Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Cloud Infographic: Reasons To Adopt Cloud Accounting In 2014

Cloud Infographic: Reasons To Adopt Cloud Accounting In 2014

Cloud Infographic: Reasons To Adopt Cloud AccountingIn 2014

Any small business owner knows that bookkeeping is a necessary evil that takes time and energy away from the revenue-earning aspects of the business. It can be frustrating to try and keep track of all of the transactions associated with your business. It can be complicated further by erratic cash flow. Having a cost efficient accounting system reduces many of these frustrations… Continue reading the article:  Top 10 Reasons For Making the Switch to Cloud Accounting Software

Included is a terrific infographic provided courtesy of Sage.

cloud-accounting

Infographic Source: Sage

The Right Way To Do Exchange In The Cloud

The Right Way To Do Exchange In The Cloud

The Right Way To Do Exchange In The Cloud

The Story of Exchange Server

For the past decade, front office and back office systems, such as CRM, payroll, and document management, have gradually moved to the cloud. That change has been relatively seamless. But now enterprises are contemplating and executing the migration of once immovable major systems that have been ensconced inside the walls of the corporation for decades. At the top of the list is Exchange Server, Microsoft’s enterprise stalwart.

With the introduction of Office 365 in 2011, Microsoft is encouraging businesses to shift core apps like Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, to the cloud. It’s an attractive prospect for most organizations: offload the maintenance and security to Microsoft yet keep the same basic look, feel and experience for employees. Office 365 is a fine offering for small to mid-size businesses, but larger enterprises looking to make the move to the cloud should consider new options for Exchange in the cloud, such as the one now offered by SilverSky in partnership with IBM.

In this white paper, we look at the best way for enterprises to make the move to the cloud and explore how to ensure that security, scalability, and flexibility are not compromised.

The Unending Struggles of IT

Exchange Online and Office 365 aren’t ideal, but that doesn’t mean the traditional, on-premises Exchange Server world is Nirvana. The already over-burdened IT departments in large enterprises face unending struggles. With small staffs, they’re charged with developing apps, managing desktops, overseeing firewalls, provisioning and maintaining servers, and answering every question imaginable about the ballooning number of mobile devices in today’s enterprise. You name it, they’re doing it. So managing and securing a large Exchange Server installation is often the last thing they want to focus on.

server-exchange

But if IT doesn’t focus on it, you know who might? Malicious hackers looking to exploit any threat vector they can find. And a system like Exchange—with its expansive reach across the enterprise, its hooks into every employee, and often only cursory oversight from IT—is as ripe a target as there is. Microsoft is constantly patching vulnerabilities in Exchange, on the well-known Patch Tuesdays, but it’s unclear how many enterprises regularly apply those patches. Unpatched, Exchange can be insecure and a major security threat to an entire corporation.

Looking at it Differently

In April of 2014, Microsoft will stop extended support for Exchange 2003 and a few years later Exchange

2007 will suffer a similar fate. So the many companies on either of those versions have a choice to make: Stick with on-premises Exchange headaches or cross their fingers and opt for the inherent risks and compromises involved in Office 365. At the same time, many IT professionals must be asking why there isn’t another way. There is.

Some vendors are looking at it differently. For example, SilverSky has teamed up with IBM to provide Fortune 100-grade Exchange 2013 in IBM’s SmartCloud. The solution comes with the security, customizations and performance of a premises-based Exchange 2013 installation combined with the ease of use and low maintenance of a cloud implementation.

Hosted Exchange 2013 from SilverSky and IBM is highly configurable, fully integrated with Active Directory giving your users the same experience as it would be if you were running messaging yourself. The SilverSky approach also builds in comprehensive email protection that helps mitigate risks, prevent the loss of sensitive information, and ensure compliance with internal policies and government regulations.

Read Full Whitepaper

Cloud Infographic: XBOX One VS. Playstation 4 (Who Will Win The Battle Of Black Friday?)

Cloud Infographic: XBOX One VS. Playstation 4 (Who Will Win The Battle Of Black Friday?)

