Author Archives: CloudTweaks

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22

The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this question: how in the world do you eat cloud software?

Cybersecurity today seems to have an unfortunate Catch-22. You want to test (and re-test) your live cloud services to see if they are really secure, but testing too aggressively or frequently will disrupt, degrade, or even leave those services more vulnerable. Keeping your live services up and running is difficult: your aggressive scanning and testing is essentially eating those services — to see if they are good or bad — at the same time you are trying to keep them all in one piece.

Splitting In Half

As the title of this blog hints, running a live system and fully testing that same live system is exactly like trying to have your cybersecurity cake and eat it too — pick one, not both, or more realistically pick half of each. We’ve even heard penetration testing on a live network described as “running fast while shooting at your own feet to see if your boots are really tough enough for the journey.” (Please do not try this at home!)


It’s no secret that classical vulnerability and penetration testing is filled with wise caution, legal landmines and detailed guidance to mitigate the impact on real operations and businesses. At least one way to try to maneuver around this Catch-22 requires a separate non-production environment of equivalent hardware and software. It’s not easy to keep that non-production environment up-to-date and it demands a lot of constant investment of time and money. The unfortunate reality is that such environments quickly diverge from real operational systems, making them less meaningful. It’s often double the cost for just a fraction of real cyber security benefit.

As businesses rapidly accelerate their dependence on cloud services and the federal government puts sensitive data into the cloud, achieving more secure cloud-based services is critically important. We’re all interdependent and have a shared stake in the outcome.

With a lot on the line there is no shortage of expectations – from financial sector penetration testing requirements to a new military effort calling for more proactive testing of critical operational systems. And we can’t help but mention the groundbreaking Cyber Grand Challenge using artificial intelligence based techniques.

Government Embracing The Cloud

Likewise, as security concerns cause the federal government to step more firmly into the cloud — there’s even a these days after all — the government’s own penetration testing penetration has also anticipated this seeming Catch-22 in cybersecurity. The government expressly allows “testing in a non-production environment” to “limit the impact on business operations.” Then, in the same breath, they wisely require that the non-production environment be “identical to the production environment.” And to reinforce the point they even use italics, noting that the “environments must be exactly same” and not just “almost” the same. We couldn’t agree more!

The Clone

Our answer, then, to the original question — how in the world do you eat cloud software? Leverage the inherent ability of any cloud environment to generate and operate exact (cloned) image of the live systems. Then test those exact images. It’s a bit like interacting with a hologram, except in the cyber world the hologram behaves and reacts exactly like the real thing — because it is as real as the original due to the inherent design of the cloud’s serviced-based architecture. Once you’ve set up the parameters for the cloud service, it makes little sense to ask Amazon, for example, which particular servers in which racks you are running on, because it doesn’t make one bit of difference operationally.

As the cloned versions are setup, the live cloud services keep going while the cloned version is taking the heat. Even if during testing the cloned version goes down in flames, so to speak, that’s ok for two reasons. First, the live operational system is still running fine — keeping your customers and users happy — and, second, you have proactively uncovered an issue before it could have grown into an even larger, real one.

Meanwhile, you can just restart another cloned image and get right back to testing — no need to clean up or try to rewind time. And this approach works across multiple cloud platforms, whether hosted or on premises or a mix, so you can choose your cloud provider — or more likely choose a few of them. Furthermore, your existing investment in scanning, testing, and security tools can also be applied to the exact images.

We agree there’s really no silver bullet in cybersecurity, as it clearly takes a diverse range of tools and techniques to keep a system secure, but a service-based cloud infrastructure really does have one particular silver lining: by scanning and testing fully cloned images, you can have your cybersecurity and really eat it too.

By Ernesto DiGiambattista, Co-Founder and CEO, Cybric


Prior to founding Cybric, Ernesto DiGiambattista was the Chief Technology & Security Officer for Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group, where he was responsible for transforming a legacy technology team into a technology innovation service group.

In addition, Ernesto was a senior member of Bank of America’s Information Security & Resiliency Group and Corporate Audit organizations. Further, Ernesto has been a trusted advisor on private and public cybersecurity policy to members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In June 2015, Ernesto was recognized by the Boston Business Journal as a 2015 Finalist for Boston CIO of the Year.



The Golden Age

One of the biggest fads in the technology sector right now is wearable tech. From Smartwatches that let you check your emails, chat with friends and search the web, to fitness accessories that monitor your heart rate and your sleep patterns, this is truly the Golden Age of wearable technology.

