The future of fintech in terms of security

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Silicon Valley has been the center of the tech world, but this isn’t necessarily the case when taking a look at the fintech industry. There are companies all over the world excelling rapidly within this field. This might be because it is the most applicable sect of the tech industry. Fintech opens up doors to nearly any company taking advantage of its developments.

According to a well-done webinar by Morningstar Inc., “FinTech companies are businesses that leverage new technology to create new and better financial services for both consumers and businesses. It includes companies of all kinds that may operate in personal financial management, insurance, payment, asset management, etc.” This should paint you an accurate picture of the possibilities that this industry holds for the future of companies around the world.

Fintech means a lot to the start-ups using the strategies and the traditional banks that are set in old strategies. Traditional banking will continue to become more and more outdated if these banks fail to adapt some of the innovations that are being presented in the fintech field.  This is especially true when we consider the fact that Millennials are getting older and looking to places to invest and save their money. Banks that offer more electronic ease and other features are highly likely to take the cake when looking at new clients.

This means competition will remain fierce in the financial industry, thanks to fintech and all its advancements.  Large banks like Capital One are at the forefront of fintech and taking advantage of the developments it will bring. Banks that keep their head above water will be the ones remaining relevant through the changes that fintech will bring to the industry.

Security is a proponent of fintech that most people are excited about in the industry. There is room for so many improvements regarding information security and the safety of important data. There are companies focusing on this aspect of fintech that will drastically improve our ability to feel safe banking online.

The wariness towards trusting money that you are storing online is one aspect of fintech that will constantly need improvement due to the constantly changing online tools and features. This is a great field to go into because there will always be jobs making online banking safer. As technology progresses, so do the hackers that can find work arounds. This is widely known, which makes consumers wary. This creates a steady need for financial security developments and precautions. Examples of fintech products that make consumers feel at ease are tools like fake credit cards with numbers connected to your real credit card. This makes it so credit card numbers can’t be stolen. It’s genius—really. We just need to see more of this moving forward to create a theft-free and hack-free financial space online.

Companies like Experian have released tools that can help companies track consumer behavior. Two of these tools are Ascend and PowerCurve. PowerCurve predicts whether someone will be receptive to a product and Ascend uses AI to track consumer behavior. Tools like Bitcoin Era platform paired with impeccable fintech strategy will really make a company stand out from the competitors.  Experian is also huge in fintech because it can protect from identity theft. They also allow lenders to run credit-scoring so they can assess applications for car finance etc. Companies like this are allowing other companies to meet tech and financial goals through their innovation.

We will definitely see an increase in companies that can provide tools like Experian does. These small, but complicated technological advancements have the power to revolutionize how a company sells and completes transactions. Small tools like the credit checking tool allow for companies to focus on their message, branding etc. while another company provides their advancement in financial technology.

Another tool that more companies will need is the help of fintech consultants and experts. Since fintech is fairly innovative and fresh, the need for consultants to lead companies in the right direction is apparent. This field is opening up a whole new need in the job field as well.

Moving forward, we can expect a decrease in the amount of banks sticking only to traditional banking. There also will be further developments in security, which will make this industry take off. Once the security aspects are perfected, we will see a huge increase in the success of fintech. The field is already changing the way humans invest, spend and save money.

One thing that can be said for sure about the future of fintech is that big data, A.I. and machine learning will all have a hand in its success. Take for example Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. They will definitely become the future of banking as they provide more accessibility to millions of people who have never had their own bank account before. Bitcoin is also used as an asset, investment, and trading. It’s often considered to be just like gold. There’s been large investments in developing new technology for this sector like trading algorithms and automatic trading robots such as the Bitcoin Trader, which analyse the trends on the market and place trades automatically for their users. This industry is taking off and encompassing nearly any business that complete financial transactions, manages money, invests money etc. Fintech won’t be slowing down in the near future, that is certain

Education now must make the pivotal move to focus on the future workforce

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There has been a lot of discussion recently around the technological disruption of the education sector around the world. technology has been making its mark in the industry for quite some time now, so this kind of conversation is nothing new at this point. What is new, however, is the discussion around how education must now pivot to prepare students (both current and future) for a workforce that includes jobs that do not even exist yet. We are amid an era that is developing new technologies and digitalisation techniques at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up. Traditionally, higher education was challenging enough and so is the application process to graduate schools. For example, law school applicants have to commit significant energy and time to LSAT prep, including seeking for LSAT tutoring from highly experienced LSAT tutors in order to improve their score to gain entry into reputable law schools. These days, the reality is that students must be maintaining that level of dedication, but also committing to their futures by making use of modern teachings as well.

The catch-22 there is that they can only undertake those modern teachings if they are made available to them. And this is where the education sector as well as the business industry must work collaboratively to forge a stronger, more unique approach to education. It is an extremely fine line to walk between keeping education in alignment with the traditional ideals that work, and incorporating modern teaching and learning methods and models to strengthen those initial ideals. The goal in education is always to prepare students for the workforce once they complete their studies and graduate. The issue we face right now is that what happens as the current generations of student graduate is unknown. Some of the jobs that currently exist still will, but others will have been modernised or entirely replaced with technologically-advanced communication, teaching, and learning methods. That is just the way it is.

Most of the children and young adults in the education system now will walk into careers that are not even existent yet. The education system – and, by default, the businesses that forge the workforce – must be willing and able to keep up with that reality. There is no other option anymore. This is the kind of world we exist in, and technological advancement and further digitalisation are going to reign supreme in the future workforce. Students must be ready and prepared for that. The students of the past focused all their energies on studying for their upcoming examinations. These ideals are still crucially important in education, and they always will be. There is no doubt about that fact. But now more than ever, we are seeing the disruption of technology begin to dramatically change industries the world over. That has had – and will continue to have – more direct and more significant implications for the workforce.

