Category Archives: Big Data



Addressing Big Data Concerns

Data privacy and security concerns have mounted in the last few years as the potential of Big Data is tapped and more effectively realized. The bits and bytes of our lives are, more now than ever before, tracked, recorded, and analyzed. And while providing insights both noteworthy and frivolous, it sometimes feels a little like we’re living in the Matrix as the information we consider personal and private is swiftly logged, categorized, and stored in colossal databases, no longer belonging solely to the individual but available to whoever is granted (or illicitly forces) access.

Data Security & Data Privacy


Though the concerns of data security and privacy are typically linked they are two separate, although equally important, matters. Data security refers to the confidentiality and protection of collected data and involves the processes which ensure data is accessed only by those with the necessary authorization. It further warrants that the data being used is both accurate and reliable. When implementing data security plans, most organizations address the obligation of collecting only the required information, securing it during storage, and destroying that which is no longer needed. Data privacy, on the other hand, is the appropriate use of data which addresses organizations only collecting and using information according to agreed purposes and conforming to the regulations of the organization, the state, and the country. Organizations that collect data against an individual’s wishes, or sell it on without first seeking consent, are obstructing data privacy.

De-Identifying Personal Data

Government organizations, healthcare providers, financial institutions, and just about every other responsible organization collecting personal data are under pressure to implement adequate privacy and security policies. Increasingly, the de-identification (also termed anonymizing in the EU) of personal data before sharing it with marketers or research institutions is occurring, but this is not a foolproof strategy. Because so much data is available from such a variety of sources, it’s possible that individuals can be identified through combinations of personal attributes.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has recently involved itself in the protection of shared personal data, and CloudTweaks discussed the issues and potential solutions with Kouichi Ito, Research Manager of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.’s Cyber & Data Security Project. Says Ito, “To support the safe utilization of personal data, in Japan, the Protection of Personal Information Act is being updated. While technologies for de-identification processing are an important tool towards this aim, Fujitsu Laboratories posits that robust assessments of the risks associated with the data itself are indispensable for achieving secure anonymization.”

Some experts suggest that correctly anonymizing data is, in fact, a step further than de-identifying it as it removes all of the identifiable information from data and results in an assemblage of data that no longer requires protection, but instead offers only broad-spectrum data ideal for research and analytics.

New Technologies Addressing Concerns

Currently developing new technology that searches anonymized data for the most easily identifiable records and indicates problematic attribute combinations with a quantified score, Fujitsu plans the practical implementation of their solution for 2017. Says Ito, “Professionals in diverse fields, including marketing and health care, have an increasing demand to utilize personal data. Fujitsu Laboratories’ hope is that our new technology, by visualizing the privacy risks of personal data, will streamline the use of secure, de-identified data, thereby facilitating the co-creation of businesses among Fujitsu’s customers.”

Thanks in part to governments recognizing the necessity of, and insisting on, high data security and privacy, organizations are working hard to mitigate the risks which characterize Big Data and the sharing of it. Few of us would deny the promise of Big Data analytics, but knowing our personal information remains private and secure makes it a far more exciting mechanism.

By Jennifer Klostermann



Cloud Security Threats

Cloud computing is clearly here to stay, and has become an integral part of any business computing strategy. For many businesses, the power, flexibility, and convenience of cloud applications outweigh the security risks — but that doesn’t mean that the concerns about security have gone away.

In fact, cloud security still faces a number of significant threats that all businesses of any size need to be concerned about. Any one of these risks can lead to devastating consequences, so it’s important not to fall into a false sense of security because nothing has gone wrong yet. Being aware of these threats, and employing robust cloud security solutions for protection, is important for keeping your business operational while protecting sensitive data.

1. Data Breaches

We see the headlines all the time: The personal information of millions of consumers exposed by a data breach. However, those large-scale breaches are actually only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stolen data. While stolen personal information is certainly worthy of concern, other types of data exposed in a breach, including trade secrets and intellectual property, can be just as, if not more, devastating, to a business. In any case, a data breach is costly, both in terms of fines and sanctions for the exposure of protected data, as in costs related to brand damage, lost revenue, investigations, and recovery.

