BizTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Business en Banks Think They’re Cyber Resilient. But Are They Just Overconfident? <span>Banks Think They’re Cyber Resilient. But Are They Just Overconfident? </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/87276" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bob.Keaveney_u64t</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/11/2018 - 14:14</span> <div><p>Banks and other financial services firms report remarkable confidence in their “cyber resilience” — their ability to resume business activities in the wake of a security breach — but it’s not clear this confidence is entirely justified.</p> <p>So argues Accenture in its new report, <a href="" target="_blank">“From Insecurity to Resiliency: 2018 State of Cyber Resilience for Banking and Capital Markets.”</a></p> <p>The consulting firm found that about <strong>1 in 7 cyberattacks on financial services firms succeed, </strong>and that 42 percent of attacks go undetected for at least a week. Yet 80 percent of banking leaders report that they’re “confident” or “extremely confident” in the effectiveness of their security efforts.</p> <p>“A case can be made they are unjustifiably overconfident,” says Chris Thompson, global security and resilience lead for Accenture’s financial services group. “Attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and attacks can shut down the business or expose customer data. If about 1 in 7 attempted breaches are successful, that’s still a lot of breaches.”</p> <p>Yet Thompson agrees that banks do have reason to be proud. Accenture found that the financial services industry is among the more successful when it comes to cyberdefense and that it continues to make strides. For example, <strong>banks and insurance companies have stopped 81 percent of attempted breaches this year</strong>, compared with 66 percent last year.</p> <p>In addition,<strong> the industry now rates as high-performing in 19 of 33 categories of cyber resilience</strong> identified by Accenture, such as cyber incident communication and threat vector monitoring. Last year, financial services firms were high performers in only 15 categories.</p> <p>The industry is “converging to a level of mastery when it comes to the security status quo,” Thompson said. But there’s much work to be done.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity_IR_howstrong_700x220.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>Security Investments Lag in Financial Services</h2> <p>What’s missing from the industry’s defense posture is investment in AI, machine learning and other advanced security technology, according to the Accenture report. Banks are locked in an arms race with sophisticated threat actors who regard them as high-value targets and are increasingly deploying advanced technology in their attacks. The consultant says banks aren’t responding in kind to the degree required.</p> <p>“We see sophisticated technologies largely determining the future of both cyberattacks and cyber resilience in banking,” Thompson said. “But<strong> fewer than half of firms are investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning</strong>, and in automation technologies in the context of cyber defense. These are the same technologies that the ‘cyber bad guys’ are now using.” He added that “AI, machine learning and robotic process automation can provide a consistent way to monitor for and combat these threats, but only if firms are willing to invest in them.”</p> <p>In its research, Accenture asked executives from more than 400 financial services companies about their security technology investments. Here are the percentages of those investing in each tech category:</p> <ul><li>Security intelligence platforms: 56 percent</li> <li>Blockchain: 46 percent</li> <li>Robotic process automation: 38 percent</li> <li>Internet of Things security: 50 percent</li> <li>Machine learning/AI: 43 percent</li> </ul><p>For all the progress businesses have made, such numbers are worrying, Thompson says. “As business technology evolves, so too must cybersecurity. The new technologies that banks and insurers are embracing — including cloud, microservices, application programming interfaces, edge computing and blockchain — will create new security risks, especially as cyberattacks evolve in sophistication.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/bob-keaveney" hreflang="en">Bob Keaveney</a></div> </div> Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:14:44 +0000 Bob.Keaveney_u64t 42896 at What's Stalling Digital Transformation Efforts? <span>What&#039;s Stalling Digital Transformation Efforts?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:36</span> <div><p>While the advantages of digital transformation might differ from business to business, the large-scale benefits are well known: Operational efficiencies that cut costs, top-line growth and a better customer experience are just a few of those mentioned in “<a href="" target="_blank">The Digital Transformation Insight Report</a>” by CDW.</p> <p>But digital transformation is no walk in the park. In fact, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">November 2018 survey by IDG</a>, more than <strong>50 percent of companies</strong> polled have abandoned IT transformation projects.</p> <p>“To address these challenges and turn the promise of digital transformation into reality, organizations need to <strong>think big, act small, and move fast</strong>,” explains Link Simpson, senior manager of digital transformation and IoT at CDW, in the report. “This means<strong> identifying where they want to go from the get-go</strong>, determining how big the gap is between their current technology and big vision, picking a starting point everyone can get behind, and then moving ahead aggressively to prove the value of their first solution and realize their first results in the near term.”</p> <p>Companies face a variety of challenges, and the first step to overcoming them is understanding them. What are the most common hurdles? IDG’s <a href="" target="_blank">2018 State of Digital Business Transformation report</a> lays out four:</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> A small business how-to guide for digital transformation.