This is especially true the further these innovations stretch on. As many as 65% of current students will eventually go on to create their careers in jobs that are not even a reality yet. This is a climate of uncertainty, and the schools and universities should be focusing on developing critical thinking more than ever. The students of today – consequently the career-driven individuals of tomorrow – must be able to do more than observe. They must be able to give authentic, informative, and creative input from any and all angles. The fact of the matter is that the future workforce is one that we cannot even begin to draft for these kids now. All we can do is teach them the critical thinking and skills that have the potential for the biggest positive impact on their futures. This is a global shift in focus that is vital for academics today and in the future.

With so many current jobs being vulnerable to potential automation (or even simply a tech-driven overhaul that keeps individuals holding these careers firmly in place), there has never been a stronger call for critical thinking and creative encouragement. The education sector is currently going through multiple modernisations, and while some of those modernisations are quite familiar, there are others that are alien. One of these alienating concepts is the [now] definitive fact that the workforce of the future is going to be vastly different to the one that exists now. While some of the careers that are currently in motion will survive this transition, others will be modernised or entirely replaced.

The workforce of the future demands that the education system now – which is full of the students that will walk into this uncertain future workforce – better prepares its students for that future as best it can. One of the tactics in motion should be businesses aligning themselves with the education to better prepare students for a workforce that they are not at all familiar with. This is a process that is happening right now, but it must gain significant traction before the students of today – and tomorrow – are even remotely ready to step into a workforce that is ripe with completely new jobs and career options.

The future of the automotive industry is electric

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The push for vehicles that run solely off electricity has been a slow burning one, but now there has been a renewed sense of urgency in the matter, with new positives coming to light and interesting innovations being made across the industry. What was once a concept embraced by only the bravest in the business – like Tesla’s Elon Musk, for example – is being embraced wholeheartedly by single individuals and leaders of empires alike. While large-scale adoption of electric vehicles was always expected among the masses and those in the industry itself, it has bounced around apprehensively from one small success to another, never entirely sure when or if the planet would embrace the technology so openly. But now, on the back of some of the most heated debates around the topic, even big-scale companies are beginning to consider electric vehicles as part of their fleet management services, a bold move that is a testament to the potential for electric vehicles going forward and in the future. The risks are becoming so small that they are on the verge of dissipating entirely, and the potential and the logic is steadily becoming vastly more stable. Technology is the future of Earth and humanity, and electric transport is the carriage that will carry the future (and even some present) generations forward.

The obvious leader in the electric vehicle race is Tesla, who pioneered the illumination of electric vehicles and are now in the initial stages of making electric trucks as well as the cars they are so infamous for. In the wake of the realisation that humanity has damaged Earth far beyond expectation or knowledge, there has been an ongoing global outcry for more environmentally-conscious moves across all industries – including the automotive industry. Tesla was ahead of its time, but it is slowly beginning to slip into line with its potential competitors and risks falling entirely behind if the consumers do not begin to purchase the vehicles. A company can only do so much to forge positive impact without the support of those that make up its consumer base (both prospective and existing). The problem with electric vehicles like Teslas is not the vehicles themselves, but the astronomical price points of said vehicles. Only the financially privileged and the extremely lucky have been able to purchase and maintain these cars in the past, but thankfully there have been recent innovations to the battery technology and Tesla’s vehicle electrification itself that has made it that much easier for the greater public to enter the buying pool – and what is more, is that millions of individuals are actually seriously considering buying a Tesla now.

Electrifying the transport industry was initially expected to be well past being mainstream by this point, but now with the various setbacks that have inevitably come with attempting to ignite a revolution, it is expected that the transport system will be largely electrified by the late 2020s. The pivotal turning point that has just recently come into play (and that could prove to be the point of global adoption_ is that battery technology has just undergone dramatic changes, vastly improving its overall performance and foundations. This latest innovation has burst open the gates for the general public to be that much closer to being able to afford an electric vehicle – something that was not possible in the past. This one major improvisation in the industry is the beginning of the end for traditional vehicles. Soon enough, it will make little to no sense for automotive companies to continue producing cars that run on fossil fuels.

As both businesses and political leaders make the commitment to making more vehicles emissions-free, the momentum is finally gaining traction, poised to launch it into much higher friction. The electric vehicle revolution is heading in the right direction, but it has not gathered nearly enough momentum to make it go fast enough to catch up with the initial predictions of Tesla front man Elon Musk and other professionals in the industry. If everyone – literally everyone – got behind the large movement towards electrifying the automotive industry, there could be charging stations and docks incorporated across the world, including into street lights, gas stations, and freeway rest areas. As it currently stands, however, there has been a pretty large barrier that has stopped the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles like that of Tesla, and that barrier is cost. Up until very recently, electric vehicles were incredibly expensive to purchase, with even the base models costing well above the average for vehicles that run on fossil fuels.

Technology is the future for humanity, and solely electric transport is the carriage that will take future generations further than we will ever go. The world has been relatively slow (for the most part) to embrace the concept of electric vehicles, but as technology and digitisation continue to become more prominent and powerful, the logic of adopting a mindset that openly accepts and embraces such technologies has been overwhelming, gradually winning the favour of the vast majority of the public and those in the industry. Electric transport makes sense, not only for our own future but for the future of planet Earth. In a world that is beginning to realise its past errors, we are constantly looking for ways to create a positive and lasting impact on the planet, and electric vehicles hold the potential to be one of the most projecting changes we can make. Instead of creating more senseless damage to the planet, we should embrace concepts like electrifying the automotive industry, and we should do it now.

