Category Archives: Cloud Computing

A Resilient Cloud Strategy: Standardize or Diversify?

A Resilient Cloud Strategy: Standardize or Diversify?

A Resilient Cloud Strategy

Over the past few years, I have seen IT organizations adopt cloud in very different ways. Some organizations prefer to standardize their cloud infrastructure to drive efficiencies in their data centers. As a result, they eventually reduce the number of suppliers across their entire IT value chain. Conversely, other organizations adopt a ‘best of breed’ approach and tend to put in place complex and heterogeneous IT environments that enable them to optimize their IT infrastructure for the specific applications they need to run.

For example, a large enterprise – whose CIO recently visited our executive briefing center – runs their backend ERP system in their data centers; they rely on public cloud providers primarily for a portion of their office productivity applications. They also have multiple LoB applications running in their self-managed on-premises private cloud. Additionally, they have deployed a large portion of their customer-facing billing applications in a hosted private cloud environment managed by a large system integrator. This type of mix of environments to suite different business needs is typical in the organizations I have worked with.

As organizations continue to increase their appetite for cloud services, do we expect senior IT decision makers to increase or decrease their choice of cloud providers? We asked IDC to help us understand these trends on a global scale and we sponsored a broad cloud market research study, which was completed earlier this year. The market study highlighted important findings. 

Organizations with Advanced Cloud Strategies Use Multiple Cloud Providers

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify. I know just common sense you may think … We see this principle being applied by smart investors (they diversify their investment portfolio to better manage risk across a number of possible and unpredictable market conditions.) We also see the same principle applied when selecting suppliers (for example to increase your bargaining power.) We can all think of other examples I am sure. So you may wonder, why would we expect the thinking behind the formulation of cloud strategies to be radically different?

The use of multiple cloud providers is another hallmark of mature cloud organizations. The most mature organizations expect to be able to choose from multiple cloud providers based on location, policies, and governance principles. This was one of the key findings of the IDC study.

More interestingly, as organizations get better regarding their ability to extract maximum value from their cloud environments their appetite to consume cloud services from multiple cloud providers grows. In fact, 84% of organizations with ‘optimized’ cloud strategies expect to choose from multiple cloud providers. Similarly, organizations with more mature cloud strategies are more likely to have implemented collaborative business and IT governance to define cloud management policies and SLAs. 

The Challenge

However, multicloud environments can increase complexity. The challenge many organizations face is that of being able to manage and orchestrate that diverse portfolio of cloud-based applications. And this where we can help.

Specifically, Cisco CloudCenter™ is an application-centric hybrid cloud management platform that securely provisions infrastructure resources and deploys applications to data center, private cloud, and public cloud environments.

With our Cisco CloudCenter application-centric technology, you can:

  • Model: Quickly and easily build a cloud-independent application profile that defines the deployment and management requirements of an entire application stack.
  • Deploy: Use one click to deploy the application profile and related components and data to any data center or cloud environment.
  • Manage: Apply a wide range of application lifecycle actions to set policies to enable in-place scaling, support cross-environment bursting or high availability and disaster recovery, and stop the deployment.

Cisco CloudCenter administration and governance capabilities span applications, clouds, and users. Administrators can centrally manage cloud accounts, better control costs with financial plans, and report on use. They can also manage tenants and users and provide tag-based governance and role-based access control (RBAC). If you focus on the application, you can tailor IT services to meet the unique needs of your users. With an application-centric service model – IT stays in the loop wherever workloads are deployed.

All of this helps IT organizations pursue a well-diversified and hybrid IT strategy that includes IT as a service (ITaaS), automated DevOps or continuous delivery, temporary capacity augmentation, and permanent application migration capabilities. And if you need help navigate the multicloud maze our Cisco Cloud Professional Services portfolio can provide additional guidance and reduce your risk profile.

Originally published on November 29th, 2016

By Enrico Fuiano, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, Cisco Cloud Marketing

Autonomous Vehicles – Are European Drivers Ready To Go Driverless?

Autonomous Vehicles – Are European Drivers Ready To Go Driverless?

