2014 – the year regulation gets serious

RegulationsIf 2013 was a year of revelations in the UK banking industry – with most of them being ugly hangovers from the pre-crash days – 2014 is set to be a year of sober improvement and studied reflection for senior figures in the industry. In the UK, the FCA’s use of attestations in the final few months of 2013 have been a signal of determined intent. These agreements, where senior figures are asked to assume personal responsibility for their business’s regulatory compliance, have raised the ugly spectre of criminal charges for senior figures should the substance of their attestations prove unfounded. For most, however, they have merely focussed the minds of senior figures on compliance, with regulatory rectitude, and the technology that enables it, becoming an ever more central concern for those in charge of overall strategy. I have certainly noticed a trend whereby senior bankers are thinking more in terms of risk – and that is systemic risk at an industry and economy-side level – rather than solely in term of compliance: the spirit, as well as the letter of the law.

This trend is reflected elsewhere around the world, and with CRD4, Basel 3 and parts of Dodd Frank, as well as the Volcker rule and the Vickers recommendations all coming into force, even the most senior bankers are being compelled to consider the why (these rules came to be in place) of industry regulations, rather than just the how (my company can obey them at the lowest possible cost). Coupled with that is a real improvement in communications, not just between the regulators and the banks, and the banks and technology providers, but also between the regulators and the technology providers – a vital third pillar of the system. With that third channel of communication in place, it should be much easier (and much less costly) to implement and refine the business-wide IT architectures that are needed to support and secure the compliance programmes that accompany complex and stringent industry regulations. Working with banks and technology vendors in such a tripartite manner will do a great deal to help regulators to promote stability and sustainability in the global financial service industry. That’s good for banks, good for business, and good for the economy as whole, and I hope to see it become commonplace in 2014.

The wearables revolution is coming – security professionals must be ready

virusI can hardly be the first to suggest that 2014 may finally be the year that wearable technology becomes mainstream. 2014 should, barring any last-minute complications, be the year of a commercially available Google Glass and, while many consumers remain sceptical of the technology, the possibilities for businesses (in particular industries dealing with advanced engineering or electronic technology) to enhance the capabilities of their staff are all but endless.

However, the unique ‘users’-eye-view’ properties of the Google Glass make it an extremely attractive proposition for hackers. Viruses which can control the microphone and camera of a mobile device are now increasingly common, and Google Glass is the perfect target for malware of this type.

The risks of wearables in business are not limited to one device. The form factor of all wearable devices means that their visual displays will always be small. The aim of user-experience design in, for example, smartwatches is to eliminate as much detail as possible, in order to make information decipherable at a glance. But such detail is often a vital barrier against deception-based cyber-attacks. Domain names and graphics, for example, can allow us to tell the difference between a well-crafted phishing email and its harmless equivalent. Losing such tell-tale signs knocks a few more bricks out of the human firewall. It’s not beyond the compass of user-experience designers to tackle this – indeed, a recent report from the Security and Business Innovation Council recommended user-centricity as a starting point for the design of all security systems – but as security professionals we need to be aware that, as wearable technologies make their way into the workplace, they represent a multiplication of potential attack surfaces. This will affect everything from BYOD policy, to information infrastructure design, and we would be well advised to prepare now.

By: Rashmi Knowles Chief Security Architect EMEA at RSA The Security Division of EMC

2014 will see technology helping to facilitate fully integrated healthcare

Hospital 2014Hospitals need to securely share information with other healthcare providers such as GPs and specialists, to deliver an integrated care delivery model for an ageing population.

Both an ageing population and the increase of prolonged and costly chronic illnesses means that there will be a greater demand for a level of continuous care that hospitals cannot deliver in a cost effective manner. Care will become more distributed, with the burden shared by a large variety of health providers: GPs, physiotherapists, pharmacists, home-carers, family members, private health clinics, gyms, food nutritionists – the list goes on. However, this creates a considerable technology challenge. It’s a non-trivial task to securely and efficiently share patient data when working between so many stakeholders – one that has long been worked around or avoided.

Organisations should realise that IT is crucial to enforce change. The healthcare system needs to be better suited to dealing with the increase in long-term Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which require prolonged treatment rather than acute episodes of hospitalisation. A patient-centric system based on the sharing of patient data within hospital systems, while also going beyond hospital borders and a wider spectrum of relevant stakeholders – including doctors, GPs, specialists and other healthcare practitioners – seems the best model for the future.

This integrated care model provides benefits both economically and in terms of improvements to patient outcomes. Ultimately the future of healthcare will require that the right people get to see the right patient’s data, with their consent, enabling health providers to deliver the appropriate care based on a full understanding of the patient’s history. Fundamentally, technology will play a key role in making this happen.