Tesla disrupting the Automobile Industry

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While Uber has dreams of redefining car ownership by shaking the industry up with ride sharing and investing in commercial vehicle rental, there is another key player on the market who is keen on keeping car ownership the way it has been – private and personal.

Tesla’s recently unveiled Model 3, a $35,000 electric car that’s designed to be “smaller, simpler, more affordable”, saw more than 325,000 preorders in just one week. Despite being the United States’ youngest automaker, Tesla Motors has managed to make a tremendous impact on the auto transport industry.

With a mission “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” Tesla’s philosophy abounds in ambition and innovation. The company’s technology, vision and everything it stands for has earned it a cult-like following — enough to make people line up days before the Model 3 release and plenty more to get Tesla’s stocks soaring even higher than General Motors and Ford.

Other automakers like Nissan, Volvo, Toyota and BMW may be unveiling new electric or hybrid cars too, but they have yet to generate the same amount of media attention and excitement as Tesla’s vehicles.

First, Tesla figured out how to manufacture 60 – 100 kWh battery packs at an affordable price point for the mass market. Some even say that automakers would not even be scrambling to produce electric vehicles if it weren’t for Tesla. Needless to say, Tesla’s commitment to sustainable technology has even inspired more established brands like Volvo to completely switch to hybrids and battery powered cars.

In the world of electric vehicles, the Tesla Supercharger has become the benchmark for home charger design and technology. Most fast chargers out there are level 2 and 3 chargers. The Tesla Supercharger, however, is on a league of its own since it is much faster than any other chargers out there. At the moment, only Tesla models can use Tesla Superchargers.

Additionally, Tesla’s autopilot technology that was released in October 2015 — called Autosteer — makes Tesla’s Model S and X the first mass market cars to have a semi-autonomous driving system. This feature “keeps the car in its current lane… and manages speed and distance from the car ahead of it”. Since then, other automakers have announced plans for similar systems.

While most automakers sell their cars through dealerships after the warehousing process, Tesla calls them “stores”. This approach gives Tesla a more direct relationship with customers, which allows them to create an unparalleled customer experience. New customers get a My Tesla account, which allows them to track the progress of the car ordered over the time it takes to manufacture it. Tesla car owners can also preheat or cool the car and close its sunroof remotely through the app.

The Financial Post reports that Tesla also takes “suggestions from the company’s official community forum to incorporate into ideas for updating the car.” The automaker continues improving the user experience based on this, even launching “a software update that allowed for several seat and steering wheel configurations to be saved on the car based on feedback from its customers.” When additional maintenance is needed, it can be done wirelessly with an update downloaded directly to the car, or a team of Tesla Rangers will be deployed to do the repairs.

Car leasing programs gain traction

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The automotive industry has gone through a somewhat recent, but ever-evolving transformative stage of shifting focus from primarily-bought vehicles to primarily-leased vehicles. This movement is still in motion, with the balance between owned and leased vehicles being consistently shifted in favour of cars obtained by novated leasing or general leasing methods. The simple reality is that Making the choice between buying and leasing your next vehicle is an interesting one. While there are obvious pros to buying a car – customisation at your will and complete ownership, being two of the most prominent – it seems that the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives for car leasing options. The vehicle industry is in a transformative stage. The old ways of the industry are making increasingly less sense as time goes on, and this has led to ideas being brought to the attention of the public that have the ability and the power to transform the industry into one that is not only up-to-date, but ahead of its time.

In some countries – like the UK and the US – subscription-based ownership models for vehicles have already been integrated in up to 10% of household incomes. Subscription-based ownership is nothing new. We use streaming subscription platforms like Netflix, hire out clothes, temporarily foster animals, and pay off smartphones with the option to upgrade when more recent models become available. Subscription-based ownership for vehicles, however, is relatively new. Despite its relative infancy in the modern world, it is expected that by as early as 2025 to 2026, vehicle subscription programs are likely to result in over sixteen million vehicles being part of the subscription services. This is a rapid pace of development, and it is one that is being more and more strongly backed by the rise in individuals who want to obtain their vehicle through driver subscription methods.

As the realisation that individuals can lease their vehicles instead of buying them takes hold, the demand for subscription-based ownership for vehicles is on the rise. The allure is easy to understand. For those that want to, the idea of being able to change your vehicle as often as every day without having to be concerned with price, registration, financing, insurance, servicing, or maintenance holds a lot of value. When an individual buys a car, there is often months of thought and even years of savings put into the idea, and even then they end up paying for a portion of the car, entering into a deal to pay off the rest of it for years. Owning the same car for years at a time has a few impacts. Firstly, it means that, when the decision is being made which model to buy, it must be considered with the near future in mind (life changes like starting a family can cause a dramatic shift in automotive necessity for most people). And secondly, over time cars begin to need repairs. As they age, parts of the engine break down and car owners need to fork out more and more money to keep them running.

Car leasing, however, allows for two things that counteract these issues with car ownership. First, drivers the opportunity to have a broader range of options at their disposal. This means that drivers have access to more vehicles for a fraction of their owned prices. The movement is not exclusive to traditionally affordable vehicles, either. Luxury car companies are jumping on the bandwagon and in fact, a high percentage of luxury vehicles have been leased in recent history as opposed to purchased. And secondly, car leasing programs allow drivers to switch vehicles whenever they want to, giving them more reliability and trust in their chosen vehicle. As one vehicle requires more repairs, they can simply switch to the next, eliminating the costly repair process altogether (provided the repairs are not necessary as a result of their fault).

