Author Archives: CloudTweaks

Why seeing is believing in the world of Cloud

Why seeing is believing in the world of Cloud

Why seeing is believing in the world of Cloud

Understanding how your server workloads are performing is crucial for a sound systems management.  If you are able to look into your systems, you can deal proactively with future issues.  By monitoring your systems and servers it will tell you that you are running out of disk space on one of your volumes. With this information you can make an informed choice to order extra drives and install them before a catastrophic event would happen.

ecmanaged

Monitoring also alerts you of future outages due to hardware failure.  The cases are multiple were downtime was avoided by catching through monitoring that a disk drive or disk controller was having problems.  Each SysAdmin can recall a situation where monitoring and alerting disrupted his sleep but saved his business.

Without monitoring you would not find out about these things until they fail completely and the service is brought down hard. You´ll agree that is pure horror in an online business environment. Each minute of downtime is hard money you or your client loses.

In a virtualization scenario these risks multiply even further.

Though virtualization technology and Cloud in particular has changed our world for the better, it came with some significant challenges.  The biggest being that SysAdmins now need to use tools to understand their infrastructure.  “Seeing” or “Touching” servers has become virtually impossible. Cloud has moved workloads from data centers to, well, the Cloud.

So how should a SysAdmin deal with that new reality? The tech world always wants to learn and improve. Solving this problem is key to continue with an ever more virtualized reality. Cloud management and monitoring tools like ECmanaged are such innovative solutions.

As Cloud management tools are often SaaS-based, they are cheap and easy in usage. A good Cloud management tool will give insight into all of your on-premise machines and of your VMs and Cloud infrastructure. Regardless of the virtualization technology they use. ECmanaged is an example of such a tool. It provides this unified and technology neutral monitoring. It informs you how your servers and VMs are doing and it anticipates failures. Combine the monitoring data with an autosolver or automated management actions and SysAdmins will enjoy a better nights´rest.

Monitoring goes further than pure infrastructure monitoring. Performance, application and process checks are crucial data in an online business environment. You want to avoid scenarios where your infrastructure is up but people can´t access your webshop due to a front end failure for example. ECmanaged has combined all this monitoring data in a single tool and added the option to include customized monitor plugins. Because seeing is believing in Cloud. You can subscribe to a Free Trial to ECmanaged here.

About ECmanaged: Founded in 2012, ECmanaged is a pioneering multi-Cloud and IT management tool enabling users to take full control of their Cloud platforms and physical servers. Its intuitive design and interface allow users to develop Cloud platforms avoiding provider imposed restrictions. ECmanaged enables users to be in control of all their platforms and applications both at the implementation phase and afterwards. www.ecmanaged.com

By Joeri Hamvas

Sponsored By ECmanaged

5 Things to Consider When Building Business Apps in a Hybrid Environment

5 Things to Consider When Building Business Apps in a Hybrid Environment

Business Apps in a Hybrid Environment

Cloud computing has hit its stride; it has become a part of IT strategies across the globe, and the benefits of turning to a hosted environment can’t be ignored. But it often seems like companies are viewing their options as “go cloud, or go home,” rather than thinking strategically about their needs as an organization. While it’s important to embrace emerging technology and strive to modernize operations, this view of cloud is simply not realistic for most organizations.

Typically, cloud offerings are simpler in structure and less feature-rich. However, they’re also much easier to use, and offer scalable and flexible environments that can be tailored for an organization’s specific needs. This seems to resonate well with business buyers, as cloud offerings provide the necessary functionality without the obligation of investing in add-ons and extra features businesses don’t need. Users get the tool they need—and can use–when they need it.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

But, even with the numerous benefits of the cloud, it’s not a silver bullet solution for most organizations. Today’s dynamic environment often requires a combination of on-premise platforms and cloud-based solutions to meet the complex needs of the enterprise. Often, the right answer is a hybrid environment that enables organizations to build business applications on the fly, across the enterprise, while reserving on premise solutions for areas of the business, like security for example, that may not be a fit for the benefits of a virtual infrastructure.

