Why Big Tech Companies are Building Cities, and Why Many are Worried

Why Big Tech Companies are Building Cities, and Why Many are Worried

tech companies building cities

Situated in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco, is a 59 acre of land adjacent to the Facebook campus, this piece of land is proposed to be a fully self-contained and functional city called Willow Village. Here is why big tech companies are building cities, and why many are worried.

However, there is one notable thing about Willow Village that makes it different from other communities in the US; it is owned and being developed by American social media giant, Facebook Inc. Proposed Plan for Willow Village, source: menlopark.org

The Facebook Village

In a few years’ time, Facebook employees will be able to work, live, and sleep without leaving the property of the 5th most valuable tech company in the world. This city is proposed to have more than 1500 homes, a pharmacy, a grocery store, office buildings, conference spaces, a 193 room hotel, and a public park.

Recently, there has been a trend of big tech getting involved in large construction projects with Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, investing One Billion Dollars in its plans to build 20000 homes in Mountain View and Apple finishing one of the world’s most expensive buildings; Apple Park estimated at Five Billion Dollars.

Privately Owned Cities

The future will surely see employees of large tech companies living luxury lives in private owned cities, rent-free, and with many benefits in the comfort of the property owned by the company they work for.

The financial crisis of 2008 ushered in a dramatic change in the way individuals choose college degrees. While the total number of available jobs took a downward turn during the recession, college students were far more likely to stay in school or go back and apply for a more marketable major. More people applied to majors that were more marketable or could provide better jobs rather than majors that interested them. 

According to a 2005 study, unemployment rates have an effect on the way people choose college majors, this can be seen in the way majors related to healthcare, engineering and computer science exploded after the great recession while the number of applicants in education, philosophy, and religious studies saw a decline. 

With the average salary of a US computer and information technology worker being $88,240which is $39,810 more than the average salary of all other occupations — it is easy to see why high school graduates are flocking to these majors in large numbers. 

Computer science students

With the influx of computer science students, many people wonder why the market is not saturated. Students are picking college majors according to their career prospects, getting a degree in computer science is easy to obtain and salaries are exceptionally high, which means the market should be flooded with computer scientists.

The problem is that demand for computer scientists has increased tremendously, however, the market is not flooded because universities have a hard time producing computer science professors, which in turn reduces the number of computer science graduates.

Rather than having to wait at least nine years to get a bachelor’s, masters, and then a doctorate, CS graduates would rather enter the job market and get paid the same salary they would have if they worked as a college teacher or even more because of the extra five years experience.

Why Are Tech Companies Building Cities?

The shortage of computer science professors has put universities in a tight spot, they can either choose to accept a particular amount of high school graduates applying for computer science majors, or they can increase class sizes to increase the number of CS graduates and risk hitting the staff to student ratio and lowering the schools ranking.

New shortage in grads

Today, there is a shortage of computer science graduates, so tech companies or organizations that wish to employ these graduates have to go the extra mile to please them with high salaries, stock options, bonuses, and many more benefits or, risk losing them to other nearby tech companies, leaving employees with an advantage.

Due to the fact that tech companies are so concentrated in certain areas like Silicon Valley, changing jobs is especially easy with huge tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple; being just a couple of miles from one another, Tech companies have a hard time retaining their employees as employees do not even have to change homes if they decide to switch jobs. Tech companies, therefore, have especially low turnover rates.

Average stay of employee in one company

The average employee at Google or Apple stays a little less than 2 years before calling it quits. The low retention rates of tech companies pose a huge problem and many are striving to remedy it.

Ways to garner retention of employees

With the low retention rate of employees, companies have to find new ways to retain their employees thus employers have to go the extra mile to make workers happy, with gym memberships, cell phones, fitness, and wellness programs, wifi equipped busses and subsidized uber rides.

A very good and effective way of keeping employees though is to involve themselves in every aspect of their lives. This is where company-owned homes come in, It is much harder to leave a company if that same company owns your home and that of your friends and family. 

By increasing employees’ dependence on the company, we can surely expect to see the average lifespan of employees increase, Companies have been trying to do this by building homes, with Facebook, even going as much as paying a $10000 bonus to employees who live close to the office.

Why Many Other Businesses (and People) are Worried

All the many benefits employees get from companies trying to keep them, surely increase employees’ well-being and retention rates, which is beneficial to both staff and organizations but might come at the expense of society.

Companies try to make commuting to work more enjoyable and living with the ultimate goal of increasing employees’ retention rates by providing transport like wifi equipped buses, cab rides and houses for employees, but by doing so, they use public infrastructure like bus stops without improving the quality of public transportation.

Affordable housing

Because of the tech boom and the concentration of tech companies in tech hubs like New York and San Francisco, housing has been made less affordable as there has been an increase in the average rent of these cities.

There have been a lot of concerns about the fact that as big tech companies expand their physical presence, the line between public and private is blurred.

Not only are the lines blurred, but local governments find themselves not governing but being governed by these companies.

Take for example; in 2014, facebook funded a police station next to its campus along with offering to pay an officer $200000 as a yearly salary. It is time for the country to reevaluate the power companies have over the government.

Please add your opinion in the comments. I’d like to know.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Statista to Make Business Decisions

Why You Shouldn’t Use Statista to Make Business Decisions

business decisions

Every veteran entrepreneur knows that there’s a long journey from a business idea to its execution. Not even the brightest minds out there can ever predict all the potential roadblocks, the ever-changing market trends, and the hidden growth opportunities. However, the good news is that they don’t need to. Here is why you shouldn’t use Statista to make business decisions.

Develop the correct insights for your business

While we can debate the importance of gut feeling, the truth is that when it comes to business, having the right insights at your disposal is priceless. Let’s take a look at Starbucks, for example. The coffeehouse tycoon has taken an everyday beverage and turned it into an experience.

With tasty drinks, stylish interiors, and other attractive aspects like free wifi, it has built a buzzing community of over 24,000 stores.

But the company didn’t shoot in the dark: It managed to find out exactly what consumers wanted and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Would Starbucks be able to achieve such impressive growth by studying generic information on hospitality industry trends? Unlikely.

When you utilize advanced market research in your business strategy, you invariably outperform syndicated research platforms. Here’s why.

You need quality third-party insights

Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum.

While being data-driven has predominantly become a slogan that is pushed to sequestered sections of websites, the truth is that running a successful company requires having a long-term vision that enables leaders to make optimal decisions.

To power strategic business direction – whether that’s launching a new product or revamping a website – it’s key to generate strategic knowledge based on both internal business intelligence and actual market data.

The strategic knowledge should be provided by external sources – and there are various reasons for that.

Let’s say that a company like Unilever wants to conduct a study on the most preferred soap globally. Coming from an inherently subjective background, the company will struggle to secure a neutral perspective.

Not only will the results be distorted, but respondents might fail to give honest feedback, and there’s more pressure for further disbalances when presenting the results to the company’s structures.

Outsourcing research is key when looking to acquire market data as well.

If you were to call up a distributor of Procter and Gamble and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of Unilever to inquire about the data, it’s likely you wouldn’t get very far.

Independent market research can, on the other hand, work within the broader guidelines from ESOMAR – the world’s leading market research house.

These guidelines include an agreement that enables data collection in an integrated but anonymized manner, allowing market research agencies to display trends without giving out any sensitive information.

