Author Archives: CloudTweaks

Learning From Past Mistakes: Predictions For Cybersecurity In 2016

Learning From Past Mistakes: Predictions For Cybersecurity In 2016

Predictions Cybersecurity 2016

From Ashley Madison to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), hackers did not discriminate between organizations or industries when it came to unleashing cyber-attacks in 2015. This past year, data breaches affected millions of people with headlines of a new hack appearing almost daily. On an individual level, customers’ passwords were compromised, credit card information stolen, and private lives became public to name a few ill-fated scenarios.

comic-dating-game

On the other hand, the organizations that were hacked lost millions of dollars, trust from their customers, and brand credibility. Many will not recover from such serious blows to their reputations. Businesses can only withstand a cybersecurity hack if they invest the time, effort, and money into response, recovery, and the future protection of the organization and its customers.

With lessons learned from 2015 in mind, here are four predictions related to cybersecurity that will make news in 2016:

1. CEO turnover will increase

In 2016, organizations will come to realize that a cybersecurity breach is inevitable and stakeholders will point to the CEO as the responsible party when they occur. No one is immune to cyber threats and the sooner corporate boards and C-suite executives realize this, the better off their organizations will be.

Because cybersecurity is no longer an issue solely reserved for IT departments, the C-suite, particularly CEOs, will be held responsible for data breaches. The sophistication of cyber threats is unprecedented, requiring executives to evaluate the access of data from employees, customers, partners, regulators and vendors. As such, after a breach occurs, many CEOs will either be forced to step down or be fired.

Additionally, executives must be able to demonstrate they have taken all possible precautions to protect their customers’ data. Public expectations of transparency are likely to increase based on the increasing number of breaches. If CEOs cannot provide evidence of their organizations’ efforts, they will be swiftly replaced.

2. CISOs will be scrutinized more than ever

Corporate boards will scrutinize new CISO hires more than they had previously and more than any other C-suite position. A CISO will be expected to mitigate cyber risk, and ensure the organization maintains the philosophy and practice that compliance does not equate to security. Being compliant is important, but organizations must assume that measures must be taken above and beyond compliance and have strategies in place for identifying areas in need of security improvements.

complience-cloud-risks

Performing penetration tests – tests where third parties are paid to infiltrate an organization’s infrastructure in order to uncover holes in security – will be one way CISOs will help arm their organizations against unfriendly hackers. Having a data breach response and recovery plan will be another way CISOs mitigate risks for their businesses and their customers.

3. Cyber insurance will become more popular

As 2015 demonstrated, data breaches are a very real and pervasive threat. Only by taking preemptive measures and proactively preparing a response and recovery strategy will organizations be able to bounce back when one occurs to them.

Part of this proactivity will come in the form of cyber insurance. Even with executives understanding the need for a cybersecurity strategy, it is difficult to calculate all potential costs involved in a breach. Financial considerations must include both direct and indirect costs. An example of direct costs is the financial reparations paid to affected customers after a breach. Indirect costs can include the legal fees incurred while an organization is sued for these reparations.

By purchasing an insurance plan, organizations will be able to minimalize the out-of-pocket costs of a breach.

4. Mobile device management (MDM) will be critical

Organizations will come to understand the threat that connected devices pose to their enterprises. Individuals are using unsecure mobile devices and cloud-based applications without realizing it, which is why MDM and its providers will play a vital role in maintaining organizational security.

Entry into an organization’s infrastructure via a mobile or connected (IoT) device can be relatively simple if the organization is not prepared. For example, if a person’s cell phone or an application on his or her cell phone is hacked and the device is connected to a company’s wireless internet system, a hacker can gain access to the company’s network.

2016 will inevitably be a year with many more data breaches, but hopefully 2015 has taught us that C-suite proactivity and strategy can minimize cyber risk. Learning from the missteps of 2015 will enable organizations to approach cybersecurity with a top-down approach, making it a priority for employees at every level.

