Author Archives: CloudTweaks

Microsoft HoloLens Could Be an Augmented Reality Game-Changer

Microsoft HoloLens Could Be an Augmented Reality Game-Changer

Microsoft HoloLens – A Possible Game-Changer

There has been an exciting surge of new virtual reality and augmented reality innovations within recent years. Augmented reality (AR) is a mostly real time view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented or supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. New technologies keep improving all the time. While Rift and Morpheus are truly astounding in their own rights, Microsoft is claiming their new device the HoloLens is “something different”.

According to Yahoo News:

Holographic experiences on Windows are about delivering a mixed reality of both your digital world and your real world. We are integrating holograms into the world around you–transforming the ways you create, connect, and explore. We hope holographic experiences on Windows 10 will help drive continued innovation in this category.” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

While there are no doubt some bugs to be worked out, the way HoloLens works is truly austounding. Microsoft says it basically “tricks” your brain into seeing light as matter. Which is sort of creepy and really cool at the same time.

According to Wired Magazine:

To create Project HoloLens’ images, light particles bounce around millions of times in the so-called light engine of the device. Then the photons enter the goggles’ two lenses, where they ricochet between layers of blue, green and red glass before they reach the back of your eye. When you get the light to be at the exact angle, that’s where all the magic comes in.”

A completed and fully functional Hololens might be a few years away as the project is still in its infancy and developing. The potential impact Hololens could have on professions is inspiring. Doctors, for instance, could diagnose you with a hologram of your body to tell you exactly what’s going on. And let’s not even get started on how awesome it could be for gaming. The future is now, and all we are waiting for is our Back to the Future Hoverboards.

By Jason Sander

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Big Data Analytics Trends

As data information and cloud computing continues to work together, the need for data analytics continues to grow. Many tech firms predict that big data volume will grow steadily 40% per year and in 2020, will grow up to 50 times that. This growth will also bring a number of cost reductions in big data usage ranging between 10 -100 times.

Included is an infographic by Aurues which delves into a bit of analysis into some of the future trends of the misunderstood world of Big Data Analytics.


Cloud Infographic – Digging Into The Big Data Mines

Cloud Infographic – Digging Into The Big Data Mines

The Search For Big Data Mines

In the past, value was placed on gold mines because of the precious and valuable things inside. Later, fossil fuels and oil fields became the places of value. Yet in our day, that has been replaced with big data and the expanse of information called the internet. There are resources that flood you with so much valuable information that it is not easily processed into working, viable, and helpful information.

These digital “mines” can be anything from Google, YouTube, to Ebay but are categorized by the sheer amount of information to sort through. At first glance, big data information can be overwhelming and clunky because of its size and collection method. With practice and a little help, businesses can see the real intrinsic value of these modern day pearls.

Included is an infographic provided by UAB Master of Management in Information Systems called Big Data For Small Businesses.

Big Data for Small Businesses

By Sam Hudgins

Developers, the Cloud and Security Concerns

Developers, the Cloud and Security Concerns

Thought Provoking Survey

So I got to thinking about security and how this relates to developers in particular. This was prompted by a recent read of the findings reported in a survey, “2014: The Year of Encryption” conducted by Egress Software Technologies, of delegates at Europe’s largest information security event Infosecurity Europe 2014. And you know the first and almost overwhelming thought that struck me was how important security should be for these folk. Why? Because by the very nature of their work the information they will be storing, sharing or exchanging will be proprietary and possibly ground breaking. Developers bring new products to market in a very competitive world where keeping one’s secrets secret until the very last moment before publishing can mean the difference to your market lead and thus your ultimate success.

2014 Market Survey Infographic

Market survey 2014: The Year of Encryption

Obvious Risk But…

An obvious observation you would think but then when you read that; “only 17% of those surveyed said their existing secure information sharing system was easy to use” and even more worryingly; “100% of those not interested is security systems admitted to regularly sharing sensitive/confidential data with external third parties”. I wonder if these figures stack-up when applied to developers as a community? I have no research data to refer to here but relying on my twenty plus years experience of working in the IT security arena I would not be surprised if they did.

The Basics

As with most things in this life you can distil security down to the core basic requirements and thereby be sure you are concentrating your effort to find the correct solution for your given situation. When it comes to shared information for the development community my take on it would be something like this:

  • Transfers between team member and the rest of the team
  • Latest version source code
  • Transfers between testing team and development
  • Stored latest beta code

Your view would obviously be different dependant on your circumstances but hopefully you get the idea I’m driving at.

