Category Archives: Cloud Computing

MARKETING EXECS BEEFING UP ON MARTECH STRATEGIES

MARKETING EXECS BEEFING UP ON MARTECH STRATEGIES

Martech Strategies

As budgets shift from traditional marketing streams to marketing technology, it’s essential that both marketers and business leaders understand marketing technology and keep up with the developments. According to eMarketer, 78% of US senior marketers surveyed believe gaining this understanding of marketing technology is increasingly relevant to their success, and the majority of Western European senior marketers feel the same way. With global spending by advertising and marketing professionals increasing on data-driven activities, it’s necessary to develop a strong appreciation of the fundamentals of marketing technology, while keeping an eye on all of the latest trends and developments.

results-martech

Identifying Valuable Customers

Customer satisfaction has long been recognized as a leading factor in business success, but identifying the most valuable customers can enable business strategies which yield even greater profits. Peter Fader, marketing professor at Wharton, has developed the Customer Lifetime Value metric which estimates likely future spend by customers based on past buying trends, enabling companies to target those customers most attuned to their brand. Similar predictive analytics models are available as part of marketing technology platforms and solutions, putting the masses of customer data collected to better use.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Many senior marketers also recognize the value of IoT, and it’s likely this popular technology will assist in its evolution. It may be difficult to imagine a world more connected than we already see today, but with the increasing development and adoption of IoT devices that’s exactly what’s in store. And as these IoT device developmentscontinue, so too advances the connections, providing individuals with greater convenience and industries with even more customer-specific data. Correctly applied, marketers are able to connect phenomenal amounts of behavior data about current and prospective customers through IoT devices, and though today tracking is mostly of buying behaviors, in the future we’re likely to furnish marketers with details so personal that personalized advertising might feel more like the pertinent advice of a close friend.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Initially focused on the gaming industry, we’re becoming more accustomed to seeing virtual reality in our daily lives. But augmented reality, the display of a virtual world over the real world, is proving to have its own unique advantages. Consider Pokemon GO, a meteoric success story that’s left developer Nintendo able to pull audiences to chosen locations at will. For the marketer, using augmented reality in advertising campaigns could mean placing targeted AR advertising over real world advertising, floating AR banner ads in the skies above us, and popping relevant AR pamphlets into view at just the right time, in just the right place.

Artificial Intelligence

A key area in marketing is, and always has been, customer service, but the expectations of customers today are far grander than those of customers 20 years ago. We expect constant, always-on, personality-attuned attention, and so the cost of top-quality customer services reps is skyrocketing. A few businesses are ‘peopling’ their service centers with robots, particularly useful for the less complex interactions. However, with the developments we’re seeing in artificial intelligence, these robots are becoming far smarter and are even imbued with emotional intelligence which helps with the detection of sarcasm and allows for tailored responses. Moreover, because artificial intelligence allows robots to continuously learn from their interactions they become better able to understand and assist customers the more they’re used.

The promise is near limitless, and it’s important to recognize that such martech tools aren’t only for big business. Small and medium enterprises are already putting innovative solutions in place. Collecting and analyzing data, and then utilizing data insights, helps improve customer targeting and engagement and once over the initial bewilderment of all such technology can offer, it’s an exciting arena to be involved in.

By Jennifer Klostermann

4 MONETIZATION MODELS FOR THE DIGITAL BUSINESS ERA

4 MONETIZATION MODELS FOR THE DIGITAL BUSINESS ERA

4 Monetization Models

Digital business is expected to generate billions in new revenue in the next four to five years. However, MGI Research predicts that digital businesses will need to increase their time to market by 40 percent. Many global executives admit they are unprepared to monetize their operations. The million dollar question is: how do you get from here to there?

Getting there requires adopting a new mindset that focuses on “revenue moments” instead of product sales. Revenue moments can occur whenever a customer interacts with your company through product, website, email, billing, servicing, provisioning, or other similar activity. For example, when a customer is notified that they are reaching a usage threshold on their plan, you offer them a plan upgrade. The good news is that there are hundreds of potential touch points that provide opportunities for customers to purchase additional upgraded services. Each of these interstitial points of connection with your consumer gives your business the opportunity to build customer lifetime value (CLV)—a key metric in measuring the health of your recurring business. Over time, this method of strengthening your customer relationship—which can be as significant and long-lasting as a marriage— not only increases profitability, but also cements customer loyalty to your brand.

