Category Archives: Cloud Computing

How To Land SaaS Startup Investment Funding

How To Land SaaS Startup Investment Funding

SaaS Startup Investment Funding

Currency Cloud, one of London’s FinTech startups, has recently raised $18 million in its latest funding round. With investors including Sapphire Ventures, Anthemis, Atlas Ventures, Notion Capital and Xange, total funding since 2012 has now reached $36 million. Processing $10 billion in payments per year with money transfer technology for businesses, Currency Cloud is a true startup success story.

Is There Funding For Me?growth-hacker-investors-infographic

The upward trend of startup fundraising continued last year to more than $47 billion – a 62% increase on the previous year’s figures. Venture capitalists are putting more money into startups, but particular ideas and industries are favored. While popular consumer apps tend to receive a lot of attention, the investment in them is comparatively small. Industries with environmental conditions that promote success are emerging as valuable investment opportunities.

The Split

Funding is happening in larger chunks over fewer rounds. Uber, for example, raised more than a billion dollars in each of its two funding rounds, and Airbnb pulled in $475 million in one round of investment. But consumer tech isn’t stealing the entire capital pie. Venture capitalists are, predictably, focusing on obvious trends such as mobile technology – in 2014 $7.8 billion was raised for this sector. However, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are also attracting significant investments with new regulations reducing lawsuits against biotech firms and the ACA dramatically increasing demand in the healthcare sector.

Get Rich Quick

While a tiny percentage of startups have received global attention and massive funding, the failure rate is high. Well researched ideas that take advantage of the latest trends are important, but there’s a lot more you need to get right and a heap of luck helps too. Forbes offers startup investors some advice, including investing in known markets, checking up on founders, researching the use of funds and investigating financials. Startups looking for investment need to offer a strong, secure opportunity that boasts quality leadership, transparent systems, and superior products or services.

Entrepreneur takes this advice further and insists that you provide proof of potential success, establish trust and put together an experienced team that works well together. Your business plan needs to be impressive, and your product has to be unique, desirable and credible. Be sure to focus on the right investors and put together a strong marketing strategy that ensures investors you’re pulling out all the stops to grow a remarkable enterprise. And any investors who think you’re only in it for the money, won’t be handing their money over to you.

Going Public

In the end, many investors are looking for companies that will go public. This ensures millions can be raised from regular people, and also increases the value of the initial investments. The IPO process gives your company the government stamp of approval, opening the doors to investment from the general public and giving early investors the chance to make high returns. Of course, the investment bankers also want you to IPO, getting 7% of all the money you raise.

Growing Your Business in the Modern Economy takes advice from six venture capitalists to give you insight into how to manage growth and risk, and make sure you get your share of the available financing.

(Infographic Credit Source:

By Jennifer Klostermann

Social Media A New Military Battleground

Social Media A New Military Battleground

Social Media Warfare

As an increasing number of militaries worldwide use social media to recruit soldiers, gather intelligence, spread propaganda and even communicate with their own and other military groups, the broad spectrum of social media has been identified as the newest international military battleground. And as the battle intensifies, more countries join in.

Earlier this year the British army created its own special force of what The Guardian called “Facebook warriors,” and Sky News called “Twitter troops” responsible for “non-lethal warfare.” Known as the new 77th Brigade, the original 77th having used unorthodox tactics in Burma during World War II while fighting the Japanese. It is based in Berkshire and comprises reservists and regulars with journalistic skills who are social media savvy.

The Israeli military are pioneers of using social media going back as far as 2008 during its war on Gaza. It is believed to be active on 30 social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and operates in six different languages. This way, the Israeli army says, it can engage with an audience it wouldn’t reach any other way.


The Islamic State, ISIS continues to use social media hugely successfully to recruit fighters internationally and increase its propaganda efforts.

And the US Defense Advanced Research Project Administration (DARPA) agency, which commissions advanced research for the Department of Defense and creates “breakthrough technologies” for national security, has included Kickstarter and Pinterest in its studies.