Follow the Data Security

The crucial thing here is the release of information to specific people or groups of people with confidence that only those people and groups can access that information. Additionally you would want to know that these various end points of distribution could not compromise the security by passing on this information in an insecure way to unauthorised people or groups. In other words you would want the security “envelope” to be wrapped around the data and travel with it throughout it’s lifetime. By adopting this “follow the data model” where the secure envelope travels with the data throughout it’s lifetime we have further distilled the core element to one of access control to each data package.

Sounds Complicated

This is all very good stuff but it’s beginning to sound terribly complicated I hear you say. Well that is dependent on the underlying security architecture. It is imperative that the security you adopt is simple and fast to use with maybe no more than one or two extra clicks of the mouse. The focus is sharper still and the distilled core now looks more like this:

  • Follow the Data Security
  • Ease of use

We’re not going to be able to get much sharper than this, so the next step is to review our understanding of the gains to be made by adopting this approach and then to ask can such a system be easily integrated with our legacy systems since cost will also be an issue when asking management for the go ahead.

The Gains that You Win

To measure the gains that you win when adopting a system of follow the data security can best be expressed by a few examples:

We can all imagine the situation where we pass sensitive information to an authorised member of the team who then without thinking forwards this to a third party for either legitimate reasons connected with their job function or should they deliberately passes on the data to deliberately compromise the project. In both cases the data owner will be requested to grant access to this new person.

Or how about the authorised member of the team that has access to the data but subsequently leaves the team. Should they continue to have that access right? With the follow the data security model you can revoke that person’s access rights in real time.

Follow the data security can be used to control access to that data by event, time or date for instance coupled that with a person’s access rights and you have an amazing level of control over the release or access to your shared data.

Follow the data security is there independently of the transport mechanism or for that matter the storage medium.

Follow the data security by its very nature provides an audit trail of who did what to it where and when and what unauthorised attempts to access it were made, also where and when will be recorded.

You can begin to see how flexible this type of system can be, but is it possible and can it be integrated into the way we work and our current architecture?

Describing the Model

For follow the data security to work and work every time it requires that the data owner/creator defines the security to be applied. Such factors as who will be granted access, when is access to be granted are there any time constraints regarding when and for how long.

It’s a given that the underlying tool being used to envelop and secure the data will be encryption. I don’t intend to discuss encryption in any depth here but suffice to say that it must be robust encryption that has been securely implemented and independently certified as fit for purpose. There are few better places to get approval from than the UK Government’s Certified Product Assurance (CPA) programme led by CESG. Adopting a product whose encryption module has been approved through this scheme gives the user the comfort that the product “does what it say on the tin”.


There is absolutely no reason why this type of system could not be inserted into most existing work processes with minimum fuss. When you send email, use file transfer protocols, copy to removable media a rule-based system could kick in and automatically add the encryption layer and ask for the recipients list. By linking the public/private key encryption to the individuals email address it guarantees this unique entity would be the authorised recipient. In this way there is no need for the user to be concerned about key pairs etc. The whole complicated issue of encryption is hidden from the user experience and as a consequence it makes for extreme ease of use.

Securing the Cloud

Hopefully you will see how by adopting follow the data security it has the effect of securing the Cloud. It adds further security by the fact that each data package could have it’s own unique key pair still associated the sender and receiver’s email addresses by different for each exchange made. How does this improve security? It means that should one exchange be compromised it does not affect any previous or subsequent exchange. Each exchange has to be broken or compromised independently.

Follow the data security is the way forward! If you want further information about products certified by CESG visit and for information about Egress Switch large file transfer and file encryption software visit:

By Paul Simms

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

The Future (IoT)

By the year 2020, it is being predicted that 40 to 80 billion connected devices will be in use. The Internet of Things or IoT will transform your business and home in many truly unbelievable ways. The types of products and services that we can expect to see in the next decade will truly feel like science fiction to those of older generations. To the newer generations born into a natural and more seamless adoption of cloud computing services which already utilize faster, higher density related big data processing technologies, not so much. Lets just say we’ve come a long way from the likes of Pac Man and Space Invaders.

As for businesses, we can expect that 95% of C-level executives in the workplace to be utilizing IoT within the next three years. Included is an infographic by Xively detailing much of the expected cloud computing and Internet of Things growth.


Cloud Ready Business Drivers

Cloud Ready Business Drivers

Cloud Ready Business Drivers

Many organizations are faced with the dilemma of moving to the cloud. Understandably so. This isn’t a decision that can be taken overnight. Every CTO and CIO will do their due diligence of mapping business and technology needs before they make their final call. There are a few business scenarios though where moving to the cloud just seems like an answered prayer. When it seems like, it’s the best solution – like its the right thing to do at the right time.

