Category Archives: Big Data

Smart Cities And The Enthusiasm For Technological Advancement

Smart Cities And The Enthusiasm For Technological Advancement

Embracing Smart City Innovation

In research studies from IHS and Frost & Sullivan, it’s suggested that by 2025 approximately half of the world’s smart cities will be located outside of America and Europe, the advantaged territories that currently boast the highest concentration. Already well on its way, the Middle East has seen the development of its own smart cities as Tel Aviv delivers personalized city services to its citizens through its data analytics program Digi-tel, and Dubai aims to be the world’s smartest city by 2017.

Smart Cities a Necessity in the Middle East

By 2050, it’s expected that populations in the Middle East will double and urbanization rates may reach 70%. With Gulf countries already urbanized above 80%, infrastructure congestion is problematic, and governments are looking for ways to better manage transport, water, and energy service use. Smart cities, therefore, provide an attraction both through the enthusiasm for technological advancement as well as the possibilities for better urban management. Already the World Expo and World Cup to be held in 2020 and 2022 respectively are motivating hosts UAE and Qatar to advance their cities’ developments, though the risk of rushed tasks could mean inadequate Big Data implementations.

Developing Smart City Solutions

smart-cities-cloud

Dr. Elie Chachoua, tackling the logistics of smart cities with the World Economic Forum, considers the issue of who will be developing smart city solutions a subject worth addressing. Early on in the transformation, partnerships with infrastructure providers help governments access the services needed, but as the space becomes more competitive, partnerships with international vendors will likely drive developments. By 2025, it’s forecast that the smart city sector will see investments of up to $175 billion and we’ll have the likes of Cisco, a traditional cloud and IT infrastructure provider, as well as telecom companies such as Huawei and infrastructure providers like GE competing in the market. Suggests Chachoua, “For cities interested in becoming smart, such partnerships with international vendors can be a good way to build on international best practices while benchmarking performance against other cities in which the vendor might be working too.”

Big Data & Accessibility

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Open data policies could play a significant role in well-functioning smart cities, and says Mira Marcus, international press director at Tel Aviv Global, “The first thing we did was open our municipal database. Data is the basis for so many start-ups!” In Tel Aviv, collaborations with startups such as Waze are addressing traffic and congestion issues, and a startup accelerator financed by the city is targeting the development of smart city solutions. Another example of such support is the Center of Excellence in Smart, Sustainable and Entrepreneurial Cities at Abu Dhabi University, a $1.6 million initiative in the Abu Dhabi emirate that opened in September last year.

However, José Quádrio Alves, global government director, Future Cities Program Leader at CGI, believes that Middle Eastern countries will have to make their data even more accessible. He explains, “A trend we see in many cities [of other regions] is the move from defining what qualifies as open data to defining what data cannot be open data. The assumption now is that, by default, all data should be opened.” Though many Middle Eastern countries are currently low in the global open data rankings, progress is being made to share and open data between government agencies and third party users, and it’s suggested that in the future open data from the private sector as well as the government will encourage advancement.

Though privacy and security concerns remain, the smart city advances taking place are already benefiting the region and the innovative solutions being implemented continue to drive motivation and transformation.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data

Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole.

In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits.

More recently, the Cloud has taken availability far beyond the simple act of voice-to-voice communication, allowing businesses to untether employees from their desks and give them virtually unlimited access to the software and storage space they need to do their jobs.

The use of business intelligence (BI) tools to turn raw data into useful information is the latest trend to sweep the business world. According to a recent survey, since 2012, 71% of businesses have started using BI data to address business needs.

This sudden popularity of BI data raises a few questions. Why are businesses so interested in BI? How can they use data analytics tools effectively? How do businesses across different industries use BI data?

Explaining the Rise of BI

There are three driving forces behind the recent uptick in BI data usage.

  1. The Buzzword Factor

The need to “keep up with the Joneses” is not exclusive to suburbanites buying bigger TVs and newer cars just because their neighbors are doing so. Business executives also feel pressure to keep up with their competitors.

There’s so much chatter about BI data. There’s a lot of pressure on corporate managers to be involved or at least have an answer when their senior management asks, ‘Where are we with that?’”

