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Operating Systems

CYBERSECURITY STAFFING ISSUES MAY BE PUTTING YOU AT RISK

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Cybersecurity staffing shortage

Cybersecurity is a priority for most businesses, but many are finding a lack of available cybersecurity talent. But not being able to hire the right candidates is no excuse to ignore your security needs.

A study from Spiceworks found that even though 80 percent of organizations experienced a “security incident” in 2015, only 29 percent of companies have a cybersecurity expert working in their IT department and only 7 percent have a cybersecurity expert on their executive team. And a majority — 55 percent to be exact – said that their business didn’t have “regular access” to any IT security experts at all, internal or third-party, with the majority of companies also reporting they had no plans to hire or contract one within the next year.

Those numbers are surprising when you consider that data from IBM found that the average total cost of a data breach hovers around $4 million, with a price tag of around $154 per lost or stolen confidential file. Those numbers should ignite a spark under any business leader — suggesting that employing a cybersecurity expert will save you money down the line. But while 73 percent of CIOs and senior IT leaders saying they view cybersecurity as a priority in 2016, only 56 percent of CTOs, 54 percent of CEOs and 30 percent of CMOs feel the same way.

“With each new breach and cybercriminal attack, more companies are realizing they’re vulnerable, too. However, the cybersecurity skills gap is making it even harder for companies to quickly address cybersecurity problems. Organizations should start putting their cybersecurity special forces together now to create processes around IT security and tackle external threats,” says John Hodges, vice president of Product Strategy at AvePoint.

Waiting on the cybersecurity graduates

One problem with finding cybersecurity professionals is that it’s a relatively new skill that requires higher education and certifications. That leaves a gap between the time when the workforce identifies a need for this skill and when potential candidates can actually complete a relevant degree, obtain certifications and gain training or experience, according to Hodges.

For businesses that can’t find cybersecurity talent or who can’t wait for candidates to graduate from security programs, it might make sense to hire a third-party service. That’s especially true for smaller businesses that might not be able to compete against larger corporations in the hiring war for security professionals says Judson Van Allen, director of recruiting of Strategic Staffing Services at CTG.

Hiring a third-party security provider can help alleviate some of the load on IT and get your business through the dry spell of cybersecurity candidates. In a few years, once more workers enter the job market with the right qualifications, you can start building up an internal team with outside talent.

A lack of internal training

Chances are you already have future security pros within your own ranks — it would stand to reason that businesses have turned to internal talent to find cybersecurity experts. But, according to the data from Spiceworks, that’s not necessarily the case. When asked how willing they would be to invest in IT training for 2016, 57 percent said they were “somewhat open, but it would take some convincing,” while only 6 percent said they were “extremely open” and had already made investments in training.

“Smart people within your own ranks have the huge advantage of already knowing the context of the enterprise to be protected. By using in-house staff, you can save on the time it takes to teach them the context of the enterprise,” says Ryan Hohimer, co-founder and CTO of DarkLight Cyber.

Beyond training your own IT pros in security, Hodges also recommends educating your employees, as they can often be one of the biggest in-house data risks. He suggests focusing on building a culture around security that includes emphasizing a “data privacy first” attitude, encouraging only collecting data that is necessary and ensuring they understand how to get rid of unneeded data.

“This can go a long way to supplementing the lack of in-house resources, because at the end of the day, cybersecurity is ultimately everyone’s job,” he says.

It might take some convincing to get the budgets in place to train internal workers — but Apratim Purakayastha, CTO at Skillsoft, says it needs to be framed as an investment rather than a cost. By investing in training, you’ll create an internal workforce that will help you avoid major profit losses in the event of a breach.

Cybersecurity is a full-time job

One caveat to training your own employees on cybersecurity is that you will need to accommodate for the fact that it will become a full-time job. You can’t expect your IT pros to juggle networks, servers, hardware, software and cybersecurity. Cybersecurity professionals have to spend a lot of time figuring out every possible way someone could attack your business, says Van Allen.

“Simply put, everything is growing more complex. The threats are more complex, as are the networks attackers are attempting to breach and compromise,” he says.

That means you need to give cybersecurity professionals the time, budget and resources they need to develop preventative strategies. You don’t want to rely on strictly reactive solutions to security. Van Allen says this requires a “holistic view” of cybersecurity, especially since these types of threats are only going to grow more complex in coming years.