Market research agencies often have powerful capabilities at their disposal.

Anyone can pick up the phone and make a call, but the right agencies know how to judge who to call, who to avoid, how best to approach preferred leads, and how to carry out research in the most effective ways.

Agencies also have access to databases, expertise, and tools to carry out the analysis – something that many in-house teams lack.

However, one must be picky with external sources too. Syndicated market research is to insights as Wikipedia is to knowledge. It might be useful as a springboard to help you orient in a topic, but can’t really work to build strong foundations for an argument.

Even if the statistics are correct, there’s no actual validation of the data, meaning that it can’t be considered credible. The sources are not known, the names of the analysts aren’t disclosed, and there is no information about the methodology – which is fundamental to every research project.

From traditional market research to platforms

There is, in fact, an even more important reason why syndicated research just won’t do anymore.

Our data capabilities have developed immensely over the last 15 years, and with that, the demands too. Two decades ago, generalized sources would provide valuable information, but companies now are looking toward more targeted insights that are specific to their unique business needs.

The parameters that market research has covered in the past are now freely available on the internet – so there’s a need to dive much deeper into the real business problem.

Simply said, intelligence starts with business-specific studies.

While the traditional model has businesses paying tens of thousands of dollars for hundreds of statistics, it’s obvious that we are moving toward a more hybrid and dynamic market research landscape.

The new market research landscape is one that still provides high-quality insights but often with a focus on your specific niche.

Rather than comprehensive reports with thousands of samples, businesses can get similar results by running a Twitter analysis for only a fragment of the price.

In fact, technology has enabled new sources of knowledge, further diversifying market research to be even more accurate and integrated: Apart from social media analysis, we’re seeing increased use of sentiment analysis, video analysis, consumer engagement monitoring, and much more.

Analysts are no longer focused on one domain, they are ramping up their experience in diverse, platform-oriented research fields. Platforms are brimming with experts that can help answer tough business questions by running a specific analysis at prices starting at just a few tens of dollars.

Targeted insights – immediately

Back in the mid-2000s, it was common to spend up to 3 months waiting for an external research assignment – after all, you were probably going to get “something good”. Ten years later, the waiting time has reduced to a maximum of 20 days, but today, even that doesn’t suffice.

Thanks to platforms, expertise, and capable analysts, today, we can have insights at our fingertips in real-time.

The need for real-time insights has proven particularly important during the current COVID-19 crisis. In fact, 49% of companies are now using data analytics more than before the pandemic, and both the quality and the delivery of data plays a key role.

No one will wait for a survey to be carried out in 60 countries – industries are dynamics and market conditions change constantly. However, syndicated research sites might fall behind due to its inability to deliver in short time-frames.

Businesses are now looking to get answers to their unique questions.

Staying up to date with the latest developments isn’t just a differentiator anymore — it’s a vital aspect of business decision-making.

Whether looking to launch a product, find when things will go back to the pre-COVID level, or understand the real impact of the crisis, the answers can’t be found with internal data only.

A bad decision is going to cost you much more than the cost of a market research report.

Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels

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WordPress Security Fundamentals

WordPress Security Fundamentals

wordpress security

WordPress dominates the global market of content management systems (CMS). Its tremendous popularity makes it a lure for malicious actors. The WordPress Core in its current state is fairly secure by design, which explains the relatively small number of hacks exploiting it. Here is a guide to WordPress security fundamentals.

Cybercriminals are increasingly adept at piggybacking on flaws related to WP plugins, themes, hosting providers, and website owner’s security hygiene.

Who is Targeting WordPress and Why?

Most incursions zeroing in on WordPress sites are orchestrated through the use of automated tools such as crawlers and bots.

These entities are constantly scouring the Internet for crudely secured websites. If they pinpoint a documented vulnerability, they take advantage of it in a snap.

Spam

Here’s a little bit of wiki information: spam accounts for roughly 50% of all emails sent.

Malefactors may gain a foothold in your server via a security loophole in a plugin or an outdated version of the WordPress engine to repurpose the server for generating spam.

Siphoning Off Server Resources

Cybercrooks may infiltrate poorly secured WordPress sites, access the underlying servers, and harness their processing power to perform coin mining surreptitiously.

Black Hat SEO

One of the growingly common WordPress hack scenarios is to gain unauthorized access to a website’s database and furtively embed keywords and hyperlinks related to another site.

Embedding keywords and hyperlinks is a shortcut to hijacking and boosting the rankings of an attacker’s site on search engines.

Info-Stealing Foul Play

Seasoned hackers know the true value of data, especially in such areas as e-commerce and user behavior patterns. Felons can rake in hefty profits by retrieving this information and selling it to interested parties on the Dark Web.

Your Top Priority 

WordPress security should be every webmaster’s top priority as remediating a hacked WordPress site is easier said than done. You have to assess every single line of code to spot dodgy content, eliminate it, and re-enter valid strings.

Another thing on your to-do list is to change all authentication details, including database and server passwords.

Another facet of the issue is that the search rankings of a compromised website may deteriorate dramatically down the road, which translates to fewer visitors and lower monetization.

An extra thing to consider is that people won’t go to a site unless they trust it. A breach will most likely impact your reputation, which takes a lot of time and effort to restore.

WordPress Security: The CIA Triad

In information security terms, the CIA acronym stands for “confidentiality, integrity, and availability.” This CIA model is the stronghold of every digital security initiative. When it comes to WordPress, the anatomy of CIA is as follows:

Area 1: Confidentiality

  • Sensitive Data

WP plugins, themes, and global variables are a Pandora’s box filled with confidential information or breadcrumbs leading to such data. If you slip up by setting the value of WP_DEBUG parameter to “true” rather than “false,” this will unveil the path to your websites’ root directory. You don’t want that.

Author pages can also be verbose in this context because they often include usernames and email addresses. An attacker may try to guess or brute-force an author’s password. If it isn’t strong enough, a site compromise is imminent.

  • User Credentials

To its credit, the WordPress platform takes password strength seriously, helping users avoid the scourge of weak credentials. However, these efforts might not be enough.

An additional technique that can make an attacker’s life harder is to enable two-factor authentication. Restricting the number of failed sign-in attempts is worthwhile, too.

Area 2: Integrity

  • Data Verification

WordPress is committed to handling data securely and does a lot to ensure this. But, these mechanisms don’t work beyond its core, so web developers should get the hang of validating the rest of the code.

Using a site’s database directly could be a less secure approach than leveraging features like “update_post_meta.” The latter can fend off SQL injection, a sketchy tactic aimed at executing harmful code via forms embedded in a web page.

The harmful code tactic can become a launchpad for depositing dangerous strains of Windows and Mac malware onto visitors’ computers.

To thwart SQL injection raids when running a complex query or when handling a custom table, it’s best to apply the WPDB class combined with the “Prepare” function for all queries.

  • Query Sanitation

Queries related to WordPress site management are generally secure as long as SSL is turned on and you resort to trustworthy hosting services. But not all hosting services are trustworthy, so this isn’t a bulletproof ecosystem.

It’s in your best interest to monitor user intentions and ascertain that an incoming query comes from a registered user.

WordPress employs what’s called nonces to verify actions initiated by users. These security tokens are formed alongside every user-originated request. Since nonces are paired with specific URLs, they are subject to mandatory inspection on the receiving side before the request is executed.