— John Keenan, Founder and CEO, Anthem Marketing Solutions

Even though business technology trends sometimes fall flat, lagging behind on the next big thing could mean missing out on a revenue generating opportunity.

  1. Businesses Are Beginning to See the Value of BI

The buzzword factor is important, but there’s much more to the rise of BI data. Businesses are beginning to recognize the array of benefits this type of data offers. In fact, 86% of data analytics users say BI data is important to their company.

BI Data

(Image Source: Clutch.co)

BI data takes the guesswork out of making business decisions. It provides an unprecedented level of insight into how the average customer thinks and behaves.

  1. Self-Service Analytics Tools Are More Accessible

Even though the benefits of BI data were apparent before wide-scale adoption in 2012, the tools needed to analyze the data were often costly, especially for smaller businesses. For example, advanced analytics solutions, require extensive training to operate effectively. But, with more self-service analytics tools entering the market, it has become more affordable for businesses to organize and make sense of the data they collect.

As self-service functionality has evolved, the adoption rates for BI tools have been much higher. The reason is that IT has been stretched beyond belief. Demand has gone up for IT services, but budgets have gone down… There aren’t enough resources.

— Carl Paluszkiewicz, Director of Customer Value, Denologix

How to Use BI Tools Effectively

Anyone can collect information, but not every business understands how to organize, analyze, and apply the data effectively. It is necessary to implement a clear strategy before investing in BI tools. For example, an advanced analytics tool is not a good fit for a small business seeking to visualize its performance metrics better.

I got an RFP the other day from a customer doing basic data analysis on their desktop. They thought it would be good to implement a Hadoop Cluster. While they need a better system to manage their data, they don’t need to go from a very basic environment to a Big Data tool. It’s overkill.”

— Laura Squier, Director of Advanced Analytics and Business Development, QueBIT

How Businesses Across Industries Use BI Data

How are companies using their BI data to improve their business?

Case Study 1: BI Data in the Restaurant Industry

A restaurant chain uses promotions to attract and retain customers, and the restaurant wants to know whether using promotions is a successful strategy for increasing their revenue. They look at customer data, such as how much they spend in the restaurant and on what items. But, they do not know how their promotions influence food choice and spending. Analyzing internal data reveals gaps in their promotion strategy. They do not promote specific products on the menu or menu categories. They do not adjust menu options for different regions.

John Keenan of Anthem Marketing Solutions, gives some examples of other data points to consider:

  • How much should you focus on photos and descriptions of menu items?
  • Does changing the photos and descriptions affect sales?
  • Does altering the menu to match tastes in different locations attract more customers?

Case Study 2: BI Data in the Automotive Retail Marketing

A store that sells car parts uses BI data for demand planning and forecasting. This involves identifying which types of vehicles are most popular in each region. A store that sells car parts uses BI data for demand planning and forecasting. This involves identifying which types of vehicles are most popular in each region. Then, the retailer can select the parts to stock based on which cars local customers drive.

Organizations can get tremendous value from having the right product in stock at the right time.

— Laura Squier, QueBIT

The Big Picture

We are drowning in data. There is more written content in a single issue of the New York Times than the average person from the 1800s would have read in a lifetime.  And, every two days we create as much information as we did in all of human history up to 2003, according to Alphabet, Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

As analytics tools’ capabilities continue to advance, businesses will be able to apply the data they collect in new ways, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity.

By Sarah Patrick

Why Are Hackers So Interested In Your Medical Data?

Why Are Hackers So Interested In Your Medical Data?

The Interest In Medical Data

The term “hackers” might bring to mind visions of dark basements, powerful computers and people with nefarious goals stealing credit card or government data. Most of us, however, don’t associate a hacker with the theft of medical data, but there are a growing number of hackers who are choosing to collect medical data instead of potentially more lucrative information. Why are these hackers so interested in your medical data, and what can you do to make sure you are protected?

What’s It Worth?

Why are so many hackers seeking out medical data instead of their more traditional fare, credits cards and identity data? In a word: profit.