Cloud Infographic: XBOX One VS. Playstation 4 (Who Will Win The Battle Of Black Friday?)

In the spirit of the approaching Black Friday and follow up to the PS4 Vs. Xbox One Gaming Consoles infographic.  We felt that this infographic called “Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: Who Will Win the Battle of Black Friday?” courtesy of SDL (LSE: SDL) was more than suitable.

SDL ranks each console with its patent-pending Product Commitment Score (PCS) using models generated by its Customer Commitment Framework™ that isolates social conversations as customers go through journey shopping stages.

SDL predicts a wide gap in PCS scores between PS4 (54) and Xbox One (48) driven by events that impacted scores since February including:

  • PS4 gains initial momentum by announcing months in advance of Xbox One
  • Targeted messaging to hardcore gamers for PS4 and families/connected living room for Xbox One
  • PS4 “Perfect Day” campaign more effective at driving initial sales than Xbox One “Invitation” campaign
  • Price differential between the consoles

sdl_xbox-vs-playstation-prediction

Infographic Source: SDL

Security Considerations While Moving To The Cloud

Security Considerations While Moving To The Cloud

Security Considerations While Moving To The Cloud

It is always difficult to maintain in-house IT operations at the cutting edge of efficiency. Whether it is a question of getting enough budgets approved or keeping all stakeholders happy, life for technical managers is never easy.

On the other hand, clouds have certain inherent advantages. Big cost savings, convenience, scalability, conversion of CAPEX to OPEX are some of the features that go in favor of cloud solutions. These can help an organization accomplish a lot in a short span of time. Not to forget that cloud service providers do a phenomenal job in convincing businesses to offload at least part of their IT burden.

Amidst attractive marketing pitch it is likely that some of the security risks go un-noticed. Ignoring those risks may prove costly for business. While it is fine to go for cloud based solutions certain precautions must be taken.

Here is the list of considerations that organizations should apply before jumping on the bandwagon.

Know your security objectives

Most of the in-house IT setups have evolved over a period of time. Various security measures got added to the lists in an incremental fashion. Collective effect of all security measures is taken for granted when planning any new in-house system. But all those goodies will not be available in the cloud setup unless you explicitly ask for them. It is highly recommended that before opting for cloud solution, have your security objectives identified and documented. Never rely on an existing document that is several months old. It is always better to have an up-to-date document that captures security objectives and strategy clearly and comprehensively.

What does a service provider offer

Many cloud service providers are silent or vague about the kind of security they offer. Do not rely on marketing brochures which are generally meant to cater to a wide variety of customers. Explicitly ask your service provider about security policy document, practice manual, disaster recovery options applicable specifically to your subscription. Also check the security certifications the service provider has. Look for ISO 27001, SSAE 16, PCI DSS 2.0, HIPAA compliance and any other industry specific certifications. More number of updated certifications adds credibility to the provider.

Transition in phases

It is the old golden rule. Irrespective of the number of applications, size of databases or servers it is always better to structure them in logical phases and move them to cloud in stages. This will ensure that any surprises are discovered early in the cycle and risks are minimized.

Do a vulnerability assessment

Do not bank entirely on contract terms even after you have moved an application or domain to the cloud. Involve a third party to conduct a thorough vulnerability assessment before going live and find out any existing vulnerabilities. Fix those vulnerabilities and conduct another round of tests. Proceed with go-live only when the risk is within an acceptable range.

Maintain a parallel run

You must not wind up your existing in-house setup immediately after going live. It is the most reliable backup and recovery option you have got. Depending on the size of application and criticality the in-house setup can co-exist anywhere from few weeks to few months. Even after that you can continue to use that as an in-house backup. Unlike cloud backup, this backup would be available under your direct custody.

Buy Cyber security Insurance

Even after taking all the precautions in the book things can go wrong. Just one lapse is what hackers require before they can walk away with your sensitive data or carry out a DDOS attack or worse inflict downtime. Explore a suitable cyber security insurance option which can mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and cyber extortion. This has to be over and above any safeguards in-built into the contract with cloud service provider.

