Category Archives: Cloud Computing

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

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

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security

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

Still, even though cloud has helped many companies, there are tradeoffs with cloud services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) that organizations need to be aware of. With IaaS, a cloud provider maintains basic IT infrastructure such as servers, storage, and networks on your behalf, which is convenient but also raises concerns at the same time.


Case in point, in the 2016 Spiceworks report Diving into IT Cloud Services, 52 percent of IT professionals surveyed said loss of control over infrastructure is a barrier to moving IT services to the cloud. In the same survey, the majority of IT pros also said the risk of security breach is a top concern with cloud services. Additionally, 36 percent of respondents were worried about the risk of data loss and keeping cloud costs under control.

Why are IT pros worried about cloud security?

With on-premises infrastructure, you have complete visibility and control over everything. You can physically see your infrastructure, and if something goes wrong, you have the power and ability to take immediate actions to fix issues.

But with cloud services, you need to trust your provider to properly secure your environment and respond to any security incidents in a timely manner, and as the data shows, many IT departments are hesitant to relinquish control and are afraid of outages or data loss that might occur in the cloud.

Adding to the worries, if a security incident occurs on cloud infrastructure, there’s sometimes confusion over who’s ultimately responsible for addressing the problem because there’s shared security responsibility between you and the provider. Who needs to take actions to remedy an issue depends on where in the stack the security incident actually occurred. Therefore, it’s critical for cloud users to know who’s responsible for what.

How IaaS security responsibilities are divided 

The two dominant cloud players, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, have both documented what they are responsible for as cloud providers when it comes to security. For example, in their shared responsibility model, Amazon Web Services has helpfully broken AWS security responsibilities into two main buckets:

Security of the cloud” = everything the provider does, including:

  • Securing global cloud infrastructure, including physical access to data center facilities where your IT resources are housed
  • Protecting the physical networking, compute, and storage resources, so you don’t have to worry about setting up servers or storage hardware, patching firmware, or installing and properly disposing of drives, etc.
  • Securing hypervisors that host and manage your VMs running on cloud infrastructure

Security in the cloud” = everything you’re responsible for, including:

  • Guarding data generated or collected by your applications
  • Maintaining secure operating system, network, and firewall configurations
  • Identifying and accessing control mechanisms tied to any platforms or applications you manage
  • Protecting information by ensuring data integrity, using encryption, and properly using identity management technologies

How security responsibilities differ between Iaas, PaaS, and SaaS

Microsoft also draws a clear line that separates what cloud service providers and cloud customers are responsible for. Their March 2016 document entitled Shared Responsibilities for Cloud Computing goes one step further by breaking down responsibility areas across different cloud models including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.


With all three service models, the cloud provider is solely responsible for physical security of infrastructure. And like with AWS all Azure users, regardless of what cloud model they take advantage of, are responsible for data classification and availability to make sure sensitive customer data is properly handled across all of the cloud models. But there are varying degrees of responsibility when it comes to end-point protection, identity & access management, application level controls, network controls, and host infrastructure. As a general rule of thumb, the more control over infrastructure you have, the more security responsibility you have as well, with IaaS providing the most control and responsibility, followed by PaaS, and then SaaS.


How to stay on top of cloud security

In summary, a first step towards securing cloud infrastructure and data is understanding what you’re responsible for so you can take appropriate action. The cloud providers try to make this very clear so you know what you’re getting into when you sign up for their services.

But just because the providers make some promises, you still need to be careful. Providers like Amazon Web services and Azure are not typically on the hook for data loss or a breach due to labor disputes, utility failures, natural disasters, orders of government, or acts of terrorism or war. They also include language in their service agreements that state you are still responsible for backing up and archiving your content in case of a disaster… so even when the cloud provider is on the hook for security, you still need a solid “plan B” just in case.

By Peter Tsai, IT Analyst at Spiceworks

peter-tsaiFormerly a systems administrator, programmer, and server engineer who has lived IT from the inside and out, Peter now works to serve up IT articles, reports, infographics, and livecasts that inform and entertain millions of IT pros in the Spiceworks Community worldwide.

What’s On The Horizon For Cloud Computing

What’s On The Horizon For Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Trends

Now that we are a little more than halfway through 2016, many experts are beginning to make their predictions about cloud computing for the rest of the year and beyond. While many of the trends aren’t too unexpected (the ever increasing acceptance of cloud solutions by businesses, for instance) other trends are a bit more surprising.

With so many changes in how people are using cloud infrastructure and applications, and as many businesses ramp up their planning for 2017, it’s useful to take a look at some of the cloud computing trends currently taking shape.