By: Stuart Nyemecz, district manager, regional public sector at EMC

EMC becomes a Gold Patron of the Prince’s Trust

Princes trust 1EMC has this year announced that it has become a Gold Patron of youth charity The Princes Trust, and will be engaging in a number of initiatives to provide practical and financial support for the charity’s vital work with disadvantaged young people. The Princes Trust was established in 1976 by HRH The Prince of Wales. It focuses on running programmes encouraging young people to take responsibility for themselves, helping them to build the life they choose through work, education and training. To continue this support, they rely upon generous giving and fundraising from a wide range of people.

In 2010, EMC became a Silver Patron of The Prince’s Trust and has been a member of the Trust’s Technology Leadership Group (TLG) for a number of years. Set up in 2002, The TLG is a leading fundraising and networking forum for companies and individuals involved in the UK’s technology, media and telecoms industries.

At the end of October 2013, EMC held a gala dinner at the Savoy hotel to help raise money for the charity. When EMC started the challenge, they set an ambitious target to raise over £100k for the Prince’s Trust. At the Savoy event itself, over £40k was generously donated, truly reflecting the efforts and dedication the team has put towards ensuring a successful outcome.

As it stands, EMC has surpassed its target and has currently raised over £110k – a phenomenal amount for a very worthy cause.

Our Top Three Predictions for 2014

adrian steve jamesWith 2013 quickly drawing to a close, we have asked a few of our EMC leaders to look to the future and share their technology predictions for 2014.

Adrian McDonald, President EMEA EMC on cloud in 2014:

Fewer than four per cent of Enterprise IT workloads will move to the Public Cloud in 2014, with most efforts focused on Private and Hybrid Cloud development.  We also expect that successful organisations will use cloud to reduce the unit cost of IT by more than 38%, whilst the average time for new application deployments will be reduced by more than 20%. This reduction in cost and acceleration in agility will free up IT departments to innovate beyond its core service delivery duties, supporting the business with new services which make use of their cloud infrastructure, potentially delivering new revenue and growth.

James Petter, EMC UK MD on market disruption and business leadership in 2014:

What many CEOs are contending with now is a very real and immediate sense of market disruption. Whether this is through regulation, market consolidation and/or technology, businesses are being forced to undergo substantial change in order to keep or grow their market position. Pioneering leaders are needed in order for organisations to stay ahead amongst such volatility. 2014 will need business leaders with real insight into the subtleties of their market place, as well as an excellent radar as to what’s coming next to succeed. There are a number of great CEOs already successfully setting an example here. Our own CEO, Joe Tucci, has found a structure for change and growth that has seen EMC go from strength to strength. Jeff Immelt of GE has stepped in and made an already innovative company even more so. Whilst these are strong figures and powerful leaders, it is in the structures and culture they have created in which they have demonstrated their leadership. They have enabled and empowered a culture of change which helps secure, extend and maintain their tenure at the top and I’d advise other businesses to follow their lead and leadership approach in order to drive success in 2014.

Steve O’Neill, CFO EMEA Strategic Operations EMC on the role of the CFO in 2014:

2014 will be the year of the strategic CFO, with CFOs making the transition from book-keeper to a broader strategic adviser and even the CEO-in-waiting. Managing this scale of corporate transformation requires many of the skills CFOs have. In fact, few are better placed to bridge line of business siloes and support the CEO in assessing and analysing new risks, building business cases for transformative investments, and performing ‘blank page’ planning for the future, relatively unencumbered by attachment to legacy investments and infrastructure. In 2014 CFOs must look to understanding the “why” of their business in order to focus on the strategic “what”, that ultimately will assist in the transition to a business enabler and a more strategic and fulfilling CFO role, a far cry from the ‘CF-no’ of old.

Three distinct views of what 2014 will hold from three different areas of the industry. We’d be delighted to know what you think, whether you agree or if you have a completely different view. Feel free to leave a comment on the blog or even send us a message via Twitter or Facebook.

Pivotal commits £100m to Tech City over the next ten years

pivotal eventPivotal has today announced it will invest in Tech City to the tune of £100 million over the next decade. Tech City in east London has for many years been the heart of a growing startup and technology business community. Since 2009 the number of digital companies has almost doubled and it is now home to well-known names as well as those just starting on the path to success. Pivotal see Tech City as one of the most exciting tech hubs in the world right now and while still in its infancy when compared to its Silicon Valley counterpart, it is already responsible for numerous emerging companies, creating jobs and generating a significant economic boost to the UK.

