The CIO Is No Longer the Top Technology Geek

The role of the CIO has undergone enormous change over the last decade. The letters “CIO” have come to mean more than chief information officer. Today, it’s necessary to wear multiple hats, including chief intelligence officer, chief innovation officer and chief integration officer.

“The traditional CIO who keeps the lights on and ensures that everything is running is completely obsolete,” states Debbie Krupitzer, digital manufacturing and industrial IoT lead at consulting firm Capgemini. “The role has evolved and those that don’t keep up with the changes will likely find themselves out of a job.”

Harsh words. But it’s important to take heed. Clouds, mobility, the IoT, and a spate of emerging technologies — from robotics and AI to flexible electronics and AR/VR — tilt today’s business and IT equation in radically different ways. “Organizations require a different type of thinking,” Krupitzer says. “Someone who understands more than the technology — and even how it fits together.” This may mean incorporating the perspective of a CMO, COO, CDO or CTO.

To be sure, CIOs must now understand innovation frameworks, tech disruption and business transformation in broader and different ways. It’s also necessary to have mechanisms in place to take advantage of the opportunities, including internal innovation labs, partnerships with universities and open innovation frameworks that involve incubators and venture capitalists. It may make sense to partner or even acquire a startup. “Ideas and new products can come from just about anywhere,” Krupitzer observes.

There’s also a need to redefine and completely rethink success and failure. In certain spaces, such as data science, applying traditional ROI yardsticks can undermine or demolish any chance for a breakthrough. It may take months to deliver any result and the research might meander through all sorts of areas en route to a new and disruptive product, service or feature that has absolutely nothing to do with the original mission.

It’s no news flash that more and more companies are taking a CIO-as-a-Service approach. Others are eliminating the CIO position altogether. Says Krupitzer: “The CIO can no longer be the top technology geek. He or she can no longer be inward facing. There’s a need for broad and deep dialog and interaction across the organization and beyond. Moving forward, it’s likely that companies will look for a very different kind of CIO.”

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Article Credit: CIO INSIGHT

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This hero doesn’t have a cape. He has a 3D printer

Being born without fingers can be tough for any child. Getting new ones — especially red and blue superhero themed digits — has made 8-year-old Kaori Misue a vibrant playground star.

Flexing her wrist muscles to bend the plastic fingers, she can work with tape and stickers at an arts and crafts class. She can ride a bike, skip a rope and bake pastries with her mom. Her amazed friends have even begged to borrow the 3D printed hand, which looks a little like a cheerily coloured Transformers toy strapped to her wrist.

“It was magical,” her mom, Karina Misue, said. “The confidence it gives kids is tremendous. They’re using it with pride.”

Hundreds of Argentine kids like Kaori who were born without limbs are now able to write, play sports and make music thanks to low-cost prosthetic hands devised by Gino Tubaro, a 21-year-old inventor whose work was praised by President Barack Obama during a visit to Argentina last year.

Tubaro’s “Limbs” project is part of a trend of open-source 3D printing technology initiatives around the world. They include the nonprofit e-NABLE organization that groups volunteers to provide hands and arms to those born with missing limbs or who lost them to war, disease or natural disaster, and the Build It Workspace studio, which teaches people how to use high-tech printers.

Growing up, Tubaro remembers breaking apart home appliances to try to turn them into new inventions. Instead of reprimanding him, his parents signed him up to a weekend workshop where he had free range to experiment. Along the way, he began earning awards for his designs.

When he began using 3D printers, the mother of a child who was missing a limb asked him if he could design a hand for her son. Tubaro delivered it in 2014, when he was still in high school.

Today, more than 500 people, mostly children, have received similar prostheses and 4,500 more remain on a waiting list. Basic designs are custom modified to fit the needs of each user with the help of orthopedists.

The project uses volunteers around the world who own 3D printers to print the pieces and assemble and deliver the hands. They can cost as little as $15 compared to sophisticated designs that are priced up to $15,000. Some of the pieces can be interchanged to fit a specific purpose: from playing pingpong to grabbing a fork or riding a bike.

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Article Credit: Democrat-Herald

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The ink this 3D printer uses is alive.

The latest 3D printer ink is alive, thanks to embedded bacteria. That means 3D printers can now make living materials capable of degrading toxins and facilitating organ transplants. Traditional 3D printers use powdery metals and plastics as their ink. These are great for making superstrong steel or even artificial bones, but not so great for making biocompatible materials that need more flexibility—such as skin grafts. That’s where the new functional living ink—or Flink—comes in. With Flink, researchers can print any number of bacteria-derived materials, including elastic ones. Researchers demonstrated this utility in a paper published today in Science Advances by printing materials embedded with the bacterium Acetobacter xylinum. This bacterium makes cellulose, which can be used as scaffolds for skin replacements and coatings for biomedical devices that help protect patients against organ rejection. What’s more, with Flink researchers can print these materials in any 3D shape in one step. Because any kind of bacterium or combination of bacteria can be infused in the ink, Flink expands the range of potential applications for 3D-printed materials—degrading environmental toxins, making vitamins, generating chemical energy through photosynthesis—that are not possible with nonliving inks.

