Cyber Security: Build Data Protection Strategy

As the technology grows in an organization, the risk to data security also rises.The organization needs to secure their data by using some protection.  Cyber intrusions and attacks have increased dramatically over the last decade – both in frequency and in sophistication – exposing sensitive personal and business information, disrupting critical operations, and imposing high costs on the economy. Over the next few years, cyber crime attacks are expected to cost as much as $3 trillion in lost economic value.

Recently, many data security breaches have impacted large corporations globally. It should be highlighted that enterprises of all sizes can be targets of data breaches; small and mid-size businesses are in the crosshairs as well and need to protect against data security threats. “To secure data, an important step that many miss out is to create an extensive data security plan in order to understand on what data could be at risk. Enterprise data must be secured through authorized and controlled access, and virtualization enables this security model as it allows one to have a secure architecture and orchestrate control throughout the infrastructure,” says Mahesh Nayak, the Chief Operating Officer, SAP Labs India.

According to Muthu Raja Sankar, Managing Director, Accenture Security, many enterprises do not have sufficient capabilities to proactively identify, understand and respond to incidents that threaten the security of their data. This includes threats and exposures that they may face within the enterprise as well.

At Accenture Security, they believe enterprises can be successful in addressing this by following a three-phased approach:

Build a data protection strategy: Every enterprise needs a strategic vision for data protection, and an actionable roadmap for implementation and a thorough assessment of compliance requirements. This will ensure a strong foundation to understand and identify critical information, current data protection capabilities, and identify potential opportunities and remediation areas.

Optimize and implement the solution: Once the strategy is in place, enterprises must embed security monitoring tools and processes into day-to-day security operations and decisions. This will ensure the enterprise can run scalable security data management and analysis, automate detection and prevent data loss.

Run integrated operations: And finally, the enterprise must partner closely within to be able to achieve the desired outcomes of the data protection strategy. It must orchestrate operations between IT, security and the business to enable ongoing discovery and protection of evolving critical business data, proactively identify and prevent risks, and ensure compliance adherence.

How to secure data from Ransomware

Ransomware is without doubt growing, becoming bolder and more targeted. While future outbreaks are potentially likely to be faster and stronger, and can inflict more damage to their targets, technically and tactically, there are a range of activities that together will help defend and respond more effectively to ransomware outbreaks.

Ransomware restricts access to data by encrypting files or locking computer screens. It then attempts to extort money from victims by asking for “ransom”, usually in form of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, in exchange for access to data. The trend towards increasingly sophisticated malware behavior, highlighted by the use of exploits and other attack vectors, makes older platforms so much more susceptible to ransomware attacks.

In this context, enterprises need proactive threat intelligence and mitigation to detect and resolve targeted advanced threats. “The ability to analyse volumes of data and enable intelligent and actionable cyber response should be a core part of the overall security strategy. Enterprises must focus on investing in contextual security solutions to mitigate advanced threats and ensure the health of data networks and connected assets,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, CIO, CSS Corp.

According to Microsoft spokesperson, in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we released Windows Defender Exploit Guard which is a new set of intrusion prevention capabilities. One of its features, Controlled folder access, stops ransomware in its tracks by preventing unauthorized access to your important files. Controlled folder access locks down folders, allowing only authorized apps to access files. Unauthorized apps, including ransomware and other malicious executable files, DLLs, and scripts are denied access to folders.

On the other hand, “Accenture Security helps organizations build resilience from the inside out, so they can operate and grow confidently in a rapidly evolving threat landscape. They help businesses prepare, protect, detect, respond and recover along all points of the security lifecycle.

Particular to addressing ransomware threats, they also advise organizations to adopt a proactive prevention approach, elevate e-mail controls, insulate their infrastructure and most importantly, have a strong cyber resilience plan for recovery that is regularly reviewed and tested,” according to Sankar, Managing Director, Accenture Security.

