products you have in stock.

Optimizing your on-page copy in this way will help you boost rankings for longer-tail queries and bring more traffic to your page that you know converts!

Related:- Cybersecurity News Round-Up

2. Give Your Users Everything They Need to Know

Great! So you’ve got your potential customer to your page with your fancy new long-tail keyword optimizations—now what? This is your chance to tell them exactly why they should buy what you’re selling.

What problems might your customer have that your product is going to help solve? Are there any new features that differentiate your product from others out there on the market? What factors should your customer be considering as they looking to buy? Think of yourself as a temporary guide helping your customer make the right decision.

Talk to your product and merchandising team to find out exactly what it is that makes this product worth purchasing. If you don’t know and aren’t communicating it on the page, how will your customer know what they’re missing out on if they don’t convert?

This is your chance to convince your product is worth buying—don’t hold back in showing the value behind exactly what they’ll get from making the purchase.

Related:- What is AWS? Cloud Computing 101

3. Check Out Those Reviews

Though you might think they’re painful to look at, your customer reviews can be a great source of data and insights to improve your on-page copy. If you don’t have many reviews, chat logs and customer service call logs can also point the way to more convincing content.

Are there questions or complaints that are consistently coming up? Maybe your clothing product runs smaller than users were expecting or potential customers are asking questions about a particular feature and how it works. Make sure your copy answers those questions—both your customer service team and your conversions will thank you!

Ensuring your eCommerce copy addresses any potential pain points goes a long way to ensuring users stay on the page, are reassured about any apprehensions they might have, and ultimately moving them toward converting.

What is AWS? Cloud Computing 101

Before I go on about what AWS is, you will need to know what cloud computing is.

Cloud Computing

Now you most likely have heard the term cloud used to refer to anything stored on the internet. Like your pictures and other important documents of all formats. That is not entirely untrue, but this is just a small part of what the cloud can do. This is cloud storage, a small subset of cloud computing, and with it, there is much more made possible.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to demanding compute resources across the internet, this means no ownership of those resources and it will follow a pay-as-you-go model of service. You will not be maintaining servers and data centers, that becomes the cloud provider’s concern and not yours. There are three main types of cloud computing currently available, they are Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service. AWS possesses all three of these services for businesses.

Infrastructure as a Service

You could say Infrastructure as a Service houses the fundamental parts of cloud computing. With it, you can get access to virtual computers, storage space, and various networking features. As for your IT resources, you will obtain adaptive control and management. Out of the three, it is the most familiar to developers in terms of resource types.

Related:- CYBERSECURITY NEWS ROUND-UP

Platform as a Service

Platform as a service takes away the need to manage hardware resources and operating systems. Your focus can now purely be on the deployment and management of applications. Other things that Amazon will do for you are procuring resources, planning capacity, regularly maintain software, and applying patches. Basically, a lot of the important steps in running your applications will be automated by the service.

Software as a Service

When people refer to Software as a Service, they are generally referring to end-user applications like Gmail. The service provider, AWS, will provide you with the complete product as well as manage it. With this offering, you won’t be worrying about software maintenance or any of the backend processes. Your primary concern will be mastering the usage of the software in question, nothing more and nothing less.

AWS Cloud Computing

As a cloud computing platform, AWS is the largest and most adopted in the market. Data centers and resources are located all over the world. AWS uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to make use of its cloud infrastructure and provide the best possible services.

The function of AWS is made possible with the wide range of tools that they have developed. They are many in number and cover functions like analytics, cloud application development, computation, management, databases, and much more.

Related:- BIG DATA PRIVACY RISKS AND HOW

Storage

AWS provides various options for storage on their cloud platform, the most used being AWS S3. This is a scalable storage option and is suited for every type of business, big or small. Store for all of your applications securely in S3 with no worries when retrieving.

AWS S3 Glacier is a low-cost version of standard S3, specifically for data that has long-term usage. Data that is used the least often is ideally stored here, so to access it you just have to inform AWS so they can retrieve it in advance.

AWS DevOps

DevOps is a type of management philosophy that is for increasing collaboration between IT operations and software development. By achieving this the goal is to increase efficiency in the development and deployment of all applications in-house. AWS provides just the tools to leverage this new practice like AWS CloudFormation, AWS OpsWorks, AWS CodePipeline, and AWS CodeBuild.

Security and Compliance

AWS makes sure that the data you have stored on their servers are monitored 24/7 to prevent breaches. This practice makes sure that they meet even the most stringent security requirements. This is why a number of banks are also present on AWS.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is used to set access permissions to users of your organization. You can use the AWS Management Console to see the status and number of permissions that you have currently set.