The choice of being able to buy or lease vehicles is a new concept to the widespread public, and it is one that is consistently rising in popularity. Individuals no longer must adhere to the financial and long-lived ideology of committing to purchasing a vehicle. Instead, they now have the option to utilise a subscription-based car leasing option, which allows them the wiggle room to chop and change their vehicle to align with their changing needs. This is a welcome change to the many, and more and more individuals are choosing to opt for the leasing option, as it gives them greater flexibility, more options, and a sense of comfort in the way they choose vehicles. Car leasing programs enable individuals to feel more confident in their choice by giving them access to cars usually out of their price range, the option of switching cars when they want to, and the reliability of knowing that if something goes wrong with their vehicle, they can just make a call and get a different one.

The subscription-based method of ownership gives car users the flexibility, financial advantage, and reliability that owning a car simply cannot provide. Subscription-based vehicle ownership programs allow individuals to have the car of their dreams without the financial or structural liability (unless they crash the leased vehicle, in which case they are entirely liable). This revolution is allowing people the chance to put their hard-earned money into other aspects of life like owning a house, travelling, caring for their pets, and starting a family – and it is one that continues, even now, to gain traction at unprecedented speeds.

Electric Vehicles: When Technology Revolutionises an Industry

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The automotive industry has been the subject of various technological advancements and digital developments in recent years. With GPS tracking software and online portals being integrated into corporate vehicle management for maximum efficiency, the sky’s the limit when it comes to technological innovations in the automotive industry. With so much development taking place in the industry, it stands to reason that the more profound innovations are gaining a lot of media attention, as they are in the stage of development and early implementation. One of the most exciting innovations to date is the introduction of electric vehicles in the market. Based on the early stages of development, these vehicles hold a lot of promise and excitement for what the future on the roads could look like – a prime example of the expansive reaches that technology is striving towards.

In what may feel like little to no time, the technology behind these kinds of vehicles will surpass preconceived limitations and soar into the future. New technology always takes longer than one might think to be adopted in everyday life, but once ideas like electric vehicles take hold, they begin to work their magic and bring to life a concept that has a considerable positive impact on the environment. We live in a world of continuous technological advancement with new developments breaking ground every day. The result of this constant stream of ideas and implementation is that technology is moving forward at an increasingly rapid pace in our endeavour to turn our presence on this planet into a more peaceful, harmonious one. The introduction of an innovation as life-changing as the electric vehicle is only the beginning of bringing this vision to life.

The global shift away from sources of input that do not align with a more environmentally-friendly future has kicked into high gear in recent years. People are having more say in how their food is grown or bought to them, with others switching to renewable energy to power their home and installing solar panels. Even our vehicles are being turned into electrical, modernised versions of their former selves. While Tesla is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, other car manufacturers are taking note, including Ford, Jaguar, Audi, and Land Rover (to name a few). The widespread benefits electric vehicles would bring to society is worth waiting for – not only would they eliminate the need to use toxic fossil fuels to make them run, but by doing so, they contribute to better air quality. With electric vehicles on the rise, one can confidently say that society is moving towards a more sustainable future and taking the first steps to reimagine a healthier, cleaner world.

Electric vehicles are the future of road activity and transport on all spaces, whether it be on ground, air, and sea. This is a concept that was once brought to life using CGI in movies, thought to be a distant possibility that, if it ever did come to fruition, would arrive well after we had left the planet to the younger generation. But now, in the wake of rapid technological advancement, one of the most exciting technological developments has made its mark on the market, even in its early stages. Electric vehicles have immense appeal, as more and more people are joining the sustainability movement and celebrating its successes. It certainly helps that electric vehicles brought to us by the likes of Tesla, for example, are so sleek and visually stunning. Having modernised versions of our cars that surpass our current mode of transport (fuel-run automotive vehicles) in both looks and power has made the appeal of them register with a wider audience, and the transition from the familiar to the unknown easier than we ever expected. People want these cars, and soon enough they will be everywhere…and the planet will thank us.

Self-driving vehicles are one of the most profound technological inputs in the automotive industry to date, and they have come with more than their fair share of bewilderment and excitement. We are seeing the beginnings of a concept coming to life, one that was previously thought to be just another scene on a movie screen. To be bringing the kind of technology to life that was once thought to be nothing more than a pipe dream is incredibly exciting, especially when one considers the fact that the planet is in a whirlpool of disaster, with global warming and climate change beginning to have larger-scale impacts. The widespread adoption of an innovation like the electric vehicle can only be a good thing, and the excitement of the invention being released by a considerable number of car manufacturers is only the beginning.

The New World and a New Sense of Legality: Crime and Punishment at the Workplace and Beyond

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Order is born out of chaos but not through natural ways or means. In other words, there has to be a systematic attempt at defining rules and implementing judgments with precision for such order to be materialize. Although philosophically speaking, there is always the element of criticism and objection against such authority construction and keeping, it is also an observable fact that order brings long-term success and stability. Law in this sense is an instrument of professional design and inarguably effective application that binds social mechanisms and constructs with the members and institutions of society. Therefore, laws are fundamentally important building blocks of modern day societies and their diverse categorization and fields of specialization are equally important to understand in the pursuit of adhering to modernity and its legal expectations. Many people consider lawyers to be professionals who can handle legal issues of all types with ease for every citizen in a society. However, the truth of the matter is that specialization matters. Therefore, understanding law and its categorization are becoming more important for all modern day citizens who find themselves in various types of legal trouble, while the media involvement in the issue is nothing short of promising. As more journalists and researchers pay attention to new laws, emergent legal complications and paradoxes or simply investigate into specific cases of interest, the regular Joe becomes far more interested in and enlightened about legal issues, decreasing the chances of violations and breaches while increasing social good and benefits.