Driverless Autonomous Vehicles

Technology is progressing so fast that we are able to now do things that were never thought possible. We can step inside of our cars and relax while the car drives itself. These are called autonomous vehicles (AV’s), and are certainly the future.

One of the biggest tire manufacturers on the planet, Goodyear, decided they wanted to know more about this emerging industry. They decided to collaborate with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on a study. They study would find out European’s attitudes towards driverless cars via an online survey in 11 different countries and a focus group in 4 countries.

The results of the study seem to be largely mixed. One on side, respondents believed that AV’s would likely be safer and that accidents would be lowered because most are caused by human error. However, a majority of respondents said they wouldn’t be comfortable being driven around and would want to maintain some kind of control and would worry about the car malfunctioning. Overall, it seems like people can see the benefits of driverless cars, but simply don’t know enough about them or how they would work to feel totally comfortable with relinquishing all control to the AVs.

To the General Director of the Goodyear Innovation Center, Carlos Cipollitti, the results were not too surprising:

AVs are coming. Understanding how drivers experience the road today and how they feel AVs should fit in is crucial. Goodyear is exploring some of the key areas that are shaping the future of mobility. We hope that the insights generated by this research will help all relevant stakeholders to work together towards a successful introduction of AVs.

This study was a part of the ThinkGoodMobility platform that Goodyear has. This platform is looking to the future and analyzing the relationship between cars and their drivers. It also aims to look at smart and sustainable mobility. However, the existence of AV’s is more than just a new technology, as Dr. Chris Tennant of the LSE explains:

AVs are not simply another new technology. They are emerging in an intensely social space with a wide range of factors influencing the public’s levels of openness towards them.”

Driverless Autonomous Vehicles

(Infographic Source: Goodyear/Marketwired)

The 11 countries that were included in the study were: Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Serbia, France, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Of these countries, those from the Netherlands and Italy seemed the least concerned about the possible drawbacks of AVs, while those from the Czech Republic were the most concerns. Nations such as Poland and France were on the fence as they showed some belief in the technology, but also some concern as well.

By Kale Havervold

STC Group Is Leading A Biometric Authentication Revolution

STC Group Is Leading A Biometric Authentication Revolution

Biometric Authentication

The explosion of online services that involve personal data, classified information, and the free flow of wealth around the globe has brought with it the need for innovative top-notch security systems. Sophisticated online fraudsters with access to massive resources are able to collect passwords and data, which enable them to cause massive disruptions to the way we do business today. Biometric data is increasingly viewed as the most secure method of protecting data and ensuring that the people who we are interacting with online are actually who they say they are.

Market Growth

There is no doubt that the market for speech recognition software is growing rapidly. The sector is projected to be worth just under US$10 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 15.87%, according to market research firm, Markets and Markets. The firm cites many factors as being behind the growth, including “the growing instances of fraud in several end-user industry segments such as enterprise, healthcare, and so on and the adoption of mobile banking by several national and international banks and e-commerce retailers.

social-data

While the primary market focus at the moment is on security applications of the technology, there is a widespread expectation that speech and voice recognition software will be seamlessly integrated into the emerging Internet of Things, to facilitate interactions with appliances such as refrigerators, thermostats and vehicles.

Major companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft are leveraging their large customer base and neural networks to process, understand, and take decisive actions based on real-time voice inputs from the user...”

Speech recognition’s share of the market is increasing due to growing popularity of using on voice recognition instead of a text-based interface. One of the largest drivers of growth, according to the research, is the fact that mobile devices are becoming increasingly powerful and manufacturers are actively integrating speech and voice recognition technologies into them.

Fraud

One of the most intractable problems facing the industries in which the data safety comes as a top priority is the issue of fraud. Banking industry is a prime example of one. For instance, when a bank receives thousands of voice calls every day, it becomes a prime target for global fraudsters to try and access someone else’s account via the telephone. The standard security processes include asking for full Name, ID number, date of birth etc. However, that type of data can easily be hacked, stolen and used. In much the same way, the answering of secret questions is a widespread securitization method, but that too can be discovered and exploited by sophisticated algorithms.

Biometric data on the other hand is almost fool-proof. From fingerprints to eye scan to the growing field of voice recognition, biometrics are the next wave of security.