Key Takeaway

The benefits of Cloud Computing with AWS are numerous. Work is efficient and secure when you stick with the largest cloud platform there is. AWS provides a large toolset to tackle any type of application you wish. Not having to prepare your own infrastructure is a huge benefit because of the costs and time involved. Leaving it to AWS will allow you to focus on what matters, the usage of the software to enhance your business process.

 

Cybersecurity News Round-Up

Well, miraculously news we’ve made it through one whole week without a large-scale ransomware attack. How refreshing! Naturally, there are a few smaller-scale events being reported, but nothing the magnitude of what we experienced in 2020. Let’s hope things stay that way! But what is happening? Here’s a rundown.

Some of the laptops distributed by the UK Department for Education to vulnerable students have been found to be infected with malware. The BBC reported that some teachers shared details on an online forum about suspicious files found on devices sent to a school. The malware, detected on laptops at a handful of schools, was supposedly contacting Russian servers. The Department for Education said it was aware and urgently investigating.

The World Economic Forum’s released its annual Global Risks Landscape which said that “cybersecurity failures present a major risk.” The esteemed organization listed cybersecurity failure was listed fourth in a poll among its members. While digitalization marches on worldwide, the report does express concerns about it, arguing that the “rapid digitalization” is significantly increasing companies’ cybersecurity exposures and created more complex and potentially less secure networks.

News

Once again, the FBI has announced a cybersecurity-related warning, this time regarding an increase in voice phishing attacks aimed at capturing the login credentials of employees. In the specific attacks referenced by the FBI, the criminals speak with company employees on a VoIP call and persuade them to sign into a phishing page to steal their usernames and passwords. After capturing these credentials, the attackers manage to gain access to the corporate network where they can easily cause further damage.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says New York health insurer Excellus has agreed to pay a multimillion-dollar penalty after a data breach exposed sensitive information about more than nine million people between late 2013 and May 2015.

Also this week, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) confirmed that it was hit by a ransomware attack last month and is continuing to feel the impact. The organization also confirmed that 1.2GB of data was stolen – including personal information relating to SEPA staff.

Finally, a new California-based coalition of cybersecurity and tech groups is looking to create a roadmap for countering the surge of ransomware attacks that plagued city governments, schools and hospitals in 2020. The group aims to produce recommendations that will help governments and the private sector tackle the scourge of ransomware attacks.

That’s a wrap! Grab a cup of joe to check out this week’s stories. Have a great weekend!

Top Global Security News

Bleeping Computer (January 21, 2021) UK govt gives malware infected laptops to vulnerable students

“Some of the laptops distributed by the UK Department for Education (DfE) to vulnerable students have been found to be infected with malware as reported by the BBC.

The devices are given out for free by the government to support disadvantaged students unable to access remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic, including children and young people who have no digital devices, have only a smartphone, or share a single device with other family members.”

Related:- Big Data Privacy Risks and How

Silicon Angle (January 20, 2021) World Economic Forum pegs cybersecurity failure as a major global risk

“Cybersecurity failure presents a major risk facing the world this year and well beyond, according to the Global Risks Landscape 2021 report published by the World Economic Forum.

Although infectious diseases, in particular the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic topped the ‘clear and present dangers’ short-term risk (up to two years) chart, cybersecurity failure ranked fourth in a poll among WEF members. ‘Knock-on effects,’ medium-term risks (three to five years) saw cybersecurity rank in eighth place.

‘Business, government and household cybersecurity infrastructure and/or measures are outstripped or rendered obsolete by increasingly sophisticated and frequent cybercrimes, resulting in economic disruption, financial loss, geopolitical tensions and/or social instability’ the report notes.”

Tech Republic (January 19, 2021) FBI warns of voice phishing attacks targeting employees at large companies

“The FBI is cautioning companies to beware of a slew of voice phishing attacks aimed at capturing the login credentials of employees.

In an advisory released last Thursday, the FBI revealed that as of December 2019, cybercriminals have been working together on social engineering campaigns targeting employees at large firms both in the US and abroad. The criminals are taking advantage of VoIP platforms to launch voice phishing, or vishing, attacks.

In the specific attacks referenced by the FBI, the criminals speak with company employees on a VoIP call and persuade them to sign into a phishing page to steal their usernames and passwords. After capturing these credentials, the attackers manage to gain access to the corporate network where they can easily cause further damage.”

CyberScoop (January 19, 2021) Health insurer Excellus penalized $5.1M by HHS for data breach

“The Department of Health and Human Services says New York health insurer Excellus has agreed to pay a multimillion-dollar penalty after a data breach exposed sensitive information about more than 9 million people between late 2013 and May 2015.

