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Kiwibank software

At Reseller News, Rob O’Neill writes:

Kiwibank has booked a $90 million impairment in its software assets and flagged a major change in its SAP core banking roilout.

“Although the strategic review has not yet concluded, a potential change to how we build the core ‘back end’ IT system (CoreMod) to match the demands of the ‘future front end’ has prompted a re-assessment of the value of the work in progress since successfully migrating our batch payments to SAP,” the bank said today.

Source: Kiwibank books a $90 million impairment on software – Reseller News

You have to wonder why boards tolerate large-scale SAP projects when the failure rate  is so high.

I’ve been told, off-the-record, by a number of high-ranking technology executives that dumb decisions are imposed from the top down with CIOs left to carry the can and pick up the pieces.

One recurring theme is that most of the cost and time overruns are due to extensive integration and customisation.

Make that unnecessary integration and customisation.

It is as if every bank or large business has unique, arcane and esoteric processes that can only be covered by expensive and risky software rewrites.

We know that simply isn’t true.

To think there is something magic tied up in those processes is madness. And expensive.

A smarter strategy for a bank, or any large-scale enterprise, would be to purchase off-the-shelf technology and redesign internal business processes to fit the software. Packaged software usually comes with flexible enough options and settings to cope with essential exceptions.

That’s how it works for small businesses buying accounting software from firms like Xero. Speaking of Xero…

Ben Kepes writes about an infosec panic:

Bitglass, a company that is all about protecting organizational data, wanted to see the impacts of widespread use of public wi-fi, alongside the use of unsanctioned file sharing solutions…

…Bitglass’ threat research team tested two real-world scenarios—public wi-fi use and sharing of data from within a cloud app. The assumption being that the combination of public (and, one assumes, at-risk) wi-fi and cloud file sharing apps (shock, horror, cue the “cloud is risky” FUD) would deliver a double blow of cataclysmic risk.

Source: Public WiFi plus cloud file sharing: A recipe for InfoSec panic? « The Diversity Blog 

Kepes goes on to talk about his experience of using public wi-fi. He says he uses it a lot and never runs into trouble.

That makes sense. But it misses something. Kepes is motivated. He owns a business. He has enough experience, knowledge and sense to steer clear of obvious traps.

You, I and Kepes might be sensible. You can’t assume everyone using an enterprise computing app on a mobile device will be as careful or as savvy.

No amount of training or awareness programmes changes that.

Risky, not too risky

Organisations are at risk from careless use of public wi-fi. As Kepes points out the level of risk might not be high.

There is a simple way to deal with the risk. Build VPN functionality into every heavy-duty mobile enterprise app. That way that users have a secure, encrypted end-to-end link from their mobile device to the server handling their data.

VPNs are not expensive, they are not hard to build. They don’t impose much of a performance overhead.

Enterprise software companies can absorb the cost, a few cents per month, into their pricing model. It makes sense to guarantee security with an insurance policy against data being hijacked between a mobile device and the server.

Kepes’ point, is spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt undermines cloud computing. In general, cloud is more secure than older computing models. You might not expect cloud infrastructure vendors to address mobile access risks; it should be a priority for an enterprise SaaS business.

New Zealand Public’s Support for Data Analytics

New Zealanders don’t like welfare agencies using personal spending data from credit card or insurance to verify benefit claims.

The 2017 Unisys New Zealand Security Index found only 42 percent agree with welfare agencies accessing this kind of information.

It’s not just welfare. Even fewer New Zealanders support the tax office collecting similar data to verify income tax returns. Just 21 percent think this is OK.

Researchers found the most positive government use of analytics is with border security. Allowing border security officers to analyse the travel history of passengers and their fellow travellers to decide if they are eligible for fast-track border clearance gets a tick from 57 percent of New Zealanders.

Sharp insights or nosy parkers?

Business use modern analytics and big data. They see it as a way to pluck customer insights from masses of messy-looking scraps of information. It gives them a short cut to the consumers most likely to buy their products.

Governments use big data and analytics for social policy and security reasons. Marketers also love the technologies. Used well they can boost sales and reduce marketing waste.

It turns out New Zealand consumers are, at best, luke-warm, about that idea. We don’t like marketing department computers sifting out personal data. Most of the time we are not at all happy with sharing information.

Unisys found a majority, almost two-thirds, of New Zealanders do not like data analytics being used to sell goods and services to them.

Lack of trust with banks

Researchers found 64 percent don’t want their bank to monitor their spending habits to offer related products such as insurance for items they have purchased.Shop workers using face recognition glasses to identify loyalty programme members gets a thumbs down from 62 percent of New Zealanders.

Richard Parker, Unisys Asia-Pacific vice president financial services says: “While they may be trying to improve the customer experience, if businesses cross the line and appear to invade customers’ privacy by revealing that they know more about them than what the customer has knowingly shared, it just turns the customer off.

“Technology alone is not enough. It must be used in the context of understanding human nature and cultural norms.”

This is part of a series of sponsored posts about the 2017 Unisys Security Index New Zealand.

New Zealanders cool on data analytics catching benefit fraud first posted at billbennett.co.nz.

Also on:

When do New Zealanders Support Wearable Biometrics?Unisys Security Index researchers looked at how comfortable New Zealanders are with biometrics and wearable computer devices. That’s the technical name for biometric hardware like health bands and other kit that measures medical data. It also covers smart watches and products like Google Glass.

When there’s a clear benefit, New Zealanders are happy with the devices.

Most New Zealanders support the idea of police or border security staff using face recognition body cameras to identify criminals or even terrorists on watch lists.

Likewise three-quarters of New Zealanders are happy when medical devices like pacemakers or blood sugar sensors report important changes back to a doctor.

