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Dutch banks, government services hit by cyber attacks

Over the weekend, ING, the country’s largest bank, and ABN Amro, were also hit by DDoS attacks. The services are restored now and the banks said clients’ info were not compromised or leaked.



The top 3 banks in the Netherlands have been targeted in rolling multiple cyber attacks over the past week, blocking access to websites and internet banking services, they said on Monday.

It is unclear who is behind the so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Rabobank, the Netherlands’ second largest lender, had a failure that lasted about three hours on Monday morning. Customers had no access to mobile and Internet banking due to the disruption, Xinhua reported.

Around noon, the website of the Dutch tax authorities was also hit by a DDoS attack.

Over the weekend, ING, the country’s largest bank, and ABN Amro, were also hit by DDoS attacks. The services are restored now and the banks said clients’ info were not compromised or leaked.

When hit by a DDoS attack, servers from multiple locations are bombarded simultaneously with requests that make them overloaded. As a result, the website and online services become inaccessible.

Malicious DDoS attacks usually run via so-called bot networks, composed of computers or other devices infected with malicious software. From a central point, the devices can then be controlled, for example to send spam. All these devices can be instructed to visit a website hundreds of times per minute.

According to the Dutch Payments Association, banks are constantly being confronted with this type of attack. Usually, the reason for the DDoS attacks is not clear.


SBI to sell 4% stake in SBI General Insurance, post regulatory approvals




Mumbai, Sep 26: Lending major State Bank of India (SBI) will divest four per cent stake in SBI General Insurance company for Rs 481.73 crore post regulatory approvals.

According to a BSE filing, the bank’s Executive Committee of Central Board (ECCB) on Wednesday approved the divestment of “86,20,000 equity shares” to “Axis New Opportunities AIF-l (Axis AMC Ltd.) and Pl Opportunities Fund-I (Premji)”.

The filing added that the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.


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Mobile-first workforce to drive SaaS Cloud growth in India: Oracle



Vice President-Applications at Oracle India

As more and more businesses in India shift their focus to building a mobile-first workforce, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Cloud solutions will connect not only people to solutions but also networked devices, machinery and products in the near future, a top Oracle India executive said on Monday.

With over 40 per cent of all business owners using their smartphones daily to manage their operations, the demand for mobile applications and solutions is increasing significantly in the country.

“We will see streamlined mobile dashboards, allowing users to increase sales and track, and tag and convert more leads from anywhere, at any time,” Prasad Rai, Vice President-Applications at Oracle India, told IANS.

“Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and predictive analytics will also be better integrated to transform customer experiences through SaaS solutions and open new avenues for revenue generation,” Rai emphasised.

Last year was a “pivotal” year in expanding Public Cloud service adoption globally, according to market research firm IDC.

SaaS remains the largest bucket by some distance at $74.8 billion globally, with IDC predicting the SaaS market will hit $163 billion by 2022.

The SaaS market — accounting for 72 per cent of the total Public Cloud services market and forecast to grow at 20 per cent (CAGR) over the forecast period — is dominated by Cloud solutions such as enterprise resource management (ERM) and customer relationship management (CRM).

“At Oracle, we are observing a substantial year-on-year growth in our SaaS revenues, making India one of the significant contributors to the APAC revenues for Oracle,” Rai noted.

The Cloud major sees the demand for its SaaS solutions coming from industries like manufacturing, retail, hospitality, social welfare, engineering and construction, logistics, oil and gas, etc.

“Industries governed by regulatory compliances like governments, banks, insurance agencies, telecom operators and IT services continue to see benefits from Oracle SaaS solutions,” Rai told IANS.

Oracle is enabling businesses of all sizes in the country to innovate and to succeed in the cloud.

“The simplicity of our solution and quick deployment ability — some in as less as 30 days — comprehensive SaaS portfolio and a 600-strong partner ecosystem are some of the factors attracting customers to Oracle SaaS. We are the fastest-growing Cloud company in the world today,” Rai informed.

Oracle last week reported revenue of $9.2 billion for its fiscal first quarter (Q1 2019) — up from $9.1 billion in the same period last year.

“The vast majority of ERP applications running in the Cloud today are either Oracle Fusion or Oracle NetSuite systems,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd.

“The Oracle Fusion ERP customer count is now nearly 5,500, while the NetSuite ERP customer count is over 15,000. Virtually every analyst ranks Oracle as the market leader in Cloud ERP,” Hurd added.

Oracle expects more and more organisations going for advanced solutions to eliminate redundancy and create harmony, with a unified Cloud suite like ERP and HR as an integrated single Cloud offering.

Oracle ERP Cloud’s biggest contribution to Religare Healthcare Trust (RHT) has been the reduction of the time spent on routine transactional activities.