Those in the business of building enterprise software and looking for ways to understand big data analytics, mobile and the cloud may already be well aware of Pivotal. It is a company created by EMC and VMware, with additional investment from General Electric, in April 2013. While the headquarters are in the US, its EMEA headquarters will be in Old Street with 75 staff from January 2014.

The CEO of Pivotal, Paul Maritz, commented: “Tech City is one of the most exciting technology eco-systems in the world right now, thanks to its fantastic and dynamic mix of talent, infrastructure and the active support of the UK government. Pivotal is a company that helps other companies rapidly accelerate their growth, and we want to play a key role in helping organisations of all sizes, from dynamic start-ups through to global enterprises, to attract talent, grow and innovate in their marketplaces. Becoming part of the Tech City community is exactly what Pivotal wanted in order to foster high growth opportunities across multiple sectors.”

Prime Minister, David Cameron, MP said: “We’ve had real success. Today Tech City serves not only as an example of how a city can be transformed into an engine for growth and innovation, but it is also a blueprint for fostering growth that has been recognised globally. The combination of the right policies, the right people and the right programmes, backed by a Government that listens and takes action, has led to some of the world’s best entrepreneurs and their companies choosing the UK as their home.”

In addition to the Old Street HQ, the £100 million funding will support the recruitment and development of top talent and the expansion of Pivotal’s customer base across EMEA. Additionally a key element in its plans is to work with the local community and industry groups, to open an office space for use by any interested parties.

To find out more about Pivotal please visit – http://www.gopivotal.com/. You can also follow on twitter @GoPivotal.

EMC Wins Two V3 2013 Technology Awards

v3 technology awards 2013The fourth annual V3 Technology awards took place on Friday 29th November. These awards are based on submissions and V3 reader votes, with the process having been kicked-off in June. There are seven key categories including ‘Office Equipment’ and ‘Movers and Shakers’, with each category having several sub-categories.

EMC secured a total of five nominations in the shortlist stage, a significant achievement given how fierce the competition is within each category. Alas, a clean sweep was not achieved on this occasion but we were delighted to take home the awards for ‘Best Business Storage’ and ‘Customer Project of the Year’. EMC Isilon is our scale-out NAS storage offering which provides a powerful, simple and efficient way to consolidate and manage enterprise data and applications.  To receive this V3 award is a huge celebration for the efforts of all those involved in making this award winning product.
Cancer Research UK announced it was able to improve its storage utilisation by 30 per cent as a result of using EMC’s VNX unified storage product, winning the Customer Project of the Year award in the process. Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research and it’s fantastic to see the team’s efforts recognised with this award.

We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for EMC in the awards and congratulate all those who also won a 2013 V3 Technology Award – you can find a full list of the winners here.

Parker Liautaud and EMC attempt to set an Antarctic record


Today 19 year-old polar explorer Parker Liautaud will embark on a quest to set a new speed record traveling from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, a walk that will cover 397 miles. To set a new world record, Parker will need to travel 18 miles per day for 22 days, all this while facing temperatures as low as -76°F.

The trek will take in a huge volume of data about Antarctica including, conditions along the route, the physical condition of Parker himself while traveling through the subzero weather and data produced by social media observers around the world.

The data collected during the expedition will be interpreted to help put this Antarctic adventure in context. A series of visualisations will be created that cover the following:

  • Antarctic Climate: revealing changes in temperature, snowfall, ice coverage, sea level, and other conditions
  • Social Listening: is all about what the world is saying about climate change on Twitter, blogs, communities, message forums, and other social platforms
  • Parker’s Biometrics will provide information on how Parker Liautaud’s body reacts to a 398-mile (640-km) journey to the South Pole

There are several key areas which will be a specific focus. One of these will be to deploy and test a new type of Antarctic automatic weather station that relays meteorological data every 30 minutes to identify continent-wide and local trends in weather and climate.

Analysis of snow samples collected at various depths will provide ground-breaking information on climate dynamics and trends during the last 50 years. Roughly 40 percent of Liautaud’s route includes regions never sampled for this purpose and so will provide never before seen information and insight.

The third key focus will be in the study of tritium levels in Antarctic snow. Using the same snow samples, researchers will study Tritium, a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen that is used to accurately date water and ice up to 150 years old. By vastly expanding the data available, samples will contribute to contextualising the climate records being extracted from Antarctica.

The expedition will allow the role Big Data has in understanding climate change and the world’s changing environment to be explored. The ultimate aim of the expedition is to gain a greater understanding of our changing world while testing the limits of resilience the human body can tolerate in a tough environment.

To follow this expedition, keep an eye on the EMC Twitter and Facebook profile as well as the Willis Resilience Expedition website – http://www.willisresilience.com/