Microsoft Azure Continues to Grow

The three largest players in the cloud computing sphere continue to be Amazon; Google; and Microsoft, which offers the Azure cloud computing platform. These computing giants have created infrastructure that allows business software to run at higher scales with better availability and performance without the hassles of maintaining a data center or the tedious process of creating a dedicated infrastructure.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the leader in the development platform world for several years primarily by virtue of being first to offer SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS capabilities, but Microsoft’s Azure is quickly catching up. Azure allows the deployment of applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers that offer 99.5 percent uptime. Getting started with Azure is easy, since applications can be developed via a variety of technologies like, PHP, and Node.js, and the platform is capable of hosting Apache Tomcat servers and JVMs, as well as SQL Azure database services.

Azure is still second to AWS in terms of revenue and market share, but there is some speculation that it’s growing faster than AWS and will eventually either match or overtake Amazon in the realm of cloud services.

Cloud Brokerages Are Becoming More Common

Hybrid cloud computing continues to be one of the biggest trends in enterprise, with more and more companies choosing to deploy new applications in the public cloud while maintaining existing applications on-premises. This changing environment is creating challenges and opportunities for legacy vendors, many of whom are beginning to label themselves as cloud brokers.

In other words, these vendors are offering additional value-added services to help companies select the right locations for application deployment, design applications so they can operate properly in that location, help manage multiple deployment locations via software, and manage their cloud-based applications. Essentially, many vendors will be adding what amounts to consulting services to their array of services as a means to remain relevant in the new environment.

Increased Cloud Spending

According to Gartner, cloud spending continues to increase this year, with the most recent projections predicting an increase of more than 16 percent this year, bringing total spending to $204 billion. The greatest increase in spending continues to be in IaaS, with SaaS coming in a close second.

The Question Shifts From Infrastructure to Applications

For the last few years, much of the discussion surrounding the cloud has been focused on the infrastructure aspect: Public, private, or hybrid? At this point, many IT departments have realized that attempting to compete with the infrastructure offerings of the major cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, and the like) is fruitless, and that resources are better spent in the development and deployment of applications. The question now becomes determining the best and fastest infrastructure and then turning the focus to application development.

Security Is Still a Concern


While concerns about the interoperability and reliability of the cloud have diminished considerably over the last few years, there are still some concerns about security and privacy when it comes to using the technology in the enterprise. In fact, security concerns continue to be the most significant barrier to cloud adoption; concerns about regulatory compliance, privacy, complexity, and being locked into contracts and services are the other most common reasons that companies are resistant to the cloud.

As a relatively new technology, there is bound to be some significant change and development in the realm of cloud computing this year and well into the future. Undoubtedly, the landscape a year from now will be different than it is today, making this one of the most exciting times to work in IT — as well as one of the most challenging.

By Glenn Blake

Healthcare IoT Security To Grow To $47 Billion In 2021

Healthcare IoT Security To Grow To $47 Billion In 2021

Healthcare IoT Security

It’s obvious that IoT can make the entire healthcare industry more efficient. The kind of data involved can be used to save time, physical energy and operating costs.

Because of this, devices that facilitate medical data are becoming more commonplace in the industry. This includes things such as wearables that can track a patient’s vitals remotely, tags and trackers for onsite equipment monitoring, medical resources on mobile and more.

And these are just a few general examples. You can bet that over time more technology will crop up that makes the lives of healthcare professionals easier. But along with the rise of these technologies and devices comes the need for security.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The Growing Need for IoT Security

Given the addition of new IoT devices in recent years, it makes perfect sense, then, why Market Research has estimated that healthcare IoT security will grow by 40 percent from 2016 to 2021.

With the recent IoT security market estimated at $4.7 billion with revenue of up to $2.2 billion, you can clearly see it has the potential for such growth. Healthcare IoT Security is expected to grow right alongside the medical IoT market, which has grown in popularity and necessity quite rapidly.

Health Care Monitoring And How IoT Improve It

There are many IoT applications that can be used to monitor a patient’s health, such as Future Path Medical’s UroSense. It measures the urine of catheterized patients to report crucial information, like body temperature. The data syncs to a nursing station or mobile device, allowing professionals to watch patients remotely.

Not all these devices are connected directly to the internet. Sometimes they tap into a local network to sync data. Even so, they can still be vulnerable.

Through software and hardware vulnerabilities, hackers can gain access to sensitive data and medical records. If these hackers were to gain access to medical equipment during an emergency situation, they could cause irreparable damage.


This is exactly why healthcare IoT security is growing so fast. As more medical equipment becomes IoT-enabled, more security is necessary.