The idea behind stealing data is selling it. If they can’t sell it, there is little to no point in stealing it in the first place. Credit card information, as of right now, goes for about $1/piece. Medical information, which usually includes things like personal information, birth dates, billing information, and medical diagnosis codes, can be sold for between $10-20 each to as high as $60 (As seen in the infographic below discovered via Trend Micro). That’s 10 to 20 times what a hacker can make with the same amount of credit card data.

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Why Is Medical Data Worth So Much?

Why is medical data worth so much more than credit card or personal identity data? There are two primary reasons: It’s harder to track and so is less likely to be discovered, and its uses are limitless.

People keep track of their identity and their credit report. There’s an entire industry designed around helping people keep track of their credit scores and protect their identity, and people pay hundreds of dollars into it every single year. Once someone finds something odd on their credit report or history, the stolen data becomes useless.

What most people don’t keep track of is their medical information. No one monitors their medical history to see if someone is using their name or information.

The potential for profit when using stolen medical information is nearly endless. Clever hackers can use an individual’s medical data to obtain fraudulent prescriptions or even purchase medical equipment, which can be later sold for a profit. Depending on the type of information that’s been stolen, these hackers can even trick insurance companies into paying for the purchases, increasing the profit threshold exponentially.

Backdoors in the Internet of Things (IoT)

How are these hackers making their way into a system that should be otherwise secured? High-tech medical devices and the trend toward IoT-based devices is leaving backdoors for hackers to make their way into otherwise protected systems.

These attacks aren’t malicious. The hackers are not trying to harm patients by shutting down the equipment for compromising its function. Instead, devices that run on older versions of Windows allow hackers to install backdoors in the system so they can walk in and collect any information they might need.

Protecting Your Information

The days of doctor’s offices being filled top-to-bottom with paper medical histories are a thing of the past. In the spirit of expediency and shared information, most medical practitioners have transitioned to electronic data capture (EDC) forms to make your visits more efficient. This also enables doctors and specialists to request data with a couple of keystrokes instead of waiting for hard copies of medical records to be faxed or delivered.

If your medical information is ever hacked or stolen, it can make it hard or even impossible to get proper medical treatment as your medical history is corrupted by whatever diagnosis the hackers think they can use to make the most money. By simply keeping a copy of your electronic medical file, you can restore it to its original state.

About one in 13 people will be affected by a security breach in the medical system at some point over the next five years. So, another thing you can do to protect your medical information is to review your insurance statements and take note of fraudulent activity. Many insurance companies aren’t even prepared for this sort of hack, and it can take them quite a while to discover the breach and take steps to contain it. By going over your insurance statements, you can bring potential breaches to your insurance company’s attention before they may even be aware of it.

Medical data theft may be the next chapter in the ever-growing book on cyber security and information protection, but it’s not the newest and definitely not the first. All we can do is take all the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our information while new security solutions are discovered.

By Kayla Matthews

Big Data Solutions For The Gaming Industry

Big Data Solutions For The Gaming Industry

Big Data, The Cloud and Gaming

Big Data plays a major role in gaming, an industry valued at over $90 billion today. With the gaming industry more competitive than ever, developers are trying to understand player psychology and behavior to ensure games are constructed in such a way that players find their “flow zone.” Ensuring gamers keep coming back through game optimization, refining factors which encourage titles going viral, and additionally monetizing games through in-game purchasing is a blueprint to a gaming business’s success.

Big Data Analytics for Gaming

Every player interaction, mouse click, and keyboard press creates valuable data in game logs. However, if you’ve ever opened a game log, you’ll wonder how on earth you’re supposed to find it. This is where Big Data analytics steps up to the plate. Aggregated and analyzed, game logs explain what engages players and what encourages them to return. With the added social media and web access integrated, player profiles can be further developed, allowing gaming companies to provide personalized experiences and drive game attraction.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Through combined user behavior and demographic information, merged with brands regularly engaged with, it’s possible to understand preferences and create specifically targeted digital ads, improve user experience, and identify VIPs. Analyzing combined logs and player data also enables the identification of common characteristics, helping recognize what drives particular gaming segments to play, and play longer. This has the added benefit of enabling gaming businesses to target new users most likely to engage with their titles. Finally, testing and analyzing results ensure constant gaming development and tweaking, based on real player data feedback.

