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What every CIO must have on their Christmas List

After a whirlwind year CBR looks at what every Chief Information Officer will have on their Christmas list for a productive 2018.

By April Slattery

Christmas is a time for giving, and CIOs are no exception to the rule. As Christmas is just around the corner it is time to make all those Christmas wishes come true and see what Santa will be bringing the CIOs of the technology world.

Looking ahead to 2018 there are a lot of things that could happen; the world could be taken over by robots, GDPR could break companies and blockchain could well and truly burst. Out of all the industry elements that make up the fast-paced world we live in, what would make it a perfect place to work in?

CBR has made a list of what the CIOs of the technology world are hoping to find under their tree on December 25th.


A hot topic on everyone’s list is the General Data Protection Rule (GDPR) that is to be implemented in just five months’ time.

If Father Christmas could bring one thing to every CIO I am almost certain being fully GDPR compliant would be top of the list, as the day nears. What CIOs will want to strive for is no worry over data protection or being in breach of the new regulations, ensuring that their enterprise is not the one to receive one hefty fine.

Zachary Bosin, Director of Solution Marketing at Veritas Technologies, said only 31% of respondents to a Veritas survey said they were GDPR compliant. Therefore it is definitely a Christmas miracle if the remaining 69% become fully compliant by the due date in May.

GDPR will mean individuals will have the ability to request their data to be deleted, but organisations must also be much more proactive than the likes of Uber and Equifax and notify authorities of a data breach within 72 hours of it happening. If not, a hefty cheque will be the only thing filling the stocking next year.

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“Organizations will need to take a very close look at how they manage data impacted by new privacy requirements and will need to revisit best practices for backup and archiving, in particular email archiving, to understand how to re-architect processes.

“One notable development will be the creation of a formal Data Protection Officer role. Look for an emerging crop of features and solutions with an optimized set of functions that help organizations meet local and global GDPR requirements, yet are easy-to-use and can help those responsible for managing backup and email data quickly identify personal information and remove it from their systems,” said Christophe Bertrand, VP of Product Marketing at Arcserve.

The regulation could be problematic for some companies if they lack data, how can they move forward with analytics and machine learning to offer the best products for customers. However, it also brings some perks to organisations as data management should, in theory, be better reducing the need for collecting and storing some information at all.

Safe & Secure

From GDPR to cyber security, both are of equal need and want for CIOs this Christmas as the number of threats increases almost on a day to day basis. Above all else CIOs want their enterprise to be protected, using the best most secure system that can guarantee there is no chance of breaches or leaks.

During 2017 the number of cyber security incidents has seemingly gone from bad to worse, from WannaCry hitting a number of NHS Trusts to Yahoo! affecting 500million consumers and then the once loved Uber revealed a breach affecting 57million users.

Prakash Arunachalam, CIO at Servion Global Solutions, said: “As more and more devices get connected, there may arise the challenges of new security breaches.  Cyber security experts will need all the help they can to meet these threats.

Cyber Security has been hot this year and would be much simpler in an ideal world for CIOs.

“AI systems are designed to detect even the smallest of changes in the environment, and they have the potential to act much faster to fix them. AI will be of tremendous help to identify and analyse such exploits and weaknesses to quickly mitigate more attacks. In 2018, AI-based cyber security technologies will become more mature.”

As we move into the New Year cyber security must become less of a worry and more a skill that businesses take ownership of, ensuring every element is protected.

Christopher Steffen, CISSP, CISA, Technical Director, said: “2018 will see cyber security-related services dramatically increase, especially around threat analytics. In the past, only the largest companies could afford to invest in the procurement, management and maintenance of threat analytics services (TAS), but now they are becoming readily available to customers on demand for whatever purpose needed.

“Maybe it’s a point-in-time situation, like incident response or strategic advisory to evaluate existing infrastructure, determine regulatory compliance, or confirm the veracity of particular security architecture.”


Will the bots take over?

A question asked by many is will robotics take over as emerging technologies AI and machine learning become more prominent in our everyday lives. However, CIOs are set to rid the fear of emerging tech and embrace it instead as 2018 is set for more developments.

AI is set to take centre stage in 2018 as CIOs want to make businesses more efficient, more proactive and get better results. Additionally, the rise of automation is set to make jobs easier and leaves humans to do what they do best. The substantial amount of AI devices emerging makes it unsurprising how much CIOs will invest time and money into the technology, as the quality of what bots can do is much higher than humans can sometimes offer.

Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText, said: “Equipped with AI and cognitive systems, big data analytics, and machine learning, the insights-driven intelligent enterprise will outpace its competition. Better data will mean better algorithms, and better algorithms will mean better data, and so on.