  • Third-Party Code

Most WordPress compromise incidents revolve around vulnerable plugins, themes, and unpatched versions of the WordPress engine. In other words, the less third-party code the smaller the attack surface.

In case you can’t do without a specific WP component of that sort, be sure to do your homework and scrutinize it first. The things you should pay attention to include the user feedback, the date its latest build was released, and the PHP version it supports.

Additionally, check expert reviews on well-established security resources such as Wordfence.

Area 3: Availability

  • Updates

As far as the WordPress engine is concerned, it gets security updates automatically. However, the process isn’t as hassle-free with themes and plugins. You may have to check for updates and install them manually.

Furthermore, it might be a bumpy road because you can’t be sure that these third-party entities work flawlessly until they are tested extensively. Users often go through a lot of trial and error with them.

  • User Roles and Privileges

Sensitive data should be safe as long as it’s in the right hands. Therefore, you need to diversify access permissions to ascertain that each user can’t access more information than they actually need. A great way to manage privileges is to create user roles. The user roll technique will also prevent third-party components from tweaking the WordPress Core files.

  • Email

WordPress works with email at the level of the server it’s installed on. To protect it from snoops, you should consider using the SMTP communication protocol.

There are numerous plugins that facilitate the process of sending emails via a tamper-proof SMTP connection.

You will need to add a new Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record, which requires access to the domain name’s DNS settings. The above-mentioned record is tasked with ensuring that the domain allows the SMTP service to send emails.

  • Auditing

The importance of keeping tabs on data integrity stems from the fact that attackers will be able to modify the code if they manage to access the server.

Thankfully, this issue can be addressed by means of specially crafted plugins. For example, the security plugin by Sucuri is a good choice. It checks your entire file database for a plethora of harmful code samples.

  • Backups

If you’re using a trusted hosting provider, it most likely performs the whole backup routine for you.

Even if your provider doesn’t offer an automatic backup feature for your site, there are plenty of alternative options to choose from. For instance, some services can back it up to cloud storage like Amazon S3 or Dropbox.

  • Hosting services

Low-quality hosting services are a common source for adverse scenarios where WordPress websites run obsolete PHP versions. There tends to be a big gap between managed hosting and one that simply provides a directory with database access.

You would always be better off finding a reputable managed hosting for your WordPress site. Although this could be a pricey option, you can rest assured that the security will be at a decent level.

Summary

The WordPress engine itself is getting regular updates that deliver patches and improvements, and the ecosystem around it isn’t nearly as secure.

The good news is, if you follow safe practices when installing themes and plugins, adding new user roles, and writing new code, your website should be on the safe side.

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The Curious Case of Using Airdrop as a Tinder Alternative

The Curious Case of Using Airdrop as a Tinder Alternative

airdrop as tinder alternative

Back in 2011, Apple engineers masterminded an awesome feature called AirDrop. It’s intended to facilitate file transfers among supported devices. The process is amazingly simple and doesn’t require device pairing at all — it works out of the box and only takes a few clicks or taps to complete a file exchange. Here is the curious case of using Airdrop as a Tinder alternative.

AirDrop uses a combo of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocols so the data transfer speeds are huge.

Interestingly, some tricks may allow you to extend the use of this feature beyond simply sending files.

For example, you can find out the phone number of another person who is in the same subway car with you. I’ve been recently using this feature to meet new people on my way to work, in public transport, and all kinds of diners.

Sometimes I walk out of the subway with a new friend. Intrigued? Here are ins and outs I’ve found of using the unorthodox way of using AirDrop.

How AirDrop works

AirDrop is a service for data transfers within a peer-to-peer network. It can function via a classic local network and over the air between any Apple devices. I’m going to dwell on the latter scenario, where two nearby devices don’t have to be connected to the same network.

For instance, two people are riding the subway and their smartphones aren’t connected to the same public Wi-Fi.

To start a data transfer session via AirDrop, the sender’s smartphone broadcasts a BLE (Bluetooth low energy) advertising packet that contains hashed information about the sender’s iCloud account and telephone number.

The packet then requests a connection via AWDL (Apple Wireless Direct Link), which is reminiscent of Android’s Wi-Fi Direct.

On the receiving side, the status of the AirDrop feature can be one of the following:

  • Receiving Off — the device cannot be detected at all.
  • Contacts Only — it can only receive files from the user’s contacts. For the record, a contact is a phone number or email tied to your iCloud account.
  • Everyone — the device can receive files from any users nearby.

Depending on the privacy preferences, the phone will either accept the AWDL connection or it will simply ignore the BLE advertising packet.

If the “Everyone” option is selected in your privacy settings — then the devices will get connected via AWDS at the next stage. Then, they will form an IPv6 network connection with each other.

AirDrop will be operating within this network as an applied protocol using mDNS (multicast DNS) via standard IP communication.

How to meet new people using AirDrop

You’ve had enough of boring theory, so let’s now move on to practice. Although online dating is very popular, you can grab your smartphone and go hook up with someone offline using modern technology. But first, keep the following nuances in mind:

  • The trick only works if the receiving smartphone is unlocked at the moment.

    Ideally, your target should be gazing at their device. People are mostly looking at their devices places where they are bored — like the subway — or any other place you have to sit there and wait.

  • Take your time.

    A successful “conversion” usually occurs after you send a couple of pics, therefore you need to stay at the same spot for at least five minutes.

    I think of a successful “conversion” as a moment when you negotiate over AirDrop to continue chatting in the messenger. The connection is sometimes hard to do on the go because it could be problematic to figure out right away who has accepted your payload.

    Your target may walk away before you get the chance to settle on further communication.

  • Personalized files work better

    The best payload seems to be an eye-catching piece of media content you’re sending via AirDrop. A vanilla image with a meme in it probably won’t do the trick.

    The content should be aligned with the situation and imply a clear-cut call to action.

The classic method – nothing but the smartphone

This one is suitable for everyone who owns an iPhone, and it doesn’t require any particular skills except the ability to socialize. Turn on the “Everyone” mode in AirDrop settings and head to the subway.

According to my observations, almost all iDevices broadcast the owner’s name, which allows you to easily determine their gender and prep the appropriate payload.

The payload

As previously mentioned, a unique payload is more effective. Ideally, the pic should include the owner’s name. The fun part is that this image used to be shown right on the victim’s display without any extra actions on their end.

The person didn’t even have to tap “Accept” or anything like that, so you could instantly see the reaction.

I mostly created these images using the graphics editing component built into the Notes app, plus a crude version of the mobile Photoshop tool. As a result, I would often have to walk out of the subway car before the right image was ready.

While I was refining my drawing skills, iOS 13 was released. One of the changes introduced in this version is that images received from unfamiliar users are no longer displayed on the screen. Instead of the graphical preview, the person only sees the sender’s name.

In other words, the only way to address the target by name in iOS 13 onward is to specify it in your iPhone settings. For instance, you can rename your device as “Hi Emily!” Speaking of which, here’s a quick tip: you can include emoji in your gadget’s name.

Of course, this technique isn’t nearly as impressive as sending a custom image, but it still increases the odds of the target tapping the “Accept” button.

Further actions are a matter of your creativity and sense of humor. There’s one thing I can say for sure: those who join this game and start replying with images or send you notes are usually very easy-going and interesting people.

