Archive for September, 2014

Business Intelligence for Microsoft Dynamics – new Cube Wizard – BI4Dynamics

September 11th, 2014

A big moment in Business Intelligence for Microsoft Dynamics. And you’re part of it. BI4Dynamics is moving another milestone by developing the Cube Wizard. It will enable you to build your own custom cubes in minutes.

With Cube Wizard you are able to build your own cubes. With a click of a mouse and without SQL or SSAS knowledge and without reading 200 pages of documentation or learning MDX. Without spending lots of time and money money on training.

Ask for a Cube Wizard Preview

BI4Dynamics is available with prebuilt report packs and dashboards for both Navision and for Ax

Central Bank of Kuwait -Euromoney conference 2014

September 9th, 2014

A speech delivered by H.E. the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK), Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel in Euromoney Conference held in the State of Kuwait, September 9th 2014. The Speech can be found in both English and in Arabic

http://www.cbk.gov.kw/PDF/Euro09Sep2014.pdf

http://www.cbk.gov.kw/PDF/Euro09Sep2014AR.pdf

The speech outlines the role of the Central Bank as a regulatory capacity and the considerable progress towards adoption of Basel lll in Kuwait. It also addressed the real estate sector finance regulation and prudential risk

From the closing remarks:
“Finally, I observe that the global banking and financial industry is witnessing
a new era of structural and regulatory reform aimed at strengthening
monetary and financial stability and in the long run establishing overall
economic stability. Therefore, we, the regulatory authorities and banking
and financial units, should derive benefits from such reforms by adopting
the correct approach in developing our banking and financial systems in
view of the regional and international experiences, as well as implementing
the best international practices taking into consideration the vital role of
banks in the national economy and their deep relations with the society. ”

Dynamics Ax, BIM, and AEC Construction

September 8th, 2014

Home depot- biggest credit card breach ever?

September 5th, 2014

Home Depot may have earned the dubious distinction of being responsible for the biggest compromise ever involving credit and debit card data.

Security blogger Brian Krebs, whoreported the data breach Tuesday, updated his report yesterday with new information gathered from the cyber underground. According to Krebs, the data strongly suggests that a breach occurred at nearly all of Home Depot’s 2,200 stores in the U.S.

Krebs based his conclusion on a review of stolen credit and debit card data posted on an online store that sells such information. The site lists each card, along with the city, state and ZIP code of the card owner, as well as the store code where the data was stolen.
Several companies have reported data breaches in recent days, including grocery chain Supervalu, UPS Stores Inc. and Dairy Queen.

The breaches have highlighted escalating concerns over a point of sale (PoS) system malware tool dubbed “Backoff” that was used in the massive data heists at Target and others like Neiman Marcus and P.F. Chang’s.

According to federal law enforcement authorities, Backoff has infected PoS systems at around 1,000 retailers. Security firm Kaspersky Labs, which conducted its own research of the malware, believes the number could be much higher.

Patch tuesday 5 Sep 2014

September 5th, 2014

Internet Explorer needs another critical patch. If left unpatched, the browser is subject to attacks that execute malicious code on victim machines, so getting the updates to patch it is important.

In addition to the threat posed by the vulnerabilities that the patches correct, these critical browser updates will be challenging for IT organizations. Installing the updates requires system restarts and the browser in all its versions is widely distributed among organizations.

Vulnerable versions include IE 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 running on desktop Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well as Windows Server 2003, 2008 and 2012.

The bulletin about the Internet Explorer problems is likely to include a roll-up of fixes for any number of vulnerabilities found over the past month

Microsoft Migration Accelerator for Azure

September 5th, 2014

Microsoft recently acquired InMage, which has a hybrid cloud product to help migrate computing assets into, or back from, or in between, either public or private cloud infrastructures with ease,

It helps you also to replicate with a real-time sync with premise assets to leverage the cloud for: dev, test, analytics, and more; and helpesyou to recover and back up your physical and virtual assets ,whether on premise, or in the public/private cloud

Microsoft announced yesterday :

Spawned from the technology of Microsoft’s InMage acquisition announced July 11, the MA is designed to seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, AWS and Hyper-V workloads into Azure. It automates all aspects of migration including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation, network adaptation and endpoint configuration. With MA, transitions into Azure can occur in mere minutes!

MA changes the cloud migration paradigm by offering:
Heterogeneity: With MA you can migrate workloads running on a broad range of platforms such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services and/or Physical servers within your environment. MA can support workloads running on Windows Server 2008 R2 sp1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems.
Simple, Automated Migration: The MA portal allows you to automatically discover your enterprise workloads, remotely from the cloud. With a few clicks, you can configure end-to-end migration scenarios. MA allows you to test your workload in the cloud without impacting the existing on-premise production workload, offering the ability to validate workload functionality before a cutover is performed.
Migrate Multi-tier Applications: MA boasts the unique ability to migrate a multi-tier production system with application level consistency, orchestrated across tiers. This ensures multi-tier applications run the same in Azure, as they ran at the source. Application startup order is even honored, without the need for any manual configuration.
Continuous Replication, Least Cutover Time: MA for Azure provides full-system replication including the OS and application data. This continuous replication and in-memory change tracking reduces the cutover time to mere minutes, minimizing impact to production workloads.