</a></em></p> <h2>4 Common Barriers to IT Transformation</h2> <p><strong>1. Cost:</strong> Large IT investments can be expensive, and<strong> 31 percent </strong>of organizations cite a lack of resources as one of the greatest inhibitors of their digital transformation progress. However, well-planned digital transformation efforts can result in financial savings, which organizations can use to fund future purchases.<strong> Forty-eight percent</strong> of organizations reapply cost savings for digital transformation investments.</p> <p><strong>2. Security:</strong> Security is also cited by <strong>31 percent </strong>of organizations as one of their digital transformation challenges. In particular, businesses create new endpoints — and, potentially, new vulnerabilities — when they deploy IoT sensors and systems at the edge of their networks.</p> <p><strong>3. Staffing:</strong> At many organizations, in-house IT staffers lack the time or experience necessary to orchestrate digital transformation initiatives. Twenty-nine percent of organizations list time-consuming data migration as a major barrier, while <strong>28 percent </strong>say integrating legacy systems with new applications is a challenge.</p> <p><strong>4. Culture:</strong> Digital transformation requires organizations to break down silos and embrace a culture that encourages risk taking. <strong>Twenty-one percent </strong>of organizations cite siloed operations as a hindrance to digital transformation.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> To learn more about what it takes to fast-track an IT revolution, check out our white paper “How to Accelerate Digital Transformation.”</a></em></p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:36:00 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42891 at 3 Questions to Kick Off Your Data Center Storage Journey <span>3 Questions to Kick Off Your Data Center Storage Journey</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:38</span> <div><p>These days, data is everywhere, but where — and how — businesses store it can make all the difference when it comes to actually using that data effectively.</p> <p>As solutions like <a href="">software-defined storage</a> emerge to aid companies in <a href="" target="_blank">furthering their digital transformation efforts</a>, modern storage solutions are proving key in providing the <strong>foundation and flexibility</strong> organizations need to thrive in today's hypercompetitive environment.</p> <p>But how can IT teams be sure they're choosing the data center storage solution that's a right fit?</p> <p>Choosing the right data storage solution among a complex stew of technologies often boils down to these three basics.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> How to choose the right data center storage solution.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">1. How Much Help Is Already on Hand?</h2> <p>Before deciding on a storage solution, take a hard look at how much upkeep it will require, says Roysons IT Director Vipul Bosmiya. If an IT staff is small, going for time-tested technology can pay off in terms of reliability and simplicity.</p> <p>“I want solutions to be <strong>100 percent reliable</strong>,” he says. “If I’m not here, I want to have that peace of mind that it’s going to work and they’re not going to be calling me all the time.”</p> <p>Bosmiya recommends getting extended support contracts for hardware, so you can call on help when there’s a problem.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">2. Are There Legacy Systems to Support?</h2> <p><strong>Backward compatibilit</strong>y with legacy hardware and applications is essential. Most companies will not (and cannot) rip out all of their infrastructure as part of a data center upgrade.</p> <h2 id="toc_2">3. Are There Compliance Issues?</h2> <p>Data has become increasingly regulated, so where and how it’s stored matters. For example, ACI Specialty Benefits spent <strong>two years</strong> working out <a href="">how to operate under GDPR</a>, which ultimately caused it to move away from an on-premises multitenant private cloud and adopt<strong> regional cloud solutions</strong> from a range of vendors.</p> <p>“Most of what we’re doing with data is driven by compliance and regulations,” says Global CIO Ryan Fay. “We now have the flexibility to set up networks based on specific use cases.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_2.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/dan-tynan" hreflang="en">Dan Tynan</a></div> </div> Mon, 10 Dec 2018 15:38:37 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42886 at 3 Hurdles to Overcome in Launching Your Nonprofit Data Strategy <span>3 Hurdles to Overcome in Launching Your Nonprofit Data Strategy</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26341" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">amy.burroughs_26341</span></span> <span>Fri, 12/07/2018 - 12:04</span> <div><p>Organizations with mature data analytics programs have likely been at it long enough to have encountered and overcome the most common setbacks. But nonprofits that are just starting to explore these resources may still be figuring out how to launch a successful data initiative. They’re not alone. <a href="" target="_blank">One researcher, Kathleen Kelly Janus, found</a> that even though <strong>75 percent of nonprofits gather data</strong>, only <strong>6 percent say they are putting that data to good use</strong>. </p> <p>Data-driven insights can be one of the most powerful tools out there for a nonprofit that wants to make better decisions, gain efficiencies and showcase results. Yet developing a successful data program is not without challenges. It helps to <strong>be aware of common obstacles</strong> and plan from the outset to address them. That way, leaders won’t be stalled by unexpected challenges, and promising initiatives are less likely to get derailed.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>See how data analytics can benefit nonprofits.