But some of these innovations are older than you think. Virtual Reality sets like Oculus and VR Lite can trace their origins back to 1963. This is when the idea of bringing the TV screen to you in order to create more depth and more immersion was first proposed. In the 1970s, the first calculator watch was created, and while this is someway from the Apple Watch, the beginnings are there and this was a huge innovation at the time.

(Infographic discovered via Siliconrepublic)


We may be living in an age that is dominated by technology, but a lot of the ideas that you think are new were actually formed many years or generations ago. The Tablet is a perfect example of this. We all think of the Apple iPad as the first tablet, but the name “Tablet PC” was actually coined by Microsoft, who released a similar device back in 1999. And even this device was predated by the Palm Pilot, the Newton and several other mobile PCs.

Of course, for every game-changing invention, there are a few obscure, baffling inventions that really shouldn’t have made it off the drawing board. And as this infographic proves, there have been no shortage of those throughout the last few hundred years.

By David Jester



The cyberwar is on!

At this stage of the game, the stakes are higher than ever, and safeguarding networks from cyberattacks is a devilish combination of Chicken and Cat-and-Mouse. Attacks are now so commonplace that many events of serious cybersecurity breaches go uncovered by mainstream media.

Despite the rapid advancements in IT security technology, hackers continue to invent even more sophisticated ways of infiltrating systems around the globe. No one is safe—and although the awareness is there, and the threats are very real, some companies still think they are safe and have it covered.

The fact is that it is second by second battle. Entire global networks can be comprised by a single click of the mouse or the press of a button at any given time. Everything is at risk: content, data and network security concerns for businesses, consumers and even governments. Although cyberterrorists always seem to find a way in, leaving the experts scratching their heads, the outlook is not at all as grim as one might suspect.

According to an August 22, 2016 article on magazine, “3 Hot Cybersecurity Stocks,” hacking is now a global growth industry! The cyberwar is on, which is why cybersecurity is the fastest growing sector in technology today. Not only do the good guys want to stop the bad guys—they want to make a profit doing it. It is a win-win from a business standpoint. Attached is an attractive security infographic discovered via IDG Enterprise.


Close to 170 cyber attacks against corporations and other industry leaders have been documented by Privacy Rights Clearing House thus far in 2016. The massive breach upon DNC leading the pack as one of the most shocking.

What Companies Should Be Doing

Upwards of 40 percent of investment firms reported increasing the budget for cybersecurity for the year. Given the state of matters, IT security experts have a lot to say to those firms lagging behind. Cybersecurity is a daily investment every company can’t afford not to make.

From small startups to large corporations, everyone in business needs to put network and system security at the top of their priority list. The areas most in need of heightened security are application encryption, event and information management systems, user access management, data-at-rest defenses, and tokenization (the process of substituting a sensitive data element with a non-sensitive equivalent).

Even the little guy on the block should invest in professional IT security management. Your neighbor who just graduated from an online cybersecurity school might not have the chops under his belt to keep up with the lightning speed this cyberwar is gaining. You need serious guards against serious attackers who take no prisoners and spare nothing to get at information and control, sometimes just for the fun of it.

By CJ Callen



Big Data Analytics Career Path

With the inception of Big Data, we have witnessed a data revolution around us. Big Data Analytics is one of the biggest trends in IT sector at the moment and the buzz around it is not going to subdue anytime soon. Big Data is everywhere now-a-days, and if the industry forecasts are to be believed, then Big Data Analytics market will continue to grow bigger as businesses realize the importance of making data-driven decisions.

Wondering whether to take up a career in Big Data Analytics or not? If you are not convinced yet, then here are 6 reasons why making the switch to Big Data Analytics is a smart career move in 2017.

1. Exponential Growth Rate

Big Data sector has recorded six times faster growth than the average growth rate of IT industry in the past couple of years. According to the market experts, Big Data sector would sustain the momentum and continue to outpace other IT sectors by a significant margin in the years to come. Currently the size of Big Data Analytics market is around one-tenth of the global IT market, but it is expected to evolve to at least one-third by the end of 2020. So if you are looking to make a career in one of the fastest growing IT sectors, there is no better alternative than Big Data Analytics.

2. Soaring Demand for Qualified Professionals

Big Data initiatives were once reserved only for the giants like Microsoft and Amazon. That’s not the case anymore. Today, organizations of all sizes are venturing out to leverage the power of Big Data. As more and more IT companies are getting involved in Big Data projects, currently there is a big demand for engineers who can help process data at large-scale.