On the other hand, those who don’t reply or simply reject your message tend to be snobs who think too highly of themselves. Also, the fear factor plays a role in some cases: shy and oversensitive people are afraid to interact with a pushy stranger.

The bottom line

Your new Airdrop hobby is the perfect way to have fun in the subway. It’s got a wow effect that lures curious people. I bet some of your new acquaintances won’t mind playing along.

Some people might even change their plans and exit the subway at your station to have a coffee together. I’ve met a lot of new people in a year’s time and continue to communicate with some of them.

Unfortunately, not all tricks targeting Apple devices are as harmless as this one. Malicious actors are increasingly infecting Mac computers and iPhones with malware these days, and many of these campaigns also have a flavor of social engineering.

An example is the ongoing adware distribution stratagem that relies on deceptive pop-up alerts stating that your Adobe Flash Player is out of date. Instead of installing the purported update, though, these ads promote browser hijackers and scareware.

To keep your Apple devices safe, avoid application bundles that may conceal malicious code under the guise of benign software. Be sure to keep your operating system and third-party apps up to date – this will address all recently discovered vulnerabilities and harden the overall security of your iOS or macOS device.

Furthermore, refrain from clicking on links received from strangers as they might lead to malware downloads and phishing sites.

It’s a good idea to audit the privacy settings of your most-used apps. In particular, make sure they don’t have access to sensitive data such as your location unless they really need it to work right. Also, keep your devices locked when not in use and specify strong passwords to prevent unauthorized access.

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Best Competency With Artificial Intelligence is by Having Intelligent Experience

Best Competency With Artificial Intelligence is by Having Intelligent Experience

competency with AI

AI is changing the way customers interact with businesses. AI changes everything with how websites and bots will work — along with many other tools and integrated systems. Businesses protect and manage digital assets and data of the company. There is a day-to-day struggle in businesses currently using artificial intelligence, which is made more difficult because of sequential technologies.

Many businesses are intrigued by the idea of turning to artificial intelligence for help in the sales process. AI is certainly capable of finding your best-qualified sales leads. AI can give you efficient issue resolution, and systems that feed actual data back in for future process and product improvements. However, most enterprises do not know where or how to get started with their “new” company AI.

Systems and data must connect to allow full use of capabilities as if all information were native to each. And also, edgeways to present information to end-users, though data is evolving on a constant basis. The environment requires specialized insight and know-how to ensure a smooth and continuous integration that’s both relevant and current.

The intelligent experience is all about leveraging AI to derive predictive insights that can be embedded in the workflow. Companies seeking competitive advantage must find ways to make their business operations more intelligent.

It Starts With a Shift In Focus

AI functionality is poised to be a game-changer, exploring possibilities and opening up new roles and more business-central activities. However, it’s important to first understand how intelligent experience can help improve? It starts with a shift in focus.

Artificial intelligence is edging into business processes across organizations, however, when an organization interacts with the use of AI correctly, that shouldn’t be a sign AI is running the experience behind the scenes.

AI has the power to make customers feel they are making their choices, but it’s the machine learning and the algorithms that are handling those decisions.

The most useful sense, when it comes to shifting in focus, is vision — keeping track of the ability to give suggestions on how to improve.

Artificial Intelligence is going beyond the senses and going straight to the source – the brain. The very reactive tactic, oftentimes, companies are late, identifying customers likely when it’s too late. This is because there is a major difference between predicting significant changes in the economy and a financial sign that becomes apparent only after a large shift has taken place.

Artificial Intelligence aims to heavily impact a number of industries worldwide — shaping online customer experience models. The AI technology will take hold across many industries over the coming decade, and businesses firmly need to decide how AI will help them to optimize conversions.

Automating most internal processes, the operational effort involved in maintaining and controlling devices is reduced. However, simultaneously shifting focus, the marketplace, significantly allows configuration.

More cost-efficiency is rising from artificial intelligence, so customers can focus on increasing the quality and operations of their processes with just an increase in resources.

It is crucial to assess the landscape of the acquisition time period. This often is where perceptive relations start to form. Customers are going to be comparing their initial experience to the expectations entrepreneurs set during the sales process.

Examination; Plug Opportunity

Processes of Artificial Intelligence are making significant progress in reducing several walks of life problems. It also provides automation of not-get interpretation and grasping, restructure the information.

With AI, as per the market, you can spur on processes, get value from data, and provide clients with a better experience. All those benefits can help drive sales and boost revenue.

The application of the AI system may now be defined in considerable detail. As of a rule, the cost of Artificial Intelligence requires intelligence on the work being done for proactive development. The development work is usually split into several feasibility studies and set business and project objectives.

However, if Artificial intelligence claims to be a plug-and-play canned legacy, you need to be highly suspicious. You need to have someone trained to take care of this system. (source: coseer.com.)

The sufficient algorithm performance is a key cost-effective factor, as often a high-quality algorithm requires a round of tuning sessions. To decide between various algorithmic approaches towards businesses, one needs to understand how exactly inculcation takes place under the hood, and what can be done to obtain competency.

If it is not clear up-front, one may end up in a situation of not-more-performing. AI is certainly exciting, but business owners cannot jump into it without first laying the foundation with basic analytics.

Odds Of Probability

With so many possibilities for applying AI across an organization, in all likelihood, deploying an AI system must be effective. AI is often considered solely from a technology perspective and little wonder since its capabilities rely on—and continually improve through—technical innovations.

Deploy with quick-witted positioned skills and a variety of tools to create AI algorithms that can be inserted into enterprise applications. Quick wins bring an added bonus. Meaning that getting the most out of AI is about validating AI’s ability to spark value, keeping momentum and funding, and going for longer-term projects.

AI doesn’t thrive in a vacuum. Businesses that generate value from AI deal with it as a major business transformation initiative that requires non-similar parts of the company to come together and work with probable expectations. AI is the future of business operations.

When contemplating an investment in AI, be sure you have pragmatic predictions and have a setup that will allow you to embed insights into the daily workflow of your organization. Through the power of AI, you can start blurring the lines between sales, service, and marketing.

The power of artificial intelligence needs a hard edge at business processes and the majority of resources. From there, your company can use AI in a way that actually helps your business grow and ultimately boost your bottom line.

Image Source: Pexels

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Cybersecurity Concerns Shouldn’t Halt Digital Transformation of Your Business

Cybersecurity Concerns Shouldn’t Halt Digital Transformation of Your Business

cybersecurity and digital transformation

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest hurdles to progress and digital transformation for companies. Naturally, with new technologies comes new vulnerabilities, which companies can find difficult to navigate especially in new cloud environments.

Legally, cybersecurity designers have to follow strict regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other laws to protect sensitive information that businesses may possess of their clients.

However, companies that can navigate this system and use their information effectively can more than double their profitability.

Security is a focal point for the future, but it doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all for companies’ progress and transformation. Companies can not only evolve with technology but stay ahead of the curve and use it effectively. Here are three ways to prevent your company’s security needs from halting the digital transformation of your organization.

Security is Where the Cloud is

The future of security lies in the “cloud,” an ambiguous term that much implies your data is stored invisibly in the sky somewhere. The cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet rather than on your computer’s hard drive.

