Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Big Data Analytics And The Cloud: A Perfect Match?

Big Data Analytics And The Cloud: A Perfect Match?

Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics can create significant value for businesses. The cloud is the perfect platform to economically generate insights from big data facts.

Apple’s recent purchase of Topsy, a Twitter analytics platform, stirred up a storm of speculation as to Apple’s motivation for the acquisition. To the casual observer, Topsy and Apple would appear to be strange bedfellows. But for anyone with an understanding of how big data analytics can impact revenue, help businesses understand their customer base, and find new business opportunities, the acquisition seems like a very shrewd move. Apple’s purchase of Topsy gives it access to two potentially lucrative assets: a huge amount of data in the form of Twitter’s firehose, and employees with the expertise to use that information to Apple’s advantage.

How Can Big Data Analytics Support Business Intent?

Big data has brought business intelligence into the 21st century. In 2013, we stand on the cusp of a revolution in our ability to gather data, analyze it, and integrate the insights it brings into decision-making processes. There is a torrent of potentially useful and exploitable data created every day. Twitter’s data is just one example, but it’s an example that Apple thought it worth paying $200 million for.

In a recent study from Bain & Company that surveyed 400 companies with revenues largely in excess of $1 billion, those companies that demonstrated big data analytics expertise were twice as likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance within their industry, three times more likely to execute decisions as intended, and five times more likely to make decisions quickly.

However, as has often been said, big data is the name of a problem, not a solution. Within the petabytes of existing data, there are insights to be gleaned that can guide almost every aspect of business development. But, the vast mass of data is practically useless. To make use of it, businesses need to collect it, filter it for relevance, analyze it with the application of sentiment analysis, geolocation tools, and other techniques, and generate information that usefully contributes to furthering the goals of the business.

The Cloud As An Enabler Of Big Data Analytics

Forrester has defined big data as “Technologies and techniques that make capturing value from data at an extreme scale economical.” The key word here is economical. If the costs of extracting, processing, and making use of data exceed the advantages to be gleaned, then it’s a pointless exercise. Fortunately, as data volumes have grown, so has a technology that helps bring its use into the ambit of most businesses. Cloud technology, whether public, private, or some combination of the two, is an essential component in enabling businesses to generate a substantial ROI from big data analytics.

Collection And Filtration

As I said earlier, most data out there is useless, but the mass of data still needs to be filtered for relevance and stored in a form that’s useful. There’s very little benefit in investing in huge amounts in in-house or collocated infrastructure to temporarily store data, the vast majority of which will be discarded. There is also nothing to be gained from bringing the data behind a company’s firewalls and into their internal network, with all the IT management headaches that entails.

This stage of the big data funnel is a perfect application of public cloud platforms, which can provide scalable on-demand compute and storage resources.

Analysis

Once data has been rendered into a usable form, it has to be analysed to generate actionable information. It is rarely necessary to keep the raw data that is fed to analytics applications over the long term, but what is usefully stored is the results of the analytics process. Public or hybrid cloud technology can be used for the analytics phase, employing Hadoop or an alternative for the storage and processing of data sets. In the case of hybrid cloud users, the raw analytics phase can be carried out with public cloud infrastructure, and the processed and actionable information brought in-house with a private cloud component.

Visualization, Integration, And Collaboration

This is the stage at which we actually have useful information that can be used to guide decision making, but it still has to be made available to users in a form that is interpretable and integrated into existing business systems, such as enterprise resource planning and customer resource management applications. Software as a Service applications running in the cloud and taking advantage of the data developed in earlier stages powerfully enables integration and allows users to collaborate.

Apple’s purchase of Topsy is simply a logical consequence of a recognition of the benefits big data – in this case of social media derived insights – can provide to business. The cloud is the perfect platform for making economical use of that data.

By Moazzam Adnan,

Moazzam Adnan joined Atlantic.Net in December 2000 as a Product Manager. He currently holds the position of Director of Business Development. His approach to business development is innovative and active, and he is always looking for pioneering strategies to grow the business via novel partnerships and revenue opportunities.  Google + Moazzam Adnan

Good Bots And Bad Bots Online: They Outnumber Us

Good Bots And Bad Bots Online: They Outnumber Us

Good Bots And Bad Bots Online: They Outnumber Us

bot-traffic-report-2013

Bots account for 61.5% of all Internet traffic, according to a new infographic published by online data security company Incapsula. This represents a 21% increase over the past year, and it signifies not only an increase in automated web traffic, but a significant increase in activity by the bad bots – those out to skim information and infiltrate databases and computers everywhere.