Big Data Solutions for the Gaming Industry

No longer a market only for the giants, thousands of smaller game designers and developers are creating successful products for both traditional and emerging platforms, such as social media or mobile devices. With some estimates suggesting approximately two billion video game players worldwide, Big Data services are more relevant than ever, but the nearly unlimited data collected poses its own problem. Sources include gameplay data, social media, micro-transactions, price points, in-game advertising, payment systems, virtual goods, real-time events, multiplayer interactions, and content updates, and developers run the risk of recording data merely because it might, at some time, become relevant. Suitable Big Data solutions are shifting the focus to the right data for generation of actionable insights.

Cloud-Based Architecture

Uniquely able to address many technical challenges of the gaming industry, cloud-based architecture can provide scalable data storage solutions as well as the essential real-time availability. With billions of records streamed and immediately analyzed, cost-effective and low CAPEX cloud solutions are attractive. For the small gaming providers, analytics and storage vendors are offering tailored cloud solutions that provide the necessary speed, scale, cost, and capacity through fully managed, cloud-based Analytics as a Service platforms. With their near real-time analytics of current and historical data, smaller gaming companies are able to compete with the likes of Sony and Microsoft through these innovative and cost-effective Big Data analysis platforms.

Swiftly adopting Big Data technologies, the gaming industry is refining customer engagement, optimizing game development and end-user experiencing, and creating more effective targeted and personalized advertising. The blending of cloud-based tools offers further advancement as complicated and expensive infrastructures are outsourced to cloud service providers who manage the IT staffing and maintenance necessary to these platforms. High performing, scalable, service-based analytics cloud solutions mean game developers can focus on what they do best, leaving the Big Data analysis to experts and directly embedding the insights gleaned into gaming projects for improved traction, larger market engagement, and greater business success.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

Hybrid-Cloud Approach

For over 20 years, organizations have been attempting to secure their networks and protect their data. However, have any of their efforts really improved security? Today we hear journalists and industry experts talk about the erosion of the perimeter. Some say it’s squishy, others say it’s spongy, and yet another claims it crunchy. Are they trying to say the perimeter is changing, or that the perimeter no longer exists?

In the context of the devices that allow humans to look at data, that perimeter is changing dramatically. From the workstations and laptops, to handheld computing devices, trying to define a security perimeter in this perspective can be challenging. Mobility has changed the client-side perimeter overnight. However, does the concept of mobility mean that perimeters can no longer exist?

Regardless of where data resides, anytime data is accessed, it is done through a perimeter. The world has benefited from wireless technologies that enabled mobility for years. But is there such a thing as the “virtual wire”? Anytime data enters a server, or is uploaded to or downloaded from a server, it will eventually traverse a piece of wire. That wire may be made of copper, or that wire may be made of fiber optics. Either way it’s still a piece of wire where both good guys and bad guys access data. That piece of wire needs to be protected at all costs.

Hackers today are after the data

The most secure method of protecting data on a server is to remove the wire that allows clients to access it. However, we all know what happens when you remove the wire. Short of that, how does one go about protecting that piece of wire? It all begins with a comprehensive, in-depth defense approach. Hackers today are after the data and will go to almost any length to get it. That piece of wire is where most attackers break in.

data breach

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Years ago, organizations realized that their firewalls were nothing more than speed bumps to the seasoned hacker. Organizations began deploying end-point protection, intrusion detection systems, intrusion preventions systems, web applications firewalls, sandboxes, and the list goes on and on; all in an attempt to protect that piece of wire, and the data that traverses it. One of the main impediments to deploying these point solutions (often manufactured by different vendors) is their failure to interoperate. No single vendor had a complete, end-to-end solution.

Today, organizations understand the evolutionary dilemma of deploying disparate technologies. Instead, most organizations desire an ecosystem of solutions and technologies that interoperate, are fully aware of each other, communicate with each other, and defend that piece of wire to the fullest. They’re looking for a one-stop-shop that can completely defend the perimeters that still exist, and it all begins with the fully aware, hybrid-cloud approach as shown in the picture below.