So why is this so relevant to the cloud? Well, because the cloud has become an increasingly attractive target for hackers due to the sheer amount of data that it contains — and the somewhat more lax security guidelines that many companies follow when protecting that data. Many companies believe that their security providers are responsible for providing security — and most do — but at the end of the day, any company using the cloud is responsible for their own data protection, no matter what that may look like. Otherwise, they run the risk of falling victim to a breach.

2. Data Loss

Data Breach Comic

Data loss differs from a data breach in that a breach is the result of a malicious action that exposes data to individuals who aren’t authorized to see or use it, while data loss means that data is literally lost — deleted, erased, etc.—without having a backup. Sometimes data loss occurs due a technical error, a lost encryption key, or even in some cases, a deliberate act. Regardless of the cause, data loss can prove costly, and it’s of paramount importance for companies to protect their cloud data against irretrievably lost data.

3. Malicious Insiders

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security revealed that the greatest risk to data security isn’t outside hackers, but actually insiders — employees, contractors, etc. — who deliberately put their employer’s data and networks at risk. Individuals with access to your network and the right administrator privileges can easily manipulate data, harm infrastructures, or otherwise delete or render data unusable.

It’s important to note that all employee mistakes are not deliberate attacks — sometimes, a simple error can cause harm — but that only underscores that point that your company needs to take care prevent any one person from having the ability to take down your network. Logging and monitoring administrator privileges and access, maintaining appropriate separation of duties, encryption controls, as well as training employees to avoid costly mistakes, is an important part of cloud security.

4. Account Hijacking

Cloud services must be protected against phishing, fraud, and software exploits like any other network. Because data is being transferred to the cloud can be eavesdropped on, allowing hackers to manipulate data and transactions, it’s important to keep cloud services safe from hijacking. Do not allow users to share credentials, require two-factor authentication when available, and utilize monitoring tools to ensure that all transactions can be monitored and authenticated.

5. Advanced Persistent Threats

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are among the most dangerous threats because they move through networks stealthily and mimic other traffic, making them difficult to detect. They also generally come in via undetectable methods, such as spear phishing attacks or peripherals pre-loaded with malware. However, these attacks are highly dangerous, and your company needs to invest in advanced security and training to keep them from infiltrating your network.

As the cloud matures and more businesses take advantage, so will the need to focus more on strategic decisions regarding security. The first step is understanding the major threats facing the cloud — and focusing your efforts on protecting against them.

By Glenn Blake

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 frequently what you are really looking at is more like death by a thousand cuts. Cloud makes this easy to do but tough to see coming.


By now, we have all heard about the dynamics involved in the Innovator’s Dilemma. The big boys’ very customers, processes, people and structure make them blind to the threat until it is too late. Seeing beyond this takes a special insight and doing something about it takes even greater strength. We applaud when we hear the stories of traditional industry leaders who can bite the bullet and recognize the world has changed. GE, a 124-year-old industrial manufacturer, goes whole hog on the cloud and the Internet of Things. Likewise, Capital One, in the very conservative banking and financial services arena, is making the leap.

But for all those great forward thinkers most are still complacent. Even today researchers report that only 5% of companies have really embraced the digital innovation fostered by cloud computing. For the other 95%, their fates do not look good. The tenure on the list of the S&P 500 grows shorter and shorter. In 1960, it was 60 years; by 2020 it will be 12 years, a five-fold reduction. Cloud was not around in the early part of that cycle but today it accounts for the ever-increasing acceleration of the trend.

Value now is created today through innovations in offerings and processes based upon digital technologies. Cloud-based platforms and tools cost-effectively enable creating those innovations. Failing fast is relatively cheap. When you shut down the platform you stop paying for it. You are not burdened with any sunk costs. Collaboration tools are available as Software as a Service (SaaS) and are inexpensive or free while intuitively easy to use. Rapid, demonstrable outcomes are achieved through agile development disciplines based on these platforms and tools. Venture Capitalists (VC’s) love this since investment requirements are low meaning they can make lots of bets and the returns of just a few winners can be staggering.