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">1. Build a Data-Driven Culture Around Sharing and Transparency</h2> <p>Nonprofit leaders may be surprised to discover that one of the biggest hurdles has nothing to do with software or logistics, but instead <strong>may arise from culture and personality</strong>. </p> <p>In many organizations, power and authority are closely associated with information: Who knows what? How do they know it, and when? This can be especially true in an organization that relies heavily on data to drive key initiatives, such as fundraising or strategic planning. Those who know the most are often in the driver’s seat and, understandably, want to stay there. </p> <p>Unfortunately, that can lead to data hoarding, or a reluctance to open up these valuable troves of information to others. Individuals’ motivations may be laudable: They are passionately committed to the nonprofit’s mission and want to ensure that data is used in the best way. <strong>Someone who fears losing control over data</strong> may really be concerned about losing the ability to manage how the data is used. </p> <p>The Brooklyn-based digital agency <a href="" target="_blank">Whole Whale</a>, which caters to social impact clients, has a term for this: “<a href="" target="_blank">the data fiefdom</a>.” Founder and CEO George Weiner calls out five sure signs that an organization may be suffering from one, including a leader who restricts others’ access to data, a <strong>reluctance to build up staff skills in data operations</strong> and a siloed approach in which data insights are rarely shared or communicated. </p> <p>The overarching solution that Weiner offers is simple yet powerful: transparency. He recommends that organizations increase communication, grow the data skills of staff and enlist help from a knowledgeable data analyst who has a voice on the management team. In cases where hiring a data pro full-time is not feasible, <a href="" target="_blank">Wiremedia recommends</a> at least <strong>engaging an outside consultant who can provide training</strong>.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">2. Map Out Logistics to Identify and Overcome Data Silos</h2> <p>Collecting data is important, but it’s just the first step. To be incorporated effectively into decision-making and analytics, data also must be cohesive and consistent. One of the biggest potential pitfalls is the existence of silos, or the <a href="" target="_blank">segregation and isolation of data</a> within a department, an individual or even a particular software program. Whatever the causes, data <strong>silos limit the ability to see, share and leverage data</strong> effectively. </p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Data Maturity Framework</a> from the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy can help nonprofits think through the details that can create silos, such as where data is stored and what is collected. Materials include a readiness questionnaire and survey, a data and technology readiness matrix, and an organizational readiness matrix. </p> <h2 id="toc_2">3. Ensure the Nonprofit Measures the Right Outcomes</h2> <p>The power of data lies in its ability to help nonprofits answer questions and to yield insights that can spark new questions. Yet staff may be unsure what insights they are looking for, particularly if they are new to data analytics. </p> <p>Another issue is that organizations may not be <strong>measuring the outcomes that support data-driven decision-making</strong>. Janus, who lectures in Stanford University’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship, gives the example of an organization that reported a huge number of website visits — seemingly, a success. But, she points out, that number said nothing at all about the nonprofit’s impact. </p> <p>Even when nonprofits do measure intended outcomes, these <strong>may not capture the bigger picture</strong> that the organization’s mission is designed to support. One example from <a href="" target="_blank">data design expert Marcy Rye</a> is that of a homeless shelter that can say exactly how many individuals seek shelter each night, but may struggle to determine whether this support is facilitating other positive outcomes. </p> <p>Examples like these demonstrate the importance of thinking carefully about what an organization wants to measure and how to <strong>build those data collection points into routine processes</strong>.</p> <p>Data-driven decision-making has many benefits, including the ability to give nonprofit leaders confidence that they are marshaling scarce resources in the best possible way. By being thoughtful and strategic when creating a data analytics program, nonprofits can set themselves up for success.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/amy-burroughs" hreflang="en">Amy Burroughs</a></div> </div> Fri, 07 Dec 2018 17:04:46 +0000 amy.burroughs_26341 42881 at 3 Ways to Solve the People Problem in Cybersecurity <span>3 Ways to Solve the People Problem in Cybersecurity</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:29</span> <div><p>The IT department can lock down anything it wants, but all it takes is one careless human to cause a destructive breach. In a mobile society where everything is connected, <strong>human beings are truly the Achilles’ heel of security</strong>, explains one expert, and it’s one that needs a little more focus.</p> <p>“There hasn’t been a lot of accountability of users,” says Garrett Bekker, a principal security analyst at 451 Research. “If they do something bad, there are no consequences, so <strong>people don’t take security as seriously as they should</strong>.”</p> <p>What can companies do to solve for the human aspect of cybersecurity? Here are three steps companies can take to shore up their weakest links.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Monitoring, malware protection </em></a><a href="" target="_blank"><em>and</em></a><a href="" target="_blank"><em> more build better business defenses.