A closer look at the prominent job sites can give you a sense of the huge demand. There has been a steady increase in the number of job opportunities related to Big Data Analytics and the trend is still swinging upwards. It’s no wonder that qualified Big Data professionals are becoming the hottest targets of IT recruiters from all around the globe.

3. Lack of Skilled Professionals

Data is useless without the skill to process and analyze it. Being a relatively young field, the Big Data sector is currently witnessing severe shortage of technical expertise. While the demand is going up steadily, there is a huge deficit on the supply side. Lots of vacant positions have remained unfilled due to the scarcity of skilled professionals. In an industry where opportunities are plenty but skills are scarce, finding a suitable job shouldn’t be too difficult for the candidates having the right qualification.

4. Fat Paychecks

Thanks to the inadequate supply of Big Data skills, companies are willing to shell out lucrative salaries to attract professionals with the right kind of technical expertise. A quick look at the current salary trend for Big Data professionals indicates an exponential growth. According to a recent survey conducted by US-based recruitment agency Burtch Works, Big Data professionals tend to be the highest compensated group of IT employees with an average salary of $115,000 – which is around 30% more than that of other IT professionals with the same experience level.

5. Adaptation Across Different Industry Verticals

The astonishing growth of Big Data is largely attributed to its relevance across different industry verticals. All types of businesses can use the insights derived from Big Data to get an edge over their competitors. Besides the technology sector, Big Data is increasingly being utilized by other industry verticals for business intelligence, predictive analytics and data mining tasks.

Healthcare, consumer appliances, energy sector, manufacturing industry, and banking are a few of the verticals where Big Data has made its presence felt. As a result, the rate of Big Data implementation has increased by leaps and bounds. So the professionals with Big Data expertise can choose which industry to work for, based on their own preferences.

6. Wide Range of Roles and Responsibilities

Last, but not the least, Big Data professionals have a wide variety of positions to choose from. From Data Engineer to Business Analyst, Visualization Specialist to Machine Learning Expert, and Analytics Consultant to Solution Architect – there are so many options available for the aspiring professionals to align their career paths according to their interests and preferences.

Conclusion: Big Data Analytics help organizations derive meaningful insights from raw data to make the right business decisions at the right time. In today’s competitive job market, technology professionals with the right kind of skill-set are finding themselves in high demand as businesses look to harness the power of Big Data. With the increase in demand, shortage of talent, bigger paychecks, multiple job titles and relevance to different industry verticals, Big Data Analytics is certainly a smart career choice in 2017.

By Jack Danielson



Artificial Intelligence

Since the dawn of the computer age we have been enthralled by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. It dominated the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, and it was a passion so strong that it bled into the fabric of day-to-day existence. Everyone wanted their own robot servant, everyone got a little giddy at the prospect of a walking, talking, thinking robot.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction did get a few things right about the future. But while the modern world is not too far removed from the imagined utopias of Arthur C. Clark and H. G. Wells, we are lacking that one key feature: an intelligent, calculating, man-made brain.

At least, thats what many of us believe. The truth is that AI is all around us. It powers many of the things we rely on and the companies that we love. Without it, we wouldnt be able to use the internet or play computer games, and the manufacturing world would look decidedly poorer as well.

So, while we dont quite have a robot in every home, our lives are still ruled by some form of AI. It may not be as advanced or as intelligent as those aforementioned sci-fi authors had hoped, but its more advanced than many of us realize.

And at least we dont have to worry about that AI overthrowing humanity and taking over the world. Not yet, anyway. Infographic discovered via


Artificial Intelligence In The Enterprise


Artificial Intelligence

Since the dawn of the computer age we have been enthralled by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. It dominated the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, and it was a passion so strong that it bled into the fabric of day-to-day existence. Everyone wanted their own robot servant, everyone got a little giddy at the prospect of a walking, talking, thinking robot.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction did get a few things right about the future. But while the modern world is not too far removed from the imagined utopias of Arthur C. Clark and H. G. Wells, we are lacking that one key feature: an intelligent, calculating, man-made brain.


At least, thats what many of us believe. The truth is that AI is all around us. It powers many of the things we rely on and the companies that we love. Without it, we wouldnt be able to use the internet or play computer games, and the manufacturing world would look decidedly poorer as well.

So, while we dont quite have a robot in every home, our lives are still ruled by some form of AI. It may not be as advanced or as intelligent as those aforementioned sci-fi authors had hoped, but its more advanced than many of us realize.