Biometric Authentication

A biometric system implemented in a bank speeds up verification process, thereby improving the quality of interaction with clients and provides world-class security in a seamless fashion. During any conversation, whether incoming or outgoing, the system starts the user check in the background as the call begins, and collects a sample of the voice data. Then it matches that data against a reference sample which it has in a database. This whole process takes only a few seconds before the results appear on the operator’s monitor, giving them the all clear to carry on with the process, or raising a red flag, which requires further investigation.

It is important to note that biometric systems mainly do not rely on language in any way, so it is still reliable if a client speaks from any device and in any language.

Ultimately, there is a very strong case for biometric software to replace the use of passwords and more traditional security methods. As the number of cases of malware or Trojans use increases, victims are targeted in ways that improve conversion rates to monetize corrupted accounts. Biometrics, and in particular voice and speech recognition, are far more secure than traditional passwords can ever be and they provide easier and simpler access for most users who struggle to remember multiple passwords over time.

The Banking Environment

Belorussian branch of Austrian group Raiffeisen represents one of the largest commercial banks in Belorussia and is one of the leading local financial institutions in terms of efficiency and profitability. Data analysis revealed that the number of voice calls the bank was receiving that required active identification was increasing every year. They took the decision to implement voice identification software that would dramatically cut the time needed to perform identification, provide excellent reliability and accuracy, and take place in the background so that clients were not even aware that they were being verified unless there was a problem.

money-big-data

Raiffeissen turned to the technology company STC to develop the software.

The CEO of the STC Group, Dmitry Dyrmovsky, explains: “A multimodal biometric authentication platform can be easily used for providing safe and secure user authentication, and at the same time decreasing the cost of remote services.”

STC’s platform called VoiceKey is at the heart of several solutions offered by the company. One of its key features is the ‘’liveness detection” technology, which makes it impossible to use photos or recordings to fake authentication. STC has also developed a programming interface for user application so that it can be integrated into various software applications for use in banking, hospitals, call centers as well as mobile applications. Anywhere that identification is key to an online process, VoiceKey can be adapted and integrated seamlessly.

One of the latest innovations developed by STC is OnePass – a multimodal biometric authentication solution based on both face and voice identification. As the service is cloud-based, it can easily be integrated into any mobile application, web service or corporate information system. High level of security, reliability and simplicity of verification process can help attract new customers, decrease the demand for offline customer services (therefore, costs), increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Company

STC Group is a global provider of innovative systems in high-quality recording, audio and video processing and analysis, speech synthesis and recognition and real-time, high-accuracy voice and facial biometrics solutions.

STC Group is extremely well positioned to ride this next wave of security technology, with a global footprint and solid experience that will see them at the forefront of biometrics, in both security and the internet of things, in the foreseeable future.

By Jeremy Daniel

Amazon Re:Invent 2016 – Virtual Machines and Cloud Storage Services

Amazon Re:Invent 2016 – Virtual Machines and Cloud Storage Services

Amazon Re:Invent

Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, kicked off yesterday (Tuesday 29/11/2016), and speculation has been rife over what to expect from the 4 day AWS event. Ahead of the event, Amazon slashed the prices of their two biggest products, virtual machines and cloud storage services – potentially to make their product more appealing to customers at the conference, or to generate publicity in anticipation.

cloud-amazon-snowball

This year’s conference is a full day longer and a full day “Mini Con” of “technical deep dives” into topics including IoT, Serverless Computing, Databases, and Containers, as well as the opportunity for one-on-one engagements with AWS specialists.

Amazon has declared that that: “We have designed re:Invent 2016 to give you increased opportunities to connect, engage, and learn about AWS solutions”

Re:Invent has been designed for networking, education, and ultimately to market new advances and additions to AWS. It has been predicted that this years conference will be focusing on the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) strategy, building on the releases and developments from last year. Purportedly, partners are interested in hearing about the plans to expand its broader channel and enhance existing offerings of their cloud based programs and services.

Enterprise Market

Amazon Re:Invent

Eric Rockwell of CentrexIT commented that: “I want to hear more about the future of the AWS channel program, how they’ll be tailoring that in the next two to three years.”