Data is stored and accessed over the internet (on someone’s server) rather than locally, which can make some companies nervous. The worry or nervousness can prevent businesses from jumping into the next generation of security.

Putting trust in the cloud means trusting that the data will be accessible at all times.

Unlimited accessibility is possible, but it can cost a pretty penny, especially as the companies providing the service can charge for things such as bandwidth.

Trusting the cloud also means trusting the companies providing cloud storage services, which many companies have trouble doing. Big corporations such as Amazon, provide cloud storage services to thousands of smaller companies. The companies can run the risk of outages that can last for hours.

Intellectual property issues can also be an issue with cloud storage. Your business and companies that provide cloud storage solutions may have riffs over who owns the data since they’re the ones storing it. This can depend on where the data was created (locally or in the cloud), and what verbiage is used in the terms of service agreement.

Reasons why companies may not want to implement cloud solutions.

However, cloud computing and cloud-based storage solutions are the future. Local storage is limited, but the storage capacity of the cloud is almost unlimited. Almost constant improvement in cloud services means an improvement in the security of data and infrastructures involved in cloud computing. Cloud security can offer reduced costs since the need to invest in dedicated hardware is eliminated. Reputable cloud service providers eliminate manual security configurations.

Familiarizing with the Cloud can help your organization operate at scale, reduce the costs of technology, use flexible systems that can give the company a competitive edge, and keep moving toward the future.

Tokenization is a Secure Digital Transformation

Tokens are a subject that not a lot of companies have heard of, but can definitely benefit from. A digital token is a digital representation of an asset or right. The asset can be a stock, bond, or real-estate.

The digital token can also represent the rights you have to access a form of data. With security tokens, you can have ownership of the asset, and investors in this asset are protected. Security tokens are useful for private securities.

The security token can often be confused with a utility token, which is when the Howey Test is used to differentiate the two.

The Howey Test is a test made by the Supreme Court that may determine if a transaction qualifies as an investment contract. This test asks if the asset is an investment of money, if it’s in a common enterprise, if there’s an expectation of profits, and if the asset comes from the expectations of others. If the asset passes this test, it can legally be considered a security token.

Security tokens are useful for companies to pay dividends and share and generate profits for token holders.

Paper-backed assets have a liquidity problem, but the cryptographic representation of assets takes care of that issue. By utilizing security tokens, businesses can represent their assets with a simple, government-regulated token. They are rather underutilized at the moment, but as more individuals and companies become interested in owning tokenized versions of assets, security tokens show a lot of promise.

Allocate Funding for Cybersecurity

Ironically, businesses can be held back from progress because they don’t know how much money to spend on cybersecurity. Cybersecurity threats have been dramatically increasing for several years, and data breaches are more common than they were ten years ago.

Cyber threats and data breaches are now considered the norm rather than the exception. Threats such as these have made big businesses to increase spending on defense and cybersecurity, but several firms still underspend on their cyber defenses.

Most firms have the most basic forms of cybersecurity, such as firewalls and antivirus. This may have been enough in the old days, but cybersecurity threats today are much more sophisticated and require more evolved forms of protection.

Authentication, encryption, and digital signatures can all help organizations protect their data from cyber threats, and it’s incredibly important that businesses invest in these to prevent costly breaches.

Investing in protection from breaches can be costly, but the chaos that ensues from data breaches when cybersecurity is not taken seriously can be more costly than their preventive measures.

Spending money on these needs now can prevent companies from having to pause operations to fix mistakes from malware, phishing, ransomware, and other forms of data breaches. In this way, the digital transformation of an organization can continue without needing to worry too much about cyber threats.

In the End

The digital transformation of an organization can be slowed down or even halted in the event of a cybersecurity threat.

Knowing how to evolve with the changing cybersecurity industry through cloud computing, tokenizations, and allocating funding for cybersecurity are just three of the dozens of ways to prevent a company from being left behind in its digital transformation.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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5 Technologies Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity

5 Technologies Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity

future of cybersecurity

The more we depend on technology to do business, the more critical cybersecurity becomes. In this age of remote work, companies are relying on more third-party tools and employee devices. Each of those devices and applications represents a potential access point for cybercriminals. Here are five technologies shaping the future of cybersecurity.

The good news is, technology can also be used to combat cyber threats.

Not only can the right software stop breaches now, but these sophisticated tools can be continuously tweaked as new threats continue to evolve.

Here are five technologies shaping the future of cybersecurity:

1. Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR)

SOAR security is a suite of technologies that allow businesses to automate some security processes. Typically used in combination with SIEM systems, SOAR closes the gap between incident identification and response.

SIEM systems are great at telling businesses what the issue is. The trouble with them is two-fold: IT personnel sometimes lack the expertise to stop threats; even if they have that expertise, much of the damage is done in milliseconds.

To understand how SOAR systems work, let’s break down the acronym:

  • Security Orchestration

Security technologies need to work in concert with one another. Orchestration is the process of stringing them together so action can be taken swiftly from a single dashboard.

  • Automation

No technology can totally eliminate the need for security experts. But by automating certain steps of the process, SOAR reduces response time and the risk of human error.

  • Response

Unlike prior software approaches, SOAR can actually stop certain threats. Because breaches cause reputational damage to brands even if no customer data is compromised, preventing them is key.

2. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

These days, cloud computing and storage is the standard. Most business applications are hosted remotely, which often allows apps to be accessed from anywhere and on multiple devices.

Naturally, easy access attracts bad actors. Any time data is transferred, it has the potential to be intercepted. Protecting your devices during transfer is where Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) come into play.

CASBs sit between a cloud application and the cloud users, carefully monitoring activity. Sometimes CASBs are in-house software, but they can also be cloud-based programs themselves.

CASBs have a couple of use cases. Some of these access security brokers simply notify administrators about potential incidents. Others work to prevent malware or man-in-the-middle attacks.

3. User and Entity Behavior Analytics

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) systems detect insider threats by monitoring users and entities, which include things like routers. They use a combination of machine learning and human decision-making.

If appropriate access restrictions have not been put in place it’s easy for insiders to access sensitive files. UEBA tools analyze users’ behavior patterns and look for anomalies that could indicate malicious activity.

For example, let’s say a particular employee downloads a few images and Word documents each day. Then one day, that person downloads several gigabytes of files. A UEBA tool would flag that download — and either take action or notify an administrator.

4. Hardware Authentication

It’s no secret that most login credentials can be cracked by dedicated hackers. If all it takes is one username and password to access your sensitive data — from any device, anywhere in the world — you’re devices can be in trouble.

Hardware authentication requires not just a username and password, but also a hardware-based approval from a separate device. There are multiple ways hardware authentication can be done:

  • USB security keys

These small devices (sometimes called “tokens”) plug into a USB port to authenticate the user. Using a token will add a layer of protection because the key must be physically possessed, which is difficult to do from a remote location.

  • Optical recognition

An optical recognition factor is a futuristic tool that reads your retina and matches it to a database to verify you are authorized to access the network. Each person’s retinas have unique patterns, just like fingerprints.

  • Finger swipes

Your smartphone might let you login by pressing your finger to a small sensor. Finger swipes work the same way, by using your fingerprints to authenticate you.

5. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Often, cybercriminals either sell sensitive data or post it online. Once your sensitive data is out on the internet — getting it taken down is a nightmare. To recover from these attacks, companies often have to send embarrassing emails to customers and reset thousands of accounts and passwords.