SAP leverages email sanitation and has strict security patching processes in place, which prevents the WannaCry malware from infecting SAP managed machines. Cloud application security is a priority for every organization as cyber security attackers try to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. “At SAP, product security is part of the quality management process; we ensure that products that reach our customers have the complete product code and key security functions necessary to safeguard product use. Every business expects unalterable data security for the on-premise, cloud, and mobile infrastructure. SAP works continuously to strengthen and improve security features in all of our software and service offerings, while also ensuring our own company data and assets are protected,” added Nayak.

Part of responsibility for keeping files secure lie with online data storage providers and another part lies on the business and its employees. As the GDPR rolls out on May 25th, we embrace the European regulation as it sets a strong standard for privacy and data protection rights, which is at the core of many businesses.

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Amid paycuts and layoffs, some companies chose to shield staff during the Covid storm

India: In the midst of a storm of job losses, pay cuts and deferred increments, a bunch of companies have held firm. Hindustan UnileverNSE 0.59 %, Asian Paints, Johnson & Johnson, HCCB, Flipkart, Myntra, CSS Corp, BharatPe, BSH Home Appliances and Inflection Point Ventures are among those that have chosen to hike salaries, make variable payouts and promote employees even in these tough times.

Compensation experts said while companies across the board are taking decisions based on business realities, the concern they display during the Covid-19 crisis will have a lasting impact on employee goodwill.

“In these unprecedented times, it is a great opportunity for organisations to lead with empathy and take care of their employees’ interest. We believe that giving pay hikes will help add certainty in these uncertain times,” said Manish Tandon, CEO, CSS Corp. The IT services company has paid out increments and variable pay to its 7,000-strong workforce. At the lower bands, which constitute 70% of the workforce, the variable payout was 100%.

“It’s our job to keep the morale of employees high in these uncertain times and give them a sense of security,” says Neeraj Bahl, MD and CEO, BSH Home Appliances. While the firm cut marketing and travel costs and initiated a hiring freeze, staff were given increments and promotions went ahead.

‘Moves More Company-specific’
‘Paying scheduled salary increments and variable payouts is especially significant now, given the sheer number of companies that have gone in for salary cuts and layoffs in the past month or two. Many are struggling to retain jobs and current levels of remuneration.

“We took the decision of not cutting salaries or laying off people because, while the macro trends were looking weak starting March, we are a people-first organisation and believe that when we put people first, our people make things happen for the organization,” said Inflection Point Ventures CEO Vinay Bansal.

The likes of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro, PwC India and Infosys have deferred hikes. Reliance Industries, Oyo Rooms and TVS Motors have cut salaries while Ola, Uber, Zomato and IBM are among those that have fired employees.

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How will AI change the HR operations landscape?

Organisations are investing significantly in AI and it will continue to happen with AI becoming more of a catalyst for businesses.

We live in very exciting times. The artificial intelligence debate is intensifying. There is constant commentary on it from some of the finest brains of our times. Some are for it with gusto and some seek caution.

One thing is certain, AI has accelerated like no other technology in the past few decades. It is clear that AI will become much more pervasive and intertwined in our day-to-day life. It will change the way we live in fundamental ways.

AI is the ultimate frontier in technology. Organisations are investing significantly in AI and it will continue to happen with AI becoming more of a catalyst for businesses. Experts predict that technologies that underpin the fourth industrial revolution are all set to bring out the best in people.

If you think job disruption by artificial intelligence (AI) is limited to the marketing, finance, sales and customer service, think again: The AI dust is being sprinkled on the human resources function, too.

Although the field is projected to grow 9 percent by 2024, as companies grow and need more robust structures for supporting and empowering employees, the hype and expectations of AI in the HR sector are getting astronomical.

That’s indeed good news for the HR folks – isn’t it?

Certainly, the HR department is one of the most complex, handcrafted and data-dependent business processes within an organisation. AI has the potential to transform employee engagement with relevant, quick and in- depth analysis of various functions within HR.

AI provides the teams with the necessary budget space to be more effective and efficient than ever.