Turning more specifically to application development, deploying applications in the cloud is helping make solutions by end-uses and for end-users easier than ever. But when legacy systems or governance and regulatory requirements restrict business data to live in the cloud, end users can find themselves up a creek without a paddle. This is where the promise of hybrid environments that are able to connect back to the on-premise world makes an impact. In a world where users can build and bring their own apps in the cloud and, as a key driver to make that a success is the ability to securely reach back to the business IP that’s locked up in on-premise and legacy systems.

5 Things To Consider

With that in mind, here are five things to consider when building business applications for a hybrid environment:

1. Less can be more. In general, enterprise applications should be kept simple and easy to use, but this is especially true when information needs to go to and from environments. Consider a no-download, no-install, no-code required environment that is directly connected to line of business data. Eliminating the need to lobby the IT department will spell a win for everyone involved: IT, end users and ultimately the business.

2. Accessibility. Applications have become a primary way people access information across devices, both inside and outside of the office. At last count, there are more than 1.2M apps available from Apple and more than 1.3M from Google, according to the companies respectively. Bring Your Own App (BYOA) trends are changing the way we do business as employees take matters into their own hands. Businesses need to understand that this shift is inevitable, and provide guidance for the employees and management to responsibly embrace the trend, especially when a hybrid environment is at play.

3. Recycle. With all of these business applications at the users’ fingertips, leverage best practices from industry, users and trends to offer a new approach or resource that stands out and solves specific business challenges. Apps, dashboards and mashups are all disposable, but the real asset to be protected is the information behind them. To make the most of time and resources, provide secure and fluid access to a line of business systems and data with easy ways to create disposable apps comprised of forms, process modeling and reports. Repurpose functionality from previous iterations when possible and continuously learn from and improve upon those designs.

4. Leverage tech-savvy advocates. Some employees will embrace the cloud more than others, especially those who understand agility and have a desire to control technology. Leverage this to create a new and willing market, which enables users to quickly surface the features they need in a matter of hours or days with the help of, not in spite of, IT. To convince skeptical employees of the value, invest in an experienced strategist and champion who can help guide employees toward success, and minimize failed attempts that may discourage them from adopting new technologies.

5. Sometimes on-premise is the answer. Yes, for a lot of companies, a hybrid solution is a great idea. But not for everyone. Remember not to get caught up in “what’s hot and what’s not” when evaluating software. Every organization leverages highly valuable, and usually on premises solutions such as BPM, CRM and ERP. The trend towards cloud doesn’t’ mean you should ditch these systems or that the move has to be made at once. Instead, take responsible, progressive steps to seamlessly and securely take on-premise systems work in the cloud and on mobile, and consider ways to integrate this system via hybrid options. For software vendors with deeply entrenched interests in the existing way of doing business, it can be a painful transition to the cloud. Be prepared to have those conversations about what applications need to be in the cloud, and when an on-premise solution makes sense.

It is important to look outside of corporate confines for technology solutions that allow employees the flexibility to get their jobs done quickly and efficiently. However, many of these solutions still require access to internal systems and data, making plans for these hybrid IT scenarios critical. The outcome will provide a level of governance that keeps critical business data and systems secure, while empowering users across the organization with ways to solve their problems faster and deliver better results.

Finding a toolset or platform optimized for hybrid solutions allows IT to develop secure data connections that can be surfaced for business users to access with easy-to-use tools, allowing for rapid solution delivery while still maintaining a level of control and security.

By Koos du Preez, CTO, K2

Cloud Infographic – The Digital Doppelgängers

Cloud Infographic – The Digital Doppelgängers

The Digital Doppelgängers

Cyber crime is rampant and will continue as long as there are opportunities available to maliciously gain from the exploitation of individuals and businesses. Prevention will never be 100% foolproof, but security firms are aggressively looking for solutions in order to help minimize damage caused by the exploits of cyber criminals.

Included is an infographic provided by the group CreditExpert.co.uk which profides some interesting fast facts related to cybersecurity.

Credit Expert Data FINAL

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Service Management

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Service Management

Cloud Service Management

We have been hearing a fair bit over the past several months about field management services. This looks to be a very exciting industry as the potential is huge.

“This USD $15 billion industry has only just begun to dip its toe into the huge pool of possibility thanks to software-as-a-service, the tablet and smartphone revolution, and senior management’s recognition that service is indeed strategic.”