When would one give a thumbs up to the cloud without a doubt?

Global Online Customers


For an internet company that has customers spread across geographies, the cloud is the place to be. Primarily from the economies of scale perspective. You want your customers to get the best of response times, no matter which part of the world they log in from. Cloud solutions deal with this kind of scenario best due to the following reasons:

Data center spread – A cloud deployment will typically have a better geographical spread of hosting options as compared to an individual on premise deployment. This means that the closest servers can server your customers, an absolute benefit given the attention span of today’s online customers.

Handling failures – Redundancy levels, both in hardware and software are much higher in cloud-based solutions as compared to others. An uptime SLA signed with your cloud provider gives you an assurance of being available for your customers.

Global Field Operations

Again, a global conglomerate with operations spanning remote locations, a cloud solution will work wonders from the mobility perspective. Sales or quality personnel, who need to conduct field visits, can perform their tasks on smart devices and sync to the server when connectivity is better. True, this can also be done on a non-cloud deployment. Again, it is the breadth of geographies, criticality of business functions and economic perspectives that determine if the cloud is a favorable choice. From a business view, the faster the data is entered into the system, the more value it offers to forward decision-making.

Another aspect, to consider, is that mobile interfaces typically tend to be simpler and standardized. This move is helping folks in functions such as customer support, sales and compliance audits to focus on their core competencies, without being bogged down with the nitty gritty of having to learn to operate an intricate IT system.

Seasonal Demand

Some businesses have more peaks and valleys in transactions than others. For example, areas such as specialty retail, event management, tourism and education can greatly benefit from SaaS deployments. The cost benefits analysis works in favor of such companies as you pay only for actual utilization. Depending on the variation in demand, an individual deployment could turn out to be very expensive even with energy efficiency measures put in place.

While there are other businesses that have already signed in onto various cloud solutions for various reasons, and yet so many that are still evaluating, cloud solutions do appear to be transforming the technology industry. For new businesses that do not have to deal with the backlog of a legacy system, evaluation of cloud solutions is highly recommended.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Kapila Gidwani

A Look Into The Crystal Ball: Predictions For 2015

A Look Into The Crystal Ball: Predictions For 2015

Predictions For 2015

At the start of a new year we have the opportunity to look ahead and think about what trends will likely shape the coming months. 2015 is poised to be transformative for government agencies and enterprises, as an increasing number of organizations look to modernize their computing environments, expand their focus on secure and compliant hosting, and meet the growing demands of an increasingly mobile workforce. What trends will we see emerge this year?

Here are the top seven predictions we see for 2015:

  1. Hybrid Cloud Grows Up and “Gets Real” – Out of the buzz created by incredibly rapid IT technology advancements, the industry will finally emerge with a firm understanding of the gamut of “hybrid” options thanks to best practices derived from real-world cloud deployments.
  1. Compliance’s Operational Impacts Will Continue To Expand – Are your prepared to pass that next audit? After years of struggling with time-consuming and complex compliance processes and procedures, enterprises, agencies, and auditors alike will be even busier! But there is some light at the end of the tunnel – and it comes in the form of automation.
  1. Privacy Will Be Everywhere – Whether it’s electronic protected health information (ePHI) driven by ACA or information traveling between public and private cloud environments, harnessing and protecting data will be a focal point of every government and enterprise IT initiative.
  1. Agencies Get Cozier With Public Cloud – Government cloud computing adoption will hit its stride. Agencies will finally start moving a great number of workloads (and even some mission-critical ones) into the public cloud with FedRAMP authorized providers.
  1. Verticalized Cloud Communities Become the Next Boomtowns – There’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to cloud. As a result, industries with common compliance standards, such as healthcare, will turn to cloud service providers that can act as community organizers or hubs. In 2015, we’ll see the increasing emergence of vertical-centric cloud communities that can effectively cater to industry-specific needs and requirements.
  1. New Tools Will Enhance Infrastructure and Application Performance – Spurred on by rapid software development, software-defined networks, and faster hardware technology, rapid maturation of industry tools and services will help organizations enhance the performance of IaaS, public, private and hybrid cloud solutions in the coming year. Expect affordable resources that will extract even more value in the form of greater flexibility, security and self-service, alongside service-focused offerings from providers.
  1. Real-time Data-Centric Decisions Are the New Norm – In 2015, we’ll see IT-enabled data-centric decisions across platforms become common practice for many organizations. Deeper insight into usage patterns and greater visibility into network operations and performance across computing infrastructure will allow organizations to make better-informed decisions about workload allocations and respond faster to enterprise needs.

Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. We would love to hear your thoughts on what trends will be game-changers in 2015!

Contribution By Carpathia 

Microsoft evolves its customer-centric solutions with new Parature release

Microsoft evolves its customer-centric solutions with new Parature release

New Parature Release

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT“) on Wednesday announced the Spring ’15 release for Parature from Microsoft, adding new capabilities that empower brands and organizations to deliver engaging customer self-service solutions across applications, channels and devices. This new release emphasizes productivity for customer service professionals by delivering insights “above the service queue” to help agents quickly understand, diagnose and resolve issues that customers may face. With this release, Parature will now be available for purchase through Microsoft Online Services — providing customers with unified purchase and support experiences along with existing Microsoft cloud services. The release of the service will be available in 50 markets worldwide and be offered in 10 languages.

More and more, people are choosing the brands that give them unique, tailored and fulfilling customer service experiences,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Parature’s customer-centric capabilities enable organizations to deliver personalized customer care and, when combined with the clear business processes and intelligence of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, give our customers the high-quality solutions their businesses demand.”

With its Spring ’15 release, Parature is introducing more than 30 high-priority features that will not only increase the productivity and proactivity of customer service teams but also give agents increasing above-the-queue insights to improve and personalize each customer experience. The service also includes multilingual and translation capabilities, Parature’s knowledge integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and the introduction of Parature’s highly anticipated omni-portal that will enhance enterprise service scenarios.

Since Microsoft acquired Parature in January 2014, Parature’s knowledge management and self-service technology has become a valuable addition to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution, with customizable integrations between Parature and Microsoft Dynamics CRM that can be tailored to unique customer needs. This progress and advancement of service capabilities through Parature has helped Microsoft earn top honors in the 2014 CRM Magazine Service Leader Awards. Gartner has also positioned Microsoft as a Leader in its 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center* based on its ability to execute and completeness of vision.

Customers such as Chobani, nTelos Wireless and Microsoft OneDrive are currently using Parature to deliver amazing experiences to their customers.

Parature’s Spring ’15 is the largest release in the history of Parature in terms of features and functionality,” said Bill Patterson, senior director, customer self-service solutions, Microsoft. “We’re incredibly excited about the capabilities we’re delivering here across all major service channels, including self-service, mobile, social, chat, portal and ticketing. Even more exciting is how Parature’s market expansion, omni-portal, multilingual and translation capabilities now enable it to be deployed in enterprises on a global scale.”

To find out more about this release, the Release Preview Guide can be accessed at Customers can also request a demo of the service at More information and news is available at Those who want to follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics Twitter community can do so at @MSFTDynamics.

About Microsoft Dynamics

At the heart of every successful business are the people who make things happen. Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Gartner Inc., Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center, Michael Maoz, 24, April, 2014.  Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

CloudTweaks Comics
Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

DYN DDOS Timeline This morning at 7am ET a DDoS attack was launched at Dyn (the site is still down at the minute), an Internet infrastructure company whose headquarters are in New Hampshire. So far the attack has come in 2 waves, the first at 11.10 UTC and the second at around 16.00 UTC. So…

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

DDoS Knocks Out Several Websites Cyber attacks targeting the internet infrastructure provider Dyn disrupted service on major sites such as Twitter and Spotify on Friday, mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast. It was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau…

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks! So we are all cheering as the FCC last week made the right choice in upholding the principle of net neutrality! For the general public it is a given that an ISP should be allowed to charge for bandwidth and Internet access but never to block or somehow…

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Security, Security, Security!! Get use to it as we’ll be hearing more and more of this in the coming years. Collaborative security efforts from around the world must start as sometimes it feels there is a sense of Fait Accompli, that it’s simply too late to feel safe in this digital age. We may not…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

Enterprise File Sharing Solution Businesses have varying file sharing needs. Large, multi-regional businesses need to synchronize folders across a large number of sites, whereas small businesses may only need to support a handful of users in a single site. Construction or advertising firms require sharing and collaboration with very large (several Gigabytes) files. Financial services…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Federal Government Cloud Adoption No one has ever accused the U.S. government of being technologically savvy. Aging software, systems and processes, internal politics, restricted budgets and a cultural resistance to change have set the federal sector years behind its private sector counterparts. Data and information security concerns have also been a major contributing factor inhibiting the…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a…

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Connected Vehicles From cars to combines, the IoT market potential of connected vehicles is so expansive that it will even eclipse that of the mobile phone. Connected personal vehicles will be the final link in a fully connected IoT ecosystem. This is an incredibly important moment to capitalize on given how much time people spend…


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