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Big data goes beyond IT

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Big data is a concept that every company should be striving to embrace. However, just having mounds of data is useless. It needs to be properly analysed and sorted before it will offer any use to a company, says GARY ALLEMANN, MD of Master Data Management.

Big data is one of the most significant trends currently affecting organisations. As data volumes have continued to grow, enterprises have been challenged with the task of storing and managing it effectively. However, the value of big data can only be leveraged if organisations move beyond IT-driven storage to business-driven analysis of data for insight and competitive advantage. As enterprises begin to realise the potential value and importance of big data, so the trend has moved from an IT issue to a business problem. Big data projects are increasingly being driven not by the IT department, but by business departments looking to harness data to solve specific business problems. To cater to this demand, the big data role needs to shift away from data science toward business analysis, and technologies such as self-service big data analytics are growing to address this changing need.

Research conducted in Europe and the US, by big data pioneers, Datameer, showed a shift in ownership of big data initiatives over the second half of 2014. In a webinar titled Big Data Predictions for 2015 they noted that “there was a marked shift in investigating big data offerings from IT to business.  In the second half of the year business executives far surpassed their IT counterparts”.

As big data technology matures the focus is shifting from understanding the technology to realising the business value. Big data has the potential to deliver significant business insight in multiple areas, including identification of new trends, advanced customer profiling and more. As such, many organisations are focussing on empowering the business to become more big data driven.

Big data requirements are being driven by specific business cases or problems that require timely, accurate answers. As a result, organisations are now beginning to ask how they, from a business perspective, can use technology appropriately to achieve business goals through the analysis of big data in business time. The long development life cycles typical of enterprise data warehousing projects simply are unacceptable.

This shift to the business is also moving big data away from the pure ‘science’ approaches. The much hyped “data scientist”, once seen as the sexiest job of the 21st century  making way for the more value-driven role of the business analyst. The shift is evident – analytics is no longer viewed as a technology function, but rather a business function that needs to cross the boundaries between IT and business. As a result, the importance of involving business-focused staff such as analysts and managers is becoming clear. Bridging the business-IT gap is essential and business staff must be more directly involved in big data analytics. The data scientist will survive, for specialist analytics that require their unique combination of skills, but day to day analytics is shifting to the business.

The governance and integration of big data from multiple sources into a single usable format remains a challenge. This, as well as the current mind-set shift, is driving a new technology trend – the emergence of self-service analytics, which makes relevant information available to business for faster time to insight. In addition, self-service big data analytics frees the IT department from the provision of information, enabling them to address other areas that will enable the organisation to make better use of big data assets.

In an IDC Analyst Connection report, Datameer posed several pertinent big data questions to a top big data and business analytics analyst at IDC on behalf of its customers. To read the report, download the white paper here: http://info.datameer.com/IDC-Self-Service-LOB.html

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Wannacry still alive

One and a half years after its epidemic, WannaCry ransomware tops the list of the most widespread cryptor families and the ransomware has attacked 74,621 unique users worldwide.

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These attacks accounted for 28.72% of all users targeted by cryptors in Q3 2018. The percentage has risen over the last year, demonstrating more than two thirds growth against Q3 2017, when its share in cryptor attacks was 16.78%. This is just one of the main findings from Kaspersky Lab’s Q3 IT threat evolution report. 

A series of cyberattacks with WannaCry cryptor occurred in May 2017 and is still considered to be one of the biggest ransomware epidemics in history. Even though Windows released a patch for its operating system to close the vulnerability exploited by EternalBlue 2 months prior to the start of the attacks, WannaCry still affected hundreds of thousands devices around the globe. As cryptors do, WannaCry turned files on victims’ computers into encrypted data and demanded ransom for decryption keys (created by threat actors to decipher the files and transform them back into the original data) making it impossible to operate the infected device.

The consequences of the WannaCry epidemic were devastating: as the victims were mainly organisations with networked systems – the work of businesses, factories and hospitals was paralysed. Even though this case demonstrated the dangers cryptors pose, and most of PCs around the world have been updated to resist the EternalBlue exploit, the statistics show that criminals still try to exploit those computers that weren’t patched and there are still plenty of them around the globe.

Overall, Kaspersky Lab security solution protected 259,867 unique users from cryptors attacks, showing a substantial rise of 39% since Q2 2018, when the figure was 158,921. The growth was rapid yet steady, with a monthly observed increase in the number of users.

The rising share of WannaCry attacks is another reminder that epidemics don’t end as fast as they start – there are always long-running consequences. In the case of cryptors, attacks can be so severe that it is necessary to take preventive measures and patch the device, rather than deal with encrypted files later,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

 To reduce the risk of infection by WannaCry and other cryptors, users are advised to:

  • Always update your operating system to eliminate recent vulnerabilities and use a robust security solution with updated databases. It is also important to use the security solution that has specialised technologies to protect your data from ransomware, as Kaspersky Lab’s solutions do. Even if the newest yet unknown malware does manage to sneak through, Kaspersky Lab’s System Watcher technology is able to block and roll back all malicious changes made on a device, including the encryption of files.
  • If you have bad luck and all your files are encrypted with cryptomalware, it is not recommended to pay cybercriminals, as it encourages them to continue their dirty business and infect more people’s devices. It is better to find a decryptor on the Internet – some of them are available for free here: https://noransom.kaspersky.com/

·         It is also important to always have fresh backup copies of your files to be able to replace them in case they are lost (e.g. due to malware or a broken device), and store them not only on the physical object but also in cloud storage for greater reliability (don’t forget to protect your cloud storage with strong hack-proof password!)

·         If you’re a business, enhance your preferred third-party security solution with the newest version of the free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool.

·         To protect the corporate environment, educate your employees and IT teams, keep sensitive data separate, restrict access, and always back up everything.

·         Use a dedicated security solution, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business that is powered by behaviour detection and able to roll back malicious actions. It should also include Vulnerability and Patch management features that automatically eliminates vulnerabilities and installs updates. This reduces the risk of vulnerabilities in popular software being used by cybercriminals.

·         Last, but not least, remember that ransomware is a criminal offence. You shouldn’t pay. If you become a victim, report it to your local law enforcement agency.

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Nokia 6.1 gets slice of Pie

HMD Global has announced that the Nokia 6.1 will start receiving Android 9 Pie – the second smartphone in the portfolio to receive the latest version of Android less than a month after the update arrived on the Nokia 7 plus.

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Packed with Google’s newest software and building on the features of Android 8.0 Oreo, Android 9 Pie’s focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning gives owners a more customised and tailored experience.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, the Nokia 6.1 is over 60% faster than its predecessor. Also, now offering enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics, USB-C fast-charging, Nokia spatial audio and pure, secure and up-to-date Android Oreo.

The Nokia 6.1 has been selected by Google to join the Android One family and therefore users get exclusive access to Apps Actions – a feature only available to Android One and Google Pixel devices.  App Actions helps users get things done faster by predicting their next move and displaying the right action on right away.

Now with Android 9 Pie, the Nokia 6.1’s already impressive battery life is further complimented with the introduction of Adaptive Battery, an update that uses deep learning to understand usage patterns and prioritise battery power on the most important apps.

Other key features of Android 9

·       Slices – Identifies relevant information on favourite apps to make them more easily accessible when needed

·       Adaptive Brightness – Automatically adapts phone brightness by learning from interactions with different settings

·       New system navigation – Features a single home button that provides intelligent predictions and suggestions (user enabled)

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