In a recurring revenue model, monetizing your business goes way beyond exchanging products and services for money. You must leverage each and every revenue moment. Only then will you maximize customer lifetime value (CLV), retain more customers, and leave the door open for existing customers to buy more of what you’re selling.

Yet, retention starts with customer acquisition. Choosing an enticing monetization model that is also well suited to your business is key. Here are four popular ones worth considering:

  1. One-Time

This is the tried-and-true way to sell. Cash is exchanged for goods and services, and the buyer and seller part ways. But there’s a lot that remains unknown: Will the buyer come back? Who knows? One-time transactions depend heavily on constantly luring new customers and direct-contact methods of bringing old customers back, both of which are prohibitively expensive.

Pros: This model is widely known and used. Cons: Your business always starts at zero.

  1. Flat-Rate Subscription

In this basic entry into recurring revenue, the customer receives a good or service, like software or magazines, and they pay the same amount every month to receive or use it. With subscriptions, a high percentage of customers are retained, and their CLV can immediately be added to the bottom line. The good news is that retaining a customer also costs up to 10 times less than acquiring a new one.

Pros: The flat-rate subscription model increases CLV. Cons: It can be a limited, one-size-fits-all solution.

  1. Usage Based

Usage, or consumption based monetization is used for everything from car sharing to cellular data. Pay for what is used, no more, no less. Usage-based business is usually done on a membership or contract basis, so the recurring revenue and increased CLV that comes with subscriptions usually applies here too.

Pros: Usage-based services are a fair and easy way for the customer to buy your product with a low cost of entry and very low risk. Cons: Usage-based recurring revenue is not guaranteed. Usage can also vary, making revenue difficult to predict.

  1. Tiered

Tiered pricing can be based on usage (price per unit increases or decreases with usage). It can be offered along with additional features and levels of quality (silver, gold, platinum) or a combination of the two. The increasing price model is applied to reduce usage (think water and power). The decreasing price model can encourage customers to buy more, but pay less per unit. For example, for cloud storage, you might pay $.029 per GB up to 1TB, but you pay $.019 per GB for 1TB or more.

Pros: Tiered models provide more choice for customers, and more opportunities for revenue moments and additional revenue. Cons: Basic billing systems and many homegrown solutions may not be able to handle complex hybrid models, and customer service is more difficult without an integrated, single source for customer information.

What’s Right for Your Business?

Unless you are selling houses, one-time transactions are probably not the best way to sell your product. When you look at using any of the other models, you have to think about your technology and the processes necessary to handle the sophisticated transactions.

It may seem complex to pull off, but the end game is simple really. The goal is to serve the customer and create the best experience for them. To do so you’ll need to make sure all factions of the company and resources are aligned. With that in place, both your customer and business stand to gain.

Think of your digital business like any good marriage, you want to make sure that your partner (in this case, the customer) has excellent experiences with you to remember over the years. That will strengthen your commitment to each other, so you’ll live happily (and profitably) ever after.

By Tom Dibble

CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS RACING TO KEEP PACE WITH GROWING CYBER THREATS

CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS RACING TO KEEP PACE WITH GROWING CYBER THREATS

The cyberwar is on!

At this stage of the game, the stakes are higher than ever, and safeguarding networks from cyberattacks is a devilish combination of Chicken and Cat-and-Mouse. Attacks are now so commonplace that many events of serious cybersecurity breaches go uncovered by mainstream media.

Despite the rapid advancements in IT security technology, hackers continue to invent even more sophisticated ways of infiltrating systems around the globe. No one is safe—and although the awareness is there, and the threats are very real, some companies still think they are safe and have it covered.

The fact is that it is second by second battle. Entire global networks can be comprised by a single click of the mouse or the press of a button at any given time. Everything is at risk: content, data and network security concerns for businesses, consumers and even governments. Although cyberterrorists always seem to find a way in, leaving the experts scratching their heads, the outlook is not at all as grim as one might suspect.