Fingerprint scanning

About half of all New Zealand consumers are comfortable using a fingerprint scan to access a smart watch or authorise payment.

This is curious. Most recent Apple and Android phones include finger scanners. Phone makers promote the feature in advertisements and marketing. The products sell in huge quantities. This suggests a significant slice of people buying those products aren’t happy with fingerprint scans.

Around half of all New Zealanders are happy with airline staff wearing face recognition glasses to verify the identity of passengers as they board aircraft. Again, this makes sense, there’s a clear benefit from the technology speeding queues.

It seems a large segment of New Zealanders are still fiercely egalitarian. Only 24 percent support airline staff using the same glasses being used to identify VIP customers and provide them with personalised service. The same suspicions are evident in news there is low support for employers giving employees fitness trackers to track their movements or heart rate stress levels while in the workplace. Unisys says only 29 percent like the idea. This also suggests a mistrust of employers. Let’s face it, some have been known to abuse this kind of personal information in the past.

Biometrics

New Zealanders are positive about biometric devices that help health, safety and security. We don’t like devices that are part of someone’s marketing plan. New Zealand consumers do not consider a loyalty programme sufficient justification.

Mark Sabotti, director of healthcare & life sciences for Unisys Asia-Pacific, makes an interesting point on the biometric hardware results. He says consumers see a clear difference between, say, a doctor monitoring a condition and an insurance company collecting information. Even if that information means some people can save money.

Sabotti sees challenges ahead for health providers and others as the use of smart medical devices rises.

This is part of a series of sponsored posts about the 2017 Unisys Security Index New Zealand.

New Zealand security concernsNew Zealanders worry more about security than ever before. The 2017 Unisys Security Index shows the NZ index sits at 154 out of a possible 300.

That is the highest score New Zealand has registered in the 10 years the Index has run. It is up 12 percent since 2014. That was the last year the survey ran. Then New Zealand rated 137. Today’s Index is half as high again as the one in 2010.

Yet the New Zealand Security Index is well behind the global Security Index. That now sits at 173. Moreover, the global index climbed 20 percent since 2014.

NZ less worried than most

Some countries are in far worse shape. In the Philipines the Index now sits at 243. The US is a touch below the global figure at 169. Australia is a touch more concerned than New Zealand at 157. The UK rates lower than New Zealand at a relaxed 144. This seems low considering the terrorism attacks there. The Netherlands scores 125.

Unisys surveys at least 1000 people in 13 countries worldwide to produce the index. Researchers compiling the index asked questions about eight areas of security in four categories:

  • National Security includes disasters or epidemics and threats such as terrorism or war.
  • Financial Security measures attitudes towards bankcard fraud and other financial matters.
  • Internet Security looks at viruses, computer hacking and the safety of online transactions.
  • Personal Security is concerned with identity theft and personal security.

New Zealanders worry more or less equally about all four categories, but Financial Security tops the list. It’s the same in the UK and Malaysia. It doesn’t bother Germans at all. America was one of only four countries which listed National Security as the top concern. Australians are most concerned about Personal Security.

Unisys says there has been a noticeable increase in the security index in all developed countries since the last survey.

This is part of a series of sponsored posts about the 2017 Unisys Security Index New Zealand. The first was about attitudes to  security aspects of the Internet-of-things

Unisys Security Index 2017New Zealanders have a healthy scepticism when it comes to the Internet-of-Things collecting and sharing their data. More than anything, we want control.

For years we’ve been told the IoT is just a remote-monitored heartbeat away. The technology promises to change our lives as much as mobile phones.

Heaters can start to warm homes when we’re 30 minutes away. Our fridges can order fresh milk before the last drop is drunk. Farmers can already micromanage water and fertilizer to the nearest square metre in each paddock.

That’s the IoT dream. It’s already happening.

There’s also an IoT nightmare. It’s where embedded devices watch our every step and report back to uncaring, anonymous companies. They can use data gathered from our own things coupled with their own sensor information to break down any resistance we might have to spending money with them.

Watching over us

Being part of someone else’s business model is one thing. Not everyone or everything that wants to monitor us is as benign. And if the good guys can watch over us, so can the villains.

As part of a global research project, Unisys, a large technology company, questioned 1012 New Zealanders about their reaction to the Internet-of-Things.

Unisys found there’s a nuanced response. No surprises there. The TLDR version is that we’re comfortable with some aspects of IoT, uncomfortable with others. It all adds up to a complex relationship with the technology.

Control freaks?

Yet it all boils down to who is in the driving seat. New Zealanders want to the power to direct what happens with their data.

Take the idea of putting buttons on smartwatches that can alert the police to the user’s position when pushed. We’ll put aside for one moment that not even one-in-ten New Zealanders currently uses a smartwatch. That’s not the point.

Unisys found 84 percent on New Zealanders like the idea of an emergency button. That’s a overwhelming support. Yet only 31 percent like the idea of the police being able to monitor their fitness tracker to figure out where they are at any given moment. That’s a big thumbs down.

You don’t have to look at that hard to realise the first gives you the option of calling for help. The second means you’ll get help, or maybe interference, whether you want it or not.

Personal data

Trust and control are central to personal data. Most people in New Zealand trust the police, but that doesn’t go as far as letting them watch over you all the time. Being able to call for help retains control, being monitored, puts someone or something else in control.

Unisys found there is also high support, 74 percent, for medical hardware such as pacemakers or blood sugar sensors able to alert doctors if something happens. We tend to trust our doctors.

Almost two-thirds of New Zealanders are happy to have sensors on their luggage so their phones know where it is at an airport. Which you could interpret as meaning we are less trusting of baggage handlers or worry about the lack of control. If the IoT hands some back, we like that.

This is the first in a series of sponsored posts about the 2017 Unisys Security Index New Zealand.