Of particular interest is the revelation that half of all bot traffic is “good,” meaning that it is comprised of search engines and other automated programs that supposedly collect data about us for our benefit. The other half, however, consists of “bad” bots, which Incapsula subdivides by type.

These consist of the following:

  • Scrapers: some of these steal email addresses for spam purposes, while others reverse-engineer pricing and business models – essentially scraping data from existing websites for re-use elsewhere;
  • Hackers: tools that break in to other sites to steal credit card data or inject malicious code;
  • Spammers: these steal email addresses and send out billions of useless and annoying email messages, as well as inviting “search engine blacklisting;”
  • Impersonators: these specialize in intelligence gathering, DdoS attacks and bandwidth consumption.

In a recent interview with CloudTweaks, Incapsula CEO Gur Shatz stated that “the inadequacies of today’s defenses, juxtaposed with the ever-rising value of the information that can be stolen, represent a huge opportunity for cybercriminals. Personal or corporate devices are a tremendous intelligence source, carrying richer and more accurate data than ever before, but protections on these devices still mostly rely on outdated technologies such as passwords.” Compounding this issue is the degree by which so many devices are interconnected, and that the public remains largely unaware of the unrelenting presence and of bots and other automated programsthat visit their computers and read their data either unnoticed, or worse with the user’s consent.

Shatz points out that even a company without any major secrets or critical online functionality is still subject to being used as a “mule” to conduct cybercrime. “Even small online businesses such as ecommerce sites are vulnerable,” he says, “because downtime or slowness costs them both money and reputation damage”.

In the short space of one year the proportion of bots to human users has shifted from roughly 50-50 to 60-40, a trend that with most things technology-related, promises to continue, in accordance with Moore’s law, to the point that the vast majority of all web traffic will be automated, and much of that will be up to no good.

By Steve Prentice

Understanding The Future Of Big Data – E-commerce, Healthcare, Charities And More…

Understanding The Future Of Big Data – E-commerce, Healthcare, Charities And More…

Understanding The Future Of Big Data – E-commerce, Healthcare, Charities And More…

There’s been a ton of talk about big data and its use over the past year. While many still aren’t quite sure how best to use the copious amounts of information gathered, many persist that it is of great importance. The question remains, will this big data hype continue on through 2014 or will its significance die out?

big-data-trends

One of the greater users of big data up to this point has been commerce companies, especially ecommerce; utilizing client online shopping behavior to target and up-sell, and thus increasing prosperity. Even with commerce companies being on top of the list for this big data excitement many others genera of businesses take part in its utilization including most big institutions, universities and even those in health care.

Considering the great amount of data that is collected on a yearly basis and the value that has been placed on such information, it stands to reason that this hype will not die out any time soon. One of the fastest evolving fields of technology from the good old pen and paper to the use of tablets and other on the go technologies is that of the healthcare systems. With each health care required registration that includes pages upon pages of personal information from each patient, it is no wonder why there has been a push for significant technology upgrades and why the price tag of nearly a trillion dollars has been stamped on the info the field collects.

Another field on the rise for getting mixed up in big data is that of philanthropy. There are nearly 2 million nonprofits running worldwide and while philanthropists are eager to also utilize the vast amounts of big data already circulating to target potential donors, the donation process thus far has come with a great sense of anonymity. Other than those few who tweet or post about their recent charitable behaviors on Facebook, it may be difficult to gather useful data on what drives donors to contribute and what attracts donors to particular charities, as much of the information gathered by other companies is usually kept quite confidential in the realm of philanthropy. However, just as other security measures can be breached, so can online donation information. It may just be that the use of big data in philanthropy is permanently changed for the future.

With the current value we have on big data, we will see a definite rise in its collection and use in the upcoming months. What is unclear is how long this data excitement will last; this of course will run alongside the value at which we put on such information.