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On the far left, both good (green) and malicious (red) clients are shown. On the far right shows a perimeter that exists when accessing data within a datacenter (or even within a cloud). What you put in between those two entities makes all the difference in the world.

As shown above, attackers erode your defenses, consume your resources, control your systems, and steal your data. In addition, attackers use a host of different attacks shown in red to achieve their goals.

How does one manage the risks while blocking the threats?

In the fully aware, hybrid-cloud approach, the first line of defense begins with Cloud DDoS Defenses as shown on the bottom left. These defenses ensure that your organization is never taken offline due to a large, volumetric DDoS attack. But more importantly, they play a vital role ensuring all other defenses are not affected by a DDoS attack. All types of flooding attacks are simply eliminated by the Cloud DDoS Defenses.

On-Premises DDoS Defenses is the second line of defense. These defenses are deployed to ensure that low and slow, short-duration, and/or partial saturation attacks never consume your resources – including your security team. On-Premises DDoS Defenses must work in concert with the Cloud DDoS Defenses, ensuring that all unwanted denial of service (and other traffic types) are dropped with no further downstream inspection.

The third line of defense includes Next-Gen IPS with Sandbox. These systems are designed to eliminate malware intended to compromise and control your devices. These defenses look deep inside payloads to determine the intent of the traffic that makes it through the Cloud and On-Premises Defenses. Known malware is eliminated by the IPS. Unknown malware is eliminated by the Sandbox. Working in concert, both known and unknown malware, which are the sources of many advanced persistent threat attacks, are eliminated.

Web Application Firewalls (WAF) are the final line of perimeter defense. WAFs ensure that all client traffic behaviors when accessing data, align with corporate security policies. Data is given the utmost protection. WAFs provide complete defense for the OWASP Top Ten vulnerabilities, regardless of clear-text or encrypted traffic streams, and are deployed as close to the data as possible.

One may ask where the traditional firewall falls into all of this? The defense layers described above are designed to augment your existing firewall and provide protection for threats that the firewall is not able to prevent. Simply put, the firewall is able to block unwanted TCP and UDP ports but is not capable of preventing modern advanced threats.

The hybrid-cloud approach to security is very effective. However, the best protection is provided by a defense-in-depth architecture incorporating the four lines of defense covered above. The real power of this approach is realized if the architecture also uses closed-loop threat intelligence, whereby all four lines of defense not only collect attack data, but also share that data across all defenses. In this way, all four enforcement layers have the latest information about the complete threat landscape to reduce the overall security risk for any organization.

By Stephen Gates, Chief Research Analyst, NSFOCUS

Want To Save The Planet And Be Green? Then Go Cloud!

Want To Save The Planet And Be Green? Then Go Cloud!

Going Green

Data Centers (DC’s) – they are hungry beasts. Ten years ago the EPA estimated that DC’s consumed 61 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in the US. Just three years ago the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was calling the consumption level at 91 billion kilowatt-hours – almost a 50% increase in six years. Let’s put this into perspective. That power consumption is enough to power all the households of New York City twice over. Think of it, in 2013 this represented about 2%+ of all the power produced in the United States.

The prognosis was even worse. The NRDC projected that data centers were going to consume 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020, another 50%+ increase. But happily a just published new report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) shows that data center power consumption has essentially plateaued and will grow only slowly despite a huge increase in the number and size of data centers and a 40% increase in the number of servers from 2010 to 2020.

Good news but what happened? The Berkeley Lab discovered that around 2010 DC energy consumption flattened out at 2% of the total US consumption. (Overall energy consumption in the US has also roughly plateaued since 2010.) How can that be when we know that data center building is going gangbusters?

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The key is that data centers for cloud providers (called hyperscale or web scale) are much more efficient than the legacy enterprise data centers. The Facebook’s, Google’s and Amazon’s of the world run tight ships. As well they would, since power and cooling in an old-school enterprise data center can constitute up to 24% of the annual budget.

A number called the PUE or power usage effectiveness measures data center power efficiency. A PUE of 1.0 is considered very desirable while those of 2.0 or 3.0 are very inefficient. Google publishes its PUE at 1.12 and Facebook has said that one of its centers has a PUE of 1.07. The federal government would like to get to 1.5. Being clever about how you design, operate and cool the machines is how you achieve this kind of efficiency.