And at least we dont have to worry about that AI overthrowing humanity and taking over the world. Not yet, anyway. Infographic discovered via


By David Jester



Open Source Business Intelligence Tools

It’s impossible to take the right business decisions without having insightful information to back up the decision-making process. Business intelligence tools make it easier to have our raw data analyzed and presented in a precise and readable format. In the economics of today’s Big Data projects, it is essential to utilize a proven BI suite to extract meaningful information in an organized manner.

BI technology can provide several potential business benefits, including historical trends, current state and predictive views of business operations with the help of easily understandable visualizations, charts and dashboards. These are pretty useful in analytical data processing, data mining, business performance reporting and benchmarking.

Data analytics and business intelligence solutions were traditionally used by large enterprises dealing with Big Data. But the scenario has changed rapidly in the last few years. Today’s BI solutions are increasingly getting used by small and medium-sized organizations to gain better insight into their own business operations.


(Infographic Source:

There are a number of business intelligence solutions in the market to choose from. Big names in the IT world, such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP, have their own proprietary products which are immensely popular among the larger enterprises. While the commercial BI suites can be quite expensive – especially for the small businesses, luckily there are some great open-source alternatives as well. Licensed under GPL, these open source tools are typically used by small to mid-sized businesses, but a few are gaining traction among the large enterprises as well.

In this article, we present you a hand-picked list of 4 open-source business intelligence tools that are ideally suited for businesses with a limited budget.

1. JasperReports Server

JasperReports Server is one of the leading embeddable open-source business intelligence solutions in the market offering data analytics and reporting capabilities. It allows businesses to refine the decision-making process through highly interactive reports and dashboards. The product is bundled with a report builder interface, a reporting engine, a data repository and a mobile BI app. JasperReports is tailored to work with all operating systems and mobile platforms, including but not limited to Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Android and iOS.

The report builder allows you to customize the reports as per your requirements. You can even modify the code to suit your needs. It has a self-service portal that supports charts, graphs, widgets, crosstabs and other interactive reporting elements. JasperReports is compatible with any data source provider, allowing it to extend reporting capabilities to almost any third-party application. It supports data from both relational and non-relational data sources on a real-time or scheduled basis. JasperReports Server supports a wide variety of data types and formats. Reports can be generated in HTML, PDF, CSV, RTF, TXT, XML and XLS file formats.

JasperReports is compatible with LDAP and CAS for configuring single sign on. It also supports role based access control and has a flexible web-based architecture that can be easily embedded within your application.

If you are looking for support, you can check out the JasperSoft Community. It has excellent documentation and user guides that can help you get going. Moreover, the community maintains a detailed Wiki page and a Q&A forum to support the users.


BIRT stands for Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools. It is an open-source software that provides a powerful set of features. BIRT has been around the scene for well over a decade and is often viewed as the standard in open source business intelligence.

BIRT is known for its strong design and presentation features. It has two main components – a report designer, a run-time environment and a chart engine that lets you add graphical representations to your reports. BIRT can either be deployed as a standalone reporting solution or embedded within client applications via its Design Engine API.

BIRT is compatible with all sorts of data sources – including SQL, XML and JDO. Reports can be generated in a variety of formats such as PDF, XML and CSV. BIRT enjoys a strong developer community support. There are plenty of resources and documentations available to help you with the BIRT implementation process.

3. Pentaho

Pentaho is a comprehensive business intelligence solution that caters to data integration, analytics, reporting and data mining. It is available in two editions – a subscription-based enterprise edition and an open-source community edition. Although the enterprise edition is loaded with some extensive features that are not available with the free edition, the open-source version is still very compelling and can serve the purpose of data analysis and reporting well enough.

The biggest strength of Pentaho is its ease of use. It has an intuitive web-based data access wizard and an interactive reporting interface. Interactive visual analysis allows decision makers to find patterns and anomalies, including geo-mapping, heat grids and scatter/bubble charts. Drill-down functionality in the reports and dashboards provides the ability to perform deeper analysis.

Pentaho is compatible with Windows, Mac and Android devices. It supports data integration across different data types. You can access, manage and blend data from multiple sources – from MS Excel to Hadoop.

4. SpagoBI

SpagoBI is a business intelligence and reporting platform fully loaded with features for data mining, reporting, and analysis. It’s a fully open-source project and there’s no premium version available. SpagoBI was introduced back in 2005. Over the years, it has built a strong base of users with great community support.