Provided is an infographic by ServiceMax which looks into some of those numbers.

cloud-feild-service-info

4 Services That Can Help Prevent Email Snooping

4 Services That Can Help Prevent Email Snooping

Prevent Email Snooping

Email security and privacy concerns have been an ongoing problem. The confidence of logging into your favorite email program without any concerns of prying eyes, is long gone. The good news is that there are a few well known services on the market that can help restore a bit of that confidence. Provided is a small list of some of the more talked about services on the market.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail was developed by Andy Yen, a PhD student at CERN in Switzerland, who became concerned about the NSA spying on the emails of scientists and other private citizens. He and some of the other young students at CERN got together to develop an end-to-end encryption system that the NSA couldn’t get into.

We encrypt the data on the browser before it comes to the server,” he explains. “By the time the data comes to the server it’s already encrypted, so if someone comes to us and says we’d like to read the emails of this person, all we can say is we have the encrypted data but we’re sorry we don’t have the encryption key and we can’t give you the encryption key.”

Most of ProtonMail’s team works on the project part-time. “We’re all CERN or MIT scientists,” says Yen, “so we’re doing research on computing, mathematics, physics that’s actually closely related to what we do on the secure email. Encryption is very mathematical so we have four PhD physicists working on this.”

A recent article by The Register highlights a potential security flaw in ProtonMail, though. A security researcher managed to hack into the system and plant dummy code intended to represent a potential virus. He was not able to crack the encryption or read emails, but he did manage to get his code into user’s systems, thus demonstrating a security flaw. ProtonMail claims to have patched the security flaw and says that this is no longer an issue.

Countermail

Countermail is a Swedish service that claims to be the only reliable protector against MitM (Man in the Middle) attacks, in which an attacker impersonates the communication service itself and thus gets access to all messages. Qualsys’s SSL lab gives Countermail an overall grade of “A,” and so far no major hacks or security flaws have been detected. The service charges $19.99 for a three-month subscription, or $99 for a full year.

The main criticism of Coutnermail is not a security flaw, but a potential user error that the service does not prepare for. This is loss of password. In a widely-read review of Countermail, Hacker10.com advises readers to “Be very careful to remember your password because if you lose it, it can not be recovered and your data will be lost for ever.

CryptoHeaven

CryptoHeaven dubs itself as the “world’s safest email“. It offers a “no-knowledge” security solution, meaning users maintain their own keys and nothing readable is stored on the service’s own servers. That means that even if CryptoHeaven itself is compromised, its users can still be confident in the security of their communications. As a private reviewer comments, “When you first run the client, you create an RSA key pair and set the key length & prime certainty. The private RSA key is then encrypted with what CryptoHeaven calls your passcode, a hashed and salted output of your username & password…That sounds like a lot of win!” The service is also set apart by the fact that it offers an entire communications suite (instant messenger, voice mail, etc.) in addition to its email client.

Another point in Cryptoheaven’s favor is its location in Toronto, Canada. The Canadian government is not aggressive with its spying program (unlike the United States and a few European governments), and so this server location is protected by international boundaries – although this could change at any moment, as many governments are ramping up their spying efforts and the US government has a documented history of extending its spying program internationally.

Enigmail

Enigmail is not an email service as such, but rather a plugin for SeaMonkey and Mozilla Thunderbird. It encrypts data sent through these mail services using a GNU Privacy Guard. Launched in 2001, it is a widely used open-source security solution. Users have a private, password-protected decryption key that they can share with as many or as few of their contacts as they wish. This reliably keeps third-party viewers from getting into the email.

Significantly, a report by the Freedom of the Press Foundation found that encryption was one of the only reliable ways to prevent NSA spies from accessing email. They went on to specify Enigmail as one of the more reliable and user-friendly encryption products on the market for this purpose.

By Gustav Steinhardt

Top 5 Big Data Misconceptions – A Lighter Look

Top 5 Big Data Misconceptions – A Lighter Look

Big Data Misconceptions

We have decided to take a look back at our comic library and compile a list of our favorite Top 5 Big Data related comics over the past 5 years. Many of our long-term loyal readers have enjoyed these, while some of our newer followers can now partake in series of archived comic illustrations by our cartoonists – David Fletcher and Al Johnson.