Many HR leaders have already begun experimenting with varied facets of AI to deliver maximum value to their organizations. Organisations with large employee bases are turning to AI to reduce the cost involved in managing operations, to improve employee engagement to drive bias-free decisions in employee screening and recruitment.

AI can also help HR shared service organisations to focus on strategic business initiatives and can enable them to streamline and modernise HR operations, especially in the following areas:

Reimagining HR operations with AI and machine learning technologies

  • Conversational Interfaces: These interfaces automate regular HR tasks and provide employees with insights about policies, training schedules, payroll, and compensation. With speech recognition and NLP infused, conversational AI platforms addresses the growing needs of digitally empowered employees with 24*7 assistance and helps organizations in driving productivity improvements.

  • Machine Learning (ML): ML skims people-related data to detect patterns and transforms program actions accordingly. The insights drawn makes suitable data available for HR practitioners to motivate and engage existing employees and to also hire new ones. Also, ML-powered recommendations use historical records to suggest the optimum solutions to resolve conflicts.

  • Predictive models: These models help HR departments reduce employee turnover, boost business performance, quickly identify areas of risk and potential performance issues, and improve workforce diversity. Organizations are building predictive models that would identify the key reasons contributing to employee attrition by simply analyzing a structured data file fed into it and generating a score for every employee based on the calculated probability of them leaving their jobs.

AI and non-transactional segments of HR

AI has the potential to take HR experience to a higher level by automating most of the non-transactional HR tasks. Let’s have a closer look at some of these tasks.

Recruitment: Hiring in thousands leads to scale issues for HR professionals, who most often grapple with the problem of resume overload. Robots with AI software designed for recruitment are helping HRs in the screening process by identifying hard-to-find candidates at scale, collecting potential employees’ information and performing background checks. Such tools help candidates select the right job thereby freeing head hunters from the mundane task of candidate screening.

On-boarding: Smart AI tools focus on making on-boarding a self-service process since these can connect directly with onsite employees, and collaborate with the workforce management team.

Video interviews:

Organisations are increasingly leveraging video conferencing tools for interviewing and assessing candidates. According to a recent research by Polycom, by the year 2020, 50 percent of conference rooms will be video-enabled.  AI tools can analyse these videos to assess candidates’ language, skills, educational credentials, even honesty and mood.

Sentiment analysis: Telecom, technology banking, and healthcare sectors are hard pressed with the challenge of employee retention. Several companies have already started using AI and ML solutions to capture employee feedback to get a better understanding of their sentiments in real time. The key reason that organizations dig into sentiment technology lies in its data. AI, a big game changer here, can spot and analyse intelligent patterns in the sentiment of employees through their geographic locations, emails, conversations, etc.

Can AI replace human empathy and intuition?

Over the last few years, AI has gradually seeped into a domain which was considered solely to be driven by humans – HR department. From the screening process to enhancing employee engagement and sentiment analysis, AI has literally revolutionised this critical business function. Earlier confined to only big enterprises, AI is now spreading to MSMEs (Medium Small Medium Enterprises) as well.

However, the entry of AI has got many HR professionals fearing that they could be replaced by technology. Although the same fears should have cropped up in the minds of employees during the time of computer revolution as well.

“Human vs. intelligent machines” is probably the second-best bogey after ‘God vs Lucifer’, a timeless battle. Some commentators belong to that school of thought believing that ‘tech is going to replace humans’ and that AI will trigger a tsunami of redundancies throughout the workforce, while other experts believe that AI and human intuition go hand in hand.

So, where do we stand now? Has the transformation begun?

AI is not the future anymore; it is the present already and making waves in one function in 2018: Human Resources. Often, this function is perceived to lag in digital transformation, but with AI now has emerged as a game changer, there is a great opportunity awaiting the HR world.

AI allows huge amounts of data to be amassed and processed that would be far beyond human capabilities. However, this data-crunching and analytical aspect of AI can certainly validate the human gut feel. Instead of replacing HR professionals, ground-breaking AI tools are complementing human skills and managing role tasks to avoid multiple HR roles, thus freeing up the valuable human capital to focus on more strategic or critical aspects of their jobs.