According to an August 22, 2016 article on Forbes.com magazine, “3 Hot Cybersecurity Stocks,” hacking is now a global growth industry! The cyberwar is on, which is why cybersecurity is the fastest growing sector in technology today. Not only do the good guys want to stop the bad guys—they want to make a profit doing it. It is a win-win from a business standpoint. Attached is an attractive security infographic discovered via IDG Enterprise.

security-defense

Close to 170 cyber attacks against corporations and other industry leaders have been documented by Privacy Rights Clearing House thus far in 2016. The massive breach upon DNC leading the pack as one of the most shocking.

What Companies Should Be Doing

Upwards of 40 percent of investment firms reported increasing the budget for cybersecurity for the year. Given the state of matters, IT security experts have a lot to say to those firms lagging behind. Cybersecurity is a daily investment every company can’t afford not to make.

From small startups to large corporations, everyone in business needs to put network and system security at the top of their priority list. The areas most in need of heightened security are application encryption, event and information management systems, user access management, data-at-rest defenses, and tokenization (the process of substituting a sensitive data element with a non-sensitive equivalent).

Even the little guy on the block should invest in professional IT security management. Your neighbor who just graduated from an online cybersecurity school might not have the chops under his belt to keep up with the lightning speed this cyberwar is gaining. You need serious guards against serious attackers who take no prisoners and spare nothing to get at information and control, sometimes just for the fun of it.

By CJ Callen

6 REASONS WHY BIG DATA ANALYTICS IS A SMART CAREER CHOICE IN 2017

6 REASONS WHY BIG DATA ANALYTICS IS A SMART CAREER CHOICE IN 2017

Big Data Analytics Career Path

With the inception of Big Data, we have witnessed a data revolution around us. Big Data Analytics is one of the biggest trends in IT sector at the moment and the buzz around it is not going to subdue anytime soon. Big Data is everywhere now-a-days, and if the industry forecasts are to be believed, then Big Data Analytics market will continue to grow bigger as businesses realize the importance of making data-driven decisions.

Wondering whether to take up a career in Big Data Analytics or not? If you are not convinced yet, then here are 6 reasons why making the switch to Big Data Analytics is a smart career move in 2017.

1. Exponential Growth Rate

Big Data sector has recorded six times faster growth than the average growth rate of IT industry in the past couple of years. According to the market experts, Big Data sector would sustain the momentum and continue to outpace other IT sectors by a significant margin in the years to come. Currently the size of Big Data Analytics market is around one-tenth of the global IT market, but it is expected to evolve to at least one-third by the end of 2020. So if you are looking to make a career in one of the fastest growing IT sectors, there is no better alternative than Big Data Analytics.

2. Soaring Demand for Qualified Professionals

Big Data initiatives were once reserved only for the giants like Microsoft and Amazon. That’s not the case anymore. Today, organizations of all sizes are venturing out to leverage the power of Big Data. As more and more IT companies are getting involved in Big Data projects, currently there is a big demand for engineers who can help process data at large-scale.

A closer look at the prominent job sites can give you a sense of the huge demand. There has been a steady increase in the number of job opportunities related to Big Data Analytics and the trend is still swinging upwards. It’s no wonder that qualified Big Data professionals are becoming the hottest targets of IT recruiters from all around the globe.

3. Lack of Skilled Professionals

Data is useless without the skill to process and analyze it. Being a relatively young field, the Big Data sector is currently witnessing severe shortage of technical expertise. While the demand is going up steadily, there is a huge deficit on the supply side. Lots of vacant positions have remained unfilled due to the scarcity of skilled professionals. In an industry where opportunities are plenty but skills are scarce, finding a suitable job shouldn’t be too difficult for the candidates having the right qualification.

4. Fat Paychecks

Thanks to the inadequate supply of Big Data skills, companies are willing to shell out lucrative salaries to attract professionals with the right kind of technical expertise. A quick look at the current salary trend for Big Data professionals indicates an exponential growth. According to a recent survey conducted by US-based recruitment agency Burtch Works, Big Data professionals tend to be the highest compensated group of IT employees with an average salary of $115,000 – which is around 30% more than that of other IT professionals with the same experience level.

