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Executives Say Efficiency and Security Outranks Customer Experience as the Driving Force Behind Digital Transformation

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Executives Say Efficiency and Security Outranks Customer Experience as the Driving Force Behind Digital Transformation
  • Radware research finds 97% of execs are concerned about their security as a consequence of their strategies to blend public and private clouds
  • Data privacy also a great concern, especially as almost half of execs have had their own data stolen, and 53% admit their company has paid a ransom
  • 82% of companies lack any security processes in the development of applications 

LONDON, UK — CTOs say the party line that digital transformation is about the customer first and foremost is flawed and it’s actually about business efficiency and security. That’s the finding of research by Radware® (NASDAQ: RDWR), a leading provider of cyber security and application delivery solutions, which has released its 2018 Executive Application and Network Security Report today.

Now in its fifth year, the study found that many executives including CEOs, CIOs and CTOS, rank security as the number one reason to undergo digital transformation, ranking it higher than the experience they will give customers, and the improved competitive advantage and profitability it brings. Almost half of the respondents, 47%, added that the significant change the organisation was undergoing has put more pressure on security.

As a result of this pressurised dynamic, 71% of executives report shifting their security budgets in favour of machine learning and automated security tools, with as much as 43% of budget going on automation. 46% still rely on manual security processes to keep the network safe and some two thirds say that their security measures are lacking and penetrable by hackers.

Much of the business transformation execs are managing involves moving to the cloud. In fact, 90% of execs are now using multiple public and private cloud environments, with anything from 25-50% of their applications now hosted in the cloud. But overwhelming 97% of execs said they have security concerns about this strategy possibly because approximately half of executives report having experienced a data breach from mobile applications in the past 18 months.

Andrew Foxcroft, regional director for Radware UK, Ireland and the Nordics says: “It’s interesting that the public is being told that the over-riding reason for digital transformation is to improve the customer experience, yet the business imperative is really about improving efficiency and securing data. It raises the question about what there is to hide and how secure our data is.

“I think CTOs are stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to keep all parts of the business happy. Rightly so they are turning to a cloud strategy to transform how business is done but it’s only proving to create security gaps and put data at risk.

“But there are ways to turn this challenge into an opportunity. Building customer experience that’s secure is vital to win the loyalty of today’s tech-savvy consumer. The fact is security needs to be seen as more of a strategic business issue if executives want to drive loyalty and build their brand.”

To manage the concerns, execs are now more readily sharing intelligence with peer companies, with 46% having introduced the policy in the last two years, and a further 10% planning to in the next year. Stricter checks on suppliers (35%) and tele-working policies (44%) have also been introduced in the last 24 months.

Skills also features on the list of ways CXOs are responding, with 37% saying they are now working more closely with educational institutions to recruit security experts, and 35% are turning to white hat hackers to test systems. Interestingly the trend to employ ex-hackers has tailed off in Europe with 20% of companies saying they won’t continue to in the future and instead will turn to vendors and automation for support.

Andrew continues: “Skills, especially security skills, is going to be one of the biggest challenges CTOs face in the next five years. I think we’re on the cusp of seeing skills replaced by automation and a more open approach to using educational institutes as well as the expertise of vendors to stay ahead of the cyber criminals. There is only so much a machine can do and CTOs will need to have a strategy in place that blends the skill and technologies available to them so they have every weakness covered.”

When it comes to reviewing security measures, it’s an attack on their own network that prompts a review for 59% of execs. However, it’s an attack on a competitor that is most likely to prompt a review (61%). The rise in nation state attacks is also causing concern for 41% of execs who say it’s instigated another look at defences, this is especially true in America where 54% of execs were worried about the increase.

As you would expect given the introduction of GDPR and recent scandals, data privacy is a great concern for their C-suite with 7 in 10 saying it’s got boardroom attention now with 41% of execs said that the company had suffered legal action as a result of a breach.

69% of executives said that their company faced a ransom attack in the past year, compared with only 14% in 2016. Worryingly 53% admitted paying a ransom to try to stem an attack.

Interestingly, more than 4 in 10 executives report having had their own personal information exposed as a result of a data breach, though this is more common in America and Asia than Europe.

Despite all these concerns, 82% of execs say their companies do not include security review processes in the development of applications, and there are no bug bounty programmes in 65% of cases, or built in testing procedures for DevOps, 44%.

A copy of ‘2018 Executive Application and Network Security Report’ is available to download and the views of more than 200 senior leaders from across the globe.