Many experts feel AI can never replace human empathy and intuition. A company’s HR department is likely to always need a human at the helm to handle interpersonal conflicts using non-cognitive and reasoning skills. AI is unlocking and amplifying human potential, not replacing it. People will be able to focus much more on value-added work and less on rote tasks unleashing their creative potential better.

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Supercharged Technical Support: Augmented Reality with CSS Corp’s KYRA

In a new social distancing world, most traditional face-to-face customer service tasks have had to digitize quickly. This trend is not new, but for some processes, it required the adoption of emerging technology and different operational models. A prime example is customer premise visits by engineers for equipment installations, parts replacement, and technical support. For several years, CX services vendors have worked on visual support and remote diagnostics, and are now looking to Augmented Reality (AR) to lift technical support to the next level. CSS Corp has already developed its proprietary technology in the space and is now working on AR deployments.

KYRA: AR-enabled CX & enterprise support

CSS Corp sees AR-enabled CX and support across three use cases:

Visual self-service, where the AR provides visual guidance to users on product features and interactive how-to user manuals
AR integrated virtual assistant, which automates the user engagement with intelligent bots using AR projections and overlay
Remote agent assistance to resolve user issues from a distance with AR markers and overlays.
The company has a pilot of AR visual self-service for a U.S. multinational telecom equipment manufacturer with products in the fixed, wireless, and IP technology space. The AR has step-by-step visual user guides and in-depth installation manuals, component descriptions, component usage instructions, and remote visual troubleshooting. The implementation has an integrated virtual assistant.

The user or field engineer scans a QR code on the packaging leading to the AR support web page downloading an app on their smartphone. She or he then asks the bot for a virtual user guide. The customer focuses their mobile camera on the equipment or error message, and the AR support interface identifies the product model and downloads the correct user guides and knowledge articles. It displays the components and narrates within the AR environment. The virtual assistant explains how to set up and use the components using animations and AR markers. In addition to the spoken and written instructions, it allows image scrolling and freezing and control with voice. The bot then reads the device screen to determine if the installation is successful and guides the user to enter configuration commands.

If the initial installation fails, the computer vision identifies the error message, and the bot starts interacting with the user via chat or messenger to troubleshoot the issue and guide the self-service steps within the AR. If the issue still cannot be resolved, the bot escalates to a live agent who initiates a secure AR session on the support app by sending a link. The transfer displays to the agent the transcript and completed steps and auto-creates a ticket and case history in the client CRM.

For the client, the initial results of the pilot in 2020 show 23% faster issue resolutions for AR supported interactions and 38% AHT reduction with the automation. For 20% of the volumes, the realized end-to-end automation efficiencies reached 94%.

Challenges to the spread of AR

Historically, AR adoption for remote collaboration stumbled due to a lack of high network bandwidth and speed. The proliferation of fiber optic broadband and the rollout of 5G will eventually resolve this challenge. In the meantime, CSS Corp’s KYRA uses cloud-based lightweight AR technology.

Another common concern for all two-way video chat remains security and privacy protection. CSS Corp addresses this issue by masking to the live agent all sensitive user information such as passwords and blurring outside objects. It also ensures that the tools are PCI DSS compliant.

Lastly, customers are often reluctant to download another app, and its usage sharply decreases after the initial setup. Here, CSS Corp works with clients to offer additional incentives and features in the app to drive regular user engagement. It also provides the SMS/email links to user, to start the remote assistance with the agent.

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Workplace Excellence Season Three – Episode 1

“This season of Workplace Excellence is focussed on showcasing those companies that are leaving no stone unturned to achieve workplace excellence. Featuring in this episode are two companies – CSS Corp and Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance.”