Just a single device like UroSense can identify signs of kidney injury, heart failure, infections, diabetes, tumors, sepsis and more. That’s why it’s much better – and more efficient – to have these kind of IoT-enabled devices in place as opposed to removing IoT from health care entirely. Health care professionals have access to transmitted data no matter where they are, exactly when they need it, which is hugely important for the success and improvement of modern day medicine.

Google, for instance, has come up with a contact lens that can identify a patient’s blood glucose levels. This makes monitoring diabetes much easier – and less painful for patients.

Additionally, powerful and surprisingly accurate equipment tracking in hospitals allows staff to locate resources quickly. Centrak is one company that specialized in real-time locating systems (or RTLS) in the healthcare industry. In an emergency situation, real-time reporting systems like this can save lives because staff members don’t have to search for the critical resources they need, wasting precious minutes.

But all of these devices collect important and sensitive data that must not only be accessible to healthcare professionals but also secured.

Securing The Future Of Connected Things

This kind of sensitive data requires a great deal of security, especially in an age where cyber attacks are commonplace. Then there’s the matter of HIPAA – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. By law, all electronically created, synced, maintained or transmitted patient data must be protected.

More importantly, patient privacy is also a viable concern. This involves making sure the appropriate parties have access to the data in question, and no one else. A breach of privacy or security is detrimental to everyone, including patients and health care providers.

Simply put, a majority of devices and systems – including those in the healthcare industry – are connected to the internet of things. And, as our connected technologies continue to evolve, so too must the security we place around them. Forty-seven billion dollars is no small number. Hopefully 2021 will prove to us once and for all that we can have our connected world, without sacrificing all of our personal data in the process.

By Kayla Matthews

Zoho Announces Industry’s First Multichannel CRM Service

Zoho Announces Industry’s First Multichannel CRM Service

Zoho News

According to Gartner, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software market grew by 12.3% from $23.4 billion in 2014 to $26.3 billion in 2015. Suggests Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner, “The merger and acquisition activity that began flowing through the market in 2009 continued in 2015, with more than 30 notable acquisitions. This has resulted in increased competition at the top end of the CRM market, with the continued focus of global vendors’ sales forces driving good growth worldwide in all CRM sub-segments but only for cloud or software as a service (SaaS) applications.” Today, one innovative player in the CRM market announces product updates and advanced additions to their product line that will challenge what businesses currently expect and accept from their CRM solutions.


Zoho has a 20-year history over which time the private company has expanded into 130 countries, embracing cloud technologies, developing its own business applications, and notably producing Zoho CRM, its best-selling solution. However, this dynamic company doesn’t view success as a reason to rest, but instead their 20 million user base can be attributed to continued pioneering product development covering areas such as social media, account and financial management, collaboration, and much more.

The First Multichannel CRM

CRM - Home screen

Unveiling what they identify as ‘the industry’s first multi channel customer relationship management software’ today, the latest version of Zoho CRM supports email, social media, live chat, and telephonic communication. CloudTweaks was invited to an early demo of this advanced system update, and from the revamped user interface to Gamescope helping sales teams close more deals, more often, we’re impressed. Users now have access to the latest multichannel support such as SalesSignals which keeps salespeople informed, in real time, of customer action across various channels including support tickets, satisfaction surveys, and social media. Further, updates to usability involve the new minimalist interface which includes Timeline View of customers’ historical data and interactions, and Advanced Filters helping users probe CRM data more efficiently.

CRM and Communication

Possibly the most exciting development is the unique convergence of CRM software with email. SalesInbox reinvents the manner in which salespeople use email with the integration of Zoho CRM and their dedicated mail client designed specifically for salespeople.


Discussing the revolution of SalesInbox with CloudTweaks, Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist of Zoho, explains “Zoho has been well ahead when it comes to email and CRM integrations. We were able to do this because we are one of only two vendors in the market to offer email hosting and CRM together (the other being Microsoft). We have taken the expertise from both sides and built an application from the ground up – an email client for salespeople.”

Vegesna points out that email clients have, for the last few decades, represented a broad range of users including sales, marketing, accounts, consumers, and individuals in their private capacities. Yet the actual email clients utilized have heretofore offered no differentiation based on these very different categories of user. Says Vegesna, “For the first time, we’re introducing a specialized email client, built from the ground up, optimized for salespeople.”

By Jennifer Klostermann

How The Cloud Is Changing Online Education

How The Cloud Is Changing Online Education

Online Education Growth

There’s no doubt that the internet has changed the face of education over the last two decades. In fact, by some estimates more than 80 percent of college students expect to take at least some — if not all of their courses — online. Thousands of people have earned degrees without ever setting foot on a campus, and the number continues to grow.