One of the most important aspects of modern day law that directly concerns regular people is employment law as everybody has a job or business and nobody wishes to be cheated out of their rights. Gabriel Winant for The Guardian reports on the dangers at the American workplace for American laborers to point out that the Trump administration’s approach to labor politics and laws might have catastrophic effects on the wellbeing of American workers. The author initially refers to the case of Alphonse Maddin, a truck driver in the US who had a ridiculously amateurish incident on his way to a destination in Illinois during the winter of 2009, which led to a court case between Maddin and his employer firm, TransAm. Upon a technical malfunction related to the truck’s brakes and heating system, Maddin failed to deliver his goods on time and was fired due to his incompetence and incapability to carry out his duties. He counter-sued, claiming that he eventually delivered the respective goods, but lost the case because Donald Trump’s appointed supreme court judge Neil Gorsuch denied his appeal, on the grounds that the relevant statute in the constitution “only protects workers who refuse to operate equipment out of safety concerns” and therefore “by unhitching the trailer and driving the cab away, Maddin hadn’t refused to operate the equipment, but had rather hijacked it for his own purposes.”

The implications of such a decision are vast for the common American worker today, as in 2016 only, 5,190 workers died during their duties while “another 50,000 to 60,000 die annually of occupational diseases, and nearly 4 million experienced[s] work-related injuries or illnesses.” This latter figure, according to the report, is a drastic underestimate, with the real figure likely between 7.4 million and 11.1 million injuries and illnesses per year. In other words, when and if the newly appointed judges and their judiciary turn their backs on such workers who are already experiencing significant discrimination at their workplaces, the issues of social justice and equality will be significantly impeded. The Trump administration’s inclination to side with the rich and the powerful in the country has been observed by millions of people but regarding issues of such crucial significance for the under-represented majority, such inclinations might deal a lot more harm than other ordinary cases. Winant concludes her remarks by stating that the Trump administration has been nothing short of a disgrace for representing the rights of the commoners in America, whether it be regarding employment, healthcare or education, and underlines the fact that a significant civil reaction and opposition is necessary to make tables turn before serious harm is dealt to the American public. In such instances, it is important to invest in a no fault workers comp system to deal with workers compensations and injuries sustained while on the job.

Conservatives are people who are likely to have fixations with crime and its association with minorities but even in the most conservative and developed societies such as England, where the establishment is conservative and quite strong crime rates are on the rise with no indication of a correlation between migration and such a new crime wave. Chris Hemmings for the BBC network reports on the alarmingly rising rates of burglary in the urban areas of the country with an observable drop in the criminal charges associated with such violations. The author specifically refers to a 6% rise in “burglary reports in England and Wales” in conjunction with a decrease of 33% for “the number of criminal charges faced by [their] offenders.” The report is dated 2017, when actual numbers of such incidents rose to 325,901 while the number of charges decreased to 22,378 with the UK government citing the police resources as a priority and a reason. Hemmings takes a liberal approach to emphasize that the UK police is trying to induce personal and local responsibility among the citizens to pay more attention to safety measures and directly contact the authorities when and if need be. The article also provides a link to a centralized information network operated by the Scotland Yard, which aims at providing useful contact information for those in danger as well as those dealing with the aftermaths of a burglary or break-in. The author then refers to the story of Colin Bennet, whose home was robbed by two men in West Midlands in 2016, when he lost significant sums of cash along with his late wife’s wedding rings. The local police force investigated into the issue seriously but it was too late to find or recover the money or the possessions and therefore the investigation yielded no significant results, except for a couple of leads. Hemmings associates such incapability with the fact that the police force was cut continuously shorter in its funding by the respective authorities in the last 8 years, with a significant 20% drop, resulting in 20,000 fewer officers. Similarly, the article takes note of how the West Midlands Police could only achieve resolving 5.8% of such cases in 2017, showing how incapable they have become over these years. Hemmings’ argument therefore gains a critical and acquisitive turn at this point, with the author directly targeting the financial policies of the British government as the most obvious reason for the trouble. With minimal financial incentives or capabilities, the British police seems to be backing down on its intentions of catching burglars, punishing them and returning the stolen properties, which might very well turn into a more significant issue in the years to come.

Another issue of critical concern for billions of people, mainly women of all ages, in today’s world is sexual assault at the workplace as its legal definition and recognition are both still problems. The harassing behaviors of certain bosses and employees in today’s business world are becoming close-to-impossible for billions of female workers in the world and several developed societies have already taken significantly bold steps to identify and punish such violators. Emily Peck for The Huffington Post reports on the unfortunate reality of legal silencing for such cases and complaints that is still a serious issue in the American society and business world alike. According to her article, “of all the tactics companies use to silence women who speak up about sexual harassment, the way corporate lawyers question victims in depositions may be the most brutal” and that defense lawyers are paying significant attention to confronting such issues and investigating into “every aspect of their [violators’] sexual histories, medical records and traumas from childhood.” Peck refers to a specific case involving a woman Enilolobo Malika Oyo, “a vice president in investment banking at ANZ’s New York office in 2013 and 2014” who “sued the bank in federal court in 2016 for sexual and racial discrimination,” seeking millions of dollars for psychological and legal compensation. ANZ Bank seems to be on the same page with Ms. Oyo but is seeking a way out of the mess without experiencing too much legal trouble. The incident dates back to 25 years ago when Oyo was a freshman at a New York college and was doing an internship at the bank. Currently, the investigation is continuing with a focus on Oyo’s psychological background along with the medication she was taking to ensure that she remembers and reflects on everything correctly. The definition of sexual assault is also much debated and therefore the legal team working on the issue also is trying to make sure that the mentioned incident does indeed satisfy the legal requirements in terms of definition. As the legal battle continues, the media has also taken significant interest in the issue, considering the African-American background of Oyo, taking the woman’s side against possible interventions and influences to come from the racist sects of the New York society. The bank is officially interested in the case and does not seem to wish to cover up the story, meanwhile trying to maintain its positive image in the eyes of its employees and the public alike. With a possible outcome of an out-of-court settlement, the case is still on-going and attracting significant public and media interest. The relevance of the case however is more important than ever in the changing and progressing American society: how women, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, are standing up against sexual harassment at the workplace and how the legal system is fine-tuning itself to ensure just trials and jurisdiction. As the legal system continues to evolve and renovate itself, there will be further cases and hopefully the justified cases will make examples for future ones as point of reference to ensure that incidents like this do not repeat themselves in the future for a better American workplace and a society.