By Glenn Blake

7 Essential Facts About SharePoint And ECM

7 Essential Facts About SharePoint And ECM

7 Essential Facts About SharePoint And ECM

Pioneer enterprise content management systems like SharePoint can help in take up your business to the next level, but only if you use them correctly Here are seven things you need to know about this leading web application platform featuring the Office suite, collaborative workforce software and more:

Sharepoint-ECM

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Cloud Computing is Transforming ECM

Cloud computing is becoming a major concern for modern business people. Mid-sized businesses have been particularly quick to pick up on this trend and take advantage of everything cloud computing technology has to offer, particularly those looking to expand their operations and become more flexible. Small businesses, as well as big businesses and corporations, have been a bit slower to adopt this technology overall. SharePoint offers a seamless solution for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

sharepoint-1

Microsoft SharePoint Puts Safety First

There are still some concerns over the safety and security of content that is stored in and accessed through the cloud, but working with a Microsoft platform offers the kind of security and peace of mind that business leaders need. The fact is that cloud computing in SharePoint opens up new doors to cost effectively handle demanding workloads with a flexible workforce structure and limited physical space.

Regulatory Compliance Grows in Complexity

As all these new trends continue to emerge, regulatory compliance has quietly kept growing in complexity. In order to keep up with the constantly changing face of local, state, federal and industrywide regulations, businesses in many fields must have ECM solutions that address the issues of regulatory compliance and manage risks. SharePoint offers things like archiving, eDiscovery and search features that ensure regulatory compliance, ease the undesirable process of litigation and keep businesses prepared for new regulations still on the horizon.

SharePoint Consulting is the Key

The thought of keeping up with all these trends and complying with complex and evolving regulations is enough to make your head spin, but with the right enterprise content management solutions, it’s possible to do it all. Many experts agree that businesses struggling to keep up with these issues and trends should invest in the services of a dedicated consulting firm with experience in these vital areas. By assessing current ECM strategies, designing effective ECM programs and ensuring they are effectively implemented, knowledgeable content management consultants can help take your enterprise to the next level rather than being left in the dust.

Social Media Also Enters the Mix

The market is also demanding more social media functions within its enterprise content management systems and solutions. Social media can play an integral role in the success of a business’ ECM strategies, including customer service, marketing and sales efforts. Fortunately, Microsoft SharePoint 2013 offers a variety of social content functions and collaborative workplace features that rely on the same concepts as the most familiar social media platforms.

The Market Demands Mobility

Experts are taking notice of the new demands of the market with regard to enterprise content management, and mobility is certainly a top trend, according to leading sources. Businesspeople and their customers are growing more and more accustomed to being able to access documents and data from any location, at any time of day or night, but not all businesses are prepared to meet this demand. This is why consultants and analysts recommend that businesses of all shapes and sizes invest in ECM solutions that address these demands for mobility. SharePoint supports the use of mobile devices in a way that enables more effective access to content in an easily viewable and usable format on virtually any mobile computing device.

There’s Always Something New

There are always new ways to modify SharePoint to give your business a competitive edge by boosting productivity and fostering innovation through collaboration. In addition to the latest updates to the software, experts also develop innovative techniques for modifying the platform in order to serve the needs of their clients. This is why it is recommended to invest in SharePoint consulting. Consultants can help businesses migrate to SharePoint, update to the latest version of SharePoint and transfer content from several different sources to the SharePoint platform, all while ensuring regulatory compliance and cost effectiveness.

jim-kaneBy Jim Kane,

Jim is the SharePoint and Collaboration Practice Lead for Paragon Solutions. Paragon Solutions is an advisory consulting and systems integration firm specializing in various industries.For more information on Paragon’s SharePoint and ECM solutions, contact marketing@consultparagon.com.

5 Cloud Security Predictions For 2014

5 Cloud Security Predictions For 2014

5 Cloud Security Predictions For 2014

Data security is always a hot topic among IT industry pundits, but I believe 2013 will go down as the year security crawled out of the basement and into the cultural zeitgeist.gazzang_image

Edward Snowden and the NSA spying revelations may have been the biggest tech story of the year. And mass data breaches at Twitter, Facebook, Adobe and The New York Times (just to name a few) were PR nightmares that raised the profile of data security — particularly in the cloud — as a recurring topic of conversation in the boardroom.

No doubt today’s breaking news will define many of tomorrow’s innovative technologies. We’re watching these developments closely at Gazzang and continuing to evolve and enhance our solutions to meet the growing needs of enterprises in the cloud and with big data.