“ERP Cloud has helped RHT streamline its several databases and related information. As a result, RHT is now no longer dependent on manual checks and balances,” informed Rai.

With Oracle “Taleo” solution, BPM services firm Genpact has successfully enhanced experience for its workforce. “Oracle ‘Taleo’ has helped Genpact in bringing down onboarding time from one day to one hour, while ensuring compliance to processes,” said Rai.

Oracle’s human capital management (HCM) Cloud offering has helped Airtel adapt a culture of ownership by driving employee practices from HR-led mechanisms towards a more self-service mode.

“All employee-relevant information and services, such as those related to payroll and performance, have been made available online, with automation helping reduce time, better employ resources while making processes more regular at Airtel,” said the Oracle executive.

Keeping the changing SaaS trends in mind, Oracle is organising an “Impact for Business” event in Mumbai and Delhi this week, showcasing the emerging technologies in the SaaS segment.

According to Rai, emerging technologies like AI, Automation and Blockchain have triggered strong stimulation and are driving discussions across the board.

“The purpose of ‘Impact for Business’ event is to showcase how all these innovations are embedded in our Cloud offerings so there is no need to purchase any additional solutions and how we differentiate ourselves from competitors,” Rai noted.

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at [email protected])

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Learning from diversity in regulation



Pawan Agarwal is CEO, FSSAI,

Regulation has an unfortunate, negative connotation to it. It brings to mind an authoritarian image with regards to the government. That is definitely not how it should be. It must be accepted that regulation has a great positive impact on society and the economy. The economic crisis of 2008, which was effectively a failure of regulation, forcefully underlines this fact. One needs to see regulation as an enabler, even for businesses, and not as a deterrent.

It is only natural for a citizen to have inhibitions about the regulatory environment. However, such concerns can be allayed if the government ensures that the key elements for an efficient regulatory body are present. An OECD document, “Principles for the Governance of Regulators”, explains that the key elements for “better” regulatory outcomes are: Well-designed rules and regulations that are efficient and effective; appropriate institutional frameworks and related governance arrangements; effective, consistent and fair operational processes and practices; and lastly, high quality and empowered institutional capacity and resources, especially in the leadership.

Given that India has a very peculiar regulatory environment, due to the lack of uniformity and presence of diversity in the structures and functionality of regulatory bodies, it is necessary to not only ensure that the aforementioned necessary conditions are met, but that the regulatory bodies adapt with the dynamic environment and learn from one another. India has multiple regulatory authorities, which have been set up due to three primary reasons. One is for welfare, wherein they have been set up in the public interest; two, to counter anti-competitive forces; and, lastly, to prevent any form of market failure.

India’s regulatory environment took flight only with the advent of the economic reforms of 1991, which implies that the regulatory bodies are at a very nascent stage. For instance, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently completed 20 years; the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) completed 10 years; while the Central Electricity Regulation Commission (CERC) has also been functioning for 20-odd years.

The tricky role of a regulator is to ensure the participation of the citizens, involve them in the process and enable them in the movement towards a better society and economy. The recent mammoth task taken up by FSSAI with its Eat Right Movement, which nudges the citizens and consumers to change their eating habits, is one example of how a regulatory body has been able to impact social and behavioural change that will culminate in a healthier nation and involves citizens.

It is not only about involving the citizens but also ensuring that they are be able to trust the regulatory bodies. As a case in point, TRAI has strengthened its administrative set-up for the purpose of internal audits. Similarly, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) now has an in-house transparency officer to cater to the same concern.

In a similar spirit of improved transparency, the regulatory bodies have adapted themselves to the ongoing increased reliance on technology and shifted to online portals and apps. This has not only made the processes and mechanisms smoother but has also reduced cumbersome paperwork.

For example, TRAI has whole host of online portals and apps, such as TRAI Analytics Portal and the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Portal. FSSAI has also incorporated facets of the online revolution within its system, wherein the licensing and registration of businesses can be done online via the Food Licensing and Registration Systems (FLRS) platform.

Finally, given that the regulatory environment is quite new, it is also crucial to continuously update policies and ensure laws are amended to be in sync with the changing economic and social environment. TRAI recently released a draft of the National Telecom Policy 2018. This is a step that every regulatory body needs to follow.

For India, the regulatory environment is growing, and newer, more innovative techniques are being adopted for the larger social good and to make the economy more competitive. For growth to be sustainable, all the regulatory bodies should learn from one another, adapt to the changing global environment and keep implementing innovative methods to counter issues as they arise. Most importantly, they must function as accountable, transparent and independent authorities.

(Pawan Agarwal is CEO, FSSAI, and can be contacted at [email protected] Amit Kapoor is chair, Institute for Competitiveness, and can be contacted at [email protected])

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