 

Larry Jones' HeadshotBy Larry Jones, CEO, Coalfire

Larry Jones is the chairman and CEO of Coalfire and has over 25 years of experience building, operating and growing public and private companies. Under Jones direction, Coalfire is the leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services and is the trusted advisor for the leading brands in the healthcare, retail, financial services and technology industries. Jones has a successful track record as a corporate director and chief executive for companies such as StarTek (NYSE:SRT), MessageMedia (NASD: MESG), and Neodata.  Jones, alumnus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Boston University, has more than 25 years of experience building, operating and growing public and private equity backed companies.

Wishing You All A Very Happy Holidays

Wishing You All A Very Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Enjoy a few of our favorite seasonal comics over the years. Feel free to share and happy holidays to all!

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Big-Data-Santa

cloud-movement-cloudtweaks

christmas-clouds

santashop-cloud-pole

Please feel free to share our comics via social media networks such as Twitter with a clear attribution (Twitter example: via @cloudtweaks) to the original comic source. If you are a company brand looking to utilize our comics to generate leads to a specific landing page, newsletter, presentation or social media campaign, you can contact us regarding commercial licensing rates. Enjoy!

Smart Cities: What Will The Future Bring?

Smart Cities: What Will The Future Bring?

Evolving Into Smarter Cities

As the digital world empowers us and gives us access to more information than ever before, it comes as no surprise that ‘smart cities’ are quickly becoming a reality, and soon will become more commonplace across the globe. Governments across the world are keen for their cities to become part of a environment that allows cloud-connected devices to collect data about a city’s surroundings and inhabitants.

While this may sound a little intrusive at first, it’s worth remembering that to make a city a success, data has to be collected in some form. Before the birth of the Internet, this may have been done in a number of ways. For example, if something was damaged within the city, then someone would report it and then it would be rectified.

smart-city-infographic

(Infographic Source: Smartresilient.com)

Cutting Out The Middleman

The aim of a smart city is to cut out the middleman, and offer those who reside in the city a more pro-active solution that will allow for the automation of data collecting via a number of different devices to create an infrastructure that looks to benefit the population of the city.

And while there a number of benefits for those who reside in the city, the businesses located within a smart city also look to benefit from the infrastructure. Those who use social networks will have at some point realized that they are faced with online adverts that suit their preferences. A similar practice can be implemented into a smart city, with businesses making offers based on your recent spending habits, and even the way you feel.

Connected Cars

The fact that a city is run by a series of connected devices could even change the way we travel. There’s no mistake that driverless cars are the catalyst for smart cities, and while driverless cars are still to make their debut officially, they will offer a number of benefits both for those being transported, and the environment overall.

Many drivers will have been caught up is some sort of traffic jam, or find themselves waiting in a huge line due to an accident that has occurred on the road. An autonomous car will be able to collect data from a range of different devices, advising the driverless car of the dangers ahead, which would therefore take the passenger to their destination via an alternative route.

This means that traffic managements is a more organized affair, and passengers should find that their ride into work is far cry from the long winded and stressful endeavor they’ve had to endure in the past.

As the driverless cars will be electric, the environment will benefit from cleaner air, which means the smart city itself will be a more desirable place to live. It also means that the urban population will become more efficient, and the over-burdening of public transport will become a thing of the past as shared rides become available.

Energy Monitoring

There also plans to monitor how energy is being used. The real-time stats that can be recorded will allow cities to reduce emissions, as well as saving the city money.

One project has already been launched by NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress within New York City’s Hudson Yards, and data will be monitored in relation to air quality energy production and pedestrian traffic among other things.

A similar initiative has been launched in Chicago. The Array of Things project looks to make Chicago a smart city by placing sensors throughout it. Add to this the similar initiatives launched in South Korea and it’s plain to see that steps are being taken to introduce smart cities globally.

Contingency Plan

cloud-recoveryThere are those who may scoff at the idea of a smart city, for fear that the data being collected is available to cyber criminals. While in theory, this isn’t out of the realms of possibility, the conversion to a smart city will be one where a great deal of research has to be carried out in relation to a robust security solution, as well as a contingency plan should the worst-case scenario scenario.