Broadcast 1 in association with Times Now brings forth Workplace Excellence Season 3 – an initiative aimed at giving an insight into the corporate cultures of successful companies that are leaving no stone unturned to keep innovating and progressing. In this episode, we showcase two companies – CSS Corp and Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance. Both the companies are driven by one great idea and that is to build a great workplace culture for its employees. These companies are focused on training future leaders and engaging employees for social skills, in order to achieve workplace excellence.

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CSS Corp wins Best Use of Emerging Technologies award

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, recently bagged the SmartTech Award under the “Best Use of Emerging Technologies” category at IMC’s Digital Technology Awards.

The event was hosted by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry at St. Regis Marriott Hotel in Mumbai. The company was recognised for its innovative adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Customer Service Management.

CSS Corp’s home-grown customer experience solution helps simplify complex business processes and streamlines customer life cycle management. By using artificial intelligence, the solution leverages real-time data to effectively deliver personalised and context driven customer engagement. Additionally, in a customer support ecosystem, CSS Corp’s platform uses AI and analytics to identify issues, analyse the best course of action and guide customers through specific solutions.

“It is an honour to be recognized for our innovation in digital capabilities and excellence. This accolade strongly reaffirms our expertise and nimbleness in understanding our customers’ needs and delivering fulfilling experiences through cutting edge technologies. We will continue to invest in using emerging and agile technologies to further innovate, and empower businesses to achieve their business outcomes while delivering unparalleled customer satisfaction”, said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer.

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Impact of RPA on the Existing Workforce and Workplace

Robotic process automation (RPA) is gradually making inroads into the IT industry; however, what is its impact on the existing workforce and workplace?

With current technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics being democratized in everyday applications, the IT industry has almost successfully transitioned into the Digital Era. When talking about digitization, one idea most industry leaders agree upon is that automation is the need of the hour. Along with other new age technologies, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) too has made a mark in the IT industry and according to Gartner 85 percent of big organizations will have deployed some form of RPA by the year 2022.

While RPA is meant to bring about efficiency and reduce errors made in mundane and tedious work done manually by humans, it does give rise to the question of will there be a loss of jobs in the IT industry due to democratization of RPA. Along the same lines, when various industry leaders were asked about what are the likely impacts of RPA on the existing workforce and work place, here is what they had to say:

Humans and Machines will Work in Tandem – Vivian Gomes, Vice President, Marketing, CSS Corp

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has opened up immense opportunities for organizations to streamline mundane and repetitive tasks while re-focussing human efforts on higher value tasks. Organizations today are increasingly embracing RPA to drive greater operational efficiencies, reduce cost and have closer connections with stakeholders; including employees and customers. It allows businesses to better leverage employee time into learning new tech or performing more intelligent tasks which eventually enables individuals to focus more on innovation and problem-solving. This not only results in the enhancement of business processes but the enhancement of customer experience as well. Additionally, quality and control can be achieved by implementing rules and guidelines to the automated processes thus ensuring error reduction and improvement in quality and compliance. As businesses are getting future ready, there has been an increase in hiring of digitally-enabled workforces and investment in developing newer applications of RPA to create a sustainable digital transformation. In order to ensure the maximum impact of RPA, businesses will have to create a shift in the mindset and culture of workplaces to provide a well-balanced digital workplace, where humans and machines work in tandem to achieve a common goal.

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CSS Corp organises training programme

CSS Corp, a new-age IT service and technology support company, recently organized a ‘Computer Literacy Training programme’ for students of Jayam Special School.

The programme equipped autistic students with essential IT skills such as word processing and computer safety. To ensure students have ongoing access to IT equipment, CSS Corp also set up the school’s first computer lab.
The initiative was a part of CSS Corp’s ‘Digital Literacy’ CSR program, which aims to equip students with the computer skills necessary for modern life.
During the programme, CSS Corp employees also worked closely with the school authorities to conduct engaging training sessions to equip students with vital digital skills.
Highlights included introduction of computer literacy programme as part of the school curriculum. Students with speech impairments also learned to communicate with teachers using technology. They also participated in fun activities such as envelope and cover making and were invited to display their art skills at the CSS Corp facility, in Chennai.
The company organized IT training programs close to 2,200 students across various schools in Chennai, including a ‘Computer Literacy Program’ at a Government Girls Higher Secondary School in 2018. Students who attended these programs were trained in word processing, spreadsheets, internet safety, and also received career and development counseling.