Mitigating cost

If you’re dragging your feet on hiring a cybersecurity expert or training someone within your own ranks, you might be throwing money out the window. Hodges says that data breaches have simply become part of the cost of doing business, so they should be planned for and ultimately expected; and a great way to avoid spending millions on a security breach is to be prepared for one.

Purakayastha says that for IT leaders struggling to present the cost-benefit to executives, they might consider outlining the legal implications of cybersecurity when it isn’t taken seriously. For example, there’s a chance that if a business experiences a hack, depending on laws and compliance issues, they might need to prove that they did everything they could to prevent that attack. If the cost savings won’t light a fire under the executive team, the legal implications of cybersecurity might, he says.

“Cybersecurity pros are a company’s front line of defense against attacks and failing to have the proper staffing leaves your company open to attacks and the ramifications of attacks

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Desktops

WANT TO MAKE LINUX MINT LOOK LIKE A MAC? THIS THEME CAN HELP

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We’ve established how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac but theming Linux Mint, the popular Ubuntu-based offshoot, is a little trickier.

But no more.

It’s now possible to make Linux Mint look like a Mac too, and it’s all thanks to a customised version of the uncannily accurate macOS Mojave GTK theme we highlighted here, just a few weeks ago.

If you’ve longed to add some Cupertino styling to the Cinnamon desktop, keep reading!

Mac Theme for Linux Mint 19

” />a 3d linux mint logo

A fresh release of Linux Mint brings new opportunities

Mac themes for Linux Mint are not new.

But good ones? Well, they have been a bit hard to come by due, in part, to the Cinnamon desktopbeing based around an older version of GTK, the underlying toolkit that’s used to “draw” the GUI of many apps.

Major compatibility issues and refactoring changes between GTK versions has meant that many popular modern GTK themes were not directly compatible with Linux Mint — and that included crop of clonetastic Mac themes too.

Updated GTK in Linux Mint 19

The recent release of Linux Mint 19 changes the game; ‘Tara’ ships with a newer version of GTK that supports many of the advanced theming capabilities that themes often use.

And ready to take full advantage of the new theming capabilities available to Linux Mint 19 is prolific Linux theme maker PaulXfce.

” />macos mojave gtk theme for Linux desktops

The regular version supports transparency, the Mint version does not

Paul creates and maintains a bunch of well designed and well made themes for various GTK+ based desktop environments, including GNOME Shell, Budgie and, more relevant to those of you reading this post, Cinnamon.

Having recently raved about his creepily accurate macOS Mojave theme I was thrilled to learn that Paul has made a custom version of his macOS mojave theme available for the Cinnamon desktop.

Not that the task was entirely smooth sailing, as Paul points out:

“This has proven to be a much more difficult thing to do, because of the way Linux Mint uses Muffin as a window-manager, which has some drawbacks (like: Server-Side-Decoration, so no transparency in Nemo, ) and the ‘multitude’ of toolbars that take half the real-estate of the window… Reducing the size of them was my first priority.”

Undeterred, Paul has re-engineered his Mac os theme for Linux Mint, building a new Metacity theme that blends with the rest of the UI while still allowing apps using Client Side Decoration (CSD) to look the part too.

The downside is that, for now, Paul’s excellent Mac os theme only affects the look and feel of applications and app window borders. A Cinnamon desktop theme is not (currently) available (and the Cinnamon Spices website turns up nothing Apple-related).

Still; the theme is a sterling attempt and well worth trying out — even if only as a novelty. You can download the theme directly from GNOME-Look:

Download MacOS-Mint-Cinnamon-Edition Theme

To install, extract the archive file to the hidden ‘.themes’ folder in your Home folder (if you don’t have one, create one).

Finally, to apply the theme, Open System Settings > Appearance > Themes and select the theme in both the window-borders and controls section.

More Ways to Make Linux Mint Look like a Mac

” />linux mint 19 desktop screenshot

If you’re minded to make the Mint desktop more like Mac OS X there are some additional things you can do to curate a Cupertino-style aesthetic on the Cinnamon desktop.

You can move Mint desktop panels easily. Just right-click on an empty section of the panel, choose the ‘Properties’ menu option and, from the settings you see, move the panel from the bottom of the screen to the top.

This makes way for what is surely the most iconic element of the Mac desktop: the dock.

” />the plank dock app

A chunky task bar, the dock puts large app icons and folder shortcuts within reach at the bottom of the screen. There are plenty of Linux docks available but we think that Plank is by far and away the best. You can install Plank on Linux Mint be searching for it in the Software Manager app.