Many faults can be picked out of a world that conforming to embrace the digital era more than ever, but give the current financial climate of the world, having the ability to view real-time data in relation to a number of a different occurrences within the city allows those in charge to make pro-active decisions in the way we use energy, water and road vehicles.

Evidently, there will be a great deal of change associated with the conversion of cities across the globe, but up to now, may have adopted rapid changes within the technological world with relative ease. As we rely on smart devices every day, it makes sense to use the technology available to shape a better and cleaner future.

By Paul Simpson

The Future of Smarter Technology

The Future of Smarter Technology

Smarter Technology

The Internet of things has allowed the digital world to coincide with the physical world, but how far does technology plan to take us as it evolves? The technological world currently allows us to communicate and send data while mobile, but evolving technology looks to offer more that will bring the digital and physical world even closer together.

New ways of sending data are top of the agenda, so it comes as no surprise that new technology is being developed to speed up the process. Advancements will include the transferring of data between a device and a light source, as well as via audio frequencies that cannot be heard by the human ear, but can be read by a smartphone speaker. Included is excellent infographic highlighting the emerging technology roadmap provided by Barkleyus.

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future-tech

As more of us rely on the digital world to get through the day, it comes as no surprise that venture capital firms and technology companies are investing more time in new technology, as well as fine tuning the current technology to gain more accurate information.

The future of technology looks to get us involved with the world of technology without it being a hindrance. Devices will be able to deliver data at a quicker rate, while more everyday items will be connected to the Internet. Furthermore, the way we interact with devices will also evolve, thanks to gaze tracker technology that can ascertain as what part of a webpage a person is focusing on.

The evolvement of technology looks to be leading us into a connected world, more so than today. Augmented reality looks to offer new experiences in how we communicate, while Internet functionality is being instilled into more and more personal items, such as houses, cars and appliances.

By Paul Jellicoe

Choice: A Critical Factor For A Successful Business

Choice: A Critical Factor For A Successful Business

A Critical Factor For A Successful Business

One of the most valuable business assets a company has today is its data. The problem is that most companies don’t know how to structure their information and then effectively leverage it to the benefit their organizations and their customers. Despite these challenges, there are now open, hybrid solutions (in the cloud and on premises) that have the unique ability to collect and analyze all of the unstructured data from companies, no matter what apps, devices, or storage are being used. To better plan for the year ahead, we took a look back at the 2015 trends around user interaction with company content.

One thing remained constant – diversity.

The following infographic shows employees used a variety of apps, devices, and storage this year to access and manage company information — more than we have ever seen before.
Employee-Spec

Applications & Mobility

Although consumer apps are extremely popular on mobile devices, business apps are primarily accessed via desktop. It is not because employees are not mobile, it is simply because today’s employees have more specialized roles. For example, construction workers who spend all day in the field will primarily leverage their applications from a tablet device. Meanwhile their colleagues on the design team, who are stationed at headquarters, will primarily leverage their applications via desktop computers. In some instances, employees even engage in specialized activities, where they may create content while in the office, but need to access it later while on-the-go. While this scenario only accounts for around 15% of employees, it is sizable enough for IT and management to consider.

Diversity Amongst Devices

While employees may be working from a specific set of approved applications, they use a variety of devices to access them. Although it has traditionally been seen as a Mac vs. Windows argument, in business today many different operating systems are being used to get the job done. Trends we have seen within subsets of our customers’ users this year are: R&D departments frequently working with Linux, sales teams tending to be more favorable towards Windows, and creative/marketing teams often collaborating via Mac OS. Again, the takeaway here is that businesses need to be able to support a variety of use cases and employee profiles. To do so, they must provide them with the ability to choose their own device, operating system, and even the specific applications they are most comfortable working with.

