Robotics and AI: A threat or friend to technology teams?
Robotics and AI: A threat or friend to technology teams?

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Technology

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General

22/01/20

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An overwhelming 76% of people believe robots or AI devices could replace them at work, or at least do 50% of their job. While this is not entirely unreasonable to think, it suggests that our workforce may be experiencing tunnel vision - focusing on the negative impacts that AI and robotics will have rather than seeing the potential it will unlock for them. In truth, technology will claim a lot of tasks and this will affect employees in all sectors, some more than others. Thankfully, within the technology sector, AI will allow professionals to become more creative, upskill and reduce the monotony of their job. To do so, technology professionals must exhibit adaptability and consider how they can collaborate with robotics and AI. Robotics and AI are a threat to some, but not all Time will tell How robotics and AI will reshape jobs within technology What can a robot do that you can do better? Working with robots and not against Discover where you can take your career with Marks Sattin McKinsey predicts that 49% of tasks completed by the global workforce have the potential to be automated. One of the reports key takeaways is that robotics and AI are expected to automate 49% of activities, but not the entire job - currently very few jobs could be entirely transferred to robots. The first technology jobs we’d expect to become automated are ticket routing and data entry, but that still leaves data protection, IT analysis, cloud services and many more roles safe from being automated any time soon. The report lists ‘accommodation and food services’ tasks as most likely to become automated with a likelihood of 73%, ‘finance and insurance’ tasks gain a score of 43% while ‘information’ ranks far lower at a likelihood of just 36%. Assuming this assessment to be correct, only a third of information-based activities will fall into the hands of robots. The tasks less likely to be reassigned to robots are those requiring interaction with stakeholders, the use of judgment to make decisions, delegation and creativity. The broad spectrum of these activities reassures us that most jobs will remain in human hands, but the question remains - how will robotics and AI impact the workload of technology jobs? The pace of technological development is exponential: in just five years the cost of a lab-grown meat-free burger dropped from £215,000 to £8. However, when it comes to AI and automation it will be decades before we begin to see the full potential. PwC quantifies this view, reporting that only 3% of jobs risk becoming automated in the early years of this decade, but that jumps to 30% by the mid-2030s. Currently, technology can outperform humans regarding information retrieval, large-scale motor skills and optimisation but we’re only just understanding the emerging applications of AI as it becomes more sophisticated. According to McKinsey, one factor that will delay the adoption of AI in the workplace is the “cost of developing and deploying”. While there is a relatively high possibility of restaurant jobs becoming automated, the decision will depend on the costs associated, considering cooks in the UK earn an hourly wage of £7.83 on average. Therefore, it may not be cost-effective for some time to replace kitchen staff with robotics or AI, at least until the price of this technology drops below the cost of labour. Now consider the technology sector where general IT staff earn £21.81 hourly and this rate rises significantly for managerial roles and architects. It becomes more appealing to replace employees in roles where there is a higher labour cost associated, but don’t forget that information tasks are less likely to become automated. So, though the threat of robotics and AI to technology jobs may appear real, there is still ample time for professionals to adjust to the changes. A recent Deloitte report found that 82% of large UK companies are adopting AI yet just 15% are ‘seasoned’ implementors. The rapid pace at which technology is developing is creating an AI skills gap. Evidently, this is not a threat but an opportunity for IT professionals. Though, as AI becomes more sophisticated, its role will transition from simple automation to software development. Companies such as Data Robot and H2O.ai have matured their AI tools so they can write code - a task that just years ago we thought was far too complex for a machine to perform, but the introduction of bottom-up AI helped it become a reality. While top-down AI aims to pre-programme a machine with every layer of human cognition, bottom-up trains technology to build complex understanding from a foundation of simple methods. The good news is that using this approach, AI software - such as TabNine - can now suggest possible endings for code and thereby boost a developer’s productivity. This just one example of how AI can be used to reduce monotony and free up time for technology professionals. Robotics and machine have their limits, though they are closing the gap when it comes to particular skills, and in some instances, they are outperforming us on tasks where we naively thought we’d always have the upper hand. Technology professionals must demonstrate to stakeholders and upper management their ability to navigate and direct within the dynamic technology landscape. To do so they must identify which aspects of their role are easily automatable, then innovate the process. In the face of automation, technology professionals have the chance to take actions that will influence the future of their company and become more valuable employees than ever. Collaboration is key here. Those who learn how AI can transform their work and use it to their advantage will earn the most valuable technology jobs. It is an opportunity for programmers, software developers and project managers to upskill and reduce the monotony of their work. In light of the changes that are taking place, technology professionals must become technology advisors, learn to speak the language of robots and, most importantly, nurture workplace relationships. At Marks Sattin, we have been working with specialist IT talent for over 30 years. Our established team of IT recruiters have a well-earned reputation of being proactive and meticulous in their approach to sourcing top talent. For more information on how we match candidates with the right client, contact us. Browse our latest technology jobs or view vacancies in our other specialisms, including financial services and commerce & industry.