Hoskins

SlingShotData-CloudTweaks-01

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Storage

Minimizing Downtime During Mergers & Acquisitions

Minimizing Downtime During Mergers & Acquisitions

Minimizing Downtime

As economic conditions gradually improve, North American companies are starting to recover their confidence, and are looking beyond mere survival. A recent survey by KPMG focusing on mergers and acquisitions demonstrated cautious optimism, with 21 per cent of companies planning to initiate at least one acquisition this year, and 16 per cent planning for at least two.

The survey outlines a number of criteria that companies would seek before feeling confident enough to initiate an acquisition. The single most important factor, according to 38% of respondents, was a well-executed integration plan, and it is in this respect that cloud-based phone service can provide significant benefits during the often-frenzied transition process.

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Importance of Reliability and Continuity

During a merger or acquisition, reliability and continuity of communications are key. Onsite systems cannot provide the same level of redundancy as a cloud-based service because they are by nature confined to a single physical location. Cloud-base phone service offers a continent-wide network of independent data centers, delivering redundancy improved by orders of magnitude. If your company has a legacy communications system, and is on the verge of becoming an acquirer (or acquire-e), try to position the move to the cloud underway now.

Merging Multiple Locations

What about a scenario in which the company has multiple physical locations, all of which must be merged into a unified service plan under a new corporate umbrella? Cloud-based providers use the concept of “locations,” and each account can have multiple locations under it. All extensions within the account can directly call each other, with no need to dial outside numbers and no long-distance costs. Physical location becomes irrelevant under such a scheme; the service sees all extensions as “belonging” to the same entity. Managers can then view and control all extensions from a single, intuitive web portal.

Staff may also change roles as part of a merger or acquisition, or even shift from one physical location to another. During that transition time, client service must continue to operate in a responsive manner, and call queues are an excellent tool. These structures allow managers to assign any number of agents – again, regardless of their physical location – to a given queue, such as Sales, Support or Billing. If an agent in the queue isn’t available during the transition period, the call will roll to alternative agents, with options to continue ringing into different queues or even to outside devices such as smartphones.

Streamline Processes Post Merger

Looking ahead to the period immediately after a transition, it is often the case that new management searches for ways to streamline company processes and workflow. Cloud-based service offers a solution set that can be closely tailored to the industry or niche in question. The KPMG survey reveals that some of the primary targets for acquisition include companies in the technology, media and healthcare. Taking these verticals as examples, cloud-based phone service provides direct smartphone integration, for technology professionals who are rarely tied to a desk, offer on-demand, large-scale conference call solutions for media companies discussing PR strategies with clients and allow for HIPAA-automatic compliant call recordings at healthcare offices.
Growth-oriented companies know that there are already enough moving pieces to worry about in an acquisition or merger. Ensuring that communications systems are built for the company’s needs – both immediate and foreseeable – is just good business.

adam-simpsonBy Adam Simpson

Adam is the CEO and co-founder of Easy Office Phone where he oversees the creation of new sales channels including a North American Dealer Program, plays a leading role in software development, manages the company’s network infrastructure, and builds dedicated teams of sales, support and engineering staff. Under Simpson’s leadership, Easy Office Phone has grown rapidly and steadily into a highly respected provider of Hosted PBX service to clients throughout Canada and North America since its launch in 2005.

Smart Cities: Market Opportunities Worth USD 1.5 trillion By 2020

Smart Cities: Market Opportunities Worth USD 1.5 trillion By 2020

Smart Cities: Market Opportunities Worth USD 1.5 trillion By 2020

SINGAPORE, Nov. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — By 2025, it is expected that approximately 58% of the world’s population – or 4.6 billion people will be living in urban areas. The process of urbanization has become so important that it has become a catalyst in the transformation of major cities to smart cities, including Barcelona, New York and Amsterdam.

Through the convergence of industries, smart cities are expected to present market opportunities worth USD 1.5 trillion by 2020, with the Smart Governance and Smart Education segments to have the greatest spending. This convergence of technology will also lead to the convergence of competition, with companies with multiple business interests to benefit most.