The $5.1 million fine is for violations of privacy and security rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), according to the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The incident stemmed from a hack against Excellus’ systems during an era that featured well-publicized attacks on corporations such as Target, Sony and Home Depot. Years later, health data remains a ripe target for cybercriminals, particularly ransomware gangs. U.S. federal agencies warned about an “imminent” ransomware threat in October 2020.”

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ZDNet (January 18, 2021) Ongoing ransomware attack leaves systems badly affected, says Scottish environment agency

“The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has confirmed that it was hit by a ransomware attack last month and is continuing to feel the impact.

SEPA’s contact centre, internal systems, processes and internal communication have all been affected by the attack, which hit on Christmas Eve. The organisation, which is Scotland’s government regulator for protecting the environment, has also confirmed that 1.2GB of data has been stolen as part of the attack – including personal information relating to SEPA staff.

Despite the ransomware attack, SEPA’s ability to provide flood forecasting and warning services, as well as regulation and monitoring services, has continued.”

The Hill (January 17, 2021) New coalition aims to combat growing wave of ransomware attacks

“A new coalition of cybersecurity and tech groups is looking to create a roadmap for countering the surge of ransomware attacks that plagued city governments, schools and hospitals in 2020.

‘You see ransomware as not just an increasing security threat, it is to the level of now where it’s putting hospitals, children, the elderly, financial institutions, everyone at risk,’ Philip Reiner, executive chairman of the Institute for Security and Technology’s Ransomware Task Force, told The Hill. ‘As a result, we were seized with the idea that creating a collaborative cross-sectoral grouping that is looking at it from a comprehensive, top-down policy approach could potentially have more effect,’ Reiner added.

The California-based nonprofit aims to produce recommendations that will help governments and the private sector tackle the scourge of ransomware attacks.”

Big Data Privacy Risks and How

Data Privacy is the new gold. Information is gathered from a variety of sources: IoT devices, M2M communication, facial recognition software, etc. These extensive datasets provide companies with immense opportunities to better understand customer needs, detect important correlations between seemingly non-related variables, support decision making, predict customers’ behavior, weather conditions, market fluctuations, you name it.

Collecting, structuring, and processing data is not the easiest task, but it’s perfectly attainable even for small businesses. Given that companies can extract so much value at a relatively low cost, this data-collection gold rush shouldn’t be surprising.

Privacy

However, with great power comes great responsibility. Any piece of personal information that becomes accessible to a company is a serious opportunity to invade privacy and damage an individual’s fundamental rights. Unauthorized collection, weak protection, or irresponsible processing imply serious risks for both an individual and the company. Despite the immense benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, data should never jeopardize privacy. Balancing the risks and power of big data should be one of organizations’ top priorities.

Today, big data consulting is as relevant as never before: failing to comply with security and privacy regulations can result in huge fines, lawsuits, and permanently damaged public image. For example, GDPR infringement fines can go up to 20 million EUR or 4% of a company’s annual revenue. Moreover, authorities can prohibit companies to process data at all, which means going out of business in many cases.

Let’s examine the big data privacy issues companies might encounter and the measures they need to take to ensure their software product development within the legal frame.

Related:- The Power of AI in Customer Support

Big Data Privacy Challenges

Data analysis is not a revolutionary concept. Businesses have been using data analytics for decades to gain competitive advantage and increase profits. The consequential question here is, why did big data privacy only become a pressing issue recently?

The problem is in the scale. The volume and variety of data have skyrocketed due to significant technological advancements, making privacy concerns more apparent. In this regard, we can identify these data privacy challenges:

Lack of Control

The extensive variety of data sources across different systems makes control over personal information much more complex. In many cases, people have no clue what personal information is gathered and how it is processed. This raises a significant technological challenge for companies to inform their users accordingly. Data captured with security cameras or web search cookies are great examples of often ungoverned data processing.

Data Accessibility

Companies collect data for a reason. For example, healthcare organizations need your medical history to treat you safely. However, when this data is placed in the hands of third parties without your consent, it can raise many ethical concerns.

The proliferation of AI algorithms allows us to combine and process seemingly unrelated data sets and deanonymize highly sensitive personal information. This implies a significant threat to one’s confidential information. One of the most famous scandals related to data inference happened in 2012 when Target identified a teenage girl’s pregnancy by analyzing her web search history and sent her discount coupons for associated products.

Excessive Automation and Profiling

Companies using big data in ecommerce, for example, are looking to make profit thanks to it. Targeting plays a huge role here. The more you know about your customer, the more effective your marketing and pricing strategies.