Browser Preference

When it comes to browsers there is no standardization or mandate from companies either. The data reflects that Google Chrome is the favorite this year, but there is still legitimate use of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. What’s surprising is that employees are significantly more fickle here than they are for other tools, like email or content editing solutions. They are willing to navigate through many windows across multiple browsers when interacting with their content – 40% using two or more at once.

Browser_Market_Map_June_2015

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(Image Source: Wikipedia)

In today’s technology-rich society, employees are easily customizing the way they work. While every organization may be different,, there is no denying that employee diversity is forcing IT to provide freedom and choice to their users. From devices and operating systems, to apps and services, it will be extremely important for companies to resist standardizing as it will ultimately hampers employees’ ability to work. Instead, IT needs to maintain visibility and control no matter what the employees decide to use and configure for their unique and varied workflows.

This can only be accomplished with an open, hybrid platform that can securely manage your information infrastructure and how it is being consumed and shared. Many cloud-only solutions aren’t able to provide this functionality for content, as they only have control of what resides in their stack. This inevitably forces users toward those content editing tools, which may be subpar in comparison to more popular apps on the market. Employees should be able to continue to work the way they want to, while your IT department safely manages the environment. No compromises required — just freedom of choice for IT and the organization.

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By Isabelle Guis, Chief Strategy Officer at Egnyte

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Isabelle is the Chief Strategy Officer at Egnyte, overseeing all global marketing, go-to-market, partnership and product strategies. She previously served as EMC’s vice president of Marketing for the Public Cloud Solutions Group and Enterprise Storage Division, driving cloud buyer and service provider segmentations, as well as messaging, product positioning and go-to-market strategies for the company’s core storage solutions. Isabelle has also held leadership positions at Avaya, Big Switch Networks, Cisco Systems, and Nortel Networks. She holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Supelec (France), and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The Future of Digital Currency

The Future of Digital Currency

The Future of Digital Currency

It may come as a surprise to learn that Bitcoin is only six years old, but has had more media coverage that any other type of currency, although the coverage hasn’t always been positive. Back in 2014, a half-billion dollars’ worth of Bitcoin vanished from an online exchange in Tokyo as well as the 24-year-old vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation being arrested after being charged with money laundering.

Add to this the drop in value seen over 2014 and 2015, and many may be tempted to take the advice of entrepreneur and investor Warren Buffett and ‘stay away.’ As such, it wasn’t long before many of Bitcoin’s critics were labelling the currency as dead in the water.

While it may have had some teething problems, there are those who have fully embraced Bitcoin and digital currency as a whole, and whether we like it or not, the underlying technology used within Bitcoin is here to stay.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is effectively an online currency, so while they can be used, purchased and sold online, you will never hold a physical Bitcoin. Instead, they are purchased online using your local currency. You will also need a secure platform to store your Bitcoins.

Rather than using up resources, Bitcoins are created by computers that go through a series of number-crunching exercises before going through each and every permutation one at a time. Although created via a digital platform, the process used can be compared to the mining of precious metals used to create local currency, with the value being determined on how difficult the Bitcoins were to produce.

bitcoin-facts

(See Full Infographic At Visual Capitalist: 50 Bitcoin Facts)

As well as Bitcoin, there have been a plethora of other online currencies introduced into the marketplace. These include Litecoin, calling itself the ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold,’ and offer a faster processing time than Bitcoin. A further introduction was Peercoin, which markets itself as an energy-efficient company. Peercoin state that the company is designed to have a 1 percent rate of inflation.

The Value of Digital Currency

Although it can be argued that the price of digital currency fluctuates far too much, if you were to read between the lines, you can get an overview on why digital currency is so popular. Firstly, it can be used anonymously. Although illegal sites such as Silk Road trade in Bitcoins, that’s not to say everyone who uses digital currency anonymously is a criminal.

cryptocurrency

(Infographic Source: Adweek)

Many people just prefer to go about their day-to-day activities without the world looking in, this could be in relation to the spending habits, or what they look at online. In this regard, Bitcoins are ideal for those who have grown a little tired of people sifting through your bank account every time you call up for some assistance.