</em></a></p> <h2>1. Get Out of the Password Business</h2> <p>Between <a href="">social engineering</a> and just plain carelessness, employees and customers get into a lot of trouble clicking on links and sharing passwords. Kyle Randolph, Optimizely’s senior director of security, privacy and compliance, says<strong> it’s up to IT to remove the risk </strong>with <a href="" target="_blank">single sign-on solutions</a>.</p> <h2>2. Make Security Training Part of the Business</h2> <p>Granite Properties conducts security training for everyone who touches its infrastructure, including the <strong>40 percent </strong>of its users who are contractors.</p> <p>“Even if someone is locked down and can only get to a few things, you’ve got to make sure those people understand security and what phishing is, for example. It’s important to <a href="">create a culture of security</a> throughout an organization,” says Clint Osteen, senior director of IT.</p> <h2>3. Give Users the Security Tools They Need</h2> <p>While the cloud can be extremely useful, <a href="">cloud applications can open potential security holes</a>, says 451 Research’s Bekker. “We all know about shadow IT. If a user doesn’t like what you’re offering, that user will go find a free app. While it might be helpful, it can also be risky,” he says.</p> <p>He suggests <strong>asking users about their needs</strong> and what they are using now so IT can find options that have been vetted for security.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/karen-j-bannan" hreflang="en">Karen J. Bannan</a></div> </div> Fri, 07 Dec 2018 15:29:19 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42876 at How Technology Reduces Return Rates and Drives Customer Experiences <span>How Technology Reduces Return Rates and Drives Customer Experiences</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:36</span> <div><p>Customer returns represent a long-standing complication for retailers, but with the continued rise of online shopping, the problem has grown both in size and in cost: According to an <a href="" target="_blank">Appriss Retail report</a>, in 2017, retailers lost out on more than <strong>$351 billion in sales</strong> due to merchandise returns.</p> <p>Though reducing that impact is no easy task, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and mobile applications give retailers a fighting chance.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" title="PDF OPENS IN NEW WINDOW: The Connected Retailer IT Guide"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> <em>Explore retail mobility strategies in "The Connected Retailer IT Guide."</em></a></p> <h2>AI Takes the Guesswork Out of Online Shopping</h2> <p>While some customers will always be of the “buy many, keep one” mindset, others prefer a more straightforward shopping experience — one that doesn’t end in a return. <strong>AI-powered personalization tools</strong> help that latter group purchase the right products the first time around.</p> <p>Cloud-based True Fit technology, for instance, relies on a <a href="" target="_blank">brief customer survey</a> and an extensive database of product data to offer shoppers personalized size, fit and style recommendations.</p> <p>“It makes people more confident in making their purchases,” <a href="" target="_blank">says Brian Seewald</a>, vice president of digital at shoe retailer DSW.</p> <p>DSW, along with Macy’s, Nordstrom and other major brands partnering with True Fit, can see tangible results from the data-driven intelligence platform.</p> <p>“Consumers who use True Fit buy more and return less,” according to a <a href="" target="_blank">company press release</a>, which notes that the technology generally contributes to a <strong>3 to 7 percent incremental sitewide lift</strong> in net revenue.</p> <h2>Data Gives Retailers Visibility into What Went Wrong</h2> <p>Beyond fit and sizing issues, quality issues, unmet expectations and shipping errors often contribute to high return rates. Sometimes, the key to reducing these returns is as simple as <strong>updating product descriptions for clarity and accuracy</strong>; but that can only happen if retailers have access to the <strong>right data and tools.</strong></p> <p>Advanced solutions such as the <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Qlik</a> analytics platform give retailers deep visibility into sales, returns and customer data across all channels — including mobile applications and call centers — to deliver actionable insights.</p> <p>“When retailers can quickly<strong> identify trending issues</strong> with the products they sell through collecting and analyzing returns data, they can make smart decisions like knowing when to encourage returns, and how to change products and processes to please customers,” writes Peter Sobotta on the <a href="" target="_blank">ReturnLogic blog</a>.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>Mobile Applications Further Simplify the Returns Process</h2> <p>According to a <a href="" target="_blank">2017 UPS survey</a>,<strong> 66 percent of customers</strong> who returned an item in-store then went on to make a new purchase. By comparison, only <strong>44 percent of shoppers</strong> who shipped back a return made a new online purchase. Those incremental sales mean brick-and-mortar retailers can gain an edge over online-only competitors by offering buy online, return in store programs.</p> <p>“But these types of programs create an expectation on the part of customers that their experience of switching between website and store will be seamless,” <a href="" target="_blank">writes CDW insights manager Lisa Wood</a>.</p> <p>Walmart’s Mobile Express Returns program, which launched in late 2017, demonstrates how effectively mobile applications can bridge the divide between online and in-store channels. The brand’s time-saving program enables customers to initiate their returns via mobile and then fast-track through the returns line once they arrive in a store. Associates only have to scan a QR code displayed in the customer’s app to complete the return.</p> <p>“<strong>We’re changing the returns game</strong> in ways that only Walmart can do,” <a href="" target="_blank">says Daniel Eckert</a>, senior vice president of Walmart services and digital acceleration for Walmart U.S.