Inside CTO/CIO - February 19th, 2019 |

Inside CTO/CIO (Feb 19th, 2019)

Facebook FTC data fines, Jack Daniel's AI success, blockchain mistakes

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1. Facebook is negotiating with the FTC over a multibillion dollar settlement fine after massively mishandling data privacy. Many industry leaders are watching the situation closely, worried that the FTC may set a regulatory precedent if it imposes billion dollar fines over data. CIO Dive has thorough analysis on what it means for CIOs, especially timely in light of today's angry letter from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce asking if Facebook users were misled about data the company would share from closed groups. --CIO DIVE

2. The CIO of Jack Daniel's modernized the company for AI and ended up with a new brand of rye. Tim Nall, the firm’s chief information officer, told Wall Street Journal that he's spent three years transforming inventory data and integrating consumer, production and sales data across global operations, "as part of a broader effort to update an aging technology stack." Fascinatingly, his team leveraged its new skills in data analytics to find a market opening and introduce a delicious new line. --WALL STREET JOURNAL

3. Microsoft is quietly testing a new version of Forms called "Forms Pro." The tool's Roadmap description describes it as a "comprehensive enterprise survey solution for businesses to capture and analyze feedback" for improving engagement across an organization. Forms became available to commercial Office 365 users last year. According to early reports, Forms Pro will be available in preview to Office 365 users starting February 21st, though the portal for open signup isn't going to be available until March 14th. --ZDNET

4. A must-see talk breaks down the global supply chain threat, and the video has infosec and IT Twitter abuzz. Last October Bloomberg Business Week accused China of hacking the global supply chain to steal corporate secrets; though the report was hotly contested by Apple it left many worried. At the Blue Hat Israel 2019 conference, respected hardware hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang took a realistic, detailed look at state-level supply chain security threats. The video is well worth your time, in addition to this new case study on how the Department of Defense secures its supply chain. --YOUTUBE/MICROSOFT ISRAEL R&D CENTER

5. The New York Times and FireEye say Chinese and Iranian hackers are increasing attacks on US companies. Security Twitter (infosec's watercooler) thinks attributing lulls in attacks to politics is "a bit of a stretch." As for nation-state attackers, a new report on the shocking speed of Russian attacks is getting way more traction and credibility in today's chatter. --NYT

6. Google announced its new top-level domain (TLD) .dev, following its .app and .page domains. The URL is "dedicated to developers and technology." Google is offering it through partners so if your organization has a research arm, tell your IP attorneys to get busy and grab those domains. --BETANEWS

7. A surprising number of CIOs and CTOs jumping into blockchain are doing it wrong, according to a Gartner survey tracking blockchain application and disillusionment. The problem is that they're not using it as a decentralized ledger for auditing, which is blockchain's core mission. --COMPUTERWORLD

8. Zoho's office suite for enterprise got a productivity boost with AI capabilities and a new note-taking app, Notebook. The company's Zia AI assistant, now part of the suite, has successfully acted as a smart assistant in Zoho's sales and customer support tools for years. --COMPUTERWORLD

9. A pilot study shows a four-day work week delivers lower stress and increased productivity -- at least 20% more output -- among employees. In the biggest trial to date, New Zealand financial services company Perpetual Guardian switched its 240 staff from a 5-day to a 4-day week. The program's success has turned the company's CEO into an evangelist for shorter work weeks. --GUARDIAN

10. Current headlines are packed with lessons about how not to do your digital transformation. This deep dive looks at failed transformation programs that are in the news right now, highlighting how negotiating can secretly drive resentment, when you have urgency without mandate, and much more. --CIO

This newsletter is curated and authored by author and reporter Violet Blue, who covers security and privacy for outlets ranging from CBS News and CNET to Financial Times and ZDNet. Ms. Blue has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN, she writes the Engadget column "Bad Password," and she is the author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy. Violet is on the Advisory Board for privacy nonprofit Without My Consent and a member of the Internet Press Guild. Find her sharing thoughts on Twitter @violetblue.

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at, game-master at Screen Junkies) and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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