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NURTURING IT TALENT AND DRIVING EFFICIENCY THROUGH AUTOMATION

Nick Lowe, Vice President of Sales, EMEA

 

If there’s one thing everyone working in the IT industry is familiar with, it’s the skills gap. The issue has been prevalent over the last few years, with businesses struggling to find and retain talent with the required level of technological expertise.

 

For example, 94% of employers believe the tech industry is facing a skills gap, while 43% of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) vacancies are proving to be hard to fill – primarily due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills and experience – according to the UK Commission for Employment & Skills.

 

In terms of specific areas, cybersecurity is particularly affected. The 2017 (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Survey predicts that the industry is on pace to reach a workforce gap of 1.8 million by 2022, with a shortage of 350,000 cybersecurity personnel across Europe.

 

Simply put, the number of people entering the workforce with the required technical proficiency has failed to keep up with the increasing demand of technological development.

 

Clearly, the skills gap is still a major issue for organisations of all sizes, but it’s not the only expertise-related challenge that businesses and IT departments are having to deal with. As IT operators and security architects have become overworked, the issue of talent and time wastage has also become more and more prevalent.

 


What is talent wastage?

With security-skilled personnel proving to be in short supply, it’s essential that businesses ensure employees are working as efficiently as possible. However, too many organizations are guilty of wasting the valuable technology skills at their disposal.

 

The reality for the majority of businesses today is that their overstretched IT teams are swamped with avoidable IT issues, unscheduled activities and time-intensive administrative tasks that end up consuming a significant proportion of their time.

 

For example, research suggests that IT professionals spend an average of 29% of every working day reacting to unplanned incidents or emergencies, which equates to more than 14 weeks a year.

 

The other issue is that as networks become more complex, routine tasks take up more time than they should. Activities such as analysing and planning network changes, as well as fixing problems that arise due to policy misconfiguration, are extremely inefficient, resulting in IT and security teams becoming further stretched.

 

This is especially true for large enterprises, where corporate networks are constantly evolving and consist of an intricate mix of platforms and services that all have to be managed and secured.

 

The combination of these factors means that the technical skills of network security teams are not being put to optimal use and are in fact affecting operational effectiveness. Staff members’ talents – and time – are being wasted on mundane manual tasks.

 

So, what can enterprises do to make the lives of their IT personnel easier and ensure that their skills are not going to waste? Well, it all comes down to finding ways of minimising the amount of time being spent fighting fires and handling manual, time-consuming issues.

 


Automate the arduous tasks

Automation plays a central role. In many cases, the most arduous activities, such as firewall rule clean-up and server decommissioning, could be automated. This will create time for strategic projects that add real value to the business, such as hunting for advanced persistent threats (APTs).

 

Policy-driven automation will help network security teams become more efficient, with policy changes being implemented in minutes instead of days and security controls being tightened. Automation can also relieve the pressure of preparing for audits and reporting on compliance and ultimately reduce time spent managing security and troubleshooting connectivity across the hybrid network.

 

Enterprises therefore need to incorporate tools and solutions that streamline the management of security policies and automatically flag policy violations as they arise. This will significantly simplify the task for network security teams, enabling them to complete changes to the network in a fraction of the time – ultimately improving efficiency. Not only does it improve efficiency, it frees them up to perform more sophisticated functions that improve the business’ overall security.

 

What’s more, automation also reduces the risk of human error – meaning network security teams won’t waste time having to go back and fix misconfigurations – and is likely to result in more satisfied and productive employees.

 

Not only can automation help network security teams deal with the complexity of corporate networks, it can also eradicate human error, improve compliance, and ensure security keeps up with business agility and speed.

 

But most importantly, it can free up valuable resources – the most valuable resource being time – to focus on more complex tasks that are essential for revenue growth and directly impact the bottom line. This will enable IT talents to be optimized rather than wasted with both the business and employees reaping the rewards.

 

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Technology

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND WORKFORCE: PROSPECTS AND PREDICTIONS

Back in the day, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was just a pipe dream that people could only see in The Back to the Future movie series. Now, everyone can witness how it has evolved to become a major force for numerous industries because machines are just better than humans at physical tasks. They work faster, offer more precision, and carry heavier loads. Best of all, these machines never get tired. As a result, AI has been implemented in many industries. It has streamlined company operations, minimized expenditures, and reduced redundant tasks.

Because of the current acceptance of AI, coupled with the forthcoming future development in visual perception, machine learning, speech recognition, and other technologies, it is clear that AI will have significant ramifications in the world of business and employment. Like what happened in the Industrial Revolution’s mechanized manufacturing and factory systems, Artificial Intelligence is slated to make more drastic changes, which are exponentially swifter and wider in scope because modern technologies are even more advanced. Let’s take a look at the impact of AI in the workforce:

 

The All-Important AI Stats

Today, scientists predict that the area of AI will morph into a 190 billion dollar industry by 2025. This is not surprising at all become most of this modern and digital world’s activities include technologies like IoT, big data, and cloud computing. Even ordinary homes have not escaped the call of AI because with smartwatches, auto locks, programmable lights, intuitive TVs, and more. Everyone in the world is inclined to leverage technology to make life more convenient and easy.

AI is so powerful that it has augmented work in many industries such as robotic surgeries in healthcare, automated machines in production and manufacturing, computer-aided farming tools in agriculture, and more. Right now, reports attest that 29% of companies use AI for their operations because of its power to improve work efficiency and productivity. Industry experts forecast that this figure is set to increase in the coming days dramatically. Over the years, AI has already spearheaded a number of impressive and massive changes. However, these technologies that were once deemed cutting-edge a few years back are now considered obsolete thanks to continuous AI innovations.