This leads to lots and lots of small investments in point solutions that enable hundreds of startups to deconstruct and disrupt the value chain of established industry leaders. This is the death of a thousand cuts. Just take a look at the Financial Technology (Fintech) phenomena. Venture Scanner is tracking 1,379 Fintech companies being funded by VC’s to the tune of over $33 Billion. Each one is focused on just one slice of the traditional business.


A few of the big banks are scrambling to respond. Citibank’s own research estimates that these Fintech companies will own 17% of all consumer banking by 2023 for annual revenues of $203Billion. Some of that is new revenue from new consumers but a lot of it is coming out of the hide of the current industry leaders. And if that isn’t enough to get your attention, Citibank also estimates that Fintech will wipe out one-third of all employment at traditional banks in just ten years.

Fintech is just one example. It seems like nothing is immune. CB Insights reports that even an area like legal services has 50 start-ups cutting away at the different professional services. Likewise, while self-driving tech receives the lion’s share of media attention, a host of less-heralded startups are targeting specific pieces of automotive infrastructure or components. Even consumer packaged goods from the likes of P&G are under assault.

Pretty sobering isn’t it? Pick any industry and you will see the same phenomena. Go ahead try it, especially for your industry. All made possible through the advent of cloud services. What are you going to do? The first step is to understand and acknowledge the threat. Until you admit that you will be at a loss to respond. But, at least you will be in good company with the 95% of most firms. Of course, it will be relatively short-lived.

By John Pientka

Fintech Exploiting AI and Blockchain Technology

Fintech Exploiting AI and Blockchain Technology

AI and Blockchain Technology

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) had progressed rapidly in the last ten years, though first recognized in the 1950s. From autonomous motor vehicles to digital personal assistants, the technology is making its way into a variety of industries, enabling better task automation, language processing, and data analytics. But more recently, AI is evolving to allow for experiential learning and improved functioning. The financial industry recognized the benefits of AI early on, and AI driven analytics across big data already provides us with insights into financial performances through intelligence that might otherwise be considered unrelated.

AI Cultivating Superior Traders

Some fintech startups are already encouraging the use of AI in the retail sector, and it’s suggested that combining such technology with hands-on experience will produce ‘enhanced traders.’ As financial institutions invest in advanced forms of AI, technology that uses deep machine learning and cognitive systems, complex algorithms allow for reasoning capabilities capable of improving business performance. Already Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo and IBM’s Watson have demonstrated their expertise, training and learning from their mistakes much as people do, but evolving beyond the experts. 

AI tools, of course, have the advantage over humans of requiring no downtime nor any expectations of interest in the work they do; as such, learning and training are much quicker and illimitable.

Fintech Advancing with AI, Big Data, and Blockchain

In collaboration with Nest Hong Kong, DBS Bank Hong Kong has launched its second DBS Accelerator program, supporting innovative fintech startups. Says Sebastian Paredes, CEO of DBS Bank Hong Kong, “Fintech innovations in artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, and more are spurring many exciting breakthroughs that will shape the way consumers and corporations transact and interact.

tim-hahnBut it isn’t only dynamic startups coming up with original fintech projects. IBM is currently working to merge AI and blockchain into a powerful prototype. Tim Hahn, IBM’s chief architect in charge of Internet of Things security, has spent the first part of this year focused on bringing together AI computer Watson and the blockchain. Says Hahn, “What we’re doing with blockchain and devices is enabling the information those devices supply to effect the blockchain…You begin to approach the kind of things we see in movies.” Though Hahn notes that it’s still “early days” and the team is still experimenting with prototypes, an early feature investigated allows device owners to register on the blockchain using smart contracts, create varied tiers of access, and provide differing functionality to users through personalization.