The Role of Social Media in Defence and Military Sectors

While the military might not be considered the easiest “sell” on social media, the use by military organizations, armed forces, and defense contractors of social media across the board is growing exponentially. The “enemy” of conventional military groups, including ISIS, has also harnessed its power and is exploiting its possibilities on a daily basis. ISIS, and other extremist groups, use social media to spread their brand or image, and are succeeding on a global scale at a rate most would call alarming.

In November, the fifth annual Social Media Within The Defence And Military Sector will be held in London, to explore developments within the social media arena as it relates to the defense and military industry.

Motivation behind the conference is that all industries have been forced to both acknowledge and embrace social media, and evolve with it to “survive in this new age of digitization” that has revolutionized the world and all its sectors.

Asking the question, “who is winning?” the conference will cover all aspects relating to social media, including:

  • Cyber security
  • Extremist and cybercriminal threats
  • Strategy communication
  • Recruitment and propaganda
  • Intelligence
  • Data sensitivity and management
  • Ethics
  • Creating effective content
  • Public

There will be discussions that focus on the impact of social media on military operations that will be led by industry experts, as well as a spotlight session on law enforcement that will look at counter terrorism, policing and the impact social media has had on “civil liberties.” Case studies will include the Ukraine crisis and how it has changed the “face” of social media.

There will also be two half-day workshops prior to the conference:

1. Building and Managing Social Media Communities
2. Social Media: Content Creation & Delivery In the Military

Speakers have been sourced worldwide and include military experts and social media professionals from the UK, US, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway.

By Penny Swift

Tech Company Finds Stolen Government Log-ins All Over Web

Tech Company Finds Stolen Government Log-ins All Over Web

WASHINGTON (AP) — A CIA-backed technology company has found logins and passwords for 47 government agencies strewn across the Web — available for hackers, spies and thieves.

Recorded Future, a social media data mining firm backed by the CIA’s venture capital arm, says in a report that login credentials for nearly every federal agency have been posted on open Internet sites for those who know where to look.

According to the company, at least 12 agencies don’t require authentication beyond passwords to access their networks, so those agencies are vulnerable to espionage and cyberattacks. The company says logins and passwords were found connected with the departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury and Energy, as well as the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.

News Source: Associated Press

Wearable Sensors Reduce Risk of Pregnancy Complications For Moms And Babies

Wearable Sensors Reduce Risk of Pregnancy Complications For Moms And Babies

Wearable Sensors Reduce Risk of Pregnancy Complications

Pregnancy should be a happy time, but lifestyle-related pregnancy complications are on the increase, and an alarming number of mothers and babies die each year during pregnancy and childbirth. As a result, four scientists have evaluated the use of wearable sensors to motivate healthier lifestyle behavior during pregnancy in both developed and developing countries.
In a recently published paper, Wearable Sensors for Healthier Pregnancies, Julien Penders, Marco Altini, Chris Van Hoof and Eric Dy describe how recent advances in wearable sensor technologies offer exciting new opportunities to accurately monitor women’s lifestyle behavior patterns during pregnancy and positively drive behavior changes that will improve health and save lives.


The paper, which was published in Proceedings of the IEEE (Volume 103), states that worldwide, in 2013, 289,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth as a result of “adverse outcomes” that included miscarriage, preterm births, still births, and low weight at birth.

They state that in the US alone, every year 650 women die as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, and 500,000 babies are born preterm. As the age of women falling pregnant increases, and the incidence of chronic disease escalates, so too does the risk of pregnancy and childbirth. The authors found that 10 percent of pregnancies were considered high risk. Examining the financial implications, they found that 94.1 percent of deliveries in the US in 2008 reported some type of complication relating to pregnancy or delivery, and this cost $17.4 billion just in hospital stays. They said the costs of preterm births, which are reportedly the “most prevalent adverse outcome in pregnancy,” were $26 billion annually.