However, customer profiling can often lead to discrimination and unfair allocation of benefits based on race, age, location, etc. For example, today’s online retail platforms frequently apply ML-based pricing differentiation, which proved to be an effective method for driving revenue. However, in case of incomplete data, such practices may lead to mistakes that deprive perfectly qualified people of their entitled prices or bonuses.

Related:- Google releases Blob Opera just in time for the holiday seasons

EU Data Protection Acts

With the all-permeating digitalization of our world and the rapid advancements of big data, the EU had no other choice but to enforce new regulations to protect personally identifiable information of its residents. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has substituted the Data Protection Directive, which was first introduced in 1995. The new regulation’s main goal is to make companies more responsible for how they collect, store, and process data of EU citizens. The GDPR came into force on May 25, 2018, and applies to any country within the EU, regardless of the legislative stance of local governments.

There are two main roles identified in the GDPR:

  • Data Controller is the main body, which outlines the purposes and ways of processing personal data. Essentially, this is the business, which needs data to operate.
  • Data Processor, in the majority of cases, is the company responsible for creating software that processes data for one’s business needs. This is of highest importance, as now the responsibility is split between both roles, making software development companies pay more attention to securing data privacy from the get-go.

The GDPR defines personal information as every little piece of information that can be linked to a particular person. Besides obvious characteristics like full name, occupation, race, and physical characteristics, any hints left on the internet that can be traced back to a person are subject to GDPR compliance. For example, the nickname you once used on a long-forgotten fan page ten years ago can still be used to identify you as a person and, therefore, is also considered protected under the GDPR.

The Power of AI in Customer Support

Good customer support is what keeps customer retention high, so structuring the best possible support system is essential. There are also multiple channels of support that you may have to deal with, like emails, calls, and many more. It’s best to have a system that can deal with all channels simultaneously, and preferably taking place on one interface. This year, on October 14th, SugarCRM released a product that caters to this very specific need, that product is SugarLive. Sugarlive applies artificial intelligence to customer support so you can automate and deal with your different channels.customer

Using this omnichannel and artificial intelligence-powered tool is quite simple. You just need to input your Amazon Connect credentials, then its contact center capabilities merge with SugarCRM. Think of it as a SugarCRM integration, but instead of integrating you just need to have a Sugar Serve license.

SugarLive can really add value to your customer support team and give them more agency. Let’s go through some ways they can leverage the added features:

The Benefits of SugarLive

Artificial Intelligence

The machine learning from Amazon also applies here and helps you create a more proactive approach to customer service. Combining this AI capability with advanced workflows models of SugarBPM, will not only satisfy the customer but also the support team. This will let you view contextual information according to the customer you are speaking to. The intelligence present is credible as it is from Amazon’s machine learning engine.

Related:- Google releases Blob Opera just in time for the holiday seasons

Connection Building

Your customers will always be communicated with efficiently due to the omnichannel features present. Whether they prefer emails or calls, you can always be sure to maintain contact with them using just one interface. You can focus on building relationships with your customers instead of browsing through different channels to find the correspondence.

The communication panel on the left of the interface is the entire chatlog, whilst the right is the detail panel. Using these two in unison is simple and intuitive. Depending on who is present in the communication panel, the detail panel will change according to the context. The panel also has tabs for contact info, case info, and built-in search functionality. Increase customer retention by utilizing the omnichannel and its many benefits to customer support.

Superior Case Routing

A superior case routing system means that for the right query or call, the appropriate agent is always contacted first. Routing will be based on both skill and availability so that the support can be valuable for your business. Hence, your customers will not be frustrated by the inability of an agent as they will be the best available. This function combines with the routing present in Service Console and Amazon Connect.

All the functionality under the Sugar Serve platform will enable you to maximize the customer service within SugarCRM.

Related:- How can a CIO control the cloud budget

Instant Gratification

The change takes place almost immediately and it comes with built-in Amazon Connect cloud communications. You will not be waiting weeks for it to be set up as it is a part of the total package within Sugar Serve. There are no hidden costs associated with this, you will be receiving everything that comes with just a single license. This is the most cost-effective omnichannel solution out there and comes with artificial intelligence out of the box.

Summing Up

When you start using SugarLive, your customer support agents instantly get more productivity out of it. Artificial Intelligence will enable them to receive the right information at the right time, and hence make the right decisions. The benefits present will also immediately give your business a higher return on investment when it comes to customer support.

Google releases Blob Opera

Google has recently released a new project called Blob Opera, which is an opera that features singing blobs. It’s just in time for the holiday seasons! The opera will be available to view on their website and YouTube from December 15th-December 30th, so make sure you tune your earbuds in to enjoy this interactive experience.