DLP is a collection of software and approaches designed to keep sensitive data from leaving the organization’s own network. DLP systems combine a lot of best practices, including:

  • Identifying what data is sensitive
  • Monitoring and controlling endpoint activities, or how users access information
  • Checking data that is uploaded and downloaded from the cloud for malicious software
  • Producing reports to stay compliant with governing agencies
  • Encrypting data in transit

Cybersecurity technologies aren’t just cool, complex things to talk about. They’re essential tools that protect your business from fraud, data leaks, malware, and more.

Knowing what tools are available to you is, at best, half the battle. Don’t wait until a breach happens to put these “data-best-practices” into your data-protection arsenal.

Image Credit: Soumil Kumar; Pexels

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Privacy Regulations — Are They Really Working to Protect Your Data?

Privacy Regulations — Are They Really Working to Protect Your Data?

protect your data

Data breaches are happening at an alarming rate. The first half of 2019 saw 4.1 billion compromised records, with the business sector accounting for 67% of the reported breaches and 84.6% of exposed records.

People are starting to take the protection of their own digital identities more seriously.

According to a recent privacy survey, 81% of consumers are more concerned about how companies use their data and 89% say companies should be clearer about how their products use data.

This is why more than 80 countries and regions have adopted comprehensive data protection laws and others will soon follow. But are these laws really working to keep the massive amounts of personal data from falling into the wrong hands?

Regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are developed with the intent to protect the privacy of consumers in an age where social media and other digital footprints are making it harder to keep that personal information safe and secure.

There are two interesting factors in play that exempt companies from disclosing what they plan to do with the consumer data they collect in certain situations.

Exemptions

In section 1798.105(d), CCPA states, “a business or service provider shall not be required to comply with a consumer’s request to delete the consumer’s personal information if it is necessary for the business or service provider to maintain the customer’s personal data in order to detect security incidents, protect against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity; or prosecute those responsible for that activity.”

The statement appears to exempt anyone in cybersecurity from the request if they can prove the data is required to meet one of those activities.

Items within certain security platforms that leverage the device and user identity for detection can operate under this exclusion, which is something both the security vendor and customer should, therefore, be cognizant of.

Services Provided

Additionally, section item 1798.105(3) of CCPA states that business shall not be required to comply with the act if they provide a service to “debug to identify and repair errors that impair existing intended functionality.”  

Read that statement again, please!

It opens another huge exception for businesses that debug or repair devices. It appears they are removed from any responsibility to destroy or delete the data after any period of time.

Another implication of this “law” ties into the consumer’s right to repair. Consider a consumer who has their private data stored on a personal device but modifies or repairs that device in some way that leaves the device susceptible to attack or breach.

Who is responsible? The manufacturer or the consumer?

CCPA does not provide guidance on this leaving ambiguity and potential loopholes.

While businesses may comply within these exemptions and services loopholes, that shouldn’t exclude them from the basic ethical obligation they have to inform their customers on what they plan to do with their data.

And these exemptions aren’t winning any favors with consumers, which is why nearly half of Americans don’t trust the government or social media sites to protect their data.

While governments are attempting to help by enacting privacy legislation, consumers must take the protection of their privacy into their own hands by following a few basic guidelines.

Don’t Open that Link

Phishing attempts have grown 65% in the last year and those attacks account for 90% of data breaches. And attackers are finding new ways to make their phishing scams even harder to detect.

An example shows how these attacks are now happening in real-time. The bad actor pretends to be known to the user who claims to have limited cellphone reception, so a confirmation call is not possible. The victim then helps, which then leads to handing over sensitive data to the attacker.

While phishing is getting harder to detect, there are ways to defend against them.

For instance, if there is a request to click on a link, CHECK to see if there any misspellings or weird characters in the URL.

In these cases, it’s a safe bet you can just delete the email (and link) right away.

Make it a habit to avoid clicking on links sent to you via email or social media solutions – especially those from your bank, utility companies, social networks, etc.

Instead, go to the source and type out the URL in the browser and login there.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is one of the easiest ways to protect one’s information, yet many consumers don’t know this capability exists. With multi-factor authentication, a user is asked to provide two or more pieces of information for logging into his/her devices.

For example, along with providing a password, an individual can arrange to have a code sent to their device before access is granted. When you login this way, if an unauthorized third-party somehow steals the password, they still can’t log into the account because they won’t receive the follow up mobile text code.

Many consumer services like Google and Facebook support this capability and individuals are well-advised to use this extra security.

Multiple Passwords

People still fall victim to bad password habits despite the incentives to avoid them.

Using unique passwords for all accounts helps ensure hackers only gain access to the one system associated with that password.

You can check sites like haveibeenpwned.com to determine if your information was lost in a breach.

Please use different passwords for every account — whether it’s for business or personal use.

I know it’s a pain in the butt — however, the longer the password, the better. Password manager applications can then help you store all of these passwords securely and protect them with multi-factor authentication.

There is no one sure-fire way to ensure that the billions of global data records remain protected.

Privacy regulations are a first (and much needed) step in the right direction. However, it’s up to everyone – including consumers – to do their part in protecting their personal identities online.

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6 Skills You Need to Become a Data Analyst

6 Skills You Need to Become a Data Analyst

become data analyst

Data analyst is the process in which the judgment, refining, changing, and modeling data takes place with the aim of making a better conclusion. Data analysis takes part in an important role, it helps in generating scientific conclusions and also increases the regulations in an organization. Here are six skills you need to become a data analyst.

Data-Driven Business Strategies

Today, with the deepening of the concept of data operation, more and more companies are aware of the value of data-driven business strategies and emphasize the participation of all employees in data operations. Developing the ability to analyze data is also a future trend.

A data analyst is someone who accumulates data, processes, and performs analysis of data. He or she can interpret numbers and data into simple English in order to help organizations and companies understand how to make better business decisions.

At its core, data analysis means taking a business question or need and turning it into a data question. Then, you’ll need to transform and analyze data to extract an answer to that question.

Companies of today realize how data-driven strategy is important to them and they are in need of talented individuals who can provide insights into a constant stream of collected information.

Types of Data Analysts

  • Finance
  • Data assurance
  • Business Intelligence
  • Marketing
  • Sales

The types of data analyst listed above are some of the most challenging fields which require a data analyst in their management.

Here are 6 skills you need to become a data analyst.

1. MATHEMATICAL SKILLS

Mathematical skills are important for making a profession in data analysis, as you have to play with numbers and figures all through the day. Necessary mathematics skills include:

*One should be good at calculations

*Measuring and analyzing data

*Having the ability to organize information

*One should know how to schedule and budget

Mathematical skills help in having better problem-solving skills — and also helps in financing our individual businesses.

2. ANALYTICAL SKILLS

As it is called, It is clear that analytical skills are the huge significance of data analysis. These skills include assembling, sorting, and analyzing all kinds of raw data in particular. It also helps you to view provocation or situation from a different angle. Hence, If you want to be a professional data analyst then you need to widen your analytical skills and thinking. Analytical skills help in viewing a challenge or situation from different perspectives. It is one of the most important and efficient parts of the skill you need to become a data analyst.