Remember there are different types of cloud service providers – some are really good while others aren’t. Also, your organizations’ need are specific and even to date there is no one-size-fits-all solution. At the end of the day you are responsible for your data and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

By Manoj Tiwari

Cloud Infographic: Paper Vs Big Data In US Healthcare

Cloud Infographic: Paper Vs Big Data In US Healthcare

 Paper Vs Big Data In US Healthcare

The healthcare industry has been making its move toward technology, putting iPads and tablets into the hands of healthcare professionals and now, the latest big move has been adopting the concept of cloud computing to organize, share data and protect patient information and healthcare data from being tampered with or lost. Some might be wondering why medical professionals have waited this long to “hop on the cloud.” Perhaps the healthcare industry wasn’t ready before but they are definitely ready now. Greg Arnette, CTO of Sonian, a company that creates cloud-based technologies for businesses says that the healthcare industry has needed a more resilient network that is more up-to-speed than the average hospital’s IT network can offer. The most enticing part of a cloud computing system is the consistency in speed, uptime and its price tag.

There will undoubtedly be many more areas of concern moving forward. The good news is that much of this can be prevented. Proper trainingResearchData Storage, File Management, Privacy etc… are a number of key areas to focus on.

Included is a timely infographic by Bottomline Technologies which indicates that hospitals could save up to $45 Billion per year by switching from traditional paper based registrations to cloud based data storage services. It’s something to certainly ponder.

paper-data-healthcare

Infographic Source: Bottomline Technologies

Five Ways Service Providers Are On Course To Miss The Boat In Cloud Services

Five Ways Service Providers Are On Course To Miss The Boat In Cloud Services

Five Ways Service Providers Are On Course To Miss The Boat In Cloud Services

Service providers (SPs) have a golden, but short-lived opportunity to commercialize the $30B cloud services market before AWS and others call it “game over.” By being more agile, able to scale and playing to their strengths, SPs can use the cloud to not only consolidate their existing revenue streams but create new ones.

Trouble is, outdated mindsets and a lack of customer-first innovations are causing too many SPs to let the cloud services opportunity sail away without them. Here’s a look at the five ways SPs will miss the cloud services boat if they don’t move quickly:

1) Taking a Defensive Approach to Cloud Services

SPs today have two options: passively concentrate just on protecting their existing business. Or recognize the cloud tide is coming in and make a plan to lead their market with a cloud services model based on innovation and differentiation. A differentiated model, with simplified uplift to commercialization, and growth through resellers and the channel offers an offensive strategy for accelerated growth that will help SPs thrive.

Those SPs that will be successful in cloud services will understand their markets and customers better than others, anticipate the next wave of innovation — and then create services that deliver greater benefits.

2) Missing the Shift from Infrastructure to Apps and Services

Bigger cloud players with more resources are driving innovation and cost-reduction in cloud infrastructure; that’s not where SPs will make their mark. Instead, customers are looking to SPs to provide solutions beyond just infrastructure. They want preconfigured business applications (e.g., email, CRM) that can easily be deployed, much like what consumers get from an app store. This capability to deliver application provisioning offers SPs an opportunity to differentiate and drive new revenue in a market where they can excel.

What’s more, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) can speed parts of the application provisioning process. But without the flexibility and agility to deliver complete applications to end users, SPs cannot take full advantage of the benefits of IaaS.

The concept of cloud blueprints offers SPs a way to drive extraordinary levels of efficiency and effectiveness, increase quality of service and reduce cost. Like blueprints used in the construction industry, cloud blueprints contain everything needed to successfully build, deploy and share applications in the cloud including server, software, storage, network, images and firewall details, and importantly, how they all relate.

3) Failing to Offer Flexible Contracts and Service Provisioning

SPs that want to keep customers locked into inflexible contracts will fail. Instead, SPs must offer customers customized billing based on their individual requirements and help support complex reseller models by billing accordingly.

All cloud services billing models have pros and cons depending on the customer, usage model and internal budgeting requirements. The key is for SPs to understand that a number of different models exist, and the benefits each supports. I’m an advocate of Burstable Virtual Resource Pools that offer a set of virtual resources in a multi-tenant platform with a fixed total configuration, the ability to be reconfigured as required, and payable as a single monthly fee but able to “burst” capacity by the hour/usage as required for a separate (possibly premium) rate.