Holiday Season signals increased focus on Home Security

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The holiday season brings joy, excitement, and anticipation, but it also has a less than savory side. As people order packages and travel for extended periods of time, criminals recognize an opportunity to attack. And it’s for this very reason that experts typically anticipate record numbers during the month of December.

While most people consider the holiday season to be the merriest time of the year, burglars have a knack for turning this happy, cozy time into a nightmare for homeowners.

Research shows that the period between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day has the second-highest burglary rate of the year. In some cities, burglary rates jump as much as 18 to 35 percent. This is true for a number of reasons, including:

  • People often travel for extended time during the holidays, which leaves homes vacant and vulnerable.
  • Homeowners are often distracted during the holidays, which leads them to forget about basic security responsibilities (like locking doors).
  • There’s an uptick in online shopping in a very concentrated period of time, which causes packages to pile up on doorsteps.
  • Burglars know that expensive, unopened gifts are often found under Christmas trees, which allows them to quickly burglarize homes and get away in seconds.

High burglary rates during the holiday season have been common for decades – and experts don’t anticipate this year being any different. Unprepared homeowners will be targeted.

While burglary rates are increased during this time of year, you don’t have to be a target. There are practical steps you can take to proactively fend off crime on your property. Here are some suggestions from law enforcement and others in the security field:

  1. Stay Off Social Media

 In the past, burglars have made use of obituaries in order to take advantage of grieving families attending funerals. Now, there is a new trend: targeting people who post travel plans on social media.

That’s right – criminals will use social media to keep an eye out for when people travel and for how long they’re gone. They can then cross-reference names with property records and find out exactly when to strike for the least amount of resistance.

If you’ll be traveling out of town this holiday season, don’t broadcast it to the world. Even if your profiles are private, it’s possible that one of your followers could actually be spying on you. Wait until you get home to post pictures and let people know what you did.

  1. Make Your House Look Occupied

If you’ll be traveling over the holidays, make sure your house looks occupied in your absence. Criminals target homes that appear empty, and you greatly increase your odds of being burglarized if you don’t do something to make it look like you’re home. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off while you’re gone. Better yet, use smart light bulbs that you can program and control remotely from your mobile device.
  • Install motion-sensing lights around the exterior of your property to dissuade trespassers from breaking in.
  • Consider leaving a TV or radio on while you’re gone. The noise may be enough to deter criminals and push them away to an easier target.
  • If possible keep a car in the driveway. This will create enough doubt in the minds of most burglars to dissuade them from breaking in.
  • Install a motion-sensing doorbell camera that activates and sends you a notification when tripped.
  • Leave your dog at the house and hire a pet sitter to check in a couple of times per day. Not only will the presence of the dog provide some protection, but having someone enter your home regularly will ward off any criminals who are watching your property.
  1. Keep Window Shoppers Away

Some burglars will quite literally do window shopping from home to home during the holiday season. Many families place their Christmas trees in front of street-facing windows and then pile gifts and presents underneath. This gives onlookers a chance to quickly take inventory of potential loot.

While it may look good, consider keeping your Christmas tree away from windows. And if you do put your Christmas tree near a window, place your gifts elsewhere. For additional privacy, consider installing motorized blinds, which allow you to control the visibility people have into your home with the simple touch of a button.

  1. Install Extra Security Measures

The more security measures you can install in and around your home, the less likely it is that you’ll be targeted. Savvy burglars are constantly looking for cameras and alarms and won’t bother with homes that have smart systems installed. Even decoy cameras can prove beneficial (but make sure they have wires and lights to make them look real).

  1. Don’t Leave Packages on Your Porch

According to one survey, 25 percent of Americans report having a package stolen from outside their home. And if there’s one time of year where you’re at risk of being attacked, it’s the holiday season.

During the holiday months, it usually sees a 500 percent increase in posts on its social network about missing packages,  The New York Times reports. “Research commissioned by businesses that make packaging products like boxes and surveillance cameras suggests that from one-fifth to one-third of respondents have had deliveries stolen from their porches.”

There are several steps you can take to prevent packages from being lifted off your porch. For starters, you can reroute packages so that they don’t get dropped off on your porch while you’re away.

  1. Don’t Forget About the Garage

Most people don’t pay much attention to the garage, but this is one of the favorite entry points for burglars. Not only do many homeowners leave their garage doors unlocked, but most of today’s cars have connected openers inside. Thus, all a burglar has to do is break into a car in the driveway and they can open the garage, which provides them with cover while they break into the house.

If you’ll be traveling during the holidays, consider disconnecting your garage door opener to prevent burglars from gaining easy access.