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/meg-conlan" hreflang="en">Meg Conlan-Donnelly</a></div> </div> Thu, 06 Dec 2018 17:36:06 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42871 at How the Cloud Can Help Future-Proof Your Small Business <span>How the Cloud Can Help Future-Proof Your Small Business</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:33</span> <div><p>Today’s technology landscape is moving ahead at lightning speed, and failing to keep up means possibly giving up a <strong>competitive edge</strong>. For small to medium-sized businesses without vast amounts of IT and financial resources, the speed of change and adoption can feel intimidating. Luckily, there’s something that can help small businesses work past these constraints, adapt quickly to new tech and stay flexible in the face of new IT adoption: the cloud.</p> <p>The cloud already gained popularity with small and large businesses alike. In fact, at the start of the year, the SMB Group tapped cloud as the number one trend for small businesses, touting it as the top platform for digital transformation.</p> <p>“<strong>Flexibility, cost, ease of use and speedy deployment</strong> will continue to fuel SMB adoption of cloud solutions, but the cloud has also become the backbone that enables SMBs to take advantage of new technologies — such as AI and machine learning, IoT, blockchain and virtual and augmented reality — needed to sustain and grow their businesses,” the group <a href="" target="_blank">noted in a presentation announcing the top 2018 trends</a>.</p> <p>So what advantages does the cloud offer small businesses specifically? When security concerns are quelled, flexibility as well as a better use of data and applications are on the roster for small businesses.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_2.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>Cloud Bolsters Data and Applications Use for SMBs</h2> <p>Data, data everywhere — but is your company interpreting and using it correctly? Likely not, even though data can give your business insights into your customers and an overall strategic advantage.</p> <p>Here is where the cloud can step in, according to the SMB Group:</p> <blockquote><p>Cloud providers can aggregate massive quantities of data in one place, and apply rules, algorithms, learning and other technologies to this data. As a result, they offer resource-constrained SMBs the economies of skill and scale and the skill required to use technology to meet new market demands, improve business results, and reshape their businesses to keep pace with a changing competitive landscape.</p> </blockquote> <p>When it comes to using emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and blockchain, cloud application providers are injecting their services to SMBs with these technologies, granting the SMBs access to these capabilities <strong>without requiring them to start from scratch</strong>, notes SMB Group’s cofounder and partner Laurie McCabe in an accompanying report. (<a href="">McCabe made our must-read IT blogger list</a>.)</p> <p>“Instead of having to learn about, evaluate, select and purchase new technology solutions on your own, you get automatic access to them through the solutions you already use every day. You get the benefits of new technology minus the heavy lifting — enabling you to more easily and effectively take advantage of the technology you need to grow your business,” McCabe notes in the report.</p> <h2>Security Proves Paramount to Successful SMB Cloud Adoption</h2> <p>Cloud is coming, and businesses certainly can’t ignore it. In fact, according to <a href="" target="_blank">a Microsoft SMB study</a>, by 2020, <strong>78 percent of small businesses</strong> will be taking advantage of cloud computing.</p> <p>In order for SMBs to properly and fully adopt the cloud, they need to feel secure.</p> <p>As with any new technology, it’s important to formulate a security plan around cloud, John Ewing, principal security solutions architect for CDW, <a href="" target="_blank">explains in a recent blog post</a>.</p> <p>“Your organization should have an internal security policy that you can easily adjust and modify for cloud enforcement. This includes who has access, what type of data can reside where and in what condition (e.g., encrypted, not encrypted, etc.),” Ewing notes.</p> <p>The good news is that the cloud itself can help build a more secure business. According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> SMB study, <strong>94 percent</strong> of small businesses report <strong>security benefits after moving to the cloud</strong>.</p> <p>So, while it’s natural to want to put off picking up new tools and technologies in favor of the trusted ones, cloud adoption is one technology that can benefit small businesses — not just now, but for years to come.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>BizTech<em>'s <a href="">AgilITy blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter <em>by</em></em><em> using the <a href=";src=typd">#SmallBizIT </a>hashtag</em>.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Agility_Logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11306" hreflang="en">Larry Burt </a></div> </div> Thu, 06 Dec 2018 15:33:57 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42866 at 3 Considerations When Choosing a Cloud Security Provider <span>3 Considerations When Choosing a Cloud Security Provider</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/05/2018 - 14:08</span> <div><p>Most small banks and credit unions simply can’t afford a <strong>$250,000-a-year cyberthreat hunter</strong> or security researcher. Many are lucky if they have a full-time IT support person on staff, let alone one with specialized security certifications and expertise.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">EY’s Global Information Security Survey 2018-2019</a> found that <strong>87 percent of organizations</strong> don’t have sufficient budget resources to deliver the levels of cybersecurity and resilience they want.