3. TECHNICAL SKILLS

Good computer and technical skills are very important. The main knowledge of statistics is quite helpful as well as producing languages like python or Mat Lab, and analytical languages like R and SAS are very favorable to know as a data analyst.

The more language you know, the faster and better for you to get your dream job. Examples of technical skills you need to know are:

  • Programming languages.
  • Common operating systems.
  • Software proficiency.
  • Technical writing.

4. DETAILS SKILLS

Data analyst is all about details, It helps a data analyst to be able to find and see any basic unseen errors and links, that is especially important at the point of solving problems and making decisions.

5. BUSINESS SKILLS

Aside from the technical skills, there are some business skills that one should acquire to function as a Data analyst. Some of which are:

Communication Skills:

As a data analyst, you are expected to work with different sets of people in your team which makes your communication a really important part of your job. Working well together as a team for the benefit of your organization is also one of your main responsibilities and skill.

You should be able to communicate effectively with the teammates to prepare, present, and explain data. Communication is key in collaborating with your colleagues. For example, in a kickoff meeting with business stakeholders, careful listening skills are needed to understand the analyses they require.

Similarly, during your project, you may need to be able to explain a complex topic to non-technical teammates.

Time Management and Organizational Skills:

As it is expected of you to work with different people in your team. You should be able to manage your time including your responsibilities, as well as meet your deadlines.

Decision-making and Problem-solving:

These skills are the bottom line of data analysis. The main job of a data analyst is to give the right information for decision-making and problem-solving process. Which is why it occurs to be a perfect skill required to be a data analyst.

You might need to research a quirk of some software or coding language that you’re using. Your company might have resource constraints that force you to be innovative in how you approach a problem.

The data you’re using might be incomplete. Or you might need to perform some “good enough” analysis to meet a looming deadline.

6. DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE

Domain knowledge is understanding things that are specific to the particular industry and company that you work for. For example, if you’re working for a company with an online store, you might need to understand the nuances of e-commerce. In contrast, if you’re analyzing data about mechanical systems, you might need to understand those systems and how they work.

Domain knowledge changes from industry to industry, so you may find yourself needing to research and learn quickly. No matter where you work if you don’t understand what you’re analyzing it’s going to be difficult to do it effectively, making domain knowledge a key data analyst skill.

Remember that Domain knowledge is certainly something that you can learn on the job, but if you know a specific industry or area you’d like to work in, building as much understanding as you can upfront will make you a more attractive job applicant and a more effective employee once you do get the job.

Once you have the skills mentioned above — you can use them to attract attention to yourself so as to get your dream job. These are the criteria you need for the data analyst skills checklist.

Academic Background

A bachelor’s degree is often necessary, not all the time though. To work as a data analyst you need to acquire a degree in any of these Science courses.

  • Economics
  • Business information systems
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Computer science

As much as the above degrees are important for your success — what matters the most are the skills that you possess. Right now during the COVID-19 problems may be the time for you to upgrade yourself and your skills.

Conclusion

Data analysis is speedily growing field and skilled data analysts are huge in demand throughout the country, in every industry. This means that you would find many opportunities only if you are exceptional and show your excellent data analytic skills.

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Best Business Intelligence Software and Business Operating System Options for 2020

Best Business Intelligence Software and Business Operating System Options for 2020

business intelligence software

The world is in between huge technological transition. Every day there is more use of technology-intensive tools in place of traditional ones. Old tricks used to be tedious, costly, mostly false, and often harmful.  As a result, business intelligence is not what it use to mean a decade ago.

Today, increased automation is making companies to go on the look-out for up-to-date business intelligence software to keep up with the new global technology order. We know that data is the main part that is driving this change. Take for example our growing need for datification to improve our minor as well as major affairs.

Companies around the world are using datification to turn our daily lives into a huge mass of data. This is why datification is the heart of data science. This unique field of science works closely with business intelligence (BI) and many other fields e.g., scientific computing, exploratory statistics, etc., to be able to infer active meaning via data handling.

What is business intelligence and BI Software?

To put it simply, BI is a technology-based process that puts raw data into a readable form. Business and data specialists figure out this raw data and turn it into easy visual facts to aid the decision-making process. Because people tend to make better decisions when they have better information.

BI uses many software with technical and nontechnical sides to turn data into useful facts. These facts greatly assist business organizations in making the right decisions as well as solve serious problems.

The usual BI process takes many complex tools, software applications, and special methods. BI helps businesses in setting up an extensive data collection mechanism through many different sources. The sources usually hold a huge amount of data. The data is then explored, modeled, and analyzed by using highly advanced tools to identify irregularities, patterns, concerns, and trends.

The purpose of extracting information through this process is to develop infographics, dashboards, analytical outcome reports, etc. All of this information communicates results with corporate executives or anyone with the power to make strategic business decisions.

Best Business Operating System

We could go about making a case of one OS against the other and confuse you to no limit. Or we could straight away get down to the best possible option and tell you why it is, in fact, the best for you. We choose to go with the latter. Because frankly, the whole point of this article is to make seemingly difficult choices easy for you.

The saturated spectrum of OS gives us the same names whenever we need a system in tune with our interests.

It usually renders people to believe that compatible or not, only these few names e.g., Windows, macOS, Unix, Android, etc., are their possible options. However, if you dig a little to look behind the obvious you will find the most well-matched solution seemingly hiding in the shadows.

Although the best OS option – Linux – for businesses that we intend to talk about today is not actually hiding in the crowd, it is still not much talked about especially given the unending list of values it is adding to businesses worldwide.

If you, like many others, have missed the appearance of Linux operating systems as a worthwhile alternative to nearly all the existing OS, now is the time to rectify that. it is being estimated that Linux is set to replace the OS arena as you know it today due to its dizzying range of futuristic features that are sweeping the technology bigwigs off their feet. take Huawei reliance on Linux Deepin for its MateBook laptop for example.

Why go with Linux for your business?

2020 is not just the year of further technical advancement if anything, 2020 seems to be more business-centric than anything else regardless of the subject area or nature. The technological progress of businesses can only be ensured if the in-house IT infrastructures are up to date. For cloud computing though, Linux is proving to be an unparalleled fit and rather an inexpensive fit for businesses.

You will also find that the integration of Linux systems is quite simple depending on the specific Linux distribution –  distro – you select in coordination with your computing requirement. The best still is the fact that you don’t have to discard your standing infrastructure to appropriate the flexibility that open-source software and cost-effective functionality of Linux provides. It is literally a free replacement for other OSs, which businesses find more than a little hard to comprehend.

Linux does not require purchase prizes even for the applications unless you are a kind of business that needs expert help from paid tech support. Even that can be worked away, given the variety of Linux system administrator training programs available today which effectively ticks an overhead off the list of businesses’ overall cost.

Best Linux for Businesses in 2020

So how do you figure out which distro is the best fit for your business? Because Linux OS comes in a vast variety with several futuristic business-grade features. Well, we have put together a list of top of the range distribution based on a criterion that includes:

  • Stability
  • Practicality
  • Support

Let’s have a look at some of the best Linux in 2020 with critical uptime, unwavering support, and practical capabilities.

CentOS

CentOS is one of the most popular Linux server distributions. Linux has developed CentOS on the foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) by the funding support of Red Hat in 2014. Assembled with pleasant Gnome – the default desktop for Red Hat & Fedora – familiarity along with widely supported Red Hat package manager (RPM) open-source, CentOS makes for a highly compatible enterprise-class Linux distro for workstations and servers.