SpagoBI boasts of powerful features when it comes to data analysis and reporting. It offers developers a wide variety of analytical functions. Moreover, it has an impressive set of advanced data visualization features including geospatial analytics and mapping. OLAP analysis, user-defined KPIs, and real-time dashboards allow business users to dig into huge volume of data to gather decision-making insights. On top of these reporting and analytics features, SpagoBI offers metadata management and ETL functionalities as well.

Final Thoughts:

Alongside the traditional proprietary software products, there are quite a few open-source BI suites available in the market. Depending upon the scale of your operations, an open-source BI suite can be competent enough to meet your needs. Having said that, you should carefully evaluate all the options available in the market before making the final call.

By Jack Danielson

Jack is a tech enthusiast, geek and writer. He is particularly interested in the proliferation of Big Data tips ­ tricks around the web. He holds the position of consultant writer at Satellite Broadband ISP, a resource site to help people living in rural areas find high speed satellite Internet service providers in their area such as Wilblue Exede and HughesNet Gen4.



Reduce Printing Costs

For many organizations, office printing is one of the top expense categories — yet many companies pay little, if any, attention to this ongoing expense. When asked, they usually underestimate how much they’re actually spending on print each year. We’ve found the annual cost of printing is typically about $1,000 per employee, after factoring in paper, toner, equipment repairs, and recycling. For companies in print-intensive sectors like finance and healthcare, this figure can be much higher.

For organizations that have yet to analyze and reduce these often unnecessary expenses, every day that goes by without a print management strategy represents more wasted money. Inaction has a cost.

Today, it’s easy for companies to get started. With cloud-based print management technology, organizations can quickly gain insights into how print happens across their workforce. By revealing all print devices deployed across an enterprise and tracking all the documents submitted to those devices, company leaders can easily identify cost outliers and take informed action to help reduce those costs.

Deep Insights Made Easy

After a lightweight, cloud-based technology is deployed, all you need is a web browser to access a graphical representation of your organization’s print environment. This reduces the burden on the organization, rendering a visit from an expert unnecessary; an IT manager can implement it and begin to see actionable data in less than an hour. Business managers can then access the data on demand, rather than wait until the end of the month to receive a report on last month’s printing.

Separate logins for various job roles and departments make it easy for multiple stakeholders to get involved, including business leaders. After all, strong leadership is often key to successful cost savings initiatives.

Key insights — including how much expensive color volume is produced versus much cheaper monochrome, which applications are producing the most print volume, and which devices employees are printing to — all come together in a simple dashboard that helps IT managers and business leaders quickly establish a baseline of how print happens over a period of time. From there, you can set educated goals for reducing waste and costs and improve efficiency by consolidating the number of printers in your fleet and arranging them in the way that best serves your people.

Here are three ways business leaders can use the insights from a cloud-based print management system to save money and streamline print operations:

1. Build an informed and mindful workforce

As with any new initiative, it helps when company leaders openly sponsor a strategic print reduction program. This involves educating employees about the real costs of printing — in terms of dollars and sustainability metrics — and helping them establish more efficient and mindful printing habits.

Employees are usually eager to do the right thing, especially when they understand what’s really involved. An internal marketing campaign can show them how their printing habits affect the company and the environment and educate them on the benefits of the initiative.

2. Consolidate printers to serve a reduced demand for print

It can help to think of print optimization in terms of supply and demand. The goal is to evaluate how much your organization currently prints and how much of that volume represents business-critical documents rather than mere convenience printing. Cloud services can illuminate this and also help you see which printers across the enterprise see the most volume and which ones see the least.

Armed with this information, you can begin to educate employees about more efficient printing habits and then rethink the supply side: the number of devices and how they’re distributed across the organization. In other words, you can redesign your fleet so it optimally serves a reduced demand for printed documents. This is how to realize significant cost savings and waste reduction.

Another important factor in this is the overuse of personal desktop printers. Some companies fall into the habit of allowing personal desktop printers, often citing the need for document confidentiality. But the modern way to ensure document confidentiality is to deploy a secure pull printing solution on shared network devices. This technology requires employees to use their ID or access card to log in to a device before they can print. When people understand that printing is tracked and they have to be physically present at a shared printer to release and collect their documents, unnecessary printing volume inevitably goes down.

And the reality is that personal printers, while cheaper initially, end up costing companies a lot more in the long run. The ink is far more expensive and the desktop convenience of personal printers enables habitual convenience printing that’s not important for business.

In our experience, consolidating devices can reduce enterprise printing costs by 15-25 percent, and it also reduces energy usage, which leads to further cost savings.