Recognizing that a healthy lifestyle is essential for healthy pregnancy, the authors identified pregnancy as “a window of opportunity for long-term lifestyle changes.”

julien-pendersJulien Penders, primary author and a co-founder of consumer health company, Bloom Technologies, told CloudTweaks, “Lifestyle-related pregnancy complications are on the raise. Lack of activity, excessive weight gain, poor diet and increasingly stressful lifestyles are negatively impacting pregnancy outcomes.

Wearable sensors offer a new opportunity to accurately measure lifestyle behaviors. Combined with predictive analytics, they allow early identification of deviations to healthy baselines that will empower expecting woman to adapt their lifestyle and promote healthier pregnancies for healthier babies.”

Wearable Sensors for Pregnant Women

Recent advances in mobile health (also known as m-health) and wearable sensor technologies provide new possibilities for tracking health parameters and monitoring health conditions remotely in the daily life of pregnant women. This in turn becomes an invaluable tool to help reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote healthier lifestyles and habits by encouraging a change in their behavior.

According to the paper, m-health has already been shown to effectively improve the health of women and to reduce the impact of chronic disease. But their evaluation of wearable sensors being an enabling technology that will motivate and encourage healthier lifestyle behaviors during pregnancy and in this way reduce the risk of pregnancy and delivery complications is a first.

As reported last week, wearable sensors are already being used for patients considered vulnerable to heart attack. In this instance, the sensor detects warning signs of cardiac arrest and contacts emergency medical services. By contrast, what the wearable sensors proposed for pregnant women would track would be physical activity, diet and weight management, sleep, and stress.

As the paper states, while lifestyle parameters can be seamlessly tracked, there are additional challenges when it comes to pregnant women. These are largely because of natural changes associated with pregnancy, including lifestyle behaviors. Also, while wearable technologies for general lifestyle monitoring are on the increase, there are very few wearable health solutions that are pregnancy specific.

The paper also discusses opportunities related to applying wearable sensor technologies to pregnancy monitoring. In addition to motivating behavioral change and taking an integrated approach to tracking, they considered crowdsourcing clinical research.

According to Penders: “In the hand of consumers, medical grade wearable sensors unlock exponentially growing datasets that contain a new source of knowledge largely unexploited to date. These crowdsourced datasets offer a unique opportunity to accelerate clinical research and the discovery of new markers for pregnancy complications and outcomes, such as preterm birth.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Penny Swift

How Your Business Can Overcome Its Fear of BYOD

How Your Business Can Overcome Its Fear of BYOD

Overcoming BYOD Fear

While the popularity of the remote workforce has been on the rise, more and more people are returning to the office to work out of fear that their business data isn’t secure, according to a Neustar report. A whopping 83 percent of respondents are worried about the security of their files, and 27 percent feel uncomfortable sharing data through emails.

Despite popular belief, the convenience of implementing BYOD practices in enterprise businesses doesn’t have to come at the cost of security or IT control. In fact, there are some simple solutions that can enhance mobility without compromising company data.

Common BYOD FearsNS-Cloud-Report-Jun15-WW-IG-00-600px

Some of the worst security issues facing mobile app development stem from data breaches and data leaks  — but those are just the tip of the iceberg.

IT professionals worry that employees will be careless with information. Users often don’t understand the potential repercussions of their actions, which can lead to the mishandling of data.

With BYOD, IT also has to maintain full visibility and control over how employees handle company data, what apps they use, and the health of all of the devices. Plus, IT needs to be knowledgeable about every single type of device being used within the organization.

Because of these issues and the mounting number of devices IT has to keep track of, IT’s ultimate fear is that it will lose control and never be able to get it back, leaving the organization vulnerable indefinitely.

But are these fears realistic? In a word, yes. The chances for breaches rise as more mobile devices and apps are used.

In fact, a report from Netskope states that 70 percent of compromised accounts’ are a result of uploads  to apps with poor security. Organizations use about 730 cloud apps, and 90 percent of those aren’t enterprise-ready. With the mobile-first business environment, security issues can’t be taken lightly, which is why IT has become fearful of jumping right into the game.

Implementing BYOD Security Solutions 

Thankfully, there are solutions that can help IT departments better protect their company’s data and mitigate the risks.

