Archive for category Tech Buzz

Impact Of ‘Digital Tartar’ On Business Wellbeing

As the amount of data being created and shared is increasing, it has given rise to the problem of ‘Digital Tartar’.

What Is ‘Digital Tartar’?

It is the process of accumulation of sensitive data in the nooks and crannies of file shares. The accumulated data clogs up the systems, leading to increased risks such as operational inefficiencies, added expenses, and damage to brand reputation.

In order to understand the impact of ‘Digital Tartar’ on businesses, it is first important to understand what gives rise to the accumulated data. Major blame lies in bad data hygiene. A prediction states that in 2020, about 1.7 MB of new information will be created every second per human being on the planet. However, 0.5% of all data is analyzed and used, increasing the risk of ‘Digital Tartar’.

Impact of ‘Digital Tartar’ On Business Wellbeing:

Excessive data build-up has major consequences for businesses.

  • Higher the amount of data an organization stores, higher is the cost spent on storing it.
  • Storing an excessive amount of sensitive data increases the inherent risk of data exposure.
  • Having large data accumulation increases the risk of loopholes, which makes the system more susceptible to cyber-attacks.
  • Data breach can result in reputational damage leading to a loss in public trust.
  • Increased data build-up leads to slower systems and decreased operational efficiency.
  • Data accumulation reduces the transparency within the organization and can lead to wrong decision-making.
  • Clearing out excessive data and ensuring that the leftover data is accurate leads to higher operational costs.

This gives rise to the need for businesses to regularly consider the type of data being collected and if it is worth storing.

How To Combat The Problem Of ‘Digital Tartar’?

  • Increasing awareness about digital hygiene and its consequences among every team inside an organization can help in creating a healthy data environment.
  • Formulating policies to collect essential data only and conducting regular clean-ups of the system can help in avoiding data build-up.
  • Businesses need to reconsider how they store the data and if the process is in compliance with GDPR regulations.
  • The organizations need to continuously evolve the processes and regulations to meet the changing cyber security requirements.
  • Undertaking proper ‘Digital Flossing’ can help in reducing the build-up of ‘Digital Tartar’. It includes steps such as documentation of the de-cluttering process, annual auditing by an external consultant, etc.

For more information on impacts of ‘Digital Tartar’ on business wellbeing, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Digital Twins: What Are They & Why Are They Implemented?

A Digital Twin can be defined as a fully mapped digital version of a real-world system. In terms of business, a Digital Twin is described as a digital entity that simulates the structure of an organization. Digital Twin’s technology has moved beyond its initial phase and is now used to merge worlds of IoT, AI, and data analytics. As the business models are gaining complexity, Digital Twins also assist in advance planning and ROI citations.

Most businesses are implementing Digital Twins because of an array of benefits offered by them:

  • Product Insight: A Digital Twin is a comprehensive collaboration of AI, machine learning, and data analytics. This allows the manufacturers to gain an insight into real-world usage of their products and predict any issues before they actually arise. This gives them an opportunity to take preventive measures to overcome such risks in advance; thus reducing business downtime and overhead expenditures.
  • Supply Chains: Combining product and packaging data with Digital Twins technology can help in improving efficiency by automating packaging selection. It will also help supply chain managers in optimizing packaging strategies for product protection. Further, the supply chain is impacted by micro-variables such as temperature, humidity, etc. The data on micro-variables can be collected from sensors placed across different geographic locations of the supply chain. This data can be fed into the Digital Twin model of the supply chain network to predict and control their impact.
  • Customer Service: A Digital Twin of a business organization can be used to analyze customer behavior based on customer feedbacks. This facilitates the development of new products and improvement of existing products in a customer and data-driven way resulting in improved customer satisfaction.
  • Resource Allocation: Understanding the priorities of parallel business processes and allocating the resources accordingly is necessary for effective management of business operations. Digital Twin models of business networks equip the management with the data required to allocate the resources efficiently. For Example: A Digital Twin model of a healthcare organization (such as a hospital) can be set up completely with all its elements including equipment, doctors, administrators, etc. This model can be used to get real-time updates on patients’ health with the help of sensors for quick analysis and decision making. This reduces the patient wait – time and can prove life-saving in time-sensitive scenarios.<

For more information on Digital Twins and benefits of implementing them in business, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Harnessing The Power Of Identity Management In The Cloud

In order to understand the concept of Identity Management, let us consider a simple scenario. If a user locks himself out of a personal email, he can simply reset the password and log in. The only requirement is that the user has to prove his identity by answering some security questions or through other means like providing OTP (One Time Password) sent by the service on user’s email/ mobile. However, the scenario is not so simple for users in a business environment.

To simplify the process for business users, most of the cloud based applications uses an Identity Management Service, commonly known as IDaaS.

What Is IDaaS?

  • IDaaS stands for Identity-as-a-Service. It is an Identity and Access Management (IAM) service that is offered through the cloud.
  • Organizations use IAM to provide secure access to its employees, contractors, customers, and partners. The main purpose of this system is to verify the identity of the person requesting access.
  • The system uses different ways to confirm identity.
  • Once identity is confirmed, IDaaS provides access to resources depending upon permissions granted.
  • Since IDaaS is deployed on the cloud, user can request secure access irrespective of his location or the device being used by him.