5. Adaptation Across Different Industry Verticals

The astonishing growth of Big Data is largely attributed to its relevance across different industry verticals. All types of businesses can use the insights derived from Big Data to get an edge over their competitors. Besides the technology sector, Big Data is increasingly being utilized by other industry verticals for business intelligence, predictive analytics and data mining tasks.

Healthcare, consumer appliances, energy sector, manufacturing industry, and banking are a few of the verticals where Big Data has made its presence felt. As a result, the rate of Big Data implementation has increased by leaps and bounds. So the professionals with Big Data expertise can choose which industry to work for, based on their own preferences.

6. Wide Range of Roles and Responsibilities

Last, but not the least, Big Data professionals have a wide variety of positions to choose from. From Data Engineer to Business Analyst, Visualization Specialist to Machine Learning Expert, and Analytics Consultant to Solution Architect – there are so many options available for the aspiring professionals to align their career paths according to their interests and preferences.

Conclusion: Big Data Analytics help organizations derive meaningful insights from raw data to make the right business decisions at the right time. In today’s competitive job market, technology professionals with the right kind of skill-set are finding themselves in high demand as businesses look to harness the power of Big Data. With the increase in demand, shortage of talent, bigger paychecks, multiple job titles and relevance to different industry verticals, Big Data Analytics is certainly a smart career choice in 2017.

By Jack Danielson

SPIES LIKE US ALL AGREE: “CLOUD HAS BEEN A GODSEND

SPIES LIKE US ALL AGREE: “CLOUD HAS BEEN A GODSEND

Cloud Has Been A Godsend

Cloud has been a godsend for folks trying to implement systems quickly and for us to secure workloads better,” said CIA Chief Information Security Officer Sherrill Nicely at a recent conference. Surprised that our spies – ahem, the US intelligence community (IC) – uses cloud? What about security? Who built it and runs it? The story behind it, and its rapid and successful deployment, has a lot of lessons for all of us.

Yes, the CIA is a special place and yes, they do have very special security needs. But, if we think about it, they process vast amounts of information and they need to be agile and flexible to respond to evolving threats and situations. The cloud provides that agility and flexibility plus a virtually unlimited sea of capacity. How do you take advantage of that and still meet those special security needs. The answer was to build a “community cloud” that not only the CIA could use but the whole IC of 17 agencies.

Here is one of the best definitions from the National Institute of Standards:

A community cloud in computing is a collaborative effort in which infrastructure is shared between several organizations from a specific community with common concerns (security, compliance, jurisdiction, etc.), whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. This is controlled and used by a group of organizations that have shared interest.

Sure sounds like this is just what the spooks would want. How they went about getting it was both straightforward and a bit industry shattering. Like most government agencies the CIA ran a procurement. Now Federal procurements are much like a Kabuki dance with very specific steps and regulations that must be followed to the letter. It does not necessarily land up with the government buying the best tech but instead often just selecting the vendor who knows the process the best. Can you say: HealthCare.com?

Nonetheless, the ball got rolling in 2012 and true to the process Microsoft and AT&T protested the CIA’s request-for-proposal specifications in mid-2012, forcing the CIA to pull the procurement and rework it. AWS (Amazon Web Services) then won the contract in early 2013, only to have the process slowed again by protests and legal proceedings from the then only other bidder, IBM.

IBM was and is a big government contractor. AWS at the time was not so much. The odds were that IBM would take this candy away from baby AWS. At first, that’s what certainly seemed to play out when the GAO – first stop in the protest process – declared for IBM. But AWS did not take it lying down and sued in federal court – the next step. To everyone’s surprise, the judge not only gave AWS the contract award but also slammed IBM for some sketchy proposal tactics. This was an industry moment of truth. Mighty Big Blue was not only defeated but all agreed the Amazon solution was better and IBM had tried to cheat to beat it!

AWS got the green light to start work in late 2013 and by early 2015 – less than 18 months – it was up and operational. Then AWS took it a step further with the CIA’s blessing. In the commercial world, AWS operates the AWS Marketplace. The AWS Marketplace was launched in 2012 to accommodate and foster the growth of AWS services from third-party providers that have built their own solutions on top of the Amazon Web Services platform. It provides a one-stop shop to get all kinds of applications and services.