Google has produced a new application referred to as blob Opera—a equipment studying software that will allow songwriters of all ability degrees to compose songs—operas or otherwise—performed onscreen by four singing “blobs.” In announcing the new application on its web-site, Google indicates these kinds of compositions may just be the great holiday break current. The application was created by artist David Li.

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The idea, Freya Murray, software manager for Google Arts & Tradition indicates, is to check out what she describes as humanity’s 1st instrument—the voice. The application is obtainable on Google’s Arts & Culture, EXPERIMENTS web page. Users can plan four singing blobs with help from a powering-the-scenes device understanding algorithm. Programming is accomplished by dragging sliders for every of the blobs for distinctive areas of the rating. blob Opera then puts them all together (in melodies and harmonies) into a composition and the blobs accomplish it. The blobs are colourful armless and legless creatures with mouths, eyes and Santa hats. They sing upright next to one yet another, as if a smaller choir.

Google

The blobs have been programmed to replicate the fashion of opera singers by schooling them with operas sung by true singers: Christian Joel, Frederick Tong, Joanna Gamble and Olivia Doutney. And to that finish, each and every of the 4 blobs performs a person of four singing voice ranges: tenor, bass, mezzo-soprano and soprano. The performances are not the voices of the human singers—instead, they are generalized versions of opera singers centered on training.

People who desire to experiment extra deeply can edit their music by switching pitch, vowel sounds and the notes they at first chose when composing a music. They can also consider around during a efficiency, enabling one particular of the blobs to sing a solo on the fly. They can also share their performances with others. And for individuals who are not pleased with their compositions, the blobs also perform common songs these kinds of as Xmas carols.

https://www.youtube.com/enjoy?v=nAgdT-YO_nc

Could singing distribute COVID-19?


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How can a CIO control the cloud budget

The total spending by enterprises across the world on cloud services in Q2 of 2020  has increased by about eleven percent as compared to Q1, as per CIO.com. The expenditure has increased by thirty percent as compared to Q2 of 2019.

CIO

We do not have an e  exact estimate of the funds wasted due to faulty execution, oversight, internal conflicts, and poor planning, but  CIOs point out that having firm control over the cloud budget spend is essential to reduce the wastage of resources. Also, there should be awareness that the effort to regain control over cloud spending can’t be viewed as a one-time measure. An amalgamation of practices, technology, and operations will help to reduce the budget waste effectively.

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Focus on the obscure waste

Enterprise leaders say that cloud spends waste is hidden in various forms. There are different underutilized elements, like storage and other computing elements. One of the most prominent wasteful measures is the failure to cycle application environments when not in use properly; it includes testing and development areas. Hyperscaling the computing elements is another way in which money is wasted. This can, however, be fixed by enterprises. The increased transfer of the application to the cloud means that organization can truly estimate the required size and dynamically change it as per the demand.

Wastage also occurs when employees leave the VMs on when not using the remote desktops, or leaving non-production environments available when idle. Technically before shifting to the cloud, organizations used to maintain such elements on-premise. As a result, the budget savings from operational and capital maintenance was visible immediately. All such activities are relevant to cloud spends.

CIOs believe that operational efficiencies can be easily optimized by deploying on-demand and auto-scaling functionalities of the cloud platform.

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Staying informed and alert

Leaders believe that the best way to regain control on the cost is by strict monitoring of the applications and workloads, and making the changes based on planned and current requirements. To fully utilize the cloud budget, the organization needs a complete picture of the cloud activity to make effective and correct decisions to optimize the processes.

Automated management tool and services, and cloud monitoring is vital to identify potential wastage. Enterprise leaders suggest deploying a multi-cloud management platforms and third-party cloud financial operations to provide the finance and IT teams with complete visibility into their cloud use. With these, the teams can give personalized suggestions for when and how to implement to ensure cost optimizations. With the proper blending of partner support and solutions, enterprises can quickly regain control of the cloud budget spend.

Hasty implementation results in resource wastage

CIOs suggest that cloud adoption with a consistent effort is the best method to ensure good results in the long-term. Shifting enterprise services to the cloud or adopting digital transformation only as a knee-jerk response to the external force will result in wastage in the future.

The pandemic resulted in many organizations suddenly opting for cloud platforms, but after a while, regretting the decision. As remote work environment became the way to go, organizations started shifting essential products and services to the cloud with minimal planning. The initial stage was due to organizations considering the shift to new services or public cloud as the best mitigation measures. However, due to a lack of proper time to decide on deployment or migration, enterprises didn’t select the best consumption model. This could be one the biggest reasons for wastage of budgets, and non-optimal utilization of the funds.