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Cyber Securities Resolutions for the year 2021

Following the events of 2020, retaining the customer trust has never been this important and at the same time so difficult. With the wide range of changes in the working patterns like mass mitigation to remote working has made the task of keeping the job secure difficult. Juggling between the sophisticated cyber criminals and the Government’s pressure to ensure its compliance, the previous year had become a minefield. Amidst these Cyber security rose to the top of the most organization’s plan for the coming year of 2021.

Summing up all the challenges faced by the wide variety of organizations, Edwin Weijdema, Global Technologist, and Product Strategy at Veeam produced few main things to consider while setting up cyber security.

We might think that the business have been accelerating in their digital transformations and possibly there cannot be any loop holes, but what we don’t know is that, even the cyber criminals are also having it hard. There has been a sharp rise in ‘Dark Clouds’ as cybercriminals have drifted to the cloud, habitually for the same reasons businesses have and the cloud allows them to avoid big up-front capital expenses or pay monthly for their shady businesses and scale up only when they need to.  The cyber criminals are innovative more than ever now. It ranges from the cloud based cashes filled with stolen user data such as email addresses and authentication credentials, to personal identifiable information (PII) such as scans of passports, driver’s licenses and bank invoices. Data exfiltration is now the backbone of all cyber-attacks. One breach is all it takes to ruin the reputation and the relationship with the customers. Therefore having an effective cyber security program in place puts the business continuity at minimum to no risk. 

The risk factor for every business is fast-tracking between the collaborating cybercriminals, the upwards trajectory of data growth and the distributed workforce. The general IT spending is increased by around 5-10% in the New Year in most of the businesses, despite the economic impact of the pandemic. And we expect most of that allocation to go towards IT security. In spite of having these investments, it is not enough to cover the entire potential threat vectors and the businesses are being forced to place their strategic bets across their people, processes and technology in the hope of make their weak points strong.  It’s impossible for every business to get this mix perfectly right and the business leaders also need to strategize how best to avoid these cyber-attacks. Making sure every member of the company plays in the cyber security challenge is key instead of just constantly asking the IT professionals to handle who will already be putting out fires. The entire ecosystem of peer organizations, experts, suppliers, vendors and even the government should be aligned and geared towards contesting this threat.

Meanwhile as the Cyber criminals also work together by sharing information about critical vulnerabilities, breached systems and targets extremely fast, it would be good to work with the local law enforcement agency like NESA, The National Electronic Security Authority in the UAE, to figure out how to best utilize risk management models. Technology is always going to be the heart of your cyber security fight, but no one product is going to maximize your cyber security state. Organizations need to look for software-defined models integrated with external services a hybrid security approach. This includes cloud-based software such as PenTesting-as-a-Service (PtaaS), Scanning-as-a-Service (ScaaS), Network Defense-as-a-Service (NDaaS), Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) and Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS). Build an ecosystem that will stand by your side when the cyber security battle starts to heat up.

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AI role in customer experience in banking

The concept of banking first sprung up around 8000 BC. Then, there came various drastic changes to expand their services and innovate their business models. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are applied to help banks and financial institutions nowadays. A survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) showed that 77% of banking executives believe that the use of AI will ultimately differentiate between winning and losing banks.

This pandemic has triggered a sudden socioeconomic shift from physical to digital. There is a rapid switch to digital channels. Recent research by YouGov was conducted in June 2021. And that revealed that digital services have become the de facto way of conducting business and access services during the pandemic. EIU’s survey showed that enhancing the user experience through better personalisation ranked first in the most valuable uses of AI.

Customer propositions are no longer fit-for-all. It involves both banking and non-banking products and services. To identify the customers’ needs the banks must take an entirely new approach to innovation. They should adopt a customer-centric view. This starts with understanding the customer needs. AI makes it much easier to analyse customer preferences. The redesigning of customer loyalty program gives banks an accurate understanding of customer. Effective personalization offers customers not only better leads but also a more unique experience. The customer experience can be improved by applying AI. Banks must also build out their capabilities to strike new partnerships.

Businesses across all industries are working hard to retain their customers, including banks. AI can become a banking institutions’ superpower. This can take the customer experience to new heights, resulting in happier and more loyal customers. It will also reduce a bank’s operating costs and enable increased revenue per customer. To become AI First, banks must focus on streamlining their technology layer. They also require a strategy to engage customers through channels owned by them and their non-banking partners. Business and technology must work hand in hand, with cross-functional teams breaking up organisational silos.

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Amazon to offer insurance to UK businesses

The technology giant’s first foray into business insurance in the country, broker Superscript said that Amazon is going to start offering insurance to small and medium-sized UK business customers. Members of Amazon’s Business Prime program will be able to buy cover from superscript such as contents insurance, cyber insurance and professional indemnity insurance. Superscript spokesperson said that those would be underwritten by major UK insurers. A discount of 20% will be offered to current rates. This is to entice the businesses over to them.

50% of customers are prepared to buy insurance from non-traditional players. A recent survey of 12,000 people globally by consultants Capgemini showed this. Cameron Shearer, co-founder and CEO of Superscript, said in a statement that the insurance industry needs to bridge the divide between insurers and customers. Amazon’s move into UK business insurance comes after U.S. insurtech Next Insurance said that it was offering cover to U.S. small businesses. And that too via Amazon Business Prime. Molly Dobson, Country Manager for Amazon Business UK & Ireland, said in the statement that as the businesses come out of the pandemic, they want customers to have the best-in-class tools to run their business.

Financial institutions are worried that tech firms will steal their business. But industry sources said that the insurers and tech firms are more likely to forge partnerships. Because of the given difficulties and expense for outsiders in entering the highly regulated finance sector. Amazon also offers warranty insurance and “buy now, pay later” services in Britain.

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In NFT fantasy soccer game, SoftBank leads funding

Blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare has raised $680 million. This is through a funding round, which is led by SoftBank. According to the company, it includes players such as ex-England international Rio Ferdinand and Spain’s Gerard Pique. Paris-based Sorare said that the investment valued the company at $4.3 billion. Sorare is an online game, since 2018. Here players buy officially licensed cards that represents soccer players. They can build teams and play against each other. This is based on the players’ performance in real-life games.

The cards are traded in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The market for NFTs has seen major growth in 2021. Michel Combes, president of SoftBank Group International, said that they think NFTs represent a new paradigm in the collectability, usability, and engagement with assets. This evolution from physical assets to digital assets is very powerful. This also creates a lot of exciting potential business models. NonFungible.com is a website that tracks NFT market data. According to them, Sorare is the largest sports-based NFT platform by sales volume. They are planning to open an office in the United States. So that they can expand into other games out of Sorare.

Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare said that they saw the immense potential that blockchain and NFTs brought to unlock a new way for football clubs, footballers, and their fans to experience a deeper connection with each other. They believe that this is a huge opportunity to create the next sports entertainment giant. Since January 2021, there have been $150 million of sales on Sorare. The fundraising round was SoftBank’s first time investing in Sorare. SoftBank’s Latin America fund also contributed. Other investors in Sorare’s raise are such as venture capital firms Accel and Bessemer Ventures, Pique, Ferdinand, Antoine Griezmann and Spain’s Cesar Azpilicueta.

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