Citibank has predicted that Amazon are likely to announce more products for the enterprise market, in an attempt to compete with Microsoft. AWS has, in the past few years, partnered successfully with Salesforce and VMware, expanding their reach into software-as-a-service and corporate data centers. Salesforce and VMware, are both set to take part in Re:Invent sessions, along with a number of other software vendors such as Adobe Systems, Autodesk, and Intuit.

Richard Pritchard, Citibank analyst, expects AWS to attempt to keep pace with Microsoft and IBM: “We expect to hear AWS partnering more to keep up with Microsoft and IBM (IBM) in hybrid cloud deployment…”

He went onto mention the crucial role AWS plays in a lot of custom app development for it’s clients, regardless of their lagging behind in cloud infrastructure – a quality which may help to ensure their survival as a cloud computing platform.

We note that AWS as a development platform lags its position in infrastructure, but we see many of these customers presenting on how AWS is becoming key to its custom app development effort, replacing the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Oracle (ORCL).”

AWS executives are also expected to discuss how they will make the machine learning technology that powers Amazon.com’s virtual assistant, Alexa, available to more developers. AWS are also lagging behind Microsoft and Google in providing machine learning tools to their clients and developers.

There could also be word on Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a more flexible option for Amazon’s basic cloud computing service that would mimic the Google Custom Machine Types announced early this year. At the moment customers have to choose from options that Amazon provide, with no room for modification.

Day 1

Tuesday kicked off with AWS is giving partners who build a deep understanding of AWS “competencies”, which dictate partners in its Amazon Partner Network as experts in a specific area, like IoT or financial services. CEO Andy Jassy addressed partners on Tuesday stating that AWS will be doing “direct business to [its] partners who are committed and who really understand the platform” – so these partners are expected to have more flexibility with the AWS platform.

AWS announced new partnerships with VMware, Swift Stack – the Cloud Sync service; Tableau – the software-as-a-service analytics platform; and Rackspace – the cloud computing firm – who have been awarded status as a “premier partner” – the highest designation in the Amazon Partners Network.

Capital One have also announced that that it has selected AWS as its predominant cloud infrastructure provider – using AWS to shrink their data centres by more than half over the next few years.

Those were the main announcements and revelations from day 1, but there is likely to be many more to follow in the coming days. Watch out for our summary at the end of the week to catch a summary of the whole week’s action!

By Josh Hamilton

McAfee Labs Security Threat Predictions: Dronejackings and Hacktivism

McAfee Labs Security Threat Predictions: Dronejackings and Hacktivism

Security Threats Predictions

The McAfee Labs 2017 Security Threats Predictions Report has just been released by Intel Security, taking a look at predictions for 2017 along with the future of cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) security. Recognizing 14 threat trends to be wary of in 2017 along with the six most challenging obstacles confronting the cyber security industry, Intel Security further delves into cloud and IoT threats discerned from the consideration of 31 Intel Security thought leader opinions. Says Vincent Weafer, vice president of Intel Security’s McAfee Labs:

vincent-bwTo change the rules of the game between attackers and defenders, we need to neutralize our adversaries’ greatest advantages. As a new defensive technique is developed, its effectiveness increases until attackers are compelled to develop countermeasures to evade it. To overcome the designs of our adversaries, we need to go beyond understanding the threat landscape to changing the defender-attacker dynamics in six key areas: information asymmetry, making attacks more expensive, improving visibility, better identifying exploitation of legitimacy, improving protection for decentralized data, and detecting and protecting in agentless environments.”

Identifying Six Critical Industry Challenges

Though always striving to stay ahead of adversaries and identify vulnerabilities, cyber security experts are faced with new challenges daily with both cloud and IoT adding to the load. In a never-ending cycle, cyber-attacks and defenses advance consistently; enhancements to security are implemented and attackers test circumvention tactics resulting in the need for countermeasures to heighten the security protocol. Improving the lifecycle of threat defense effectiveness is essential. McAfee Labs identifies six significant security challenges and provides examples of some industry action taken to address them:

  • Reduce Asymmetry of Information

Because attackers are able to test their latest moves freely, it’s far easier to gain information about defenses than about attacks. In order to improve security, it becomes vital to prevent attackers performing such tests. Sharing information about attacks is one of the first and most critical steps in this process.