As digital currency is decentralized, it offers online users are new way of exchanging money. ~If implemented in the correct way, Bitcoin and others like it could revolutionize the global economy, saving a small fortune on fees charged by banks and payment processors.

Overall

Despite the bad press associated with Bitcoin, the underlying premise is one that still proves to be interesting, and in most cases, effective. The fluctuating rate of some digital currencies can make people nervous about using it, especially in day to day scenarios. Nobody wants to spend more on their groceries because of a sudden decrease in value.

However, tailored in the right way, digital currency has a place in the online world, if not beyond. How it affects the global economy moving forward will really depend on how the online community embrace it moving forward.

By Paul Simpson

10 Innovations Shaking Up Law Firms

10 Innovations Shaking Up Law Firms

10 Top Legal Tech Innovations 

There has been a great deal of trepidation for a number of reasons when it comes to Financial and Legal firms adopting cloud services. Privacy and Security is without a doubt the biggest of all the concerns.  However, there is a silver lining with some promising trends.

Matt Spiegel, a Lawyer and Founder of My Case and CloudTweaks contributor indicates that things are changing. “Despite the hesitations of lifelong attorneys who are reluctant to change their tried and true practices or new attorneys hung up on certain anxieties around new technology, it’s undisputed that the industry at large is moving steadily toward widespread utilization of Web-based systems. One reason for this movement is a response to client needs. Even the most technologically skeptical of lawyers can see the advantages of giving clients options that help them better manage and understand their legal experiences…”

The global legal services market, according to MarketLine had total revenues of $610.4 Billion in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% between 2009 and 2013 and is expected to drive the market to a value of $750.9 Billion by the end of 2018.

Attached is an insightful infographic by LexisNexis / Raconteur providing you with a nice breakdown of the top 10 innovations law firms are currently making.

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OpenText CEO Predictions For The Enterprise In 2016

OpenText CEO Predictions For The Enterprise In 2016

Predictions For The Enterprise

 

  1. The IoT will be reality

In 2016, we’ll work smarter, not harder. Human beings, appliances, homes, factories, cars, businesses, and cities will become more interconnected. If these items aren’t already, they’ll soon be “talking” to the Internet of Things (IoT). In a few short years, there will be more than 25 billion devices generating data about every topic imaginable. We’ll see broader enterprise adoption of the IoT due to its economic impact (which analysts estimate to be between $4 trillion to $11 trillion in the next few years), as well as in terms of opportunities to improve productivity and gain better business insight.

The IoT will cause massive disruption through better automation, integration, and communication. Insurance companies are deploying sensors and software to monitor how drivers behave and generate risk profiles using big data analytics that accurately align to or construct on-demand products to suit individual behavior. Thermostats communicate with residents and accumulate behavioral data to formulate the most energy efficient and comfortable schedules and settings. Software agents move money, stocks, goods, and people around the world, routing, optimizing, and transacting innumerable times a year—and these are just three examples already in enterprise use today. They will quickly evolve and proliferate into 2016.

IoT-CloudTweaks-Comic

As we move forward through 2016 and beyond, more devices, agents, sensors, and people will join the IoT. Perhaps we will even progress as a society to a post-scarcity economy and information itself will become our commodity of trade. Monetizing the exchange of information, micro-licensing, and transactions become prominent tasks as our automation and machine-to-machine networks take care of daily needs. Imagine algorithms as apps for applying big data analysis over the connected masses of information generated by the IoT and its billions upon billions of connected devices in every aspect of our lives. Owning the data, analyzing the data, and improving and innovating become the keys to corporate success—all empowered by a connected digital society.

Though this may have some Orwellian overtones, the IoT is really about the Zen of Things—our application of software and technology to help customers consume products and to help businesses build better products and deliver better services. In 2016, the IoT will continue to combine Big data, Analytics, The Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, and Automation to propel industries forward and create the next industrial revolution.