</p> <p>Cloud-based security solutions from providers such as <a href="" target="_blank">McAfee</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Symantec</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Trend Micro</a> and many others represent a lower cost option for financial services firms that can’t forgo security but may not otherwise be able to justify the spend.</p> <p>“Just remember that whatever the bank does, it can’t outsource risk,” says Paul Sussex, who leads EY’s financial services digital transformation and cloud strategy practice.</p> <p>Before getting started, smaller institutions must first <strong>understand the shared responsibility model </strong>that comes with cloud computing, Sussex says. He shares a <strong>three-step strategy</strong> and set of considerations for smaller banks and credit unions interested in potentially outsourcing security.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>SEE MORE:</strong> CDW Threat Check 3.0 helps businesses build a stronger business case for a more proactive approach to cybersecurity.</em></a></p> <h2>1. Develop a Cloud Strategy</h2> <p>First, decide why the company needs a cloud security provider. Are agility and growing market share the goals? Or will a cloud security solution simply cut costs and require investments in infrastructure and additional staffing? What workloads, apps and services will migrate to cloud, and what service levels will they require? Finally, will the institution use one provider or many? Remember, the more providers the bank brings to the table, the more security considerations they introduce.</p> <h2>2. Define a Data Strategy</h2> <p><strong>What types of data should be stored in the cloud?</strong> Who will have access and how will that be managed? Will the data be encrypted? If so, where will the keys be stored? How (and how often) will all of the applications be patched?</p> <h2>3. Conduct an Independent Security Review</h2> <p>Once a strategy is developed and all of the important questions about data management are answered, it’s important to <strong>obtain an independent security review</strong>. That should be done by a third party, separate from the cloud security provider and preferably by an organization that’s familiar with the banking and financial services industry. Some compliance regulations, such as the <a href="" target="_blank">Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council</a> guidelines, apply specifically to banking. Others, such as the <a href="" target="_blank">Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">HIPAA</a>, are more broadly adhered to. But it’s still important for the third-party auditor to have experience managing all those compliance regulations in a banking context.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_2.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:08:21 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42861 at Why Nonprofits Need to Implement Data Analytics Solutions <span>Why Nonprofits Need to Implement Data Analytics Solutions</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/05/2018 - 11:43</span> <div><p><a href="">Giving Tuesday</a> remains a hugely popular day for nonprofit organizations to raise money and awareness for the causes they support. The annual day devoted to philanthropy, which fell on Nov. 27 this year, <a href="" target="_blank">produced about $380 million</a> in donations for charities from roughly 4 million people, according to organizers. That’s <strong>a 27 percent increase</strong> from 2017. </p> <p>Yet nonprofits need to sustain themselves throughout the entire year. To do so, they need to be efficient about their operations and donor outreach. Data analytics tools can help on those fronts, and recent research indicates that such solutions are needed at nonprofits. </p> <p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report</a>, released earlier this year, more than <strong>half of nonprofits (53 percent)</strong> find it easy to collect program data. However, putting that data into action is more complicated. <strong>Fewer than half (47 percent)</strong> say it is easy to analyze that data, leading to a wide range of struggles when it comes to tracking and quantifying things like impact and performance. </p> <p><strong>Just 41 percent</strong> say they find it easy to have data power the overall impact of programs. And despite the fact that <a href="">mobility is becoming more important to nonprofits with each passing year</a>, <strong>only 29 percent</strong> say they can easily capture and access data from a mobile device. This shows the importance of analytics tools for nonprofits, but <strong>only 45 percent</strong> currently use analytics, according to the report, with <strong>an additional 30 percent</strong> planning to use such tools within two years. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Find out how nonprofits can keep donor data safe. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">How Analytics Can Benefit Nonprofits</h2> <p><a href="">As <em>BizTech</em> has reported</a>, there are numerous reasons for nonprofits to adopt analytics tools. <a href="" target="_blank">Consultancy Grant Thornton notes</a> that data analytics is a “continuous, iterative exploration and an investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning for the future.” </p> <p>Nonprofits can use analytics to “streamline operations, increase cost efficiency, determine and optimize financial margin by program, model and forecast performance (e.g., membership trends, donor trends, resource needs and revenue expectations), improve the budgeting process, and enhance overall mission effectiveness,” Grant Thornton notes. </p> <p>Such solutions can provide significant benefits to nonprofits, including the ability to <strong>measure return on investment</strong>. Lawrence Henze, principal consultant of Target Analytics, a division of nonprofit software and services firm <a href="" target="_blank">Blackbaud</a>, says that analytics tools show nonprofits what they are doing well and identifies programs that need to be improve. </p> <p>“The desire to improve indicates that change is necessary, and organizations that use analytics to thoughtfully inform and embrace change greatly enhance the potential for positive ROI,” <a href="" target="_blank">Henze writes on npEngage</a>. “So change is inevitably at the heart of strong ROI, and organizations that understand that from the beginning fare much better than those that battle change throughout the implementation process.”