MA offers an unprecedented level of automation to provide seamless migrations of heterogeneous assets, into Azure.

Key Highlights:
Automated asset discovery and migration – MA portal orchestrates the discovery and migration of workloads from a single pane of glass.
Migration cutovers to Azure in minutes – continuous replication and in-memory change tracking significantly reduce cutover time.
Self-provisioned target Azure VM’s — Target VMs are dormant during synchronization saving compute cost and are then automatically provisioned during cutover.
Heterogeneous platform support – support for broad range of environments and platforms.
Continuous replication – lightweight agents on the source servers continuously replicate all changes to target ensuring near zero downtime during migrations.
Multi-tier application support – migrate your multi-tier production system with application level consistency orchestrated across tiers.
Target VM Network and Endpoint Adaptation – support for automated network adaptation and endpoint reconfiguration.
Integrated compression, encryption and bandwidth management.

Basel III and Islamic Banks -ask Synergy Software Systems

September 4th, 2014

The tough Basel III regulatory standards, also pose questions for Islamic lenders that could prove expensive:
- Will regulators treat their deposit the same way?
- How will this affect banks with separate Islamic branches.?

Islamic finance frowns on monetary speculation, so their balance sheets are largely clear of the derivatives and complex, risky assets that surfaced in other banks during the global financial crisis. These factors were reported for example last month in http://gulfnews.com/business/banking/islamic-banks-to-benefit-form-basel-iii-capital-rules-1.1373655 However, the issues are wider than the balancde shet.

Interest payments are not allowed by sharia principles, so Islamic banks obtain deposits mostly through profit-sharing investment accounts (PSIAs), which are generally considered to be more volatile than conventional deposits. So Islamic banks are expected to be required to offset that volatility under Basel III by increasing the amount of high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) that they hold.

This is easier said than done. Islamic securities markets are relatively immature , than conventional markets, so sharia-compliant HQLAs are in short supply –

Islamic commercial banks held about $1.2 trillion worth of assets at the end of last year, according to a study by Thomson Reuters. Those banks account for roughly a quarter of deposits in Gulf Arab countries and over a fifth in Malaysia.

Basel III requires banks to hold enough HQLAs to cover net cash outflows for a 30-day period under a high-stress scenario. Outflows are calculated by applying different weights to funding sources, including PSIAs. The riskier the funding source, the larger the amount of HQLAs needed to cover it.

With the exception of Malaysia and Bahrain, few central banks actively issue instruments which qualify as HQLAs.. Government-issued sukuk qualify, but most sovereign sukuk are either not listed on developed markets or are not actively traded, making those very hard for Islamic banks to obtain. This contrasts with conventional banks’ access to huge markets in high-quality government debt such as U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds. Alternatives such as the short-term sukuk issued by the Malaysia-based International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp, which was established to promote a cross-border market in Islamic instruments, remain small compared with the overall size of the industry..

Much depends on the weightage or “run-off rates” that national regulators who will implement Basel III in their own jurisdictions, choose to assign to PSIAs.

Regulators are keen to develop their Islamic banking sectors, so are unlikely to assign punitive weights. However, they may not be able to treat PSIAs as benignly as conventional bank deposits. For instance, PSIAs held by Islamic banks tend to have relatively short maturities..

The uncertainty looks unlikely to be cleared up at least before next year, when the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), a global standard-setting body, is expected to release a guidance note on the subject.

The note will deal with issues such as the contractual rights of depositors, for example whether they can withdraw money in fewer than 30 days without a significant penalty, said a source familiar with the IFSB’s deliberations.

Malaysia’s central bank has issued some guidance on PSIAs, saying it will classify them as two types: general PSIAs, broadly equivalent to conventional retail deposits, and specific or restricted PSIAs, deemed similar to managed investment accounts. It has given Islamic banks a two-year transition period to differentiate between those types. Yet while the central bank has already spelled out ratios and weights for Basel III capital adequacy rules, it has not yet announced run-off rates or HQLA requirements for PSIAs.

Basel III says national regulators around the world could assign run-off rates of 3 per cent or higher to stable, conventional bank deposits, and as much as 10 per cent to less stable deposits, according to S&P. Islamic banks may end up being assigned numbers within that range; given the size of the deposits at stake, a variation of several percentage points will make a big difference to how much HQLAs the banks are forced to hold.

The PSIA issue may increase pressure on central banks and governments to address longstanding problems in Islamic finance.

As part of its efforts to develop as an Islamic financial centre, Dubai is actively trying to list sukuk on its exchanges and encouraging its state-linked firms to issue trade-able sukuks, but it may be years before supply begins to meet demand.