Online education’s explosive popularity is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the convenience of taking courses on your own time and from the comfort of home. Much of online education’s growth is also attributable to the cloud, which has created opportunities and efficiencies that make online learning an appealing and affordable option for both students and universities — and it continues to change the learning landscape for the better, particularly those studying in the technology disciplines.


(Infographic source: Degreed)

1. Significant Cost Savings

No one can deny that college is expensive. A four-year degree at a private college can cost well over six figures, leaving students with extreme debt after graduation. Most universities are looking to trim budgets and operating costs wherever they can to ease that burden, and the cloud is part of that effort. In fact, more than half of universities believe that the cloud can help improve efficiencies. More specifically, the cloud can reduce costs by:

  • Providing more computing power via virtual servers for less cost than investing in more infrastructure.
  • Providing lower cost collaboration tools for both students and administration.
  • Reducing textbook costs. Rather than purchase expensive textbooks that are quickly outdated, students can access cloud-based texts for much less, and access them on multiple devices.
  • Reduced computing costs for students. Most cloud-based education applications can be accessed on any device, meaning that students aren’t required to purchase expensive computers or other equipment for their studies.
  • Low cost applications and storage. SaaS models allow students to purchase subscriptions for cloud-based versions of software, which is often more affordable than a traditional license. In fact, many universities offer students access to cloud-based software for free or a nominal fee, giving them access to the tools they need without spending hundreds of dollars on licensing fees.

While the cloud may not be a cure for skyrocketing educational expenses, the tools and capabilities that it offers can help keep them in check.

2. Improved Communication and Collaboration


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The communication and collaboration benefits of the cloud extend well beyond cost savings. The cloud offers opportunities for students to work together in ways that weren’t possible in the past. Teachers and students can have discussions, work on group projects, and share resources more efficiently through cloud services. Within the realm of computer education, the cloud allows students to create and share projects, which teaches both technical skills, but also supports problem-solving, communication, collaborative learning, and project design, all “soft skills” that are in demand for IT professionals. And of course, the cloud allows students to learn from others in geographically diverse areas, but it also improves access for students who might otherwise have barriers to higher education.

3. Better Security

Under federal laws, much of what happens in higher education qualifies as personal and confidential, and is therefore protected by privacy laws. Storing important documents on a personal computer or maintaining hard copies increases the risk of a FERPA violation. Using a secure cloud service to manage class work, grades, and other student information help reduce the likelihood of a violation. That doesn’t mean that university cloud services are impervious to attacks, but the security protocols used for online education applications and storage are generally much more advanced than typical consumer security.

This is important for student’s seeking an online master’s in computer science, who may be working on projects that could form the basis of a future business or development opportunity and do not want to lose their intellectual property. At the very least, for students studying computer science, IT security, or other related fields, cloud-based environments give them more hands-on, real-world experience that can be valuable in a future job search.

4. Real-Time Updates

One of the challenges of education is keeping materials and learning up-to-date with current trends, technology, and developments. Computer science students expect to have the most current resources and tools to ensure their degree is marketable. With the cloud, instructors and program developers can make real-time updates to the curriculum, add new resources, change textbook options, and do everything possible to allow students access to the most recent and relevant information.

5. Going Green

Environmental sustainability is a significant concern on college campuses these days, with some students choosing schools specifically because of their green initiatives and commitment to sustainability. Employing cloud services is a major part of green efforts; not only does using the cloud reduce the need for resources paper and ink, but cloud servers can be run more efficiently than typical on-site computing tools. By locating servers in a data center, institutions can lower energy consumption and costs, thereby reducing their overall carbon footprint.

Cloud computing has become a part of everyday life for most people, whether they even realize it or not. It’s already changed higher education in several ways — and will undoubtedly continue to do so as we move into the future.

By Glenn Blake

Investing In The Future With The Introduction of Sage Cloud

Investing In The Future With The Introduction of Sage Cloud

CHICAGO, IL–(Marketwired – Jul 26, 2016) – Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting software, announced today at Sage Summit 2016 its strong commitment to future technologies, with a focus on new and existing partnerships that power business growth. Revealed during CEO Stephen Kelly’s keynote address, which opened the world’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs and business builders, Kelly spoke about how, through the use of the latest technologies and tools, Sage is levelling the playing field for entrepreneurs — and it’s just the start of the technology revolution all entrepreneurs and business builders of all sizes need to be a part of to compete and grow.