You can add more applications to your Plank dock by dragging a shortcut out of the Mint Menu and dropping it on to the dock. You can even add folders to Plank too!

Other suggestions:

  • Change the desktop wallpaper to a Mac background
  • Replace the bottom panel with a dock app like Plank
  • Install a Mac icon theme for Linux
  • Move the bottom panel to the top of the screen
  • Install/enable Nemo Preview, analogous to Quick Look
  • Install Synapse, Kupfer, Alfred or similar for a Spotlight equivalent

 

 

 

 

Source: Omgubuntu

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Mobile Platforms

IOS APPS ON MACS? GEE, THAT FEELS FAMILIAR…

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Well, gang, it’s official: Cross-platform convergence is now both magical and revolutionary.

Apple, in case you haven’t heard, is taking a serious step toward bringing its mobile and desktop platforms together: At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference adjective-shouting extravaganza this week, the company announced a plan to let developers bring iOS apps onto MacOSstarting next year. So, yes: That means the Apple faithful will soon be able to run iPhone-like software on their regular ol’ keyboard-packin’ computers.

Pretty spiffy idea, right? Mobile software, on the desktop! Just think of the possibilities. But wait: Why does something about this seem so eerily familiar?

Oh, right — because it’s exactly what we’ve been watching take shape with Android and Chrome OS over the past several years.

Now, before you grab the nearest suit of armor and novelty foam sword, hang on: I’m not here to play a game of “Who Did It First?” Let’s be honest: That kind of talk is pretty tired at this point. Some years, Apple borrows heavily from Google; some years, Google borrows heavily from Apple. Sometimes, the inspiration-lifting is for the better, and sometimes, it’s for the worse. I’m not an intellectual rights attorney (thank goodness) — and from a normal user’s perspective, the arguments over who copied whom are equal parts boring and irrelevant.

What I do want to discuss is how much Apple’s move validates the approach Google’s been pursuing for some time now — and, at the same time, how its implementation of the idea is both similar and simultaneously different.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Apple, Google, and the tale of converging platforms

We’ll start with Google. The move to bring Android apps to Chrome OS began in earnest in 2016. (Yes, the work technically started two years earlier, with the beta-wearing “App Runtime” project — but that was basically just a test, with significant limitations and nothing even close to a polished or mainstream-ready experience.)

For Google, the notion of bringing two platforms together was nothing short of transformational. Chromebooks had traditionally been cloud-centric computers — a model that provided some enticing advantagesover traditional PCs but required you to rely mostly on web-based software like Google Docs and Office Online. Realistically, that sort of setup was more than sufficient for the vast majority of modern-day computer users, but it also left a fair number of gaps in what a Chromebook was able to do.

By allowing anyone to install and run almost any Android app while still maintaining Chrome OS’s security, simplicity, and speed-related advantages, Google accomplished several significant things: First, it redefined a Chromebook’s possibilities and limitations, making the devices more compelling and feature-complete for an even broader array of users. (On a smaller and much more specifically targeted scale, the current move to allow Linux apps on Chrome OS serves a similar purpose.)

Beyond that, it essentially created a whole new category of device — the Chromebook/Android mashup. That’s something we’ve seen progress considerably over the past couple years, as the hardware has slowly caught up with the software and convertible Chromebooks have effectively become the new Android tablets.

And last but not least, it created an ecosystem like no other. Developers could build and publish a single app and have it be available to the world’s largest mobile platform and the world’s increasingly dominant desktop computing environment. As long as the apps are built with responsive design and with a handful of form-specific optimizations in mind, it’s a single, streamlined process with minimal extra effort involved.

Significant as those first two points may be, we can’t underestimate the value of that last one — the ecosystem expansion. Remember, Chromebooks are hugely popular, particularly in schools. And developers tend to go where the users are. For the first time, Google could actually overcome its chicken-and-egg problem and have an existing audience that’d entice developers to craft large-screen-optimized apps — apps that, by their very definition, would straddle the lines of two overlapping ecosystems and benefit Android and Chrome OS alike.

Apple’s approach is a bit different. Unlike Chromebooks, Macs already run traditional desktop software. Unlike Google, Apple already has a successful tablet platform. And unlike Google, Apple doesn’t currently offer touch-enabled Macs — another one of those classic “it doesn’t work” declarations from Steve Jobs, way back when — and even if the company does eventually come around to rethinking that stance, it doesn’t seem likely that it’d look to phase out or de-emphasize the iPad anytime soon.