AWS said why not do the same thing for the intelligence community. It launched the IC Marketplace allowing spy agencies – led by the CIA – to evaluate and buy common software, developer tools and other products that meet stringent security standards. This really shakes up the usual Federal software procurement process and enables even more of the flexibility and agility that were the original goals. Once your offering has been vetted for the Marketplace any properly cleared shop can try and buy.

Pretty nifty, eh? When was the last time you thought of your IT as a godsend?

Originally published August 18th, 2016

By John Pientka

Artificial intelligence In the Enterprise

Artificial intelligence In the Enterprise

Artificial Intelligence

Since the dawn of the computer age we have been enthralled by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. It dominated the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, and it was a passion so strong that it bled into the fabric of day-to-day existence. Everyone wanted their own robot servant, everyone got a little giddy at the prospect of a walking, talking, thinking robot.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction did get a few things right about the future. But while the modern world is not too far removed from the imagined utopias of Arthur C. Clark and H. G. Wells, we are lacking that one key feature: an intelligent, calculating, man-made brain.

At least, thats what many of us believe. The truth is that AI is all around us. It powers many of the things we rely on and the companies that we love. Without it, we wouldnt be able to use the internet or play computer games, and the manufacturing world would look decidedly poorer as well.

So, while we dont quite have a robot in every home, our lives are still ruled by some form of AI. It may not be as advanced or as intelligent as those aforementioned sci-fi authors had hoped, but its more advanced than many of us realize.

And at least we dont have to worry about that AI overthrowing humanity and taking over the world. Not yet, anyway. Infographic discovered via ReadWrite.com

AI

Artificial Intelligence In The Enterprise

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THE ENTERPRISE

Artificial Intelligence

Since the dawn of the computer age we have been enthralled by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. It dominated the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, and it was a passion so strong that it bled into the fabric of day-to-day existence. Everyone wanted their own robot servant, everyone got a little giddy at the prospect of a walking, talking, thinking robot.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction did get a few things right about the future. But while the modern world is not too far removed from the imagined utopias of Arthur C. Clark and H. G. Wells, we are lacking that one key feature: an intelligent, calculating, man-made brain.

Fintech-comic-cloud

At least, thats what many of us believe. The truth is that AI is all around us. It powers many of the things we rely on and the companies that we love. Without it, we wouldnt be able to use the internet or play computer games, and the manufacturing world would look decidedly poorer as well.

So, while we dont quite have a robot in every home, our lives are still ruled by some form of AI. It may not be as advanced or as intelligent as those aforementioned sci-fi authors had hoped, but its more advanced than many of us realize.

And at least we dont have to worry about that AI overthrowing humanity and taking over the world. Not yet, anyway. Infographic discovered via ReadWrite.com

AI

By David Jester

DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT TWO-FACTOR AUTHORIZATION IS?

DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT TWO-FACTOR AUTHORIZATION IS?

Two-Factor Authorization

Two-factor authorization. Most of us think we know what it is, but a recent news event brought something alarming to my attention: even huge companies misunderstand what two-factor authorization means, and your personal information could end up at risk because of this.

Let’s start with this recent report: United Airlines changed its security protocols.

Originally, the account holder only needed a username and password. Years ago, that was enough. But, in today’s world, simply displaying a username and password is not sufficient for keeping you protected.

Changes have been made to the security structure of United Airlines’ accounts. Instead of just typing in your password and username, they have now integrated two additional security questions for you to answer. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not so much.

 

Answering two security questions, in addition to your password and username, is nothing new. Many people do this on a daily basis. A couple examples of these security questions include: “What elementary school did you attend?” and “What was the name of your first pet?”. While these do offer another layer of security, some are up in arms over how small the security blanket really is with these types of questions. Not only that, but United Airlines is claiming these additional security questions are a form of “two-factor authorization.” In reality, they aren’t even close.

What Is Two-factor Authorization?