Security, of course, is a constant concern, and at 2016’s InterConnect conference on mobile and cloud technology, Hahn discussed how the Watson Internet of Things platform might help avoid business risks. Says Hahn, “I don’t think blockchain and security are synonymous. They might be related, but they’re certainly not synonymous functions. One does not beget the other. There’s plenty ways to insecurely use the blockchain.”

Fintech AI Solutions Already in Play

Several AI solutions already exist in the fintech sector. Wealthfront, a California-based robotic advisor tracks account activity with its AI capabilities, analyzing how clients use and invest their money with the goal of providing more suitable financial advice. And Luvo, a technology developed by RBS, helps service agents answer customer queries, not only quickly searching through databases but using its artificial intelligence and ‘human personality’ to learn and improve itself. Though ideas and early innovations are now more regularly coming to light in the fintech environment, it’s safe to say that for the moment, a collaboration of both human agents and AI imbued robots offer the soundest solutions, and for a little while yet, the most comfortable.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Cloud Proofing Future Business Challenges

Cloud Proofing Future Business Challenges

Coping with Cloud Challenges

Hardly a week goes by without coming across news around the increase in the number of organizations moving their workloads to public clouds. In the digital world, embracing cloud is a fundamental requirement for engaging customers and conducting business at scale. Due to a multitude of factors, including compliance mandates, risk tolerance and IT capabilities, an organization’s infrastructure is more likely to be an eclectic mix of public and private cloud, and traditional on-premises – in short, hybrid IT.

Most organizations understand the cost and agility benefits of cloud and the need to embrace a hybrid model that enables them to meet a variety of specific business requirements. What’s less clear, however, is how organizations must constantly shape and refine these models to drive a sustainable business advantage. In other words, embracing approaches and technology that helps them to constantly exploit the cloud as a means to deliver what it should really provide – a way of future-proofing business.


Cloud Challenges

So against this backdrop, it’s important to consider some of the many challenges that stifle an organization’s ability to fully leverage cloud:

  • Outside-in performance monitoring. It took IT decades to learn how to manage the end-to-end application performance when it owned and could touch all of the underlying infrastructure. IT now has to manage that performance from the outside in. And this new challenge is arising just as applications are increasingly being used by customers—making their performance more critical than ever, both to the brand and the bottom line.
  • Control of variable workload costs. When digital workloads ran exclusively on-premises, costs were generally stable. HR costs were fixed, hardware was capitalized, and software licenses were renewed annually. With cloud, unexpected spikes in demand can lead to unexpected spikes in cost. Enterprises must figure out how to manage these costs to know when they’re business-appropriate—and how to avoid them when they’re not.
  • Value-based portfolio management. With on-premises IT, vendor relationships tended to be stable—in part because vendors could sustain functional advantages over longer periods of time. If and when it made sense to unseat an incumbent, hands-on access to the associated hardware, software, and data made it relatively easy to do so. However, cloud vendors leapfrog each other every day. This puts pressure on an organization to more frequently realign its cloud portfolio. And that realignment is tough to do, because IT no longer has direct access to either the origin or destination environments.
  • API complexity. As enterprises stitch together a growing number of ever-changing cloud components in increasingly numerous ways, the interfaces between those components demand additional attention. But managing APIs isn’t like managing applications or servers—especially since you can’t dictate how they’re coded or provisioned.

In other words, cloud doesn’t simply shift workloads to rentable, low-cost infrastructure. It ratchets up business value—while also ratcheting up difficulty in the bargain.

How Will IT Cope?


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

These challenges continue to perplex IT departments. Now, IT isn’t just faced with managing more, but how to effectively co-ordinate a myriad of resources into cohesive digital processes without adding unnecessary cost and risk. Consider for example a decision to use public cloud services for testing. It’s a common use case for public cloud, but for businesses operating in highly regulated industries, how do they effectively transfer on premise customer records without exposing personally identifiable information?