Robots can arguably do humans jobs better, but will they take over?

“We will become much more productive as we offload collecting and processing data to AI systems. The intelligent enterprise will leverage agile development to build apps in the cloud, automate processes and menial tasks to optimise efficiency, and explore data lakes for sophisticated insights and better decision making.”

AI, machine learning and automation have all been brandished carry out the basic tasks of data management and filing jobs, replacing tedious jobs for human workers. However, in 2018 the rise of ChatBots especially in the financial industry will cause a bigger stir in the working world as advisers are replaced by bots.

The idea behind this from CIOs is to improve the element of customer service, by bots sifting through vast amounts of data to offer the best advice for customers who come to chat. In comparison to a human advisor, the amount of time it takes to find a solution will be drastically minimised, bettering the experience for customers and driving down costs for organisations.

Arunachalam said: “In 2018, we will see many channel applications adopt self-learning chatbots as a built-in functionality since it goes hand-in-glove with the big boom of Big Data and Analytics while directly reducing direct labour and other operational costs. It will also be a year of blended AI since human interactions will never wane away but they may emerge as the epicentre that drives AI in the customer service industry.”


Edge computing and devices

Newer to the technology scene is edge computing, especially with the amount of data increasing rapidly edge computing makes it much easier to store data for devices. Additionally, as the autonomous market continues to grow companies have to the best way to handle the data being collected, to make sure decisions continue to be made in real-time.

Martin Booth, Western Digital, outlined that data is the driver in autonomous vehicles and how that is stored and analysed. With the mass of data used in the vehicles, Booth outlines the only solution to the growing amount of data is at the edge.

Booth said: “By using edge computing, it can help make decisions quicker, so it doesn’t overload a network. The real-time data allows for the vehicle to vehicle or vehicle to infrastructure communication. For example, cars can talk to the traffic light using real-time data to stop or start, or communicate road accidents much quicker than possible in the cloud.”

Sending the data to the edge of the device rather than back to the cloud to be analysed it quickens the process to make real-time decisions, creating a more accurate and informed device.

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CIOs will want this form of storage and analytics because it has qualities cloud platforms don’t yet hold. For example, rather than sending all data back to the cloud, edge computing differentiates what is necessary and unnecessary and only the data needed is sent back.

Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText, said: “With this new paradigm, not all data is equal. Only device data that is worth keeping is sent to the cloud. This reduces the costs associated with handling and storing growing volumes of IoT-related data. Time-sensitive data can be processed by the device itself, allowing for quicker response times while reducing network latency. This is far more efficient than using the cloud alone where, with its split-second latency; turn-around time can be too slow.”

Driving more cost savings and bringing greater efficiency to a business is undoubtedly what every company wants, a key reason why every CIO should take edge computing in this New Year.


The Ultimate Workforce

Digital Skills has been a huge topic throughout this year, with the digital skills gap widening and fewer people being educated in the industry. As the Autumn Budget was announced last month The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, promised to boost the technology sector by investing £30m in digital skills.

George Brasher, MD UK&I, HP said: “The Chancellor’s initiatives to fund and support technology entrepreneurs are encouraging, while the focus on teaching computing and maths, and the development of digital skills is crucial.

“And here Britain faces a challenge. A digital skills gap persists in the UK, and it’ll hold us back if we don’t continue to address it. Across all levels, educators in schools, colleges, universities and industry need to embrace change. These practical skills will be crucial in the future.”

What every CIO has on their Christmas List

Educating teams in digital technology will be on every CIOs hit list for 2018

Educating existing staff with transferable skills will be on the wish list this year, to ensure the workforce is in tip-top condition to take on the challenges that may arise in the year to come. After such a year of cybersecurity incidents, a £20m education programme for cybersecurity skills has also been announced so that the youth of today can become the experts of tomorrow.

Mark Hughes, CEO at BT Security, said: “The cyber-crime industry is getting bigger, stronger and more sophisticated in its techniques of attack. It’s vital that we start engaging and encouraging young people in developing their cyber skills now, to further bolster the UK’s defences against the escalating level of the threat.”

It is in the next generation of technology talent that will need to be targeted by CIOs and their companies, training and introducing them to the world of technology. Investing into educating the talent of tomorrow with all round expertise will give companies a great advantage in the growing digital market.

2017 has been quite a whirlwind year on the technology front, from the mass amounts of data breaches and security questioning to the rise in emerging technology bettering the lives of everyone around the world.

Looking to the future GDPR and Brexit are the next barriers for businesses to overcome. 2018 hopes to bring more high tech developments to better businesses instead of bring barriers and CIOs hope to grab emerging technology with both hands to be the best business in the industry in the New Year.

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