Future of jobs: 5 skills you need to thrive in the age of automation

The accelerating pace of technological evolution is expected to cause tectonic shifts in the employment space. While the rise of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, etc. is giving companies an upper hand over their competitors, on is the other hand there is a growing concern of these technologies taking away millions of jobs. It is therefore important for today’s employees to periodically upskill themselves to stay relevant in their jobs.

TimesJobs spoke to Visweswara Rao, SVP & Chief HR Officer, CSS Corp on the skills that will be essential for the future workforce. He said, “Cognitive technology advancements will redefine the workplace where humans and machines will increasingly interact with each other to achieve predetermined goals. With machines expected to take over most of the repetitive tasks, human roles will be upgraded and there will also be a need to possess additional skill sets like problem solving, communication, interpretation and design”.

As per a World Economic Forum report titled ‘The Future of Jobs 2018’, by 2025 more than half of the current workplace tasks that are performed by humans will be performed by machines. Automationwill me a major disruptor is a given, but how everyone is able to sense the opportunities around automation will be the key differentiator between leaders and laggards. Here are few skills that are a must-have if you are looking to thrive in the age of automation:

Cognitive skills
The possession of cognitive skills like creativity and critical thinking is where humans have an edge over machines. For instance, demonstrating critical thinking for a better understanding of the market trends and creating strategies around it can go a long way in making humans valuable at the workplace. Similarly, creativity is something that will always give humans an edge over machines. So, the more creative you are the less chances of you losing your job to automation technology.

Soft skills 

Effectively managing others, empathy towards customers, negotiation skills, are just few of the many examples of skills that machines will not be able to possess. It is therefore important for you to hone your soft skills and make yourself valuable for your current employer.

STEM skills
With rising technology use and digital innovation, knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will help you to keep up with the pace of the evolving technology.

Awareness around SMAC 
Future employees will have to be on top of things when it comes to technology. It will be important for them to be aware of the social, mobile, analytics and cloud ecosystem and develop skills around it.

Entrepreneurial skills
Businesses would like to work with go-getters in the future who are willing to take calculated risks and get the job done. You will have to think like an entrepreneur and keep the best interest of the organisation at heart.

Your basic computing skills are no longer relevant to IT companies

The Indian IT industry generates at least one lakh new jobs a year. But if you think that makes jobs readily available, the reality is different. That is because the industry, which employs more than four million people, has changed the way it hires. Basic skills are no longer in demand, and companies want candidates to be job-ready from day one.

At a time when the sector continues to be on a hiring spree, Moneycontrol looks into what has really changed in the way IT companies recruit. The five-part series looks at each emerging trend with a detailed lens.

“Looking for an engineer, preferably with specialisation in the computer science segment”, read a newspaper ad by an Information Technology (IT) sector major seven years ago. Today, IT firms are no longer looking for basic engineering school graduates for jobs. While these schools are still one of the avenues of hiring, companies are looking for niche skills to meet the changing demands of the business.

 From the basic knowledge of the computer software that IT sector firms were looking for, it has moved to skills like data mining, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain development.

A recent study by online education company Simplilearn says that five of the top IT jobs of the future in India are data scientist, AI engineer, cloud architect, cyber-security expert, and digital project manager. Fresh graduates for these positions are most-preferred.

“There is a widely-held view that the IT industry is facing a challenge around hiring employable professionals. To an extent, this is true because the services and solutions landscape is evolving so rapidly that one needs to constantly reinvent themselves to thrive in this environment,” said Visweswara Rao, the senior vice president and chief human resource officer at IT services firm CSS Corp.

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