Don’t let your guard down during the holiday season. If anything, you should be more aware of your surroundings than you are during the other 11 months of the year. Never assume that you’re immune from a break-in, simply because it’s never happened in the past. There’s always a first time and you should be as prepared as possible.Holiday Season Signals Increased Focus on Home Security

Exploring PCI Compliance Issues in the Public Cloud

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The public cloud is a cloud computing deployment model in which a service provider makes IT resources and services, such as virtual machines, database applications, and storage, available for use via an Internet connection.  

In the public cloud, the data of companies or individuals who are clients of the service provider remains secure and visible only to that specific user or group of users. The word public refers to the fact that the underlying infrastructure is shared by all the service provider’s customers and that you access the services over the public Internet.  

Some of the main service providers in the public cloud are:

  • Microsoft Azure, which provides a range of service delivery models including software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS.
  • AWS, which provides over 90 services, spanning areas such as computing, AWS storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, and IoT. A thriving sub-market has emerged composed of third-party services that link to AWS services and expand their functionality. Enterprise storage extends enterprise storage to the cloud using AWS storage services.
  • Google Cloud Platform, which provides cloud computing services that use the same infrastructure as that used for Google’s own internal services.

Being PCI-compliant is a major concern for businesses and organizations that accept credit card as payment for their products or services. Formally known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the regulation specifies a set of security standards organizations must meet if they are to store, process, and transmit cardholder data.

The regulation assigns organizations to one of four merchant levels depending on their volume of Visa transactions in a given twelve month period. The transaction volume includes debit, credit, and prepaid Visa transactions. There are specific requirements to meet at each of these merchant levels.

From the perspective of organizations that use public cloud infrastructure, a range of important issues need addressing in terms of whether they will remain PCI-compliant in the cloud.

First and foremost is the issue of responsibility. Organizations want to know whether it is them or the cloud provider that is responsible for PCI compliance in the cloud, and the answer is both. The difficulty lies in the fact that that there is no specific guidance or method in terms of assigning responsibility to achieve PCI compliance in public cloud services because of the vastly different ways organizations choose to deploy those services.

Furthermore, while cloud providers typically operate on a shared responsibility basis, the exact responsibilities assigned between provider and customer are unique to and at the discretion of each service provider.

General recommendations from the PCI DSS Virtualization Guidelines relate to cloud service models and the responsibility for compliance as follows:

  • In SaaS services, cloud customers may be responsible for PCI compliance for credit card data only.
  • In PaaS services, cloud customers may be responsible for PCI compliance for data and user applications.
  • In IaaS services, cloud customers may be responsible for PCI compliance for data, user applications, operating systems, databases, and virtual infrastructure.

A more recent document published in April 2018 specifically on cloud computing guidelines for PCI DSS says that the more aspects of a customer’s operations that a cloud provider manages, the more responsibility the provider has for maintaining PCI DSS controls.

Thankfully, all of the major cloud service providers are now PCI-compliant. This means that you can create your own create your own cardholder data environment (CDE) using the services of such providers safe in the knowledge that their systems comply with PCI DSS.

If a customer decides to store cardholder data in the public cloud, however, another challenge is the lack of visibility or control over where that data is physically located. Additionally, the location can change and data might be stored in multiple locations at once.

Another challenge is the lack of separation of duties that often exists when using virtualized cloud environments. It can be difficult to define explicit roles for users with proper access policies in such a computing environment. Lack of separation through improperly defined roles and policies can result in an individual user gaining access to key infrastructure where payment card information is processed and stored.

Lastly, the very nature of the public cloud is that it is accessible anytime and from anywhere via the Internet. This, in itself, presents PCI compliance challenges.

Best Practices for PCI Compliance in The Cloud:

  • Identify data security needs for cardholder information before moving to the cloud.
  • Make sure when using cloud storage services that you are always aware of the services in which cardholder data is stored and that you take steps to protect the information within each service. Backups or snapshots are prime examples.
  • Only give access to systems or services containing cardholder data to those who need such access to perform their jobs.  
  • Always encrypt and cardholder data you store in the cloud.
  • Store cardholder data in private subnets if possible, using the virtual private cloud option provided by many leading vendors.
  • When transmitting cardholder information between two endpoints, make sure you use later TLS as the encryption channel instead of SSL or early TLS because the former is PCI-compliant while the latter are no longer compliant.
  • Use two-factor authentication for user access accounts to cloud systems.  
  • Use vulnerability scanning tools in your cloud environments.

There is a plethora of challenges involved in using the public cloud while remaining PCI-compliant. Many organizations consider the hassle not worth the additional complexities and they opt to keep their cardholder data environments strictly on-premise.

For organizations that don’t have such an option, the above best practices can help provide guidance on maintaining PCI compliance in the public cloud.

Healthy Sleep and Well Being: Scientific Explanations for Key Concepts

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A good and productive day requires a reasonable amount of rest and the correlation between human health and sleep cannot be ignored for those seeking maximum well-being and productivity. The market for goods and products aimed at helping those with a dire need for good sleeping habits is also quite vivid, showcasing anything and everything from anti-aging pillows to the best orthopedic mattresses , from electric beds to personalized blankets. The more people learn about the importance of sleep for a healthy life, the more the market will grow. It is up to the consumer to understand the important mechanisms at play and make the right decision regarding their purchases. It is always a good idea to keep track of novelties and news in the given market to stay in touch with the dominant trends, access the right products for the right purpose, and improve on their sleeping habits to get more out of life during the day.