3. Promote paperless workflows wherever possible

Simply not printing is obviously the best way to save on paper and ink, but that’s not always realistic. Educate employees on the true cost of printing, and establish clear policies that encourage mindful printing habits and electronic workflows where possible.

The browser-based user interface of a cloud-based system makes it easy for various business unit leaders to view their own departments’ printing activity and track costs. They can then issue their own policies and set distinct, department-specific goals for reducing print to business-critical documents and going paperless when it’s practical to do so.

How Much Can a Cloud-Based System Save?

Because cloud services reduce tasks for IT resources, it can be hard to fully estimate the cost savings that such a solution provides. However, it’s certainly the fastest pathway to gaining the insights required to create an effective print strategy and achieve significant cost and waste reductions.

In our experience, organizations with 10,000 employees can save $1.5 million or more in annual printing costs by implementing a comprehensive print management strategy, and cloud services are often the best way to get started.

More and more business leaders are becoming aware of the value that a cloud-based print management system can provide. Look closely at your organization’s printing costs; the opportunity for you to make a significant difference will become clear.
By Dale McIntyre,

Dale serves as a vice president at Pharos Systems International, an enterprise print solutions provider based in Rochester, New York. Dale provides strategic leadership in the areas of sustainability, brand, and customer engagement. He regularly shares his unique sustainability perspective on print strategy through blogs, webinars, and appearances.



Massive Open Online Courses

MOOCs (massive open online courses) have received both criticism and praise from the global education sector. A few consider this recent trend nothing more than that – a fad, here today, gone tomorrow, offering little real benefit. But although some of the MOOCs available fall very much into this first category, many others are proving to be robust educational programs that promise far greater accessibility than most universities could dream of.

Defining the MOOC

With the extensive reach of the internet, in many countries developed via rapidly spreading mobile technology, the model of massive open online courses makes it possible to deliver education to almost anyone in the world, with unlimited participation. MOOCs contain a range of course materials, including filmed lectures, interactive forums, access to professors and teaching assistants, and just about anything else their creators are able to deliver via the internet. Most of the early MOOCs focused on open-access features, promoting the distribution of content, while today we see many others using closed license which offer free access for registered students but which aren’t attempting to reach an unlimited audience.

Just as cloud computing has improved business operations through flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, it’s possible for MOOCs to transform professional training and development through the exploitation of online tools and platforms. Says Karsten Scherer, global analyst relations lead at IT staffing and talent management provider TEKsystems, “The opinion of businesses regarding online courses has shifted a lot over the last several years.” Although organizations may previously have questioned the legitimacy of online courses, the growing reliance on flexible structures is shifting employee education policies. Says Scherer, “They’re actively looking for partnership opportunities with MOOCs or encouraging their employees to leverage them.”

Improving Online Learning & Getting the Most out of MOOCs

The global demand for learning is being recognized by many top education institutions, and Harvard and MIT’s joint venture, edX, has seen over 27 million course enrollments since its launch in 2012. While such courses provide the opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge, Peter K. Bol, vice provost for advances in learning (VPAL) and the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, believes these new platforms, in fact, offer a two-way flow of information. “… With large amounts of data available, we can actually figure out what works and what doesn’t work.” User data is already improving the structures of MOOCs but the data collected is also providing insight into the human brain. Says Robert A. Lue, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology and faculty director for HarvardX, “One of the critical priorities for HarvardX is using online learning for doing research and understanding not only what constitutes the most effective practice but also what this can tell us about how humans learn in general.

Unfortunately, according to Harvard Business Review, the majority of those who sign up for a MOOC don’t complete it. It’s suggested, though, that this doesn’t necessarily mean these students aren’t getting any value. Because many MOOCs provide the coursework for free, but charge for certificates, those users requiring only the knowledge have little reason to take expensive exams and apply for certification. Many other users are searching only for some of the information provided, and they can always come back for more at a later date.

However you choose to use this modern edtech, it’s a technique that is growing and advancing across businesses, schools, universities and colleges worldwide. The key, however, to successful MOOCs often lies with the student: by defining how best to make these courses work for them, taking only what they need, and thereby improve their prospects, MOOCs continue to advance opportunity.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
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Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data The modern enterprise is digital. It relies on accurate and timely data to support the information and process needs of its workforce and its customers. However, data suffers from a likability crisis. It’s as essential to us as oxygen, but because we don’t see it, we take it for granted.…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…


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