Hybrid cloud challenges like these are forcing IT to adapt in many ways. Three adaptations are proving to be particularly important:

  • New tools. IT can’t govern the cloud the same way as it governed on-premises resources. It must acquire new technology to enable more optimal operation given the increasingly complex and hybrid environments that encompass both cloud and on-premises resources in a common manner. One cloud-application for example could consist of a multitude of components, including many microservices supporting specific business functionality (each developed using different coding languages and using their own discreet data stores). In such environments, traditional tools designed for one specific technology will significantly increase the operation cost burden and never scale to support cloud models.
  • New processes. Multi-stage escalation, annual budget cycles and other traditional IT mainstays don’t translate well in the dynamic, externally-owned world of cloud. IT must reinvent these processes so it can more reliably deliver services to internal and external constituencies—even as it has less direct control over the mechanics of service delivery. For example, rigid change management reviews and enterprise architecture dictates may need to be relaxed for newer style cloud applications that need to be delivered faster, change frequently and are shorter-lived.
  • New culture. When you own your infrastructure, hands-on technical heroism is a useful cultural attribute. But it doesn’t do you much good when your infrastructure is elsewhere. That’s why IT culture must evolve to promote from ‘fighting technology fires’ to constantly crafting cloud models for maximum business value. For example, rather than waiting for failures across technology silos, IT must collaborate to ‘design for failure’ – that is, using monitoring methods to better predict and anticipate inevitable cloud technology failures so as to enact improvements in cloud design to better contain and recover from failures.

Cloud offers the enterprise tremendous opportunity – and its adoption, in some capacity, is essentially inevitable. But no one should think cloud will make IT any easier. We instead need to prepare for the management challenges it will continue to present, so that businesses can fully reap the benefits from cloud’s potential.

By Aruna Ravichandran

2016 Tour de France: Racing With Big Data

2016 Tour de France: Racing With Big Data

2016 Tour de France

The 2016 Tour de France has just concluded, with Chris Froome (SKY) taking his third overall win. Not the kind of event we often focus on here at CloudTweaks, but Dimension Data has put its analytics technology to use tracking the journeys of each rider across all 21 stages, and their infographic provides some very real insights into just how enmeshed data technology is with our everyday lives.

The Trials and Tribulations

Traveling through Switzerland, France, Spain, and Andorra, 2016 Tour de France riders completing all 21 stages cover a total of 3,529 kilometers – that’s a little over 2,000 miles. This year, 22 teams competed, representing 13 nationalities and five continents. Experiencing a range of environments, these teams were also exposed to a variety of weather conditions ranging from hail storms to high-velocity winds to rain and to temperatures as high as 35°C (95°F).


The overall winner, Christopher Froome, averaged speeds of 39.6 km/h for the entire race, though the highest average speed of all riders on a stage (stage 11) was 46.65 km/h. Including 59 categorized climbs with four summit finishes, and photo finishes for stages 3, 4, and 16, this year’s Tour de France produced a record number of finishers.

Analyzing the Value of Teamwork

According to the data recorded and analyzed by Dimension Data, teamwork is a major factor in success. Team Sky supported overall winner Froome throughout the race, and it’s noted that if the peloton had only 30 riders, on average 7 of these would be from Team Sky. And although South Africa’s Team Dimension Data ranked at the very bottom of the list of fastest teams, it should be recognized that they won five stages, and their average speed of 38.55 km/h was only a little over 1 k/h slower than the fastest team, Movistar Team of Spain.

Individual Triumphs & Team Conquests

Froome hit a top speed of 91 km/h in the race to the finish, but the individual time trials of stage 13 and stage 18 offered a sparring of Tom Dumoulin (TGA) and Froome with Dumoulin outperforming Froome by 3.92% in stage 13, and Froome then outperforming Dumoulin by 1.13% in stage 18. Together, all teams faced hardship and very real danger; an average speed of riders on all descents of 51.54 km/h was clocked, and the highest recorded average speed on a descent was 69.31 km/h, achieved by Kittel (EQS) in stage 8 (Col du Tourmalet). Notably, stragglers are generally recorded descending faster than the peloton, having more to lose suggests Dimension Data.