Definitely this is goodness and points to how adopting cloud supports a green policy and objective. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of legacy data centers. The Berkeley Lab study points to over 60% of data center power consumption coming from smaller facilities. A recent IDC report shows that more than two-thirds of the traditional enterprises it surveyed logged a PUE of more than 2.0, and 10 percent were over 3.0 or didn’t know.

Cloud services are increasingly being adopted and replacing the old on-premise paradigm. The initial effects of this are being seen in the positive move to energy conservation in IT and so far we have good projections of limited power consumption growth for the next several years. That’s certainly good news but consider how much better it might be if the shift to cloud was faster?

By John Pientka

Conquering Disease with Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Conquering Disease with Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is growing increasingly pervasive in today’s modern world. Perhaps the most publicized and recognizable application of AI to date, IBM’s Jeopardy-winning computer, Watson, is now being used to help cure cancer. IBM announced the development of Watson for Genomics on Wednesday at the National Cancer Moonshot Summit. The supercomputer aims to analyze gene structures of cancer patients to determine where mutations occur and in turn figure out potential causes and treatments.

Watson differs from other supercomputers because it is able to answer questions in natural language, not just binary code or technical inputs, making it extremely practical for busy doctors on the move. Currently, coming up with cancer treatment plans for specific patients is a time-intensive process. First, the entire genome of a patient must be analyzed, then a team of doctors must convene to figure out the best treatment plan. Watson can do all of it in under three minutes by tapping into massive data sources of medical literature and the sequenced DNA of patients on file.

IBM-Watson
(Image Source: Kaesler Media / Shutterstock)

This is just the latest in a series of healthcare applications IBM is looking to use its Watson supercomputer. Watson has already worked with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and CVS to improve patient care and predict future health issues. Healthcare is just one potential vertical for IBM, and they are looking for creative ways to use their super-computing power to help industries across the board. The software giant even developed an LED-light filled dress worn at the Met Gala that changed based on the mood of the event on social media.

Watson is even teaming up with doctors at the Veterans Affair Department (VA) to provide treatment suggestions to 10,000 US veterans over the next two years. That means 30 times more patients will receive care than by using the current doctor-by-committee approach.

It is time-intensive and it is not scalable,” says Dr. Michael Kelly, national program director of oncology at the VA. “One human couldn’t do it, it takes a panel.” Or one Watson. Watson will look at a DNA sequence and explore potential causes for the cancer, known as deidentified genetic alteration files. Watson will cross reference the DNA sequence of each patient with other patients’ DNA and contemporary medical literature to formulate what gene mutations have occurred and potential treatments to those.

Watson and IBM also aim to benefit from access to 3.5% of the country’s cancer patients and their data. But working through genome sequences is only half of the equation for Watson. Stephen Harvey, vice president of Watson Health at IBM says, “The other half of the job is filtering out things that wouldn’t be clinically valuable for doctors like Dr. Kelly.” In other words, Watson may be able to take orders in practical language, but it will need to give them to doctors as well, a challenge now at the core of all AI developers world-wide.

By Thomas Dougherty

The Fundamentals of Predictive Analysis

The Fundamentals of Predictive Analysis

Predictive Analysis

Article sponsored by SAS Software and Big Data Forum

Analytics is playing an increasingly important role in our lives thanks in large part to internet of things (IoT) developments and a greater appreciation of Big Data. With solutions that range across business productivity, health care, individual and national security, new insights are regularly generated. But just as such technology enriches our day-to-day lives, it produces considerable privacy and security vulnerabilities.

Unlimited Possibilities with Big Data

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In a recent IDG Research Services study, in partnership with SAS, it was noted that IT and business leaders are expressing excitement about Big Data’s potential impact on process optimization and customer experience, along with product and service innovation. People are quickly learning that Big Data has great value, but it’s taking a little longer to understand how. We’re faced with an explosion of stored data as cloud data-housing tools making large-scale retention possible, the popularity of IoT devices collecting information that was previously discounted, and social media churning out customer needs and wants faster than ever. The analysis of Big Data, however, promises us the possibility of understanding everything. How specific diseases are spreading; which politicians will gain public approval; why products succeed or fail; when to withdraw your pounds and reinvest in the dollar.