 

The Double-Edged Sword

Companies just find it more practical to rely on a machine that can be programmed to deliver quality work consistently. Without any sick days and probable injuries to robots, businessmen see it as a better investment to leverage AI. Although it has a lot of benefits, unfortunately, the installation of AI means a decline in the workforce. By 2030, experts predict that 800 million jobs will be replaced by automated machines. With robots replacing humans in the factory line and other industries, more and more people are relying on unemployment funds. Sadly, the government is finding it hard to cope with the demands.

AI naysayers do point out the companies cannot just place their full trust in a machine. After all, robotic work cells can also make mistakes. There could be inefficiencies in installation, control errors and mechanical failures. Some AI tools are even prone to massive damage when they are unauthorized accessed. Most of all, since AI relies on machines, it is subject to outages due to environmental factors and power sources. Although AI can be incorporated by companies to make improvements, no one can completely do away with actual people.

Noteworthy, one of the biggest challenges of AI is its susceptibility to internet-based crime. With everything relying on connectivity, breaches of personal and financial information are set to increase. Hackers can readily find out sensitive data that is shared with a cloud. With reliance on machine learning, it is also a lot easier to invade privacy. The hacking of AI is a security crisis as criminals tamper numerous companies’ datasets.

 

The Possible Solutions

Because of an imminent threat in the coming years, 375 million workers globally have considered switching their professions. Others have reverted to updating existing skills or learning new skills because automation is stealing their jobs. If workers are serious about remaining marketable in the modern world, they will have to adapt. For instance, people say that self-driving cars are on the horizon, so those in the transportation sector need to engage in self-improvement and to expand their knowledge base so they can be employed elsewhere. Perhaps, it would be prudent to learn new software (which is a form of AI) that takes care of tedious office tasks.

As for the issue of privacy, companies can rely on AI-based routing to keep them safe. By installing VPN for all devices, along with tools and browser extensions that rely on AI, there can be a better delivery of services. With VPN installed, there are improved passthroughs, so companies are better equipped to ward off threats and attacks. With this kind of defense mechanism in place, there is peace of mind and assurance. With so many VPNs using AI to boost passthroughs and offer better encryption, this combination is crucial to addressing privacy protection online.

 

Final Word

Right now, Artificial Intelligence is intertwined in the many things that people do. From office software to computer language translations, it is hard to imagine life without. AI is a crucial part of this modern world, and people are facing an AI-driven reality. No matter how hard people resist because they fear for their jobs, it is clear as day that AI is here to stay. Businesses must adjust to it in order to stay ahead, just as workers have to transform themselves to remain competitive in a cutthroat job market.

 

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Technology

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY

Ashish Jain, CEO, Future FX

 

Artificial Intelligence refers to machine intelligence that is programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. For example while writing this article, I am not actually typing it but dictating it out using the microphone and the text is being typed by Microsoft Word itself.

The ideal characteristic of artificial intelligence is to rationalize and take actions to achieve a specified goal.

As technology advances the previous methods of artificial intelligence are taken for granted as new necessities are conjured. For example the computer was one of the most iconic invention of artificial intelligence but now it is considered as mandatory.

Artificial intelligence is continuously evolving and has to evolve. Machines are made in a way that they understand mathematics, linguistic, psychology and many more other terms that are related to human mind.

Artificial intelligence is used in many sectors for example the medical sector. It is used to test drugs and medicines.

We have applications and games which includes chess where the computer plays against us this is also a feature of artificial intelligence. Similarly self driving cars are also an invention of artificial intelligence. These have to be designed very intelligently.

This can also be used in the financial industry to trace and flag activities in banking and finance such as unusual debit card activity or usage and large deposits.

This also helps to estimate the demand supply and prices of the estimates and that makes trading easier.

Earlier, we had to pay a visit to bank on order to deposit a cheque. Then we updated to ATM/Debit Cards and now you can be identified by your retina. Many different sectors have also adapted this method to make actions it more convenient and safe.

Some more examples of artificial intelligence are iPhone’s Siri, Google’s Smart Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Maps, Ride- sharing apps like Uber and Ola, diseases mapping, Automated investing, virtual travel booking, social media monitoring, inter team chat tool, NLP tools, etc.

Artificial intelligence is all around us and playing an active role in our daily lives. Every time we open our Facebook newsfeed, do a Google search, get a product recommendation from Amazon or book a trip online, we are using it immensely.

In the coming years, computers might match or even exceed human intelligence and capabilities on tasks such as decision- making, reasoning and learning, analytics and pattern recognition, visual acuity, speech recognition and language translation.

Smart systems in commodities, vehicles, day to day use objects will save time and effort offering us a more customized and comfortable future.

It will help the medical sector hugely in upgrading the medicines and treatments, inventing new ones which haven’t been found yet and making everyone’s lives more safer and healthier. A large number of data can be collected from person to person about their health and nutrition and thus changes can be made in the lifestyle.

Artificial intelligence will bring changes in the educational system making it more revolutionary and advanced.

Overall, every factor has advantages and disadvantages and artificial intelligence has it’s lot too. Considering all the advantages artificial intelligence will also affect the human decision making power, analyzing and rational thinking, lifestyle etc. It will make people lazier and will affect their creativity. It can also lead to unemployment due to increase in usage of machines.

Like everything has a balance, artificial intelligence needs to be balanced too so that we can enjoy it’s benefits without suffering the negatives.

 

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