The injuries and wounds resulting from dangerous descents and their subsequent crashes included a broken collarbone (Gerrans (OBE) in stage 12), a broken shoulder (Navarro (COF) in stage 19), abrasions and cuts (Froome in stage 19), and multiple wounds and abrasions (Bozic (COF) in stage 17 – almost unsurprising as clocked at 74 km/h).

The Naked Data

All these insights gleaned from analyzed data offer not only the tools for teams and individuals to improve performances but further enhance the wow factor experienced by spectators. @letourdata, powered by Dimension Data, received 12,1 million impressions, 9,450 retweets, and 15,900 likes. The Dimension Data mobile office spent 80 hours on the road, traveling a total of 4,892.5 kilometers, and their team of 22 used 12 collaboration tools and 10 TV screens to process 127,8 million data records in the cloud. The work at the back might seem a little overwhelming, but the knowledge gained highlights once again the value of data, the analysis of it, and the teams and tools that make it possible.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Ransomware: A Digital Pandemic – Is There A Cure?

Ransomware: A Digital Pandemic – Is There A Cure?

The Rise Of Ransomware

You can imagine the scene: you’ve just completed that business plan and a set of accounts. Finally, it’s done and saved, ready for a final read through and to be sent out to your contact list. And right when you’re ready to click “Send”, the next thing you see on the screen is a pop-up window saying something like “Your personal files have been encrypted”. It also states that if you want them decrypted, you’ll need to pay. You quickly go to the folder containing your business plan data files, double click on the spreadsheet, but it won’t open, it’s encrypted; click on the text document, it won’t open either, it’s also encrypted. That cold fear spreads across your body as you stare at the screen, realizing that you’ve been hacked.

The above situation is becoming extremely common. The malware responsible for encrypting the files is known as ransomware, and it is arguably the most sinister type of malware to enter the cyber crime scene. If you become infected by ransomware, it is not just local files that are encrypted – files right across your network, even into remote folders, like Dropbox, can be affected. Once infected, you are then told that if you want to get those files back, you’ll have to pay the cybercriminal an amount, sometimes with many $000’s in bitcoin currency. A recent example was at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in LA, who ended up paying hackers $17,000 to have their files decrypted. Payment to the cybercriminals behind the attack is a risk, you may not get the decryption code after payment, but even the FBI, who are monitoring ransomware attacks, are currently advising to pay the ransom.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Ransomware is very successful. A McAfee report into the threat shows there has been an almost 10 fold increase in ransomware between 2014 and 2015. The reason for this increase is a reflection of its success – this is a very lucrative method of extorting money from companies of all sizes and types. One of the versions of ransomware, known as CryptoWall, which is routinely monitored by the CyberThreat Alliance, was found to have attempted attacks at almost 500,000 companies. The resultant costs to those companies being around $325 million. With monies like that coming in, cybercriminals will milk this method for a while yet.

How Can I End Up Being Infected With Ransomware?

Ransomware infections usually come in via one of two routes. Either you get phished, or an ‘exploit kit’ is used:

Phishing threats: These are the most likely methods used to get ransomware onto your PC and network. The threat comes in the form of an email, with an attachment named something like ‘fax’, ‘invoice’, ‘statement’, that sort of thing. It can be a zip, but they are cloaked as pdf or docx files too. If you open that attachment, it initiates the malware program install and before you know it, your files are encrypted.

It is extremely important that the users don’t open attachments from unsolicited emails, and to double-check any suspicious emails with their IT security team,” explains Ronnie Wolf, a security expert from GFI Software, and adds: “Once just one PC is infected, the malware spreads quickly through your network, so you need to act fast in order to prevent further damage.”

Exploit kit based threats: Currently, this is the less used method of propagating ransomware infections, but my guess is that it’ll increase in usage because of its effectiveness and stealth. Exploit kits, apps taking advantage of vulnerabilities in browsers, are often used in a type of threat known as ‘malvertising’, where an online ad or video initiates a malware infection. They work by sending a user who opens a page with an infected ad to a malicious site, which contains the exploit kit.