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Article Credit: ScienceMag

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What’s Next for Cybersecurity in 2018?

Is it possible to anticipate what the coming year will bring us – pro and con – on the cybersecurity front? Making precise predictions about one of the most dynamic sectors in technology would be a fool’s errand, but some current trends are almost certain to continue, and likely accelerate.

First, the bad news. It’s not a secret that cyberthreats have multiplied, nor that successful attacks have grown in both volume and impact. The new AT&T Cybersecurity Insights report cites troubling data from a global survey AT&T sponsored. Among its findings: Nearly 80 percent of the surveyed organizations had been negatively affected by a cybersecurity attack in the prior 12 months.

Beneath that top-line number was the growing prominence of new forms of attack. Most notable among them were ransomware attacks and super-charged distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, the latter of which marshalled hundreds of thousands of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to create huge attack bots.

When asked about the biggest cybersecurity threats they anticipated in the coming year, 46 percent of the AT&T survey respondents cited ransomware. That percentage lagged only the longstanding threats from malware, worms and viruses (cited by 60 percent) and unauthorized access to corporate data (cited by 49 percent). Nearly one-third (32 percent) put IoT-based attacks on their list of top future concerns.

Unfortunately, ransomware attacks will almost certainly become more pervasive and varied during 2018. Some attacks will adhere to the brute-force model of infect, lock and extort, while others will be more sophisticated. In some cases, ransomware assaults will serve primarily as a diversionary tactic to draw security resources and attention away from other avenues of attack.

For their part, IoT-based DDoS attacks are likely to grow in both bot size and traffic volumes as they continue to  utilize poorly secured IoT devices. There will be millions of such vulnerable devices installed for years to come, with many device manufacturers only now starting to offer hardened versions of their products. Beyond specific threat types, we can expect to see attackers increasingly utilize the same technologies defenders are using for threat detection and response. For example, sophisticated attackers are already using big data analytics to scrutinize traffic patterns and search for opportunities and vulnerabilities that might not be evident without such broad and deep analysis.

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Article Credit: CSO

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Businesses Are Overconfident About Cyber Security

For the last couple of years, cybersecurity has been making headlines around the world. From matters of national security, to widespread ransomware attacks that have crippled hospitals and businesses alike, to the Equifax breach that affected millions of private citizens, it’s become evident that cyber threats are nothing to sneeze at.

While the world has begun looking at cyber attacks and other types of cybercrime more seriously, it would appear that measures to prevent them aren’t being taken seriously enough. SolarWinds MSP’s 2017 Cybersecurity Preparedness survey found that an overwhelming number of businesses in both the U.S. and U.K. are actually overestimating how ready their organizations are when it comes to preventing and combatting breaches. The survey contains responses from professionals representing 400 businesses, equally split across the US and UK, and between SMBs and enterprise organizations. SolarWinds found that:

  • 87 percent of businesses are “confident” in their cybersecurity preparedness
  • 59 percent of businesses actually believe they are safer this year than they were last year
  • 61 percent of businesses think they’ll be safer and stronger next year as they see growth in their cybersecurity budgets.

This confidence isn’t a bad thing on its own. If 87 percent of businesses actually were prepared to effectively thwart and respond to cyberattacks, that would be great — unfortunately, SolarWinds’ second set of numbers shows that this confidence is misplaced. The report also found that, in the last 12 months:

  • 31 percent of businesses reported incidents of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks or fraud
  • 31 percent of businesses reported a malicious insider attack
  • 28 percent of businesses reported a ransomware attack
  • A whopping 71 percent of businesses experienced at least one breach, which is up from 29 percent in the year prior

If we do the math, only 29 percent of businesses weren’t hit with a breach in the last year. At best, if each of those businesses (29 percent) also answered that they were confident in their cybersecurity preparedness (87 percent), that means that at least 58 percent of businesses hit with one or more breaches in the last year also rated themselves “confident” in their preparedness against them.

Those with analytical minds will recognize that it’s entirely possible that those hit by cyber attacks last year may have upgraded technology or increased staffing in response to the breach, lending credibility to why they might feel more confident in their cybersecurity preparedness now — but the rest of the SolarWinds report shows that this simply isn’t the case.

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Article Credit: Business 2 Community

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