Slackware

Slackware is the oldest Softlanding based Linux distro which is active to date. Patrick Volkerding created it in 1993. Slackware provided bases for many distributions like SUSE Linux distro. It provides end-users maximum control than any other Linux OS but this feature has both sides to consider. For instance, while it gives you huge command control, this lightweight distribution lacks the graphical configuration and software dependency resolution mechanism. If you are looking for a customized distro, Slackware is the one to suit your requirements,

ClearOS

This Linux distro specifically optimizes small and medium enterprises. It serves as a network gateway as well as a network server that you can administer completely from a web-based interface. ClearOS is an effective alternative to commercially supported software solutions with professional tech support availability. Like CentOS, this distribution also has a relatively simple configuration and maintenance due to innate RHEL foundation packages. But the similarities cease here because unlike CentOS, ClearOS is strictly a server platform. Its absolute web reliance proffers the use of varying consoles unnecessary after the distro installation.

Ubuntu

The ever increasing popularity of Ubuntu – Linux desktop distribution – make people think that it is most compatible with personal usage. Which is hardly true given its well-recognized community support system. Ubuntu provides its end-users absolute stability and flexibility along with the free version called Ubuntu Servers for the backend requirement.

Ubuntu is designed based on another Linux distro named Debian. It means Ubuntu can use Debian packages using advanced package tools (Apt) management system to add or remove software. If you choose to select Ubuntu as your Linux OS, you will have the finest support from its massive userbase. The latest releases are marketed as long term support (LTS) backed distros with 5 years maintenance option for professional tech support.

IPFire

IPFire distro is often regarded as a Linux watchdog due to its extraordinary security solutions. This is especially relevant to small businesses that are more susceptible to cyber threats to the security of their networks. Install this distribution and leave it to manage the IP addresses, firewall protection, and employee monitoring for safety or behavioral check. Although it is not difficult to maintain, IPFire will surely require expert-level knowledge to get it installed and running.

There are several reasons for its complex configuration. For example; distinct nature from any other Linux versions, Tor node, proxy protocols, etc. There are several Linux administrator training programs available that should solve these support issues in the installation process of IPFire.

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE or more accurately SUSE Linux Professional is another Linux distribution community program. It is powered by SUSE Linux GmbH to be used as the basis for commercial SUSE Enterprise. Contrary to CentOS and ClearOS, OpenSUSE is designed with a strong desktop environment that has its window manager called K development environment (KDE). KDE comes with a graphical interface that makes it a heavyweight distro to be highly compatible with timeworn hardware systems. For instance,  Raspberry Pi single-board computers. It is a stable and secure OS due to the latest release of rolling models that has consistent update availability.

Best Business Intelligence Software for 2020

Often the term business intelligence refers to a vast range of brilliant BI software. Software that quickly accesses and analyzes data sets to provide easily understandable and actionable information in the form of:

  1. Analytical reports
  2. Insightful summaries
  3. Dashboards and ad hoc queries
  4. Graphs, charts, and maps

Yet, the hunt for just perfect business intelligence software can be a somewhat daunting and costly process. Especially if we consider the fact this software often delivers more than what’s required by small or medium-sized organizations. The good news is that there are many free BI tools maintained by highly skilled developers motivated to break BI monopoly.

Seven of the most optimal free BI software for you to start taking advantage of data analytics — and these cost less.

ChartMogul BI Software

ChartMogul is one of the most popular BI software that manages an extensive user community rather smoothly. It is known to provide the best services to businesses that are working to build a subscription package. It is possible due to its churn rate measurement and customer value features.

QlikView

QlikView is an exceptional ETL data storage and multilayered analysis BI software. Presented by Qlik, this tool also offers an end-user dashboard that connects different data sources to develop data visualizations.

Cluvio

Cluvio is programming language compatible business intelligence software. It lets businesses to process data written in SQL, R, etc., against their databases to produce data visualization and dashboards. It also provides webinars and online training to help businesses get started.

ActivTrak Business Intelligence Software

ActivTrak – released by Birch Grove Software – is a behavior analytics software that can sustain the teams of 5 to 1,000. This BI tool is designed for business, IT, and HR executives, managers. It also assists team leaders to track the overall status and productivity. ActivTrak also comes with both the iOS and Android compatible apps.

Databox

Databox is known to be a powerhouse of the best business intelligence software. It has an impressive interface and simple functionality that allow businesses to keep tabs of key performance indicators (KPI). It presents dashboard reports and information that can be shared on multiple devices. Databox also comes with integrated systems like Adobe Analytics along with iOS and Android compatible mobile app.

Tableau

Tableau, true to its name, is an Excel-based BI software. It is perfect for those who enjoy data analysis within pivot tables. It has an advanced user interface that offers a drag-and-drop feature for data manipulation and visualizations.

Kyubit Business Intelligence Software

Kyubit BI – powered by Kyubit Solutions – is another programming language assimilated business intelligence software. It allows businesses to develop reports off their SQL, CSV, OLAP, etc., data. It is an ideal tool for those with a little bit of knowledge of data analytics or business intelligence mechanisms.

You can install these free BI software from the cloud, web portals, and SAAS and offer 24/7 live support availability.

Significance of Business Intelligence

Today, optimizing BI is no longer considered the province of only mega-corporations. Because affording data centers and computing powers that are required to analyze business data was not for average businesses. Courtesy to inexpensive data-analysis tools today and BI software even small and medium businesses are benefitting from the BI revolution.

An effective business intelligence program can improve business decision making at all levels which leads to improved organization’s tactical management processes. To improve every aspect of the company, businesses need to develop central association. It is only possible with establishing better access to the company’s data. Because after all data is the main factor that brings forth the maximum profitability.

BI and Data Science

Business Intelligence (BI) is a subdivision of data analytics that takes a predetermined set of processes, technologies, strategic architecture to transform the raw data into actionable business intelligence (information).

BI is designed to employs a reverse approach in which it analyzes past data to solve the current problems. Although, this approach provides tactical reports that contain factual statistics but they cannot predict future events. That is where the distinction between business intelligence and data science begins. You use data in an advancing approach to predict the future outcome in data science to make profitable business decisions.

Business Intelligence in data science works by combining business analytics, data mining, data visualization, input/output bounds tools, and data infrastructure, to augment businesses’ decision-making abilities. BI integrated into data-science methods is the faster way of reporting and communicating results through specialized business intelligence software tools.

Specialized business intelligence software tools include:

  • SAP Business Intelligence
  • Oracle BI
  • Microsoft Power BI
  • SAS Business Intelligence

At the end of the day, all the areas that we talked about above and more are businesses. You just cannot be a  good data scientist for an organization if you do not have great business intelligence skills. BI as a system connects all the skills that a business has.

So, if you want to work in the field of business intelligence you must get the following few skills:

  1. Experience with data analysis tools and SQL Programming
  2. Data warehousing concepts
  3. Problem-solving techniques
  4. Domain knowledge
Conclusion

Today is the right time to take full advantage of the BI software system for your business. Invest in BI training programs, best OS, business intelligence software for good results. Keeping up with technology is no longer a matter of choice for organizations. Today it is a matter of survival for businesses around the world regardless of the size of the company.

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