A blockchain is a distributed data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions shared among a network of computers.
It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.
Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to change or remove. When someone wants to add to it, participants in the network — all of which have copies of the existing blockchain — run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction. If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid — that is, identifying information matches the blockchain’s history — then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.
According to the Financial Times, Ireland’s central bank is about to approve Facebook as an e-money institution, that will allow it to offer consumers the ability to store money and pay others. Facebook is also said to be considering partnerships with start-ups that offer international money transfer services online and via smartphones. But it is unclear whether people will trust Facebook to handle their money, given lingering concerns about data privacy and personal data mining by the social media network to boost advertising on the site.
At a time when traditional banks are unpopular with many customers and are being hit by more and more regulations, there is an opportunity for internet companies to take on certain service lines that banks provide.
Banks are also struggling with mostly legacy IT that makes it difficult to quickly react to market changes. Additionally several large banks have been hit by major IT failures lately, that have further dampened an already fragile image.
When frustrated end users circumvent the IT department and start using SaaS applications without permission, IT pros complain about the plague they call "shadow IT.” But it seems that some IT professionals are also operating in the shadow according to a recent report entitled “The Hidden Truth behind Shadow IT,” which is the result of collaboration between Frost & Sullivan and McAfee. The survey asked 300 IT professionals and 300 line-of-business employees whether they used SaaS applications in their jobs without official approval. Eighty percent admitted they did, with only 19% of the business employees and 17% of IT claiming to be innocent.
In fact, despite the barriers to cloud computing, 93 percent of business units—from sales to operations to marketing and more— say they are leveraging the cloud for services they need to conduct business, according to another survey by cloud IT operations specialist 2nd Watch. "What really surprised us was how much shadow IT was going on," says Matt Gerber, executive vice president of 2nd Watch. "It's more than we thought, and there's less involvement from central IT than we thought." 2nd Watch conducted its 2013 Cloud Services Adoption Rate Survey in December 2013. It surveyed 133 U.S.-based respondents from organizations of all sizes, all with titles of CIO, executive vice president, IT manager or developer. The respondents represented a wide range of industries, with the highest percentage in high tech (37 percent). The survey found that just 43 percent of IT departments plan to develop a cloud services brokerage model to keep up with demand. Those IT departments planning to deploy a cloud services brokerage model want to deliver between 75 percent and 100 percent of cloud services to their enterprise business units by 2016.
Analysts have told us time and again that the three key trends in IT are big data, mobility and cloud. You know that already, you have heard it in so many conferences; you also know that your investment in the three trends combined do not represents a big portion of your IT budget.
But today we will talk about big data only. Recently in an attempt to help demonstrate how big data is working for companies around the world CIO2CIO asked the heads of marketing in all large international IT companies operating in the Middle East to help us locate some of their big data customer success stories in or outside the region. Unfortunately more than eight weeks later we can confirm that there has not been a single answer. And even when you search the web for big data at work stories you will find very few real stories. Why is this the case? What happened to all the big data early adopters, how come they have nothing to show for their investments? And why are analysts continuing to put big data as a top priority for CIOs.
Enterprise customers of BlackBerry’s smartphones and enterprise management software should find alternatives to the financially troubled company’s products over the next three to six months, according to a recently released Gartner report.
BlackBerry responded with a statement, saying: “We recognize and respect external parties' opinions on BlackBerry's recent news. However, many of the conclusions by Gartner about the potential impact of a sale or other strategic alternatives, are purely speculative."
The Waterloo, Ontario company, however, has not fared well during recent months. A brief timeline of its recent troubles include the disclosure of plans to lay off 4,500 of its 12,500 employees; a loss of $965 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014; and a decline in revenue by 49% in fiscal Q2 from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s sale to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto for $4.7 billion is pending.