Another problem is deposit insurance. For bank deposits to be deemed stable they need to be protected by an insurance scheme, but sharia-compliant schemes are rare, partly because government support for domestic banks is considered implicit in many Gulf countries.

Bahrain introduced Islamic deposit insurance in 1993.

In May this year, Qatar said it would develop an Islamic deposit insurance scheme.

In June, Bangladesh said Islamic deposits would be covered under an existing scheme managed by the central bank.

The first sukuk to have claimed to be in compliance with Basel III requirements was issued in November 2012 by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). The issuance was worth USD1bln and classified as AT1 capital requirements. This issuance generated an overwhelming response with an order book of USD15.5bln (more than 30 times over-subscribed on the initial benchmark size), and carries
a profit rate of 6.375%, the lowest ever coupon for an instrument of this type. This supports proposition that sukuk issuers have an opportunity to tap into the Basel III-compliant sukuk market.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) released draft guidelines on capital adequacy for Islamic banks in November 2012 which clarifies the use of sukuk as additional capital. As per the IFSB Exposure Draft 15, sukuk issued against assets owned by an Islamic bank may be used by that bank as additional capital to meet regulatory minimum requirements. The minimum maturity of the sukuk is five years and it should not have step-up features, such as periodic increases in the rate of return, giving an incentive for the issuer to redeem it.

Over the past two years three UAE based Islamic banks such as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Al Hilal Bank have opted for Tier 1 sukuk issuance totalling $2.5 billion. Issuers of these sukuk say that they qualify as Additional Tier 1 (AT1) capital under Basel III.

The ADIB USD1bln sukuk was based on the contract of Mudharabah and is classified as equity, which therefore does not include principal loss absorption or equity conversion features. Periodic distributions are fully discretionary and non-cumulative. The sukuk is unrated, but will be included in Fitch-eligible capital with a 50% equity credit. It has no maturity date while ADIB can choose to repay the sukuk on certain dates from 2018 if it wishes.

This has significant implications in particular for regional banks that deal with both conventional and Islamic finance. They will have to establish processes to ensure
that the two sets of rules are implemented across two divisions simultaneously. For those banks already specialising in either conventional or Islamic finance,
the impact is no less significant. They will have to comply with new regulatory measures around their liquidity ratios. They will also have to implement strategies for stress testing that allow for complex data to be analysed in order to demonstrate compliance with the Relevant Central Bank’ Basel III directives.

These requirements call for considerable technology change at many banks to ensure that the required financial and risk data can be accurately gathered, cleansed, analysed and reported to board members and the regulator in the
formats required.

Meeting the regulations as they are currently shaped, for Basel III is not a one-time compliance exercise. The requirements will evolve and banks will benefit from taking a long-term view of regulatory compliance. This means developing a framework for implementing consistent compliance practices and implementing a regulatory reporting framework with in-built enterprise-wide risk management tools to ensure ongoing compliance.

Faster web with new html element for images

September 3rd, 2014

The Web will get much faster very soon.

A current problem is images. – the size of the average page in the top 1,000 sites on the Web is 1.7MB. and Images account for almost 1MB of that 1.7MB.

With a fast fiber connection, that no problem but on a mobile network, that huge image uses up limited bandwidth. When you’re using a mobile device is you still get images intended for pc monitors loaded . It’s a waste of bandwidth delivering pixels you don’t need.

Modern Web browsers speed up page load times by downloading images before parsing the page’s body. The browser starts to download the image before it knows where that image will be in the page layout or how big it will need to be.

As of today, the Picture element will be available in Chrome and Firefox by the end of the year. It’s available now in Chrome’s dev channel and Firefox 34+ (in Firefox you’ll need to enable it in about:config). Here’s a test page showing the new Picture element in action.

Lawson of Opera first suggested that a new html element might be in order. The breakthrough for Picture came from Opera’s Simon Pieters and Google’s Tab Atkins. They made a simple, suggestion—make Picture a wrapper for img. That way there are not two separate elements for images on the Web (which is confusing), but there would still be a new way to control which image the browser displays.

After evaluating the various rules, the browser picks the best image based on its own criteria. This is anice feature because the browser’s criteria can include your settings. Future browsers might offer an option to stop high-res images from loading over 3G, regardless of any Picture element on the page . Once the browser knows which image is the best choice, it loads and displays that image in a n img element. Prefetching still works and there’s no performance penalty. When the browser doesn’t understand picture, it falls back to whatever is in the img tag.

So Picture wraps an img tag. If the browser is too old to know what to make of a element, then it loads the fallback img tag. All the accessibility benefits remain since the alt attribute is still on the img element.

Opera, also based on Blink, will support Picture in the near future. Apple appears to be adding support to Safari through the backport to WebKit, though it wasn’t finished in time for the upcoming Safari 8. Microsoft has likewise been supportive and is considering Picture for the next release of IE.