First, everyone involved needs to be educated on the dos and don’ts of working with company data. Once IT has set expectations and provided clear guidelines, it can implement added security measures to make its initiatives foolproof. These additional features can include encryption (which should be mandatory), two-factor authentication, and tools such as Sophos, Netskope, Okta, etc.

Naturally, there will be employees who make mistakes, are unsure of certain protocols, or blatantly disregard IT’s instructions. But these employees showcase why added security, visibility, and control are so important.

Another effective solution is creating visibility. If IT has auditing capabilities paired with some form of smart reporting, it can ensure employees are operating in alignment with security protocols when sharing content. For example, if an IT professional sees that an employee shared something that’s being excessively viewed, he may come to the conclusion that the employee mishandled the link and let it go public.

Finally, IT professionals should have the ability to set strict permissions that are granular – right down to a user or file. Some solutions have features that allow IT to remotely wipe devices if they’re lost or stolen. This level of control will give the IT team peace of mind knowing that company data is being handled responsibly.

Balfour Beatty, one of our construction clients, successfully implemented these security measures when adopting a mobile strategy that allows project teams to use mobile devices in the field. The company’s IT department’s visibility allows it to ensure confidential blueprints and company documents aren’t leaked outside of the project team, and its control allows it to remotely wipe information from mobile devices when subcontractors or other workers finish projects or if a device is lost or stolen. This mobile strategy also saved the company over $5 million on paper for one project.

BYOD practices can save money and boost productivity — as long as company data isn’t compromised along the way. While the survey data mentioned above highlighted the fears of working outside of the office, these fears can be eased with the right security measures in place, in addition to enabling efficient mobile work on the go. If IT departments incorporate these data-security practices and implement BYOD policies cautiously and appropriately, they can keep their company’s employees happy without putting business data at risk.

by Vineet Jain

Accounting, The Cloud And ERP

Accounting, The Cloud And ERP

Accounting, The Cloud And ERP

The cloud computing concept (Illustration) is really very simple. SaaS (Software as a Service) programs are executed within any number of cloud hosting services located around the world. These SaaS programs can range from Accounting, CRM, Business Intelligence, Email, HR or any number of the thousands that exist in today’s SaaS landscape.

Accounting SaaS As A Business

One of the most lucrative markets at the moment is SaaS accounting services.

Why would I want to move my accounting firm into the Cloud?

  • Simple. Because many of your ex clients have already moved there. If you want to compete, you need to adapt.
  • Low costs are another as overhead is quite low. System administration, upgrades, and maintenance checks become the responsibility of the vendor. 
  • Software housed in the cloud can be easily accessed anywhere, anytime thereby providing an opportunity for the firm to scale more rapidly because workers and clients can easily access data wherever they are and most mobile devices. 
  • The level of availability and security, backup and disaster recovery offered by a software-as-a-service supplier greatly exceeds the level which a company can provide if the application is housed on-site. Cloud computing can also adjust to the accounting firm’s needs for increased performance by adjusting automatically to traffic/bandwidth spikes.

What If I’m already a SaaS Based Accounting firm and need help managing all the Cloud SaaS based services we use?

One of the best solutions at the moment is called ERP. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of business management software. It allows the business to collect, store, organize, and interpret data from core business activities and processes. These activities and processes range from product/service planning, manufacturing, and delivery, to inventory management, marketing and sales, shipping and a whole other slew of applications. Attached is a useful infographic by FinancialForce to help you decide.


Leaders Of Tech Industry Join Docker In New Open Container Project

Leaders Of Tech Industry Join Docker In New Open Container Project

New Docker Open Container Project

More than 20 tech industry organizations have joined forces with Docker in an exciting, new non-profit venture, The Open Container Project (OCP) that aims to unite the industry and establish common standards for software containers.

To be run with the support and approval of the Linux Foundation,  the project will be openly governed and will define common specifications that relate to both container format and runtime. It will enable companies and users to continue to “innovate and develop container-based solutions.