Two-factor authorization is a much more stable and secure form of protection for people. At the heart of two-factor authorization is the mantra Jon Evans puts forth on TechCrunch (post cited above): “Something you know, something you have.” A third factor (“something you are”) may also be used in conjunction with the first two. “Something you know” is anything from a PIN to a password or even a pattern of some kind. Most people are used to putting in a PIN when they use their credit or debit card to buy gas, for example.

The second factor is “something you have.” This is a physical factor. Most of the time, the physical factor takes the form of a card. Sticking with the gas example, swiping your card at the reader acts as the physical factor. In other instances, you may be given a physical token for one-time use. Either way, a physical factor is in play.

Something you are” is bit more advanced. If you’ve ever used a fingerprint scanner to get into work (along with a card), you’ve experienced two-factor authorization. Along with your fingerprints, your voice is also a form of “something you are.” Both forms are becoming ever more present in the digital world and are key to keeping you safe.

Now you know what two-factor authorization is. But how does it help you? And why is it important? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the two security questions and two-factor authorization.

The Difference

A pro for the basic security questions is that it does offer an extra layer of protection to your account. However, that’s really where the pros end. And that’s not good.

A pro of the two-factor authorization method is simple: physicality. Hackers have an extremely difficult time breaking into an account that’s using two-factor authorization. Why? Because they actually need either your physical card (token) or a recording of your voice or a copy of your fingerprint. Essentially, the hacker needs to meet you, physically, and steal your belongings, to hack into your account.

Looking at the cons, the two-factor authorization method really doesn’t have any. However, the cons for the basic security questions are obvious. Not only can hackers successfully hack your account over the computer using these security questions, but the questions themselves pose a problem.

People tend to choose the first two questions to answer. They rarely look at the list and pick two meaningful questions. Thus, hackers have a much easier chance of guessing your answers.

It’s All Up to You Now

In the world of cyber security, two-factor authorization is the way to go. With a physical component attached to it, this method is a much safer choice for your business. If you have any accounts that do not use two-factor authorization, make sure you answer security questions that appear further down the list. According to a senior writer at CNET, the best way to create a safe and secure password is to pick four random words. This will give you a leg up on the criminals.

With the advent of two-factor authorization, hacking should be more difficult. Only time will tell.

By Kayla Matthews

PASSION AND STRONG RELATIONSHIPS KEY TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS

PASSION AND STRONG RELATIONSHIPS KEY TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS

Investment Strategies

Sponsored series by the Valsef Group

Investment, venture capitalism, mergers and acquisitions. For many, these endeavours are considered the sport of the rich and famous. But one Canadian startup is proving that strong relationships and passionate minds are just as, if not better, equipped for these rewarding undertakings. CloudTweaks discusses Valsef Group, its accomplishments, investment strategies and philosophies, with co-founder OuissamYoussef.

Bright Beginnings

Valsef was founded in 2011 after the partners successful sale of their first business.Initially created as a vehicle to invest in, the partners started by investing in stocks,performing deep dives into different business models, expanding their knowledge, andgenerally trying to figure out what to do next. A year in and their internet business was launched, buying and commercialising internet-based publishers they felt had great potential. Three years on and the company started their own software business, buying and investing in software businesses that cater to very specific verticals.

Strategies & Philosophies

Valsef’s four pillar investment strategy has delivered high returns along with a low loss ratio. With the four mainstays of management, competitive advantage period (CAP), quality, and price, Ouissam Youssef insists that success lies first in superior management and the proper appreciation of human resources. With this in place, it’s important to find companies in the CAP – no mean feat. Quality, of course, is essential to businessstrength and Valsef looks for characteristics such as low cyclicality, high returns on capital employed, and sustainable pricing power, to name a few. And finally, price. In business, it’s nearly always going to come down to cold, hard cash, and Youssef suggests it would be ‘grossly hypocritical’ should he not employ the capital of Valsef shareholders rigorously and diligently.

Ouissam Youssef explains that their investment philosophy differs between stocks, internet and software projects, but recognises that Valsef has a very limited circle of competence and so sticks to the areas in which they’re most comfortable and capable. Says Youssef, “Whenever we try to get fancy and invest in stuff that’s not our core competencies we haven’t done well.Valsef isn’t about flash or glamour, but rather hard work, proficiency, and staying power. We want businesses that can’t be destroyed by technological innovation or a change in consumer tastes. We look for businesses that have fantastic economics,” says Youssef.