What Apple does share with Google, however, is the ecosystem part of the equation. Apple is all about the ecosystem, in fact, and it has been for a very long time. Google is the relative newcomer to that kind of focus.

So Apple, like Google, stands to benefit by aligning its platforms (a familiar phrase, no?) and making them more similar from a user’s perspective. It’s no secret that people adore their iPhones and the apps associated with them. Making MacOS follow iOS’s lead in some ways and allowing users to run familiar mobile apps within it will make the Mac feel more consistent and connected with the iPhone — and thus could make it more appealing both to current users and also perhaps to those who don’t presently own a traditional laptop or desktop computer.

Apple, like Google, could also benefit from energizing its desktop software ecosystem and giving developers added incentive to focus on that form. It may not be entirely comparable to Google’s Chrome OS situation, but the idea that development on the desktop side of Apple’s ecosystem is stagnating compared to the mobile side is a pretty common theme of discussion these days. Bringing iOS-like apps onto Macs could go a long way in reversing that view.

Perhaps most critically, aligning the ecosystems provides yet another piece of ammo for the famous “lock-in” weapon: You’ve got the environment you know and love and the apps you know and love on your iPhone and/or iPad — and now on your Mac, too. Just like Google is aiming to accomplish with Android phones and Chromebooks, our investments in these ecosystems are more expansive than ever — which, of course, means we’re more likely than ever to stick with whichever ecosystem we choose and continue to buy its associated products year after year.

Interestingly, Apple and Google also share the same persistent view from pundits that “the two platforms must be combined!” — a view that no level of adamant denial or ongoing evidence to the contrary seems able to extinguish.

Converging platforms, diverging paths

One thing the two companies don’t fully share is the specific approach to bringing mobile apps onto the desktop. Google, fitting with its general ethos, has established a bit of a free-for-all with Android apps on Chrome OS: By default (unless a developer explicitly disallows it or an app is inherently incompatible due to hardware requirements), most any Android app can be installed on a Chromebook. The Play Store you get on a Chromebook is quite literally the same Play Store you get on a phone.

So everyone is in, more or less — and it’s then up to each developer to optimize an app and make it excel in the large-screen, keyboard-and-trackpad-using form. Or not. Most apps work well enough on a Chromebook out of the box, and in some scenarios, it’s clear a developer went the extra mile to really make the experience shine. Either way, you can find plenty of useful titles that add meaningful value to the Chrome OS environment.

But you can also find plenty of apps that clearly weren’t made to run on that type of hardware — where even the most minimal amount of effort is painfully lacking — and those apps, while technically compatible with a Chromebook, are incredibly awkward and unpleasant to use. (Hi, Instagram!)

From the sounds of it, Apple is taking the exact opposite approach: The door will be closed by default — and the MacOS-iOS collection will consist only of apps optimized for the traditional computer form. That’s why Apple is releasing only its own iOS apps for the Mac to start and will be working with developers to optimize their apps for the desktop over the months ahead.

“There are millions of iOS apps out there, and some of them would be great on the Mac,” Apple Chief Shirt Unbuttoner Craig Federighi noted during yesterday’s announcement. The emphasis there is mine, but the message is clear: The entire App Store won’t — and, in Apple’s view, shouldn’t — be coming to the desktop.

Apples and oranges

So which approach is better — Apple’s or Google’s? The reality is that each seems to have its own set of pros and cons, and it’s tough to label either one as a definitive “winner.” Google’s implementation brings a massive number of new applications into the desktop environment and then puts the onus on the developers to make the experiences shine. The result, as we’ve established, is a bit of a mixed bag: You have tons of possibilities, many of which are valuable (with or sometimes even without form-specific optimizations) — but you also have apps that are just plain clumsy and out of place.

Apple appears poised to offer a more strictly curated selection of apps, allowing only those with form-specific optimizations into the mix. That should create a more consistent level of quality and experience, which is obviously a good thing, but it’ll also mean some apps that might be more mobile-specific and not likely to be optimized probably won’t become available.

Who cares? Well, consider one example: Apps like Netflix and YouTube are readily available via the web and don’t seem like the types of titles that’d receive the full desktop optimization effort or the Apple stamp of “great on the Mac” approval. But running the mobile apps on the desktop gives you the unique advantage of being able to download videos from those respective services for offline viewing — a handy little loophole crafty Chromebook users have certainly come to appreciate.