Docker announced yesterday (June 22) it would be donating runC, its base container image format and container runtime to the project and that this would “form the cornerstone for the new technology.”

Industry participants in the project involve “everyone from A to V in the tech industry,” the company said, including CoreOS, founders of appc, Cisco, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Red Hat and VMware. However, OCP will stay completely independent from all companies and company-sponsored projects. By uniting in this way, the hope is that they will be able to take the best ideas and use them in a way that will provide the very best outcomes for the industry and for users.

Yesterday Docker also announced what it termed “huge updates” to their three orchestration tools, Compose, Machine and Swarm, as well as to Docker Engine that creates and runs Docker containers.

Rapid Development of Docker

Docker, launched in March 2013, allows users to package applications into standardized units or containers for software development. These containers wrap the software into a complete filing system that has everything required to run the software, including code, system libraries and system tools, and runtime. The guarantee is that irrespective of the environment it runs in, it will always run the same. Lightweight and secure, Docker containers are based on open standards that allow containers to run on all Microsoft operating systems, all major Linus distributions, and is compatible with every major provider of public cloud. They also provide support for all infrastructures.

Since its launch there have been more than 500 million downloads of the Docker image format, and more than 40,000 public projects have been based on Docker format.
Even though Docker has changed a great deal in the past two years, the company has maintained its key principles, including:

  • The original design that was based on Unix principles that allows for simplicity and composability
  • Emphasis on the ecosystem
  • A focus on doing what’s best for users

Guiding principles of OCP standards to be introduced will ensure that they aren’t bound to “higher level constructs,” which include specific clients or orchestration stacks. Additionally, they will not be tightly associated with any commercial projects or vendors, and will remain portable across a wide range of operating systems, CPU architecture, hardware, and public clouds.
Industry Support for OCP

Docker CEO Discusses 

Ben DockerIn a statement, Docker CEO Ben Golub singled out a few of the companies that have joined the OCP group, specifically the Linux Foundation, Google, CoreOS, IBM and Intel, as well as Microsoft and Red Hat that were early leaders of the initiative.

The CVP of Microsoft Azure, Jason Zander, said they had welcomed the opportunity to work closely with Docker for the past year to help create an open platform that customers could use. He also said the company had a commitment to openness and were excited to be able to support the project.

Red Hat general manager of the Enterprise Linux and Containers division, Lars Herrmann said the OCP had emerged at “a critical time in the maturation of Linux containers as an enterprise technology.”

In the open source world, standards emerge from transparent development and community-driven governance of key technologies,” he said. Google Cloud Platform product manager, Craig McLuckie said they believed in open communities driving innovation, which was why they were happy to “support the creation of a common standard.

The founder and creator of the Docker open source initiative, Solomon Hykes said the strength of the company had always been about getting the community to “join forces and avoid fragmentation.”

He said the coalition was an example of the community uniting to create a standard that would create stability and foster greater productivity.

By Penny Swift

Docker And Rocket Ready For Liftoff – Software Containers

Docker And Rocket Ready For Liftoff – Software Containers

Software Containers

Docker, CoreOS, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are now working on a new standard for software containers with the help of the Linux Foundation. Other members of this coalition include Apcera, Cisco, EMC, Fujitsu Limited, Goldman Sachs, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Mesosphere, Pivotal, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and VMware — that is, virtually everybody who has a stake in building a thriving container ecosystem.

Docker may have become synonymous with containers, but it’s not the only container format around and not everybody agrees that it should become the standard format. Last December, CoreOS announced that it was launching its own container runtime (rkt) and format (appc), a project that received some support from major players like Google, Red Hat and VMware.

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Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

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

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things. One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various…

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

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

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

A New Era for Cyber Crime Last September, the website of a well-known security journalist was hit by a massive DDoS attack. The site’s host stated it was the largest attack of that type they had ever seen. Rather than originating at an identifiable location, the attack seemed to come from everywhere, and it seemed…

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

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

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…

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

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

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

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…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

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…

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,…

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…

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…


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