4) Adopting a ‘Not Invented Here’ Strategy

Too many SPs have their heads in the sand about the tremendous business opportunity inherent in offering cloud services. Others are taking a doomed DIY approach to building cloud capabilities, costing them time and money.

The cloud is exponentially more complicated than traditional hosting. SPs could spin their wheels trying to successfully build cloud capabilities themselves and still find themselves woefully behind. Others are betting – and losing — on open source solutions like OpenStack that lack the necessary functionality (by itself) to tackle real business challenges.

To be successful, SPs need to partner with a proven cloud services vendor that can help them quickly deploy differentiated services specific to their customers’ needs.

5) Failing to Develop a Niche

Cloud computing offers SPs the opportunity to position themselves at the heart of their customers’ operations. It’s an opportunity for them to leverage trusted relationships, be unique, and expand their services…and their margins, too. In today’s cloud services world, SPs can become one-stop shops for their customers’ needs; ranging from the homogeneous IT infrastructure services they provide today, to a growing array of high margin applications and services. SPs can offer it all and deliver it with one service level agreement, one point of contact and one bill.

By adopting extensible, customizable, flexible solutions, SPs can adapt to changing cloud demands, providing limitless opportunities. This gives them the ability to quickly commercialize the cloud and grow with no limits to stay competitive, no matter what environment is being developed on. The cloud is handing SPs a bigger, brighter future, but they have to change course today if they have any hope of getting onboard.

Tony Lucas Flexiant

By Tony Lucas

Tony is Founder and Senior Vice President, Product with Flexiant (www.flexiant.com), a leading global provider of cloud orchestration software solutions.  Lucas spent 12 years as CEO and majority owner of XCalibre Communications, a web hosting company. During the latter half of this period, he developed the FlexiScale cloud computing technology, which now forms the core component of Flexiant’s Cloud Orchestrator platform. Lucas is a frequent speaker at cloud computing conferences and a recognised expert in his field.

Cloud Computing Makes Democratization Of Big Data Possible

Cloud Computing Makes Democratization Of Big Data Possible

Cloud Computing Makes Democratization of Big Data Possible

Putting the power of big data into the hands of small businesses can help them to achieve improved results in sales and marketing and in providing the products their customers want most. A number of factors have come together to allow the democratization of big data analytics and to provide a practical option for small business owners and administrators in managing their enterprises more effectively.

Big Data and the Corporate Cloud

big-data-options

One of the most important elements in the new big data paradigm is the increasing availability of cloud storage and applications for smaller business operations. Cloud computing systems allow remote storage of and access to corporate data through secure login technologies. In general practice, the cloud allows staff members to perform work and access data at any time and from anywhere with a secured Internet connection. This can boost productivity and increase profits in companies of all sizes. In the context of big data, however, cloud systems can allow truly scalable data storage for large projects and everyday needs. This can make big data analytics an affordable possibility for many smaller firms without the resources to maintain on-site server space for these analysis tasks.

Advanced Services by Hosting Providers

As big data becomes a greater factor in business planning and operational decision-making, hosting service providers are offering a greater range of services to the small business community. These newer services include the following:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) allows companies to outsource maintenance, upgrades and hosting of necessary software applications on a case-by-case basis.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) arrangements are more comprehensive and include networking services, server space and online storage capacity. These services are typically scalable and may be configured to suit the specific needs and budgetary constraints of the corporate customer.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) allows business clients to outsource all elements of their IT structure to the service provider. Staff members and customers can access these resources through secure online login technologies; all maintenance, hardware, software and security measures, however, are managed at the service provider level. Customers typically pay for IaaS arrangements on a scalable usage model rather than on a flat per-month fee basis.

The increased availability of these cloud services has made it possible for small businesses to derive their own analytics from big data and has provided added accessibility for companies of all sizes.