</p> <p>Greg Hagin, Ian Swedish and Adam Miller of <a href="" target="_blank">CCS Fundraising</a> say that analytics can also help nonprofits <strong>figure out the best prospects to engage to make a donation</strong>. Writing in <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Philadelphia Business Journal</em></a>, they note that “modeling can be used to examine donor demographics, giving data, and interactions with an organization to predict future giving behaviors of potential donors.” Wealth screening and publicly available information can then be used to determine the prospects with the most money to potentially donate. </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <p>“Used together these tools can help an organization narrow the scope of the prospect database and identify prospects for assignment to development staff, make more informed donation requests, and identify new prospects to fill the donor pipeline,” they write.</p> <p>Grant Thornton notes that analytics can also help <strong>strengthen an organization’s membership recruitment and fulfillment operations</strong>. Traditionally, nonprofits have purchased lists of names in the target market and sent communications deep into that list, as well as their existing membership base.</p> <p>However, instead of hoping that blunt approach will yield new members, nonprofits can use data analytics to analyze various factors, activities and characteristics in concert to determine how they relate to and affect each other. </p> <p>“This enhanced approach enables organizations to generate an optimal number of engaged members in a fiscally prudent manner,” Grant Thornton says. “Using data analytics, planning exercises can take into account a more complete set of factors — e.g., membership outreach yield, cost per outreach, market penetration, demographic factors and changes, membership engagement, and membership product cross-selling.” </p> <p>Such an approach can improve “targeting, new member sign-ups and member renewals, as well as to identify future member needs and services — all while keeping the cost and return on investment in mind,” the consultancy says. </p> <p>There are numerous other benefits to analytics. Hagan, Swedish and Miller note that the tools can be used to <strong>track and analyze nonprofit staff </strong><strong>activity</strong>, and motivate them through data-driven performance benchmarks. “Basic activity metrics including donor visits, solicitations, gifts received, and new prospects will provide the baseline health of the donor pipeline and enable revenue forecasting,” they write. </p> <p>Analytics can also help improve donor relations by providing more quantifiable data to donors on the impact of their “investment,” which may then motivate them to give again, Hagan, Swedish and Miller note. “Organizations must not only make data measurement a priority, but also understand the various ways that impact data can be effectively communicated,” they add. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Discover how nonprofits can use tech to tell more powerful stories. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Steps Nonprofits Can Take to Implement Data Analytics Tools</h2> <p>There are several practical steps nonprofits can take to put data analytics tools in place. Grant Thornton advises nonprofits to do the following: </p> <ul><li><strong>Invest in technology</strong>, such as data warehouse and analytical platforms, to capture desired data and create correlations. Nonprofit IT leaders can <a href="" target="_blank">work with trusted partners</a> to identify which tools are the best fit for their organization’s needs.</li> <li>Nonprofit leaders should “establish performance metrics beyond financial measures and agree on mission-driven indicators.”</li> <li>Organizations must “acknowledge the human element and the importance of effective change management in implementing new technology tools.”</li> <li>Nonprofits should “build collaboration into the process in order to view the organization as a whole rather than as a collection of departments and interests.”</li> <li>Organizations should also seek to develop data analytics and business intelligence skills<strong> in-house or hire</strong> personnel to bring analytics skills into the organization.</li> <li>Nonprofits must “commit to act on the trends and insights discovered through data analytics.”</li> <li>Organizations should create “a cross-functional steering committee that can set aside other biases in order to act on the analysis.”</li> <li><strong>Such investments need to be made wholeheartedly</strong>, and nonprofits should “dedicate organization-wide focus to an ongoing data analytics program, as opposed to conducting a one-time exercise.”</li> </ul></div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Wed, 05 Dec 2018 16:43:58 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42856 at How Banks Can Benefit from Collaboration in the Cloud <span>How Banks Can Benefit from Collaboration in the Cloud</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/05/2018 - 10:25</span> <div><p>Today, banks face the challenges of updating their business models, technology and processes to respond to the digital age. But legacy systems are a hindrance to innovation, often slowing down the innovation cycle on the back end in order to deliver the new products and services banks need to remain competitive.</p> <p>Moreover, in the world of <a href="" target="_blank">Google</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Apple</a>, Facebook and <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Amazon</a>, consumers expect flexible, real-time solutions anytime, anywhere and on any device. To compete effectively, banks must evolve their services and respond to customer expectations in the same manner as these forerunners of the platform economy. Banks are increasingly recognizing that they cannot do this on their own.