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Cyber Hygiene, Analytics, and the User Experience



There’s already been a lot written about the persistent tension between operations and security. The security team’s mission is protecting the business from malicious activity, and that sometimes means locking systems down. The operations team’s mission is to maximize the business’s ability to do business on their IT systems, including managing software and configurations. 

Then, of course, there is the user experience. Have the security tooling and other changes consumed so many system resources that users can’t perform their jobs? Is memory maxed out? Are applications crashing? You need to have a way to measure user experience to answer these questions.

Tracking user experience

When something breaks, how do you know? Change control is great but you need a way to measure the impact of changes that have been made. Let’s say you’ve closed 10 vulnerabilities on your endpoints. Are your applications crashing? Have your systems started using more resources? Do you have more systems running at 100-percent CPU usage than you did before? Because a system with no resources means there is an employee that’s being prevented from doing their job.

This is where you need analytics. You can’t depend solely on users for timely, reliable information.

Analytics and the user experience

To take some of the burden off the service desk, many large organizations simply give all users admin rights. They resort to that because they don’t have a way to identify systems ahead of time that will generate problems.

They don’t have any way to measure resource utilization, which is done regularly on servers but not on user devices. So, they have no clue what the user experience is. They have no data except, “Has anybody opened a ticket?”

Performance metrics are a subset of IT analytics and they’re critical. When the security team wants to install more agents, operations can show that user systems are already running at 75% of maximum capacity. Add those new tools and users won’t be able to work. Those are the analytics that support business decisions.

Cyber hygiene and analytics for the C-level

When it comes to cyber hygiene, the primary question of C-level executives is “Can my users do their jobs?” Many IT decisions are based on the risk of IT systems getting in the way of employees being able to work. But making those decisions without supporting data leads to trouble.  

This is where executive-level dashboards can make a huge difference. Easily consumable metrics can help execs figure out at a glance where to draw the line between security and operational risk.

For example, if a key indicator shows that 20% of organizational systems are missing critical patches that’s normally cause for concern. However, if the dashboard shows that last month the figure was 50%, the trend is at least headed in the right direction. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on month over month to ensure the trend continues improving.  

At the same time, if a system’s performance monitoring indicator displays “green,” indicating minimal outages, that’s all the executive needs to know that risk has been reduced this month while ensuring solid system performance.

Here are three key indicators an executive dashboard might include:

Percentage of systems with baseline security toolingPercentage of systems vulnerable to missing patchesPercentage of systems performing above or below a defined performance threshold — CPU, RAM, disc utilization, etc.

If there’s a problem at the summary level, executives can alert their IT teams to dig into it. They don’t need to know the details; they just need to know that approved standards are not being met.

The importance of fresh data

When an issue arises requiring intervention, it’s critical that engineers have access to real-time data on all their systems in one place. Without it, they’re forced to spot check systems or wait until they get the next scheduled report. They end up not knowing what’s accurate and what isn’t.

If you’re doing it right, the engineering team should always know before leadership does. Ideally, before an issue hits the executive dashboard, it’s resolved.

How did the move to remote workforce affect the practice of cyber hygiene?

A lot of companies lost a minimum of six months adjusting to life with a distributed workforce. The information that IT executives needed to make qualified business decisions disappeared overnight. When 90% of the workforce went remote, the companies with great on-premises tools lost visibility to everyone working from home.

They couldn’t get data from, update, or even see endpoints that weren’t connected 24×7 to the corporate network. Companies that couldn’t connect with endpoints over the Internet lost the ability to gather endpoint data and understand their state. So, from an analytics and decision-making perspective, they were forced to guess.

Cyber hygiene, Zero Trust, and the remote workforce

When the pandemic hit, many companies couldn’t provide desktops or laptops for everyone, so they effectively said, “Use your own device and we’ll deal with consequences later.” In some cases, critical patches were missed because organizations had no way to patch remotely.

Without making tough decisions like that, people could not work and the business would not be able to function.  So, this was the opposite of Zero Trust. It was blind trust — and hope for the best.

Without good cyber hygiene, there’s no moving to Zero Trust. With poor IT hygiene, Zero Trust can bring your operations to a grinding halt because nothing will be trusted.

A large number of users and devices will fall into the “don’t trust” category. So, before companies purchase and try to implement a Zero Trust solution, they need to get the basics of cyber hygiene right.

Learn how to manage all the data in your environment and act immediately.



Moroccan B2B ECommerce Platform Chari Nets Funding on $100M Valuation




Morocco-based B2B eCommerce and FinTech startup Chari could see a valuation of $100 million after a new bridge round of funding, TechCrunch reported Thursday (Jan. 20).

Chari functions as a mobile app, allowing traditional proximity store owners in Morocco to order products and have them delivered.

The company is trying to get more into the FinTech space after closing a bridge round which was led by the Saudi Arabia-based venture capital fund Khwarizmi Ventures, AirAngels (Airbnb Alumni Investors) and Afri Mobility, the venture capital arm of AKWA Group.

“Chari will use the money from this bridge round to test the BNPL services with its existing customers,” said Ismael Belkhayat, Chari’s CEO. “Upon successful results, Chari will acquire a local credit company to enable shop owners to lend money to their end users and further grow their business.”

Chari works with over half of the proximity stores in Casablanca, and has expanded into Tunisia. Last August, the company also acquired Karny, a mobile credit book application.

The Karny acquisition gave Chari more data on the loans given by grocery stores to customers, letting it credit assess unbanked shop owners and determine the best payment terms.

Chari was also a participant in the startup investor and incubator Y Combinator S21 batch and raised $5 million in late 2021. PYMNTS writes that Karny’s services help convenience stores use smartphones to manage credit arrangements with customers.

See also: Morocco’s eCommerce Startup Acquires Mobile Credit Book App

The company has around 15,000 convenience store customers. According to Y Combinator’s website, Chari “is an eCommerce and FinTech app for traditional retailers in North Africa allowing them to order any consumer goods they sell and get delivered for free in less than 24 hours.”

Chari also works as a financial services provider for retailers, offering micro-credit facilities.

PYMNTS also reported on Chari’s fundraising last year, writing that it could help the company expand into French-speaking Africa.

Related: Moroccan B2B eCommerce Firm Chari Raises $5M 


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Hudson Swafford Breaks From Pack Late to Win the American Express



Hudson Swafford went eagle-birdie at the 16th and 17th holes to cap a busy final round and win The American Express on Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.

Swafford’s eagle, nine birdies and three bogeys added up to an 8-under 64 that catapulted him to victory after starting the day three strokes off theleaders. At 23-under 265, Swafford beat Tom Hoge (68 Sunday) by two shots.

Brian Harman also shot a 64 earlier in the day to se

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Is Putin Following in Steps of Peter the Great



Three hundred and forty kilometers east of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, lies the city of Poltava.

At its heart is a semi-circular square with a cast-iron column and nearly two dozen eighteenth-century Swedish cannons captured in the 1709 Battle of Poltava, a decisive encounter in the Great Northern War, waged between Russia’s Peter the Great and Sweden’s Charles XII for supremacy in eastern Europe.


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