Implementing Big Data in Small Business

In the business arena, big data comprises a wide range of different data sets. For example, a small business that does both online and in-store sales may have large sets of data for foot traffic and sales in their brick-and-mortar locations and equally large data sets regarding virtual traffic and sales online. Finding points of commonality between these data sets through the use of big data analytics can provide insights into customer buying patterns and can offer added targeting power for marketing and promotional strategies. Because of the inductive nature of big data calculations, companies can often create predictive models that allow even more fine-tuning of advertising messages and media choices in the competitive marketplace.

The Three Vs of Big Data

According to analyst Doug Laney of Gartner, big data analytics implementations are defined by three elements:

• Volume refers to the sheer amount of data to be processed and mined for useful information

• Velocity is the speed at which data analytics can be performed for business needs

• Variety in big data has to do with the types of data that can be cross-checked and compiled into useful reports for use in the small business world

These three Vs are critical to understanding big data and making it more widely available for small to medium-sized businesses in today’s competitive marketplace.

Cloud computing services play a critical role in modern big data analytics. Companies that specialize in big data analytics consulting can be valuable allies in the effort to make more productive use of data sets and to optimize business processes.

james-mccannBy Jim McCann

Jim is the Information Insights 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 business intelligence systems and solutions, contact marketing@consultparagon.com.

Cloud Infographic: Crypto Web Report

Cloud Infographic: Crypto Web Report

Cloud Infographic: Crypto Web Report 

While we are all very happy about the entire cloud data storage concept and feel that it’s a breath of relief from the constant battle against malware, key loggers, PC monitoring software, and whatnot, we tend to forget that there are steps which we need to take to ensure security even after we have shifted all our digital luggage to the cloud…   Read The Full Article:  10 Tips For Keeping Your Cloud Data Safe

Attached is an infographic chart provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation which provides excellent information of companies utilizing encryption methods.

crypto-survey

Infographic Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Global Cloud Index In October, Cisco released its Global Cloud Index (GCI) report for 2014-2019, projecting a near 3-fold growth of global data center traffic, with predictions that this traffic will reach 8.6 zettabytes (cloud data center traffic) and 10.4 zettabytes (total data center traffic) per year in 2019 and 80% of it will come…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War There’s little question that the business world is a competitive place, but probably no area in business truly defines cutthroat quite like cloud computing. At the moment, we are witnessing a heated price war pitting some of the top cloud providers against each other, all in a big way to attract…

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Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

The Future Of Work: What Cloud Technology Has Allowed Us To Do Better

The Future Of Work: What Cloud Technology Has Allowed Us To Do Better

What Cloud Technology Has Allowed Us to Do Better The cloud has made our working lives easier, with everything from virtually unlimited email storage to access-from-anywhere enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. It’s no wonder the 2013 cloud computing research IDG survey revealed at least 84 percent of the companies surveyed run at least one cloud-based application.…

Using Big Data To Make Cities Smarter

Using Big Data To Make Cities Smarter

Using Big Data To Make Cities Smarter The city of the future is impeccably documented. Sensors are used to measure air quality, traffic patterns, and crowd movement. Emerging neighborhoods are quickly recognized, public safety threats are found via social networks, and emergencies are dealt with quicklier. Crowdsourcing reduces commuting times, provides people with better transportation…

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

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

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

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies Clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are embracing new mobile technologies in order to be more efficient in their daily tasks. With faster communication and better collaboration, clinicians can spend much less time handling medical devices and more time administering care to their patients. Industry experts are stating that mobile connected technologies…

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications It’s no secret that organizations are embracing the cloud and all the benefits that it entails. Whether its cost savings, increased flexibility or enhanced productivity – businesses around the world are leveraging the cloud to scale their business and better serve their customers. They are using a variety of cloud solutions…

Cloud Computing Services Perfect For Your Startup

Cloud Computing Services Perfect For Your Startup

Cloud Computing Services Chances are if you’re working for a startup or smaller company, you don’t have a robust IT department. You’d be lucky to even have a couple IT specialists. It’s not that smaller companies are ignoring the value and importance of IT, but with limited resources, they can’t afford to focus on anything…

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Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

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…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

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