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Facebook ‘refriends’ Australia after changes to media laws

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Facebook 'refriends' Australia after changes to media laws 1

By Byron Kaye and Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Facebook will restore Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented week-long blackout after wringing concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content.

Both sides claimed victory in the clash, which has drawn global attention as countries including Canada and Britain consider similar steps to rein in the dominant tech platforms and preserve media diversity.

While some analysts said Facebook had defended its lucrative model of collecting ad money for clicks on news it shows, others said the compromise – which includes a deal on how to resolve disputes – could pay off for the media industry, or at least for publishers with reach and political clout.

“Facebook has scored a big win,” said independent British technology analyst Richard Windsor, adding the concessions it made “virtually guarantee that it will be business as usual from here on.”

Australia and the social media group had been locked in a standoff after the government introduced legislation that challenged Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google’s dominance in the news content market.

Facebook blocked Australian users on Feb. 17 from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform, drawing criticism from publishers and the government.

But after talks between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a concession deal was struck, with Australian news expected to return to the social media site in coming days.

“Facebook has refriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.

Frydenberg said Australia had been a “proxy battle for the world” as other jurisdictions engage with tech companies over a range of issues around news and content.

Australia will offer four amendments, which include a change to the proposed mandatory arbitration mechanism used when the tech giants cannot reach a deal with publishers over fair payment for displaying news content.

‘UNTESTED’

Facebook said it was satisfied with the revisions, which will need to be implemented in legislation currently before the parliament.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation,” Facebook Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said in a statement online.

The company would continue to invest in news globally but also “resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”

Analysts said while the concessions marked some progress for tech platforms, the government and the media, there remained many uncertainties about how the law would work.

“Retaining unilateral control over which publishers they do cash deals with as well as control over if and how news appears on Facebook surely looks more attractive to Menlo Park than the alternative,” said Rasmus Nielsen, head of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, referring to Facebook headquarters.

Any deals that Facebook strikes are likely to benefit the bottom line of News Corp and a few other big Australian publishers, added Nielsen, but whether smaller outlets win such deals remains to be seen.

Tama Leaver, professor of internet studies at Australia’s Curtin University, said Facebook’s negotiating tactics had dented its reputation, although it was too early to say how the proposed law would work.

“It’s like a gun that sits in the Treasurer’s desk that hasn’t been used or tested,” said Leaver.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD

The amendments include an additional two-month mediation period before the government-appointed arbitrator intervenes, giving the parties more time to reach a private deal.

It also inserts a rule that an internet company’s existing media deals be taken into account before the rules take effect, a measure that Frydenberg said would encourage internet companies to strike deals with smaller outlets.

The so-called Media Bargaining Code has been designed by the government and competition regulator to address a power imbalance between the social media giants and publishers when negotiating payment for news content used on the tech firms’ sites.

Media companies have argued that they should be compensated for the links that drive audiences, and advertising dollars, to the internet companies’ platforms.

A spokesman for Australian publisher and broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co Ltd welcomed the government’s compromise, which it said moved “Facebook back into the negotiations with Australian media organisations.”

Major television broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West Media Ltd said it had signed a letter of intent to strike a content supply deal with Facebook within 60 days.

A representative of News Corp, which has a major presence in Australia’s news industry and last week announced a global licensing deal with Google, was not immediately available for comment.

Frydenberg said Google had welcomed the changes. A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Google also previously threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia but later struck a series of deals with publishers.

The government will introduce the amendments to Australia’s parliament on Tuesday, Frydenberg said. The country’s two houses of parliament will need to approve the amended proposal before it becomes law.

(Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; additional reporting by Renju Jose, Kate Holton and Douglas Busvine; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter)

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 2

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade deal with Japan settled the nerves of a lot of Japanese businesses in the United Kingdom and gives them confidence about their future prospects there, a senior Honda executive said on Tuesday.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has since the 1980s made the United Kingdom its favoured European destination for investment, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda using the country as a launchpad into Europe.

But Britain’s shock 2016 decision to leave the European Union had prompted Japan to express unusually strong public concerns. Their companies and investors warned that a disorderly exit from the EU would force them to rethink their four-decade bet on Britain.

“We welcome very much the Japanese trade agreement which as a Japanese businesses was very welcomed,” Ian Howells, senior vice president at Honda Motor Europe, told a parliamentary committee.

“On the point around confidence, that certainly amongst my peers in Japanese companies was very much welcomed, and probably settled a lot of nerves in terms of their trading prospects in the UK going forward.”

Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in October, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade. It has also made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is also a member.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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