Investing in the future with the introduction of Sage Cloud

The dedication to helping businesses grow is a personal crusade of Kelly’s. Following the investment of £139m on research and development during FY15, the Sage CEO used the keynote as a platform to set out how all Sage products will now be connected to the cloud, with new mobile, social, chatbot and IoT offerings in the pipeline for the entire portfolio.

Sage Cloud will allow businesses to integrate all activity across Sage products quickly and easily. It will also make it possible for Sage customers to activate integrations with partner products within a few clicks and will eliminate the need for maintenance or change due to product upgrades. Sage further pledged its dedication to the developer community with the launch of Sage Marketplace, a new open, API-driven platform for Independent Software Vendors to showcase their Sage developer add-ons and apps.

Industry firsts — leapfrogging the competition

Another highlight was the official launch of Sage’s new admin bot, Pegg, a smart assistant that allows users to track expenses via their chosen messaging app. Pegg removes the complexities and enables entrepreneurs to manage finances through conversation. By digitising information at the point of capture, it takes away the pain from receipts and expenses, eradicating the need for paper and data entry.

Powerful new partnerships

This coincides with the news that Sage has partnered with Slack, which will act as one of the core messaging channels connected to Pegg. Having recently joined as ‎Global Director for Mobile Product Management, Sage’s Kriti Sharma said: “With the rise of freelancing and the sharing economy, the number of small businesses is growing exponentially. Most of these business owners use messaging apps, and with Pegg we aim to bridge the gap between these apps and work, rendering accounting invisible to the end user and making running a business as simple as sending a text. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Slack, the fastest growing enterprise messaging app; together we share the vision that the future of the workplace is conversational, easy and fun.” Announced with a demonstration live on stage, the accounting industry’s first bot, Pegg is available now in Beta. New users can register at

In an interactive live demo, Sage’s new EVP of Product Marketing, Jennifer Warawa, showed how the combined solution of Sage Live and TomTom Telematics works. The new software integration allows businesses with fleets of vehicles — small or big — to seamlessly record mileage and automate expense reports. Because Sage Live is running on the Salesforce platform it can easily use existing integrations with third parties such as TomTom WEBFLEET. Via the fleet management, service journey data is automatically available in Sage Live.

There were several new partnership announcements, as well as details on how existing ones have strengthened. In front of an audience of 15,000 and over 35,000 on livestream, Stephen Kelly announced that Sage’s award-winning real-time accounting solution, Sage Live, will harness the power of Salesforce Lightning. Via the integration, Sage customers will benefit from Salesforce’s new Lightning Experience — a reimagined consumer-like experience that’s modern, efficient and smart — which will be accessible via Sage Live across every device.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined via video to announce the coming together of Microsoft Office 365 and Sage 50 — making Sage the first ever software company to partner with the platform. The Sage CEO also welcomed Sir Richard Branson to the stage, where they participated in a conversation on their shared vision of the future of business and giving back.

Champion of Business Builders

Sage’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs at every stage of their growth was underlined with Kelly revealing new stats on entrepreneurs’ dissatisfaction with the support they get from the U.S. Government. He also reiterated his criticism of ‘out of touch’ events like the World Economic Forum in Davos and announced a series of policy events around the world.

The Giving Economy

Broadening out to touch on Sage as a participant in its communities, the keynote highlighted how Sage will expand its corporate philanthropy initiative, Sage Foundation, through work with three distinct communities: military veterans, young people and women. Sage’s Chief People Officer Sandra Campopiano launched a new open grant process with a donation to an inspiring Chicago charity that seeks to inspire more women to work in the technology sector.

She awarded a $50,000 donation from Sage to Brave Initiatives, a program encouraging high school girls to see themselves as capable coders and tune them into community issues.

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said: “It was almost impossible to tell the story of the technology revolution at Sage in one keynote. With a more connected world comes new demands on our hero business builders, and we are fired up by doing everything we can to support entrepreneurs in following their passion. We are working on making concepts like the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain and data sciences into a reality for businesses, accountants and partners. This is way more than cloud and mobile-first. It’s designing and building technologies that truly power businesses, freeing entrepreneurs to grow and win.”

For those not attending Sage Summit 2016, all of the keynotes and more can be viewed at the virtual event

About Sage

Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. Sage began as a small business in the U.K. 30 years ago, and over 13,000 colleagues now support millions of entrepreneurs, across 23 countries, as they power the global economy. We reinvent and simplify business accounting through brilliant technology, working with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners, and developers. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are active in supporting our local communities and invest in making a real difference through the philanthropy of the Sage Foundation.

Sage — a market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s

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

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