Although there are various theories regarding the functions and reasons of sleep for human beings, studies show that one to three adults go through symptoms of insomnia today, and one out of ten such individuals are likely to develop insomnia as a chronic disorder. Other studies show that drivers who get less than six hours of sleep a night have 33% higher risk of causing an accident compared to others who sleep for seven to eight hours a night. The prevalent theory regarding the function of sleep for human beings is that sleep strengthens synapses and therefore enables the person to learn and remember better. In conjunction with this hypothesis, a research team at the University of Texas Southwestern discovered the existence of ‘Sleep-Need-Index-Phosphoproteins (SNIPPPS) which are activated by a ‘kinase protein’ SIK3, as the responsible actors in the sleep function for mice. Such proteins have also been found to regulate synaptic plasticity in the mice’s brain functions, creating a molecular link between synaptic plasticity and sleep regulation, bridging the thinking and sleeping processes. The phosphate molecules accumulating on such proteins therefore determine the length and quality of sleep in the test subjects, leading the researchers to conclude that research into such molecules and their interactions in human brain will be utile in understanding the most important determinants of sleeping for human beings as well.

Along with such functions and reasons, little is known regarding the actual experiences of a person while sleeping, leading one to question whether if human beings are conscious during dreamless sleep or not.  The current established view is that people are not conscious during sleep until they start dreaming which only occurs during the REM phase. In a recent study published in ‘Trends in Cognitive Sciences’, the authors Jennifer Windt, Tore Nielsen, and Evan Thompson are opposing this current view, believing that lumping all the experiences under a single heading is wrong, while asserting that “storylike, immersive, hallucinatory episodes” during one’s sleep can also be considered as conscious non-dream experiences. The researchers claim that sleepwalkers are a good example, as they experience “isolated visual, auditory or kinesthetic imagery” during, along with insomniacs who claim that they are not sleeping when indeed they have been sleeping without being aware of it. The researchers infer that by observing sleepers through neural and physiological measures, they discovered the existence of “a state of deep, dreamless sleep in which a bare form of conscious awareness remains present.” They also conclude that the absence of “the subject-object structure of ordinary experience and the phenomenology of being a cognitive agent” makes it impossible for people to understand the given phenomenon. The philosophical interpretations of the given issue dictate that human beings do indeed experience and observe during sleeping phases, necessitating a new definition of experience and observation to understand the given issue.

Teen behavior has been an issue of concern for psychiatrists and behavioral scientists alike lately, and as revealed in a study published in the ‘JAMA Pediatrics’ journal, there exist strong associations between mood and sleep for teenagers. Sleeping less than six hours per night resulted in participants to consider, plan or attempt a suicide more frequently while those who slept for eight or more hours reported far less such ideas, plans or attempts. Unfortunately, according to the data provided by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey between the years 2007 and 2015, 70% of high school students are currently getting less than eight hours of sleep per night. Such inadequate sleeping habits lead to increased risks of adverse self-behaviors as well as risk taking behaviors, validating the common notion that a good night’s sleep is indeed the path to personal satisfaction and fulfillment. However, the researchers also point out that there exists no direct correlation between low quality/duration sleep and higher risk behaviors but there exists such correlation with adverse self-behaviors. As teens become more susceptible to damaging themselves due to low quality/duration sleep, their social cognition changes in an unacceptable manner. In the following step, such individuals become more likely to take risky actions, as their perception of social distances, norms and limits get blurred out in the process. In such a scenario, the teens find it easier and more acceptable to initially hurt themselves and eventually others around them, creating an intriguing source of socio- psychological trouble.

Sleep is serious business and several scientists have managed to challenge the relationship between sleep and human health in numerous fields of study, including genetics. A recent study by scientists at the University of Surrey focused on “the influence of sleep on gene functions” to understand the effects of sleep on human biological functions such as stress, immunity, inflammation, metabolism and circadian rhythms, finding out that sleep was responsible for altering the activities of more than 700 genes. The 26 participants were led to sleep for less than six hours per night for a week and then were let to sleep for 8.5 hours the following week to be able to understand the effects of differing sleep durations as reflected on their blood samples. Results revealed that low durations of sleep altered the activities of 711 genes in total, and following a week of sleep deprivation, there was a seven times increase in the total number of genes influenced by sleeping. With respect to the circadian rhythms, insufficient sleep for one week led to a reduction of the number of genes that work coordinately with circadian rhythms from 1,855 to 1,481. This is an alarming reality because circadian functions are associated with psychiatric disorders, dementia, metabolic disorder and cancer. Due to incurred changes in the person’s metabolism, low quality/duration sleep has also been linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while such poor sleeping habits have also been associated with problems within the immune system, creating disruptions and stress during the day for the person.

Nutrition is an extremely important concept in human health and its connections with the circadian rhythms in human body have a direct impact on sleeping quality, patterns and duration for humans. The body clocks in every metabolism are connected to every cell in the human body and therefore influence all sorts of human activity by regulating blood pressure, body temperature, and hormone levels. Chrono-nutrition is the field of study that focuses on such relationships and research has proven that wrong types or quantities of food being consumed might easily lead to out-of-sync metabolic processes that hamper sleep quality and duration. As human beings become less capable of processing food in the evening, having a late dinner might easily lead to disruptions in one’s sleep. The body uses extra energy that was originally allocated to the sleeping process, making it harder for the individual to sleep or sleep less than demanded. In the long run, such disruptions lead to larger problems such as obesity, as unhealthy and untimely eating patterns alter the natural rhythms for eating and sleeping in an individual’s system without them noticing it. To avoid such complications, people should focus on not just what they eat but also when they eat to improve their sleeping health. Considering that 20% of all people in the workforce are shift workers, having large numbers of out-of-sync people will surely create large-scale problems for the society as a whole. Such individuals over time will become more aggressive, impotent and impulsive during the day, bringing down their productivity and increasing the risk of confrontations with others.