As we close the book on 2013, I’d like to share a few cloud security-related predictions for 2014:

  •  SaaS vendors will offer encryption keys revocable by end users. SaaS providers understand they have an obligation to protect sensitive data on behalf of their clients. I believe more cloud vendors will provide encryption, and allow their clients to control access to the encrypted data by giving them ultimate control of the keys. This includes the ability to revoke the key and render data unreadable by the SaaS vendor.
  • Vulnerability of APIs will be exposed. APIs are increasingly popular for application integration because they enable apps (and soon Internet-connected objects) to request data from each other. Yet exposing core business data and processes via APIs makes them more susceptible to hackers — increasing the risk for intrusion attacks, data theft or DOS attacks.
  • European companies migrate data from US-based cloud and SaaS providers in response to NSA Prism scandal. US-based cloud service providers including Google, Amazon and Microsoft account for approximately 85 percent of global markets. However, a recent Cloud Security Alliance survey of 500 respondents found that 56 percent of non-US residents were less likely to use US-based cloud providers in light of recent revelations about government access to customer information. In response, the EU’s European Cloud Partnership is drafting a charter to promote an EU-based digital cloud service.
  • As NSA concerns fade, data privacy concerns skyrocket. Most people and organizations will realize they’re not being targeted by the NSA; however, the residual effect of the spying scandal is that data privacy will become a scorching hot topic in 2014. A recent poll shows 86 percent of U.S. Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints using a variety of methods, and more than 70 percent of E.U. citizens want to have more control over how their data is used online.
  • Major trustees of consumer data, such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook begin to offer consumer-based key management services, where the provider hosts the encryption and the end-user manages the keys to their personal data. Consumer cloud storage providers tend to design systems that emphasize recoverability over security. However, as organizations like the NSA continue to snoop on citizens, cloud services face increasing pressure to up the ante in privacy protections and data security, allowing users to hold their own encryption keys and prevent access to sensitive data that might otherwise fall subject to government subpoena.

Larry_WarnockBy Larry Warnock, President & CEO/Gazzang

Larry is responsible for Gazzang’s leadership, operations and strategic direction. He brings more than 27 years of operational expertise working with startups and established technology companies to his role at Gazzang, particularly in the enterprise software, security and data center tools markets.

Open Innovation And Freelancing – The Cloud And The Crowd

Open Innovation And Freelancing – The Cloud And The Crowd

Open Innovation and Freelancing – The Cloud and the Crowd

The State of Enterprise Crowdsourcing INFOGRAPHIC_001

Back in 2007, before the cloud was called the cloud, the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI), an organization formed by the U.S. Congress to assist in cleaning up the lasting damage from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, sought to find creative techniques for separating oil from water in recovery barges in the sub-freezing temperatures of the Alaskan winter, where everything turns solid, or at least extremely sludgy, making cleanup extremely difficult. The OSRI turned to InnoCentive, a centre dedicated to open innovation by opening up challenging engineering and scientific problems to the world, and providing rewards for people who are able to come up with a solution. The OSRI found a solution in the mind and experience of one John Davis, whose background was not in the oil industry, but rather in the concrete industry, where vibrating metal poles were commonly used to keep concrete from hardening too soon. He proposed that the same technique should be used for the oil sludge, and thus brought together two worlds that had previously seldom interacted.

The OSRI example is just one of many case studies that highlight the growing power of connecting people through various cloud technologies, such as crowdsourcing, open innovation and freelancing.

Access to FaceBook in the workplace, for example, has long been maligned by senior management circles as being a timewaster and a poor example to visiting customers. However other organizations are recognizing major benefits from the data and atmosphere of FaceBook-style social media: it connects internal people who might otherwise never meet, allowing their mutually compatible talents to be joined and used for the benefit of the organization. Others are starting to recognize that an employee’s social media profile might actually be a better indicator of performance than more traditional personality tests, and research, such as that done recently at Cornell University backs this up.

Freelancing, too, has become a major new channel of employment opportunity for professionals of all ages, from students just starting out, to more seasoned workers either looking for new horizons, or having the choice forced upon them through downsizing. Cloud-based freelancing sites such as elance.com, freelancer.com, guru.com and odesk.com provide an opportunity for people to meet: those who need talent and those who have skills to sell. The pay for many of these jobs is lower than it might be inside the walls of a bricks-and-mortar company, but they often lead to repeat and referral jobs and in some cases, longer-term contracts.