When you stop and think about it, the differences here are very much analogous to the differences in the two companies’ broader approaches to mobile app distribution: With Apple, you get a more closely controlled selection, which forces developers to comply more closely with guidelines and (in theory, at least) creates a more consistent experience. With Android, the less closely controlled gates mean more variance in the level of experience within — but that also means the door is open to more advanced and interesting types of creations that wouldn’t make their way past Apple’s gatekeepers.

I think most reasonable people would agree that Google could stand to gain some of Apple’s quality control and ability to get developers to follow its lead, while Apple could stand to loosen things up at least a little and allow some different types of tools into its closely walled garden.

Neither scenario is perfect, but both serve to accomplish the same goal — one that, in this wild new cross-platform world, seems both sensible and inevitable, regardless of which ecosystem you prefer.

 

 

 

 

Source: Computer World

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Laptops

MICROSOFT IS GETTING READY FOR THE NEXT XBOX VS. PLAYSTATION CONSOLE WAR

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Microsoft’s gaming chief, Phil Spencer, didn’t spend a lot of time talking at the company’s E3 press conference last night, preferring to let the games speak for themselves. Microsoft showed off 52 games onstage, including Halo InfiniteGears 5Forza Horizon 4, and titles from third parties like Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk 2077. While Spencer let the pace of the games dazzle the 6,000 people in the crowd, in his less than 15 minutes of stage time, he also made it very clear Microsoft is ready to battle. With new Xbox consoles, cloud streaming, and a fresh commitment to original games, Microsoft is getting ready for the next console war and beyond.

The Xbox One fell behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 for a number of reasons (pricing and Kinect didn’t help initially), but Microsoft is now facing a lack of exclusive titles to really boost its new Xbox One X console. Microsoft is finally responding to that negative feedback, and one of the surprise announcements at last night’s Xbox E3 briefing was the company’s commitment to first-party games. Microsoft is acquiring Undead Labs (makers of State of Decay), Playground Games (Forza Horizon developers), Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), and Compulsion Games (We Happy Few). These developers will join Microsoft Studios, alongside the formation of a newly founded Santa Monica-based studio, The Initiative, that will be led by former Crystal Dynamics head of studio Darrell Gallagher.

While two of the studios already develop exclusive Xbox games for Microsoft, the rest will add to Microsoft’s original games list. “We know that exclusive games from our Microsoft Studios are what originally turned so many of us into Xbox fans. My team and I take our commitment to you seriously,” said Phil Spencer. “By joining us at Microsoft Studios, these five new teams will have the resources, the platform, and creative independence to take bigger risks, create even bolder worlds for you.”

These studio acquisitions are clearly a reaction to a lack of solid first-party games, but they’re also a commitment to Xbox fans that Microsoft isn’t about to give up on gaming. Microsoft is already embracing a world beyond Windows PCs, reducing its consumer focus, and trying to win back developers. A lot of these moves have Microsoft and Xbox fans concerned about the future of its gaming commitments, and Spencer ended Microsoft’s E3 showing with a very clear message.

”We commit and harness the full breadth of our resources at Microsoft to deliver on the future of play,” revealed Spencer, before detailing Microsoft’s plans for a game streaming network and new Xbox consoles. “The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecturing the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming.” If that wasn’t enough of a message, Spencer ended with a clear signal that Microsoft is here to stay with Xbox for years to come.

Microsoft Studios dev teams.

“We have committed our team, our company, our technical resources so we can declare to you today, and next year, and all the years after that: you will always experience the best in gaming on Xbox.” Spencer’s strong message felt like a reassuring one to Xbox fans, but it was also a realization that Microsoft isn’t ready to offer the best games on Xbox One just yet. The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about new exclusive games, and it’s obvious that Microsoft’s deep focus on backward compatibility will continue with its future consoles.

These new studios will take time to create the games Microsoft needs, and this isn’t going to be a quick turnaround. Microsoft will once again have to mostly rely on third-party studios to fill the gaps this year, with massive games that can also be played on rival hardware.

It might be another tricky year for the Xbox One, especially as Sony has already delivered exclusive games like Detroit: Become HumanGod of War, and Shadow of the Colossus this year. Sony is also expected to show off more big exclusives at its own E3 event tonight, including Death StrandingThe Last of Us: Part IIGhost of Tsushima, and Spider-Man. Microsoft showed at E3 that it’s ready to play the long game, and that will inevitably lead it toward the next big console battle with Sony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The Verge

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