When Valsef invests in or acquires internet-based businesses, the team begins management from headquarters but keeps existing employees in place. Youssef explains, “We usually have a lot to bring to the table in terms of our ability to improve the content and advertising relationships, so that’s the first thing we work on.” With the software businesses they invest in, Valsef runs each company independently and leaves present management and employees in place. Thereafterthey share best practices helping these companies run optimally and focus on the long term, which, says Ouissam Youssef, “sometimes in and by itself improves the positioning of the company.

Prosperous Endeavors

Valnet Inc, the “crown jewel” of Valsef Group, is one of, if not the, fastest growing web-based publishing/media companies according to Ouissam Youssef. Buying brands that have a strong following and a solid base, the company expands qualitatively through the production of highquality editorial and video content. Says Youssef, “Our philosophy is simple; we build the best content for consumption onlineValnet now owns some of the fastest growing YouTube channels with those were started from scratch leveraging the popularity of the publishing brands we’ve acquired.

Valsoft, the software company launched more recently, entails the acquisition of established and enduring software companies catering to specific verticals. But Youssef emphasises that they’re in it for the long haul. These acquisitions are run in a decentralised fashion, leaving businesses where they are, with a president controlling the company. “We’re here to help,” says Ouissam Youssef. “We find that sometimes being the top guy is a lonely job; you don’t have many people to bounce ideas off of. So we’ve built a kind of ‘President’s Club’ for our presidents to share ideas and best practices, helping improve the performance of each of the independent companies.”

All in all, Valsef’s fiveyear journey displays a remarkable progression with the morepragmatic backing of hard work, informed foresight, and requisite expertise. The next five years will likely be fascinating, to say the least.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization And The Cloud “Right now, the biggest technology shift in the cloud is a rapid evolution from simple virtual machine (VM) hosting toward containerization’’ says the CTO of Microsoft Azure, Mark Russinovitch, a man who deals with the evolving cloud infrastructure every day. In his words, containerization is “an incredibly efficient, portable, and lightweight…

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…

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 Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

Cloud Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud We’ve been covering cloud computing extensively over the past number of years on CloudTweaks and have truly enjoyed watching the adoption and growth of it. Many novices are still trying to wrap their mind around what the cloud it is and what it does, while others such as thought…

Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

Checklist For Startups  There are many people who aspire to do great things in this world and see new technologies such as Cloud computing and Internet of Things as a tremendous offering to help bridge and showcase their ideas. The Time Is Now This is a perfect time for highly ambitious startups to make some…

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services Cloud Banking Insights Series focuses on big data in the financial services industry and whether it is a security threat or actually a massive opportunity. How does big data fit into an overall cloud strategy? Most FI’s have a positive mind-set towards cloud IT consumption as it not only enables…

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

The Future (IoT) By the year 2020, it is being predicted that 40 to 80 billion connected devices will be in use. The Internet of Things or IoT will transform your business and home in many truly unbelievable ways. The types of products and services that we can expect to see in the next decade…

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences Many people have heard of cloud computing. There is however a tremendous number of people who still cannot differentiate between Public, Private & Hybrid cloud offerings.  Here is an excellent infographic provided by the group at iWeb which goes into greater detail on this subject. Infographic source: iWeb

Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

Programming Languages What programming languages are the building blocks to help develop and facilitate these present and future cloud platforms? Where can we learn and develop these skills in order to help us build our own careers? A couple of options would be to visit sites such as Stackoverflow which can provide you with a good source of information.…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

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…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

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…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

Enterprise File Sharing Solution Businesses have varying file sharing needs. Large, multi-regional businesses need to synchronize folders across a large number of sites, whereas small businesses may only need to support a handful of users in a single site. Construction or advertising firms require sharing and collaboration with very large (several Gigabytes) files. Financial services…

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

Data Insecurity In The Cloud Today’s escalating attacks, vulnerabilities, breaches, and losses have cut deeply across organizations and captured the attention of, regulators, investors and most importantly customers. In many cases such incidents have completely eroded customer trust in a company, its services and its employees. The challenge of ensuring data security is far more…