Companies are discovering that instead of simply being time wasters, the social side of cloud technology actually helps people connect in ways they simply cannot or will not in more traditional avenues, such as meetings and email. Superconnectors, those people who are naturally able to network and communicate – the movers and shakers of any corporate community – are more likely to be found through the various channels of the cloud than anywhere else. Innovative minds, too, might not be easily spotted using traditional terminologies of résumés, but instead through keywords and hashtags.

Companies that stand to survive into the next decade are ones that see the cloud revolution as not simply one of technological change, as in shifting data from internal servers to cloud-based storage, but instead that envision a wholesale change in relationships with employees and with employees’ talents. Those that embrace a dynamic cross-pollination by allowing the social media side of the cloud to become a fully supported element of workplace society will benefit from a degree of innovation and interaction that is no longer a luxury as it is a necessity.

By Steve Prentice

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – New Delivery System

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – New Delivery System



Amazon-Drones-cloud_178
By David Fletcher

Are you looking to supercharge your Newsletter, Powerpoint presentation, Social media campaign or Website? Our universally recognized tech related comics can help you. Contact us for information on our commercial licensing rates.

Smart Pens And The Personal Cloud

Smart Pens And The Personal Cloud

Smart Pens And The Personal Cloud 

Imagine for a moment the following conversation. This conversation is one that has happened for years around water coolers. But now you have wonder if in fact there are ulterior motives to that accidental or apparently forgetting your phone in a conference room.Livescribe

Have you noticed recently that Bob leaves his phone everywhere a lot? As in yesterday I found it propped up in the conference room. The day before that it was sitting by the water cooler. Anyway if it were anyone else I wouldn’t care but Bob always seems to know what is going on. So it makes me nervous.” Disembodied voice number 1.

Bob does seem to always know what is going on.” Disembodied voice number 2.

The concept of personal cloud is intriguing. Your devices connected in a way that benefits what you need at any specific time. The reality of Bob’s personal cloud in this case is more a security issue then a sit around the table and talk about it issue. Is there a line where leaving your device isn’t’ simply being forgetful?

If you see a phone left in the room you do have to wonder. Which got me thinking about what else you have to worry about. Smart pens can record audio natively on the device. Some of the newer Smart pens actually uses the audio recording of the device it is connected to (iPad, iPhone, Android Tablet, Laptop) to record and store audio. Video pens record HD video – again right on the device. They aren’t bugs in the sense that it’s native recording with no transmission. It is a great boon and a new security risk. If you see Bob’s phone on the table, you have to wonder if Bob is actually still in the meeting, listening. After all he always seems to know what is going on.

Your personal or company provided device can quickly become a location based listening service. By location based it means wherever you are at the time the recording starts. The company or anyone who hijacks your phone can use it to listen to what you are talking about, virtually 100% of the time. Using the Smart pen or any other remote device you can easily see what is going on. You can even use your phone to transmit to your watch using some of the new Smart watch applications.

From a “need” perspective this ability to create an audio recording of a meeting this is great. With products such as LiveScribe and other devices there are even great supporting cloud services. You can quickly and easily record your meeting, add notes and publish it on the service. It takes less than 5 minutes to get everything settled and shared via the cloud services. I’ve found that people actually like having notes to review post meeting and having both the written and audio notes makes a significant impact.

Of course this new technology can create behavior problems. Is it wrong to smash a phone left in a conference room? Most likely that is overkill. You should however remove items left in the conference room and place them outside the room, just to be careful. Its always a good idea to reduce the number of leaks possible by as many portable devices left “by accident” in the conference room. PS, while you are removing devices make sure the video teleconference system isn’t on with the in the room monitor shut off.

This isn’t an article designed to scare people into running around conference rooms picking up pens and phones and then chucking them out the window. This article is about your personal security. It is also to begin the conversation about the personal cloud and eventually personal cloud space. At some point as personal clouds expand there has to be a personal cloud space limit. Where does your cloud end?

By Scott Andersen

Scott works as a software architect and has been involved in IT projects over the past 17 years. Before that, Scott was a public school teacher in Bloomington Indiana.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

CloudTweaks Comics
5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

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The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

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Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

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The Storytelling Machine: Big Content and Big Data

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

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Big Data – Top Critical Technology Trend For The Next Five Years

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The Monstrous IoT Connected Cloud Market

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Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

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The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

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The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

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Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

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What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

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Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

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