  1. Millennials enter the management ranks and reshape the world 

In 2016, we will see Millennials enter management-level roles. These young leaders will radically restructure all aspects of business—from productivity tools to HR policies (like working from home and remote offices), and organizational structure to corporate cultural—essentially reinventing the workplace as we know it.

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As managers, Millennials will be in a position to transform corporate culture, accommodating expectations like social media freedom, device flexibility, and a high tolerance for risk taking. Innovation will be a key competitive differentiator and its application will be based on new ways to collaborate that include crowdsourcing and co-creation with customers. Communication will be open, two-way, and always “on.” The office of the future will take root in 2016. Holographic images, interactive surfaces, and video conferencing will begin to replace the boardroom in earnest. The mobile office will replace the cubicle and work and life will reach an equilibrium and intermixing we haven’t seen before in this digital age.

As Millennials undergo a professional “coming of age,” the enterprise will follow suit. Culture will be a determining factor for failure or success in the digital world. Millennial managers will pull from a global pool of talent, hiring the best employees from around the world to create highly skilled, dispersed teams. Organizations with cultures that can attract (and keep) top talent will emerge as winners, changing the game and disrupting traditional business models—and even entire industries.

  1. Fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies will collapse

The rise of Internet-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies over the years has been tied to a new model: cash over time, rather than the traditional cash upfront model. But, the aim of profitability remains the same: no more waiting. Cash is still king and businesses need profit.

Many of these so-called multi-billion dollar businesses have no revenue, no asset value, no employees and no chance of survival, as long-standing, cash, asset, idea, and employee-rich companies reorganize to compete. Nimble, fast, and flexible is great—and the startups have done a great job in cornering that market. Enterprises might learn slowly, but they learn. And the further along they are on their journey towards digitalization, the more market share they can win back. So, as quickly as the fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies have appeared, they will now begin to collapse.

  1. Digital becomes top priority for CEOs 

cloud-connectedIt’s clear that in 2016 digital disruption will impact all markets. Earlier this year, I predicted that 50% of all market leaders will be obsolete in the coming decade because of digital disruption. Competition will come fast and furious from unforeseen sources. In a 2015 CEO survey, 58% of CEOs surveyed consider the rapid-fire rate of digital disruption a challenge to their business. But where there is risk there is also opportunity: 80% believe that disruptive technologies (Mobile, the Cloud, Analytics) will bring tremendous value to their business. That’s a heartening statistic.

To capitalize on opportunity, CEOs will need to understand how disruption impacts all functions of their organization. In 2016, CEOs will become the drivers of digital transformation initiatives, incorporating them in their corporate strategies and all parts of the business. Adaptive and creative leadership will succeed. Across the C-Suite, transformational leadership will overcome outmoded structures and old management styles to empower Millennials to self-direct, make decisions, experiment, innovate, and take risks; while providing the systems, structure and governance to protect the company, its assets and information from this ‘digital sandbox’ style cultural transformation. CEOs will have to obsess even more about the customer and rethink customer value and experiences. They will extend their ecosystems with a new willingness to partner to discover new consumers and markets.

Over the next five years, CEOs will lead by example, adopting a Digital Mindset. The Digital Mindset is driven by disruption, immediacy, and scale with centricity on journeys, experience, and a real-time-ness. Just like we have an IQ and EQ, organizations need to develop a DQ, a digital quotient, where strategy, culture, people, and capabilities converge. The CEO will lead this charge.

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mark-barrenecheaBy Mark Barrenechea , CEO / OpenText

As CEO of Canada’s largest software company, Mr. Barrenechea oversees the strategic direction of the organization and upholds the company’s position at the forefront of the industry. Under his direction, the company has grown both organically and through strategic acquisitions, into a $1.85 billion technology company.

Before joining OpenText, Mr. Barrenechea was President and Chief Executive Officer of Silicon Graphics International Corporation (SGI), where he also served as a member of the Board.

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

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Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

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The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

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Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

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Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

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Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

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Achieving Network Security In The IoT

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Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

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Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

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Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…