</p> <p>Short of a costly overhaul of legacy systems, how can banks meet this challenge? A more<strong> collaborative, cloud-based approach</strong> inspired by the platform economy can help.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Where should smaller banks focus cybersecurity efforts?</a></em></p> <h2>Legacy Systems Translate to Legacy Mindsets</h2> <p>Most established banks today are still entrenched in legacy systems, many of which have <strong>been in place since the 1980s</strong>.</p> <p>Historically, developing new applications to sit on top of these systems involved working with new file formats, programming languages and standards. The consequence of these incremental additions is that many banks now find themselves with an<strong> intricate framework of isolated and undocumented solutions</strong> that require constant maintenance to ensure that mission-critical systems are always on. As a result, legacy system maintenance now consumes around <a href="" target="_blank">80 percent of most banks’ IT budgets</a>.</p> <p>Banks are right to be wary when it comes to their digital transformation strategies, as they must be mindful of their legacy structures. One day’s outage could cost billions of dollars and cause significant reputation damage. However, most banks realize that improving the customer experience is vital to their survival.</p> <p>According to a <a href="" target="_blank">2018 report by Accenture</a>, <strong>75 percent of operational leaders at banks </strong>say they need to focus on customer experience more than on efficiency — and the modern frontier of customer experience is the digital landscape. Understanding this is key to changing an internal culture that focuses on precious legacy at the expense of innovation. At a time where competition is growing in the financial services industry, collaboration must become an essential part of the innovation strategy.</p> <p>The recent explosion of fintechs and new challenger banks has shown that markets in which established banks once maintained dominance, such as payments and loans, can no longer be taken for granted. Regulators and legislators around the world are also increasingly incentivizing banks to open up to collaboration and competition in these areas.</p> <p>In Europe, for example, <a href="" target="_blank">Open Banking</a> and regulation such as the <a href="" target="_blank">second Payment Service Directive</a> is encouraging collaboration between banks and third parties on a grand scale, while in the U.S. the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released an <a href="" target="_blank">advisory framework</a> on data-sharing for financial institutions.</p> <p>All of these factors are collectively loosening the grip banks have on the customer relationship, which is why they must create value in order to hold their own.</p> <h2>Financial IT Leaders Should Get Their Heads in the Cloud</h2> <p>The benefit of a Platform as a Service model, which is fast becoming the financial services industry’s biggest trend, is that it <strong>meets the challenge of innovating services</strong> for customers without creating new isolated solutions that require in-house maintenance, further eating into already stretched IT budgets.</p> <p>Crucially, a platform-based approach allows banks to benefit from modern development techniques and speedier deployment. While core system development within banks will continue to move at a slow and steady pace, innovation outside the organization will be moving at three orders of magnitude faster.</p> <p>A platform-based approach allows banks to combine agile development techniques — in collaboration with partners outside the bank — alongside the more traditional waterfall approach used for updating and maintaining legacy systems. Approved fintechs and independent software vendors can communicate with banks’ legacy systems via open APIs, without the risk of altering them or causing costly outages. This means they can build upon pre-existing applications, accelerating the innovation cycle and delivering real-world value for bank customers at pace.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_2.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>Seek Banking Technology Evolution, Not Revolution</h2> <p>The willingness of smaller technology providers to collaborate with banks should not be underestimated. It is often assumed that these more agile entities are out to compete with banks, but in the majority of cases, this is not true. What they are looking for is primarily a distribution channel — and the banks, who already have the customers today, are the fastest way to get that.</p> <p>Most fintechs are first and foremost technology providers, and they are eager to have their technologies leveraged by banks. They are agile by nature and often at the cutting edge of new technology, meaning they are able to rapidly experiment with new customer solutions, such as mobile apps and self-service tools that deliver comprehensive insights across accounts and services.</p> <p>PaaS provides banks with the facility to innovate from the outside, using the skills and technologies of these agile third parties while also retaining complete operational ownership of their proprietary systems. This gives banks the opportunity to gradually evolve their systems over time while delivering new products and services that improve the customer experience.</p> <p>So, when it comes to innovation, banks require <strong>an evolutionary — not revolutionary — plan of action</strong>, as they must protect the relationships they have with their customers today. Revolutions are synonymous with upheaval, which is a frightening concept when you have billions of dollars and major business processes tied up in your legacy structures. Evolution, on the other hand, speaks to an organic, <strong>natural process of improvement over time</strong>. Collaboration facilitates this evolution, and a <strong>cloud-based approach can provide the ideal ecosystem for collaboration</strong>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11976" hreflang="en">Eli Rosner</a></div> </div> Wed, 05 Dec 2018 15:25:18 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42851 at