Reasons To Adopt IDaaS:

There are three main reasons that support the increasing adaptation of IDaaS by organizations:

New Capabilities: IDaaS facilitates new capabilities such as Single Sign-On (SSO). This allows business users to access multiple resources using a single login. When any user logs in to an application, IDaaS creates a token. This token is then shared with other applications. Thus, users are not required to sign in repeatedly for individual applications. Other capabilities supported by IDaaS include Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), OAuth, OpenID Connect (OIDC), etc.

Easy Implementation: Another driving factor behind adapting IDaaS is that it is easy and quick to implement. The hardware required to implement is easily provisioned by the provider and it takes a few weeks or months to implement it. Additionally, in case you are reluctant to switch to IDaaS after trying it for some time, it can be easily uninstalled.

Innovation: Some major hurdles that stop organizations from pursuing innovation are understaffed IT teams, lack of technology, complicated IT infrastructure, etc. IDaaS removes these barriers and allows business organizations to innovate their processes, products, and marketing strategies.

For more information on Identity Management for cloud based solutions, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Understanding New Evasion Techniques Followed By Web Skimmers

Cyber criminals have been stealing the card details of users for years. They have been successful at card skimming, both at server-side and client-side, without attracting much attention. However, some notable breaches in past few years put them under the scrutiny of security researchers. To tackle the situation, the threat actors have employed new evasion techniques to evolve their craft.

In order to safeguard yourself from web skimming attacks, it is important to be aware of following new evasion techniques adopted by the cyber criminals:

  1. Steganography: Steganography is the technique of hiding data directly on the pixel value of an image in such a manner that the effect of data is not visible on the image. First case of using steganography to hide a malicious code was ‘ZeusVM’ in 2014. It was a Zeus banking Trojan that used a beautiful sunset image to hide its configuration data. The technique is now being used by web skimmers to trick the website security and users.A simple example may be of any ecommerce website. An e-commerce website loads numerous images such as logos, product images, offer images, etc. The web skimmers use these images (that attract user clicks such as free shipping banners) to embed their code. On studying the image properties, they may show a ‘Malformed’ message and additional data after normal end of the file. Threat actors use code snippets to load the fake images and parse the website’s JavaScript content via the slice() method.

    It is an easy way to slide past the website security because the web crawlers and scanners tend to focus on HTML and JavaScript while ignoring media files. To protect yourself from skimming acts, scan the source file of any media files downloaded from third party sites.

  2. WebSockets Instead of HTTP: HTTP follows a request and response communication channel to a server and from a client. WebSockets, on the other hand, is a communication protocol that allows streams of data to be exchanged between a client and server over a single TCP connection. It allows a more covert way to exchange data as compared to HTTP. The web skimmers use a skimming code and data exfiltration to launch the attack. The code is obfuscated in the communication in a way that it is concealed from DOM. Once the code is run in the browser, it triggers client handshake request. The request is received by the server controlled by the cyber criminals which responds to it. This establishes the connection between victim client browser and malicious host server. Now the skimming code is downloaded on the victim system and run as JavaScript code.

Centex Technologies provide cyber & network security solutions for businesses.  For more information on new evasion techniques followed by web skimmers, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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All You Need To Know About DevOps

As a term, DevOps is derived by combining two different terms- Dev and Ops. “Dev” is a vast term that covers all kinds of software developers and “Ops” includes system engineers, system administrators, operations staff, release engineers, network engineers, system security professionals, and various other sub-disciplines.

DevOps is a practice rather than a set of tools. It can be defined as a setup where the development and operations engineers work together through all the stages of a service lifecycle including design, development, production support, deployment, testing, and continuous improvement.

DevOps is essentially based upon a CAMS structure:

  • Culture: This practice requires the organization to build a culture where people and processes are top priorities. It focuses on the overall service that is delivered to the customer instead of the ‘working software’ only.
  • Automation: In order to implement the DevOps practice to its complete capabilities, it is essential to build an automated fabric of tools. Common tools that should be a part of this fabric are the tools for release management, provisioning, configuration management, systems integration, monitoring, control, and orchestration.
  • Measurement: Successful implementation of DevOps requires a team to regularly measure some metrics such as performance metrics, product metrics, and people metrics. Regularly measuring these metrics helps the team to make improvements, where required.
  • Sharing: Sharing of ideas is an important part of DevOps implementation. It involves a thorough discussion of problems between the development and operations teams to find common solutions.

Challenges Solved By DevOps:

In the absence of DevOps application development, a general development scenario includes:

  • A development team that is responsible for gathering business requirements for software and writing code.
  • A QA team that is responsible for testing the software in an isolated development environment and releasing the code for deployment by the operations team, if requirements are met.
  • A deployment team that is further fragmented into independent groups such as networking and database teams.

Since the teams functioned independently, new challenges are added whenever software is pushed from one phase to another. Some of the challenges arising from this setup are:

  • The development team is unaware of the problems faced by the QA and Operations teams which may prevent the software from functioning as required.
  • QA and operations teams have little information about the business purpose and value that formed the basis of software development.
  • Each team has independent goals that may contradict each other leading to reduced efficiency.

DevOps application development helps in integrating the teams and thus, overcoming these challenges. It establishes cross-functional teams that run in collaboration to maintain the environment that runs the software.

For more information on DevOps, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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