Interesting things we found this week (and last) around the web:
- Netflix is working hard to ensure its users never have to deal with another Christmas eve outage again, by utilizing load balancing from datacenters spread across the Amazon cloud
the company is now running its streaming service simultaneously across AWS’s US East-1 (in Virgina) and US West-2 (in Oregon) and balancing user traffic across them. Regularly, traffic is routed to the region that’s geographically closer to the user (a roughly 50-50 split), but if a whole region goes down as happened on Christmas Eve, Netflix can route all traffic to the healthy region.
- The next battle for market dominance will take place on your front step, as companies race to dominate the home automation scene
This is a big opportunity. Beyond the fact that it’s already a significant market ($13 billion, say some estimates), connected home entrepreneurs have an opportunity to create, quite literally, new household brands. The emergence of connected devices is one of those disruptive waves that define entire new product categories.
- What is Cicada 3301? Joel Eriksson describes his journey to crack the clues left by this mystery internet organization in this Dan Brown-esque narrative
"It was exhilarating,” said Eriksson. "I was suddenly aware of how much effort they must have been putting into creating this kind of challenge.” For the growing Cicada community, it was explosive – proof this wasn’t merely some clever neckbeard in a basement winding people up, but actually a global organisation of talented people. But who?
- Dave Lewis outlines the problem with modern VPN solutions, starting with the gaping security hole they create in our networks
VPN is a patch to permit broken systems to be accessed that otherwise do not have the ability to be exposed to the big bad Internet. With systems in such a state that they could not be safely accessed directly that they need a VPN why would you give a user unrestricted access internally?
- Healthcare.gov is sparking reform of US government IT procurement - here's what's wrong, and how we can do better
Procurement is the term for the government’s Byzantine procedure for buying things. Under the current system, the federal government buys technology the way it buys battleships: with broad "Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity" (ID / IQ) contracts that pre-screen vendors to handle an agency’s projects for up to 10 years.
- Cyber security isn't just about firewalls and salted passwords, users also need to be made aware of why security policies exist
You can’t expect that all of your employees will know about cyber security threats from the 1st day on the job. The threats are often subtle and not usually covered at induction. Companies must raise awareness of threats like phishing and social engineering with all staff.
- BitCoin's security leaves a lot to be desired, and must improve before it can replace modern currencies (Cache)
A currency which is vulnerable to large-scale theft can never be widely adopted for everyday purchases, and thus it follows that if Bitcoin is to become a true alternative to existing payment systems, we must find some way to make it secure for the average consumer.
Find any cool IT links this week? Tell us in the comments or Tweet us @NetopTech!