The technology revolution is all around us. The Internet of Things, Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence are three of the hottest trends that we are dealing with every day. What's next? Robotics Process Automation is just around the corner - in fact some organizations have already begun to use it today. As accountants, auditors, technologists and operational experts all of us have to know and understand the basics to get a good foundation for how it can help our businesses thrive and grow. We don't want to be left behind and we need these to form the basis for a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Technology has changed everything. The reach is outstanding and the speed is beyond what we could have imagined only a few short years ago. The time it takes to adopt technology has exploded. Just look at these statistics to reach 50 million users:
• Radio – 38 years
• TV – 13 years
• iPhone – 3.5 years
• Facebook – 2 year
• Pokémon Go app – 19 days
Although these are interesting what is driving information is the sheer amount of data that is currently available. There are now 2.4 quintillion bytes of data created every day. We’re capturing, recording and digitizing more than we ever thought was possible. This has changed society and business dramatically.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Thanks to cheap processors and wireless networks, it's possible to turn anything into part of the IoT. This adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate without a human being involved, and merging the digital and physical worlds.
The term 'IoT' is mainly used for devices that wouldn't usually be generally expected to have an internet connection that can communicate with the network independently of human action. For this reason, a PC isn't generally considered an IoT device and neither is a smartphone -- even though the latter is crammed with sensors.
Digitalization is defined by Gartner as leveraging digital technologies to change business models and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities. A digitalized business’ information systems will enhance operations by collecting data and transforming it into insight and action that supports the business. Ultimately, digitalized business systems will be able to make many decisions without the need for human involvement and to perform specific tasks autonomously. These cyber-physical capabilities comprise a functioning industrial internet of things infrastructure, with everything from the tiniest sensors in manufacturing equipment to data-visualization dashboards used to perpetuate organizational health.
Just watch the news or read an article or tweet – Cybersecurity is everywhere. Whether it's the latest breach of a company or government agency, a new vulnerability in a piece or popular software, or a lax security practice from a company that should have known better, there are moments every day where we can't help but shake our heads at the sad state of cybersecurity. In an age where we manage more and more of our lives digitally, it means that anyone—in any career—should know simple things about keeping security up to par. At work, this will help companies maintain robust protocols.
Cyber Attackers Rely On Human Error
The vast majority of companies are more exposed to cyberattacks than they have to be. Hackers rely only partly on their security-penetration skills. The other thing they need? Regular people making mistakes. One high-profile example: the CEO of Equifax attributed the company's 2017 breach—which comprised the data of over 147 million consumers and could cost over $600 million—to, you guessed it, human error. Mistakes by network administrators and users—failures to patch vulnerabilities in legacy systems, misconfigured settings, violations of standard procedures—open the door to the overwhelming majority of successful attacks.
The Rise of AI in Cyber
The idea of a computer program learning by itself, growing in knowledge and becoming increasingly sophisticated may be a scary one. It's even scarier when it's learning to attack things. In February, a study from teams at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge warned that AI could be used as a tool to hack into drones and autonomous vehicles, and turn them into potential weapons. The fear for many is that AI will bring with it a dawn of new forms of cyber breaches that bypass traditional means of countering attacks.
Prager Metis Technology puts a human behind the wheel. Many web application assessments are highly automated. They produce a high volume of false positives and overlook application behavior that an expert security analyst would find. Our findings are validated, and our consultants will work with your development staff to make sure that no stone is left unturned and that the results of your assessment are accurate.
Data is useless without the skills to analyze it. Artificial Intelligence is all about imitating human intelligence, and pushing the capabilities of machines beyond those of standard computing methods. Neural networks in particular are designed to imitate the human brain. Because of this, we believe some of the same methods we humans use to get the most out of our brains can be used to get the most out of computerized neural networks.
Knowledge engineering is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that creates rules to apply to data in order to imitate the thought process of a human expert. It looks at the structure of a task or a decision to identify how a conclusion is reached. Knowledge engineering sought to transfer the expertise of problem-solving human experts into a program that could take in the same data and come to the same conclusion.
The biggest leaps forward in the field of AI are in imitating things that humans, even small children, do effortlessly and without much thought (understanding speech, recognizing people and places, etc.). While these advances enable a variety of tactical solutions for security, marketing and consumer product enhancement, they offer little value to managers who must address the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) that drive the opportunities and risks of the real world.
In the VUCA world of business management, our approach to artificial intelligence has rapidly produced the most useful knowledge at global entities faced with perplexing challenges. The pragmatic solution has been using neural networks that -
- Mimic the stimulation/suppression logic of biological neurons
- Use learning by correlation but do not over-rely on it
- Apply well-known, tested and successful computing methods by:
- Leveraging relational data and Entity Relationship Modeling
- Using word indexing across textual sources to create new connections
- Performing arithmetic and statistical computations across newly discovered pathways
- Imitate successful human problem solving by:
- Being “educated” by human designers in the approach to solving particular problems
- Interacting and collaborating with humans throughout the analytical process
- Integrating a variety of analytical methods, data sources, and data structures into a single neural network
The above approach to AI blends cognitive science, computer science, domain expertise and managerial judgement into a pragmatic balance to address real-world business problem analysis challenges.
Most companies want to get ahead of known and unknown risks. Traditional risk management programs can often be reactive, slow and biased resulting in many risks going unmonitored and unmitigated until it is too late. Prager Metis Technology has developed a line of sight into emerging risks and opportunities. Our solution has the capability to capture management’s mindset from internal documentation and data. It is optimized for modeling abstract, complex and systemic scenarios which enables discovery of unknown or not clearly defined issues and requirements. That's unique and eye opening for our clients.