There are 8 key elements that define a Smart City: Smart Governance, Smart Building, Smart Healthcare, Smart Mobility, Smart Infrastructure, Smart Technology, Smart Energy and Smart Citizens.

By 2025, it is estimated that there will be over 26 Smart Cities featuring at least 5 of the 8 mentioned elements; with more than 50% located in North America and Europe.

One key characteristic of smart cities is the efficiency underlying the various aspects that help it run more effectively, be it Energy, Infrastructure and Healthcare. For example, the implementation of eHealth and mHealth systems is being encouraged for better and smarter healthcare management.

However, cost and existing infrastructure remain the key factors influencing the development of smart cities. Most smart cities initiatives are currently being funded by special development funds as well as public-private sector partnerships.

With the unique challenge of balancing the needs of the various stakeholders, it is expected that governments will take the lead in guiding the transformation of smart cities. For a smart city to be successful there is a necessity to adopt a structured approach, focusing on open collaboration and infrastructure.

Smart Energy

Smart cities will leverage several new technologies that are likely to alter the city-based utility landscape.

Through the application of technology in areas such as energy recovery from waste and managing energy efficiency, the focus for smart energy will remain on transforming the power grid.” says Ravi Krishnaswamy, Vice-President, Energy & Environment Practice, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.

To meet this demand and differentiate themselves, utility companies will look to tailor their various new service packages for their customers.

Smart Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT) is also anticipated to be a key technological driver for smart cities, where ‘fun’ meets ‘function’. Implementation of devices or processes such as low cost sensors, cloud computing, advanced data analytics and mobility are expected to aid the transition to a seamless living experience on a large scale. Examples of cities which have successfully implemented Smart city technologies include Santander in Spain.

In smart cities, the combination of IoT and Cloud Technology is expected to spur the creation of an entire cloud-based ecosystem serving stakeholders such as end-users and innovators. However, cloud security will remain one of the key challenges faced,” noted Andrew Milroy, Senior Vice-President, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.

Smart Healthcare

Although technology is expected to have a positive impact in the healthcare sector through the reduction of labor and operational costs, the healthcare services in smart cities will remain challenged by the scarcity of suitable resources.

The application of technology such as telehealth, mobile and digital health will give rise to smart healthcare cities, where the focus will be on improving the operating efficiency and achieving cost savings while maintaining quality,” says Dr. Milind Sabnis, Director, Healthcare Practice, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.

Frost & Sullivan GIL Executive Briefings

Frost & Sullivan held its GIL Executive Briefing: SMART CITIES – A $1.5 TRILLION MARKET OPPORTUNITY, on 7 November, 2014 in Singapore. GIL Executive briefings on various topics are held across Asia Pacific countries. If you are interested to attend any of the briefings, please send an email to melissa.tan@frost.com

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies? Contact us: Start the discussion

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan

CloudTweaks Comics
5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

Review Before Investing In Data Analytics Big data, when handled properly, can lead to big change. Companies in a wide variety of industries are partnering with data analytics companies to increase operational efficiency and make evidence-based business decisions. From Kraft Foods using business intelligence (BI) to cut customer satisfaction analysis time in half, to a…

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Data Scientist Report The amount of data in our world has been exploding in recent years. Managing big data has become an integral part of many businesses, generating billions of dollars of competitive innovations, productivity and job growth. Forecasting where the big data industry is going has become vital to corporate strategy. Enter the Data…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

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Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

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Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations Everyone knows what the cloud is, but does everybody know where the cloud is? We try to answer that as we look at some of the most unusual data centre locations in the world. Under the Eyes of a Deity Deep beneath the famous Uspenski Cathedral in the…

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

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What Top SaaS Vendors Do To Ensure Successful Onboarding

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The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

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Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

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Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

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Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

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Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

Machine Learning and Data Scientists In a recent study, almost all the businesses surveyed stated that big data analytics were fundamental to their business strategies. Although the field of computer and information research scientists is growing faster than any other occupation, the increasing applicability of data science across business sectors is leading to an exponential…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

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Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

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Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

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…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

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Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

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Achieving Network Security In The IoT

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Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

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