The Value of Predictive Analytics

The key, however, to accessing all the benefits of Big Data, is effective analytics. Merely employing analytics isn’t enough, and so analysts are advancing into the data-supported forecasting of predictive analytics. In its entirety, predictive analytics helps organizations discover, analyze, and act on their data, using historical information to uncover trends and calculate probable results. Further, predictive analytics provides a framework for periodic analysis which results in more precise insights and enhanced strategies.

Analytics, Cyber Security, and Safeguarding Information

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

As always, what benefits the good can just as easily aid the corrupt. Data privacy and security is a weighty concern that’s gaining momentum as the collection and access of data increases. With private and sensitive information collected through financial applications, healthcare systems, social structures, and consumer databases, just about everything concerning an individual or organization is viewable to those who, legitimately or not, gain access to the data. And so, much worth is placed on cybersecurity strategies, data protection measures, and the control of both data and the tools we use to collect it. Organizations must implement robust cybersecurity plans that encourage security as a standard practice; employee education, too, is fundamental to a protected environment, as is network awareness, suitably trained security staff, and the implementation of sustainable security solutions.

Event Trails

Of course, there is another security slant to analytics which should be considered, and that is the security it can provide. Already, advanced analytics are used in the fight against money laundering, bank and insurance fraud, and evolving cybersecurity threats. It can potentially even help welfare organizations prevent child abuse. While security experts previously focused mainly on security tools that would prevent cyber attacks and keep sensitive information locked away from prying eyes, cybersecurity analytics is a new weapon in the arsenal. Because it’s almost impossible to completely prevent data infringement, it’s important to consider what can be done after an intrusion occurs. Every attack leaves a network event trail, such data forming the digital DNA of the attacker, and this data is the beginning of analytics value to cybersecurity through investigation and cybercrime detection.

Big Data and analytics may still be in the early stages, but the value we’re already experiencing suggests a future of improved solutions, practical forecasts, and advancement through mere bits and bytes.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Computing Then & Now

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The Evolving Cloud  From as early as the onset of modern computing, the possibility of resource distribution has been explored. Today’s cloud computing environment goes well beyond what most could even have imagined at the birth of modern computing and innovation in the field isn’t slowing. A Brief History Matillion’s interactive timeline of cloud begins…

The Future Of Cybersecurity

The Future Of Cybersecurity

The Future of Cybersecurity In 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order to protect critical infrastructure by establishing baseline security standards. One year later, the government announced the cybersecurity framework, a voluntary how-to guide to strengthen cybersecurity and meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), moving it one…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

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…

Surprising Facts and Stats About The Big Data Industry

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Facts and Stats About The Big Data Industry If you start talking about big data to someone who is not in the industry, they immediately conjure up images of giant warehouses full of servers, staff poring over page after page of numbers and statistics, and some big brother-esque official sat in a huge government building…

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud One of the least considered benefits of cloud computing in the average small or mid-sized business manager’s mind is the aspect of disaster recovery. Part of the reason for this is that so few small and mid-size businesses have ever contemplated the impact of a major disaster on their IT…

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies (Updated: Originally Published Feb 9th, 2015) We have decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite cloud performance monitoring services. In this day and age it is extremely important to stay on top of critical issues as they arise. These services will accompany you in monitoring…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

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

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

Redefining The Digital World According to Internet World Stats (June 30th, 2015), no fewer than 3.2 billion people across the world now use the internet in one way or another. This means an incredible amount of data sharing through the utilization of API’s, Cloud platforms and inevitably the world of connected Things. The Internet of Things is a…

How The CFAA Ruling Affects Individuals And Password-Sharing

How The CFAA Ruling Affects Individuals And Password-Sharing

Individuals and Password-Sharing With the 1980s came the explosion of computing. In 1980, the Commodore ushered in the advent of home computing. Time magazine declared 1982 was “The Year of the Computer.” By 1983, there were an estimated 10 million personal computers in the United States alone. As soon as computers became popular, the federal government…

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

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

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

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

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…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

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

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…

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

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.…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…