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An overwhelming 76% of people believe robots or AI devices could replace them at work, or at least do 50% of their job.

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Is taking a Chief Data Officer role right for you?
Is taking a Chief Data Officer role right for you?

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Technology

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General

14/05/19

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The role of the CDO is being discussed more than ever before. Although the role has existed for the past 20+ years, job boards and LinkedIn were not as prevalent, and therefore the role did not have much exposure outside organisations. When you think of the CDO job title, I think the word ‘data’ would spring to mind for most people, because shouldn’t data be the main driver of most decisions made by the c-suite? However, it appears to be that the modern CDO is becoming less about pure data, in contrast to other analytics and business intelligence roles who are predominantly technical (refer to my previous blog on the ambiguity of analytics and business intelligence), and more of a holistic role encompassing areas like risk, compliance and even marketing. Of course, as a senior executive, strategy and operations will play a huge part of the role, as they do in all board level roles however, it may be worth noting the possibility of  the role of a CDO being diluted. If I put myself in a candidate’s shoes, someone who has always had a data driven role and then opts to take on a new challenge of CDO, would they miss the lack of focus in their previous position, or would they welcome the change? I think the answer is in why the person might take a CDO opportunity. For example, if you have reached a plateau in your role as ‘Business Intelligence/Analytics Director’, and your only means of career progression is to take a CDO role, then you possibly would not enjoy the variety of the role. For others, a route that has direct progression into a more strategic role, that delves away from the pure technical work that was once pivotal to their career may be deemed as a step in the right direction. So, a question to my network… is the role of the CDO a clear career step for a data professional, and should it stay as an all-encompassing position, or be more data driven? Visit our Technology hub to find out more on the roles we cover within this sector.

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The role of the CDO is being discussed more than ever before. Although the role has existed for the past 20+ years

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Five minutes with a Business Intelligence professional
Five minutes with a Business Intelligence professional