  • Make Attacks More Expensive and Less Profitable

Perhaps an obvious solution, reducing the profit of attacks is one of the quickest methods of diminishing the motivation behind them. Reducing success rates of attacks and raising capture rates helps change the economics of attacks.

  • Improve Visibility

Security visibility is a serious challenge in most organizations with cloud, IoT and bring-your-own-device programs further reducing vital transparency. Informed risk management can help bridge this gap.

  • Identify Exploitation of Legitimacy

Typically stolen credentials are used to target systems and exploit data making traditional methods of detecting illicit activity ineffective. Currently, behavioral analytics is the only resistance to this complication, a tool still in its infancy.

  • Protect Decentralized Data

With data moving to the cloud, held on personal devices, and shared with partners, vulnerabilities to accidental leaks as well as targeted attacks increase. Encryption is one solution, but it’s important to be able to protect data along the chain of use.

  • Detect and Protect without Agents

With IoT devices allowing for little agent-based security, it’s essential we find solutions such as hardware-level security, memory protection, and trusted execution environments.

Predictions for Internet of Things & Cloud Security

Security Threats Predictions

With predictions around IoT and cloud security for the next two to four years covering economic, policy, threat, and regional trends, McAfee Labs expects cloud service providers, device manufacturers, and security vendors to respond accordingly. As trust in the cloud increases, we’re likely to see more sensitive data and processes in this space, creating greater motivation for cloud attacks. However, McAfee Labs believes most businesses will keep core data in private data centers, not necessarily the smart move as public clouds are arguably more secure than private clouds. With regards to IoT, it’s noted that though many vulnerabilities exist, currently such attacks don’t offer much value. It’s likely that ransomware will be the primary threat though hacktivism is one of the biggest concerns. Unsurprisingly, it’s forecast that IoT will significantly reduce consumer privacy.

Along with more detailed and extensive coverage of Internet of Things and cloud security, the McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions Report forecasts several threat assessments for 2017, including a likely decline in Windows vulnerability exploits, the use of ‘dronejackings’ for criminal purposes, hacktivism exposing privacy issues, and the growth of cyber espionage.

Download the full report for the thorough investigation of McAfee Lab’s findings.

By Jennifer Klostermann

IIA Report Infographic: Mobile Shopping Statistics

IIA Report Infographic: Mobile Shopping Statistics

Mobile Shopping Statistics

The internet has been blowing up in recent years and offering people things they never thought possible. Not only that, but a new report from the Internet Innovation Alliance says mobile shopping can save you a ton of money too.

In fact, the report has indicated that the average American family can save more than $11,000 a year on household spending thanks to the internet. This is due to the fact that there are many significant opportunities to save money on the internet, especially around the holidays. Certified financial planner Nicholas Delgado says “Getting caught up in the holiday spirit doesn’t mean you have to overspend on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, to name a few,” said Delgado. “Thankfully, broadband delivers a significant return on investment with valuable opportunities for deal comparison, group-buying, and online-only discounts that make it easier to stick to a budget…

Since 2010, the IIA has recorded savings that are internet-enabled in a number of different categories. Their data comes from the annual Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The possible savings have skyrocketed from around $7000 in 2010, to well over $11,000 this year. You can find big savings on anything from clothing, to apparel, to health insurance and more.

The biggest savings are in the areas of entertainment, housing and automotive. The report found that you can save upwards of $3,000 in each of these categories.  (Included is an infographic by the IIA providing a further breakdown)

Mobile Shopping Statistics

Compared to IIA’s financial analysis last year, the greatest increases in savings opportunities emerged in Housing (23.50% in 2015, compared to 16.53% in 2014) and News (54.05% in 2015, compared to 39.29% in 2014). However, the percentage of savings on food (12.65% in 2015, compared to 25.68% in 2014), apparel (44.84% in 2015, compared to 62.55% in 2014) and gasoline (2.05% in 2015, compared to 12.28% in 2014) dipped. Of note, in 2015 spending on gasoline decreased by 15.32%, down from $2,468.00 the year prior.

Holiday season is spending season — from buying presents to