This redirect to the bad site is difficult to detect, it’s very fast and known as a ‘drive-by-download’. Once you’re on that site, the exploit kit looks for holes in your browser software or endpoint protection and infects your machine. it literally takes seconds,” adds Ronnie Wolf.

Ransomware as a Service


Ransomware comes out in waves or ‘families’. There have been quite a few, some more successful than others. CryptoWall is one of the most famous, but there are many others like TorrentLocker, and Locky. One worrying new movement in the world of ransomware is the creation of DIY ransomware kits or ransomware as a service. Setups like this allow even inexperienced hackers to make use of the malware to make money. The business model is as well thought out as any legitimate business, the service host taking a cut of the extorted monies. This model may well become the infection process of choice throughout the cybercriminal world and poses a major threat to all companies, of all sizes.

Is There Anything I can Do To Prevent a Ransomware Infection?

In the case of ransomware infections, the first thing you need to do is to cut off the source into your system from both ways in – via emails and Internet sites.

Email based infection: As I mentioned earlier, phishing is the number 1 way that ransomware infects computers. So the first step is to prevent email-borne infections. You need to have an email watch system in place that can spot email-borne threats, like malware, before it hits your inboxes. There are a number of products that can do this, such as GFI MailEssentials, which utilizes multiple anti-virus engines to control and eliminate incoming malware threats.

Internet based infection: Secondly, you need to watch Internet sites being accessed by your users to prevent the exploit kit based ransomware. This up and coming security threat vector is starting to infiltrate the most legitimate of websites, affecting even news sites and popular blogs. Anything that is online ad and video heavy is at risk of carrying ransomware. Making sure that your workforce doesn’t end up downloading malware by being redirected to an exploit kit site is an increasingly important aspect of security monitoring. Doing so manually would be a mission impossible, so products like GFI WebMonitor can help prevent exploit kits from threatening your network security.

Keeping your systems safe from the threat of ransomware will be an ongoing battle. As cybercriminals up their game and bring into play new methods of exploiting your vulnerabilities, the only way you can keep safe is to beat them at their own game and make sure you cut off their source of infection. Ransomware is a modern pandemic, causing untold losses and stress. With any cyber security threat, vigilance is the best way to deal with it. We are in an era where we have to take these threats seriously, if we don’t want to risk losing much more than just a business plan.

By Susan Morrow

Martech In A Content Crazed World

Martech In A Content Crazed World

Content Crazed World

Everywhere you look there are pop-up ads and offers, at times it can feel like overload. What used to be a few online ads on websites has now grown into a wild world of offers that consume your every device. These advancements in marketing technology can not only be overwhelming to the consumer, they can also be an unexpected burden on content creators.

These advances in marketing are creating a big data content monster that needs to be fed regularly. With so many ways to reach consumers, the constant need for new and creative content is creating a tsunami for developers. The stronger smartphone technology becomes, and with apps being created daily keeping up with the demands for fresh new content is taking its toll on marketing companies.

Provided is an infographic discovered via WebDAM which poses the question. Is marketing technology hurting more than helping?


The market is now flooded with marketing technology solutions, with a growth 3,800% from 2011 to current. The influx of all of these new Martech (marketing technology) solutions has in themselves created a problem. The pace at which content needs to be created and shared has taken an unintended victim, the very marketing companies that they seek to help.

Creating original and creative content is being pushed into tighter and tighter time frames. And it’s not just the Martech companies who are creating this demand; it’s us. Glued to smartphones that now have more power than a PC, we demand something new and innovative to be fed to in real time.

To feed the content monster, marketing companies need to find a way to balance an ever increasing need, with the ability to turn content around quickly. Until they can accomplish that, they will never be able to slay the monster.

By Jenny Kelley

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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…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Data Center Protection In April 2015, one of the world’s biggest jewelry heists occurred at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in London. Posing as workmen, the criminals entered the building through a lift shaft and cut through a 50cm-thick concrete wall with an industrial power drill. Once inside, the criminals had free and unlimited…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

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…


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