Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this week.
Future-fit tech the trend of 2021
According to London-based research company, Forrester, 2021 will see more firms developing future-fit tech strategies in order to reconfigure company structures and capabilities. Its latest report indicates that 30% of businesses will accelerate investment in cloud, security and networks, with many adopting cloud-first strategies that could see them grow three times faster than their competitors.
One anticipated restructuring trend is of firms combining the CIO and COO roles in a bid to develop a more unified business, technology and operations strategy. With CEOs increasingly focussed on using AI to help run their businesses and CIOs not having key roles in corporate AI strategies, the role of CIO may be downgraded or even disappear in some enterprises.
Another development will be the need to introduce a ‘think global – act local strategy’ that takes account of growing national borders (e.g. post-Brexit) and the developing trust issues in international technology relationships.
Cloud saves UK business but security lessons learnt
A survey of 200 of the UK’s senior business leaders by access management company, Centrify, shows 51% of them believed cloud adoption prevented their companies collapsing during the pandemic.
However, 39% also claimed that the pandemic highlighted serious weaknesses in security, especially when it came to remote working. And while 60% of leaders are now more aware of the threats, particularly with regard to phishing attacks against remote workers, 56% believe remote working makes it more difficult to identify hackers impersonating employees.
Companies are urged to adopt cloud-ready cybersecurity solutions that can give access and privilege based on duties and which make use of machine learning enabled behaviour analytics. Administrative users, meanwhile, should be given just enough resource access within a limited time frame to carry out specific workloads.
Police and AI help Facebook take down terror streams
When a right-wing extremist live-streamed his terror attack in New Zealand last year, Facebook came under increasing pressure to find ways to take down similar kinds of footage before they are seen, copied or shared.
The difficulty for Facebook at the time was that there was little similar footage available for the company to use to identify these kinds of attack. Thanks to the UK’s Metropolitan Police, this issue has now been solved. During terror training exercises, the Met has been gathering body-worn video footage of their fire-arms teams which is now being used to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that can help quickly identify live-streamed terror events. The footage will be used by Facebook’s systems to speed up and automate the taking down of live video of these events.
Nokia begins major digital transformation
Telecoms leader, Nokia, has commenced a two-year digital transformation project which will radically alter how the company operates. As part of the transformation, the firm will migrate its entire on-site infrastructure to the cloud in a bid to speed up service delivery, improve collaboration and enhance innovation. At the same time, it will be able to make considerable savings on hardware and datacentre expenditure and associated power costs.
The migration will provide Nokia with state of the art infrastructure and IT tools, including networking, AI, machine learning and data analytics. This will give the company a secure and scalable environment in which to carry out its operations while enabling it to deliver better services to its customers.
An E.coli hard drive anyone?
While viruses have been getting into the media for all the wrong reasons this year, bacteria seem to be having somewhat of a reputational turnaround. In China, even the oft-maligned E.coli seems to have had an upturn in fortunes. This is because boffins as Tianjin University have used its DNA to store and retrieve digital data. Although the amount was only 445KB, it is evidence that living bacteria cells can be a stable DNA medium in which to store data.
Prior to this experiment, biological data storage had only taken place using synthetic DNA stored in glass phials; now, the Chinese scientists have been able to insert that synthetic DNA into living cells. When the living bacteria multiply, the data they contain is also reproduced ‘with high fidelity’ and can be retrieved from the new cells. What this means is that, as the bacteria population grows, data can be retrieved from a larger number of cells than the original quantity and this provides increased stability and long-term storage.
Given that bacteria have been around longer than any other life form and can exist in the most inhospitable of environments, their data storing potential is enormous.
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