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Technology

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General

14/03/19

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We sat down with my latest business intelligence candidate for a Q&A about her background, how she moved into Business Intelligence & Analytics, and her thoughts about the future of the field. What was your background before getting into Business Intelligence (BI) / Analytics? After seven years in the military working with information systems, I left and joined a Swiss bank as a technical analyst creating multiple types of reporting.       What motivated you to get into the BI / Analytics field? I was made redundant from my role in the recession in the early 2000’s, and was offered a consultancy role for a hedge fund custodian.       What is the biggest change you have seen in BI / Analytics in the last 3-5 years? The most fundamental change is probably the trend to move from highly structured data on residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) databases to the utilisation of semi-structured and unstructured data using the new breed, such as ‘not only structured query language’ (NoSQL) and cloud databases.       What is your biggest BI achievement within your career? Building a complete management information system (MIS) or geographic information system (GIS) for a hedge fund custodian with a portfolio of 250 billion assets under custody.       Where do you think BI & Data Analytics will be 5 -10 years from now? BI and Analytics is moving rapidly towards more pervasive analysis of behaviours and sentiment of both customers and staff alike in order to   In your opinion – what is the best BI Vendor currently in the market and why? I have had experience with a wide variety of BI / Analytics, from small solutions such as SlamData, through to Tableau and DataWatch. All of these solutions have their place in the ecosystem of BI Tools; for me there is yet to be a clear winner due to the large variation in cost and time of deployment.        In your opinion, which division do you think BI should fall under within an organisation? I suppose that depends on your perspective. Although the infrastructure of any BI / Analytics platform should be owned and supported by IT, the reporting and business logic therein should rightly be owned by the business – maybe it’s time to create a new division?  What do you think the next trend in BI / Data will be, & what impact will that have? With the pervasive power of social media and the current issues regarding privacy, the pendulum of public opinion is likely to swing towards the other extreme with a backlash against these large platforms. Since the recent allegations of social media swaying public opinion in politics and voting, I believe that the public face of BI and Analytics will be portrayed as a move towards the protection of national security and anti-terrorism. To view our Business Intelligence & Analytics career opportunities, click here

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We I sat down with my latest business intelligence candidate for a Q&A about her background, how she moved into Business Intelligence & Analytics, and her thoughts about the future of the field.

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Business Intelligence or analytics? Bridging the gap…
Business Intelligence or analytics? Bridging the gap…

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Technology

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General

22/01/19

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Data is arguably one of the most critical elements of an organisation – how can we drive a business forward by effectively understanding our customers and our clients without data insights, analysis and management? It may sound like a lot to get your head around if you’re in a business that isn’t as close to their data as they would like to be, what’s the solution? – Business Intelligence. Business intelligence is a technology-driven tool that transforms data into actionable results - aiding all elements of the business, whether strategic, operational, or financial (or usually all three). There are numerous business intelligence applications and vendors on the market today which, used combined, or individually have the potential to revolutionise the way organisations manage and use their data. Companies understand how integral data is, hence the increase in business intelligence adoption and the increase in business intelligence roles. Whilst we once had the holistic ‘Data Manager’ role, we are now seeing Business Intelligence Managers / Directors and Analytics Directors, through to Developers, Analysts and even vendor specialist roles. Although we see an even spread of business intelligence and analytics roles, the increase in senior level roles is soaring since around Q3 2018. Perhaps this is due to the heavy adoption of BI in companies; organisations are re-structuring to accommodate business intelligence business units. As the demand for business intelligence has grown and its function expands within organisations, so too has the various denotations of the term. As a recruitment consultant who specialises in the business intelligence space, and studied analytics at university, I find there’s ambiguity on how we define business intelligence – what some call analytics, others call big data, while others simply use the all-encompassing term of ‘business intelligence’. I am keen to find out from the business intelligence professionals in my network; do we have one definition for business intelligence and what it symbolises? Or does it depend on the organisation, sector, or purpose of what we are trying to do with our data? If you would like to browse our current tech roles or get in touch with us, visit our dedicated Technology page.

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Data is arguably one of the most critical elements of an organisation – how can we drive a business forward by effectively understanding our customers and our clients without data insights, analysis and management?

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James  Thompson

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James Thompson

James  Thompson

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James Thompson

CFOs 'should embrace technology'
CFOs 'should embrace technology'

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Technology

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General

11/04/16

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The intelligent use of new technology could add a great deal of value to the finance function within businesses and free up staff to get involved with other areas of their organisation, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Chief financial officers (CFOs) and their departments are currently not exploiting technological advances to their full potential, the study found. It drew on the opinions of experts at leading firms such as Shell, Aviva, Kimberly-Clark, Deloitte and Accenture, suggesting that the "complex and fragmented" nature of the modern IT landscape is preventing CFOs from embracing all it can offer. Jamie Lyon, head of the corporate sector at ACCA, suggested behaviour, vision and culture all need to change within the finance sector if tech is to be utilised properly. "Leading companies have deployed technology to improve finance service delivery to the business, but the primary focus has really been around cost, efficiency and quality in transactional finance," he explained. While this can certainly be useful, there are other ways CFOs can modernise their approach, with self-service finance and automating transactional finance processes all possibilities, argued Mr Lyon. Deborah Kops, principal at Sourcing Change and co-author of the report, argued that mining data can be very important for the industry, improving its predictive powers and allowing it to engage more closely with consumers or fellow businesses. "We should also acknowledge that the application of technology has the potential to change further what a finance career means," she declared. If more processes are to be automated in the future, traditional jobs could be fundamentally altered, meaning professionals will need to consider how their skill-set prepares them for a different kind of career in the finance sector. Despite concerns over data security, technology investment is on the up among finance firms as they attempt to improve efficiency levels across their operation. All staff need to be aware of the importance of keeping personal information safe if firms are to avoid fines and reputational damage.

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The intelligent use of new technology could add a great deal of value to the finance function within businesses and free up staff to get involved with other areas of their organisation, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Digital consultancy - a growth market?
Digital consultancy - a growth market?

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Technology

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General

11/04/16

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With digital increasingly affecting the majority of British industries as firms attempt to engage with consumers in new ways and find efficient, technologically-advanced ways of carrying out their work, the nature of many consultancies has also changed. One reminder of this came when Accenture, the global digital consultancy agency, announced plans to create around 2,000 UK jobs - half of which will be based in London, with many of the others in Scotland. Olly Benzecry, Accenture's managing director in the UK & Ireland, said the rude health of the UK's digital sector encouraged his employer to get more staff on board. "We are searching for highly motivated, skilled individuals who share our passion for how major UK businesses can transform themselves by harnessing the power of technology - particularly emerging digital technologies - to drive business strategy," he added. Prime minister David Cameron even expressed his pleasure at Accenture's move to create new roles for British tech experts. So why has this trend towards digital consultancy emerged? One factor is simply that the UK has become something of a hub for high-end businesses, which in turn is having a knock-on effect on companies across the country. Tech City chief executive Joanna Shields recently wrote an article for the Telegraph in which she stressed the geographical spread of the British tech revolution, dismissing the idea that it is simply centred around a few fashionable London districts such as Shoreditch. She pointed to the robotics sector in Bristol, the media tech industry in Manchester and the gaming hub of Newcastle as three examples of geographically diverse areas with their own IT economies. With the digital landscape continuing to expand rapidly, consultants who can work in this area are in high demand. They can bring a number of benefits to companies. While hiring digital workers is still going to be necessary, bringing in a consultant can tie the disparate strands of a strategy together and ensure staff are not unsure of their role within particular schemes. Ultimately, firms not on the digital bandwagon are going to get left behind.

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With digital increasingly affecting the majority of British industries as firms attempt to engage with consumers in new ways and find efficient, technologically-advanced ways of carrying out their work, the nature of many consultancies has also changed.

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Accountancy and the threat of cybercrime
Accountancy and the threat of cybercrime

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Technology

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General

11/04/16

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In the festive season, with an increased volume of online shopping traffic (this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday set a new record for internet retailing), the UK’s vulnerability to online criminals is critical. Cybercrime has gone from being virtually unknown 20 years ago to being identified by the Government as one of the UK’s top national security risks – alongside terrorism. The perpetrators of cybercrime are no longer bedroom dwelling ‘script kiddies’ either, with powerful countries maintaining elite units of hackers. The threat to business is now greater than ever. Research estimates that cybercrime costs large companies in the UK an average of £4.1 million a year, and there are several parts of a company’s operations at risk. In recent years, companies have had funds stolen, products in development spied upon, and their customers’ data compromised.  The latter is a particular risk for organisations given the negative publicity this can cause. TalkTalk recently hit headlines when it reported that the credit card data of thousands of its customers had potentially been compromised, which resulted in a 7% fall in its share price.  The challenge posed by cybercrime is particularly acute for accountants who maintain highly sensitive and sought after client data on their systems, and a breach of financial information could be catastrophic for a firm operating in an industry that is built on trust between client and practitioner. Accountants of all sizes therefore need to make sure they are able to ward off cybercriminals – and have a plan of action ready should things go wrong.    

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Cybercrime has gone from being virtually unknown 20 years ago to being identified by the Government as one of the UK’s top national security risks – alongside terrorism.

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

ACCA: Big data creating new opportunities
ACCA: Big data creating new opportunities

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Technology

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General

11/04/16

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Big data analytics and the cross-industry rush to engage with the large amounts of information becoming available is changing the role of accountants and chief financial officers within organisations, an expert has claimed. Writing in City AM, Sarah Hathaway, UK head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), outlined some of the preliminary research carried out by the organisation on the effects of big data on the financial services market and elsewhere. The former has been one of the quickest adapters of the technology, which offers the tantalising prospect of being able to predict volatile market behaviour more accurately. However, big data is having an impact across all sectors, according to Ms Hathaway. Advances in automation, such as self-service data retrieval, are making it easier for accountants to spend their time on value-adding tasks - potentially allowing them to alter their business profile fundamentally. "Trained to gather, analyse and benchmark information, and to use data in modelling and forecasting, accountants and finance professionals can provide a new and critical service: making big data smaller, 'distilling' vast amounts of information into actionable insights," added Ms Hathaway. Whatever the sector they work in, accountants with the ability to up-skill for the big data era could see themselves becoming 'custodians', setting ethical and quality standards when it comes to the use of information in making strategic decisions for clients. Fundamentally this will allow them to become extremely important to their organisations, concluded the ACCA chief. "Big data also offers the finance professional the possibility of moving further into a more strategic, proactive role in business," declared Ms Hathaway. That being said, though, the opportunities can become pitfalls for workers that are not given the chance to develop their skills in line with the emergence of big data as a major strategic issue. Accountants who take steps to learn more about information analysis and form new collaborations across their organisation will be best placed to benefit, the ACCA chief concluded.

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Big data analytics and the cross-industry rush to engage with the large amounts of information becoming available is changing the role of accountants and chief financial officers within organisations, an expert has claimed.

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Cyber crime against financial firms increasing
Cyber crime against financial firms increasing

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Technology

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General

11/04/16

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The threat cyber crime poses to financial services firms across the globe is becoming more pronounced, according to the latest report on the matter by PwC.  Some 45 per cent of respondents to the organisation's survey had been the victims of some form of economic crime in the past, with 39 per cent having fallen prey to the dangers posed by hackers and other web-based threats. Advances in computing and the growing use of big data analysis means technology is increasingly becoming the main tool utilised in economic theft, the firm suggested. Around half of the businesses that had experienced some form of crime in the response period recorded a jump in the number of incidents recorded as well as the financial cost of such occurrences. The survey took in responses from 1,330 financial services firms across 79 countries, suggesting that this is a global issue rather than one simply confined to trading and business hubs such as London, New York and Tokyo. Money laundering, accounting fraud and corruption remain issues, but cyber crime was the biggest threat driver among all the companies who took part in the report. Andrew Clark, partner in PwC’s forensics practice, said: "The financial services sector was one of the first to be targeted by cyber crime - little wonder, as there have always been significant potential financial gains to be had from subverting computerised processes and corporate controls in banks." The methods adopted by criminals are constantly evolving, meaning banks and other institutions need to take steps to upgrade their protective systems on a regular basis, he added. "It is concerning that 40 per cent of all financial services respondents believe that it is unlikely their organisations will experience cyber crime in the next 24 months. Financial services organisations need to recognise cyber crime as a risk type and establish proper reporting," he concluded.

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The threat cyber crime poses to financial services firms across the globe is becoming more pronounced, according to the latest report on the matter by PwC.

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Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

Michael Moretti

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Michael Moretti

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