Monday, April 25, 2016

(The Big Disrupt) Cybersecurity: Chris Young @RSA Addressing Cybersecurity In The Digital Age

Watch this great presentation by Chris Young, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel Security Group as he addresses the core issues plaguing modern IT Security. 

(The Big Disrupt) Overcoming the Cyber Security Skills Gap: Ask Bruce, Episode Eight (Video)

Watch this short but insightful interview with security expert Bruce Schneier addressing the shortage in cybersecurity talent.

(The Big Disrupt) Cybersecurity: Why The Cybersecurity Talent Shortage Persists

If timing belongs to the gods there's a high possibility that they frown at CIO's and CISO's everywhere as they're faced with tackling one of the biggest of issues of the 21st century in cybersecurity yet struggle notoriously to find the talent to help them ward off the formidable threat posed by hackers which suggest the IT leaders have fallen foul of their favour. 

There's not much of a CIO's or CISO's job that comes down to luck but the parts of the roles that do clearly indicate that luck isn't smiling at them. The lack of cybersecurity talent has been a chronic long term problem that has plagued IT departments everywhere for years but with the recent spate of data breaches, the gaping hole in IT has become more marked than it's ever been.    

Organizations have paid much lip service to the IT security recruitment issue for some time but the issue is now more prevalent than ever. This lack of IT security talent makes CISO's and CIO's jobs that much harder as they find difficult to build a strong team to defend their organization's network from threats and leaves them reliant on cyber security vendors who may have a strong incentive to secure their networks but maybe selective as to what they're prepared to secure. 

The cybersecurity talent shortage is more pronounced in the public sector as even executive branch organs such as the Department of Homeland Security are finding it hard to attract talent needed to keep the nation secure from cyber threats. The lack of cybersecurity talent is forcing the DHS to compete with firms in the private sector who can offer larger salaries as well as other agencies such as the CIA and the DoD which have the edge over the DHS  in prestige and rich tradition. 

All this may be bad news for CIO's looking to add to new talent but it's great news for IT security specialists as salaries and incentives have gone sky high recent years to attract top cybersecurity talent as the IT security labour market has effectively become a seller's market and with the current spate of data breaches, it's hard to see the current labour market dynamic changing anytime soon. 

Data breaches have played a role in making the buy side of the cybersecurity labour market competitive but data breaches take a backseat to the damning fact that the next potential cybersecurity geniuses simply aren't made aware that they could become one. According to a study by Raytheon and National Cybersecurity Alliance, the depressed supply of cybersecurity specialists may be caused by schools not offering cybersecurity as a career path as men (67%) and women (77%) aged between 18 and 26 said "no guidance counselor, secondary education teacher or career counselor mentioned the possibility of cybersecurity as a career". 

The large talent gap in the cybersecurity labour market has created a great opportunity for any firm that can plug it which explains the growth of MSSP's or managed security services providers. MSSP's are great news for smaller organizations who lack the budget to hire or train staff and help them secure their networks without the large expense attached to building an in-house cybersecurity team. MSSP's also a godsend for larger organizations who often have compete to attract talent and fight even harder to keep it. 

In sum, the cybersecurity talent shortage isn't going away anytime and that's bad news for the digital age. 



Monday, April 18, 2016

(The Big Disrupt) Pay-TV: 2016 isn't going to be a good year for Pay TV providers

With the news that Pay TV providers lost a concerning 1 million subscribers to cord cutting and look set to lose just over another million, the long talked decline and fall of the traditional pay TV market is more real than Pay TV executives are comfortable with. 
It's no secret that Pay-TV providers have been taking major losses in subscribers as more and more consumers choose to SVOD/OTT providers such as Hulu and Netflix. However with Pay TV providers bleeding subscribers and their reach sinking to record lows, pay TV providers are under more pressure to adapt than they've ever been. 

This current shift has been a long time coming and subscriber losses are likely  to grow to an extent pay TV providers can no longer trivialize. Pay TV providers aren't going to go out of business overnight as they still have millions of paying subscribers and some such as Comcast have strong positions in other lucrative markets. 

However, many pay-TV providers such as Dish Networks don't have strong positions in markets other than pay TV or SVOD which means that should the cord cutting trend continue to grow, many pay-TV providers will go out of business. The real losers in the accelerating decline of pay-TV providers is broadcast and cable networks as the decline of the pay TV market has forced Pay TV distributors freeze or outright cut their spending on content which affects networks when it comes time to negotiate retransmission fees. For years networks have played hardball with pay TV distributors negotiating large retransmission fees but with the pay TV market maturing and TV consumers migrating to SVOD offerings, broadcast and cable networks  are faced with pay TV operators who are in a position to tell them to either appraise their expensive retransmission demands or find another distributor. 

This sends a shiver down network executives' spines as they and pay TV providers know that the high and reliable retransmission deals they could secure with pay TV providers such are just not available with SVOD offering such as Netflix or OTT "skinny bundle" offerings such as Sling TV. Both SVOD and OTT content distributors are much more interested in actual shows rather than the networks that produce them so if the pay TV market collapsed overnight, things would get real for networks very quickly. 

Fortunately, for networks at least, pay TV providers aren't going to fall apart in one fell swoop but pay TV providers are and will continue to shrink their bundles offerings which is bad news for networks left out and multimedia proprietors like Viacom who've  made  money leveraging their popular networks for large retransmission fees for years.  

While pay TV providers losing a growing number of subscribers every is concerning, the recent trends in the FCC becoming more proactive in making the pay TV market more competitive is possibly the biggest worry for TV providers . The growing assertiveness of the of the FCC in the pay TV market has been underlined by the president who stated his support for legislation that would open up the $20 billion set top box market and make it more competitive than it's ever been. 

This is bad news for market leader Comcast who have doubled down on set top boxes and could end up to competing with companies like Google and Apple with much deeper pockets than theirs. It's also bad for other pay TV providers as they don't either the reach of Comcast or the cash of  either Google or Apple to maintain their market share. 

In any case, the FCC proposed move represents a clear win for consumers who get to buy and own set top boxes as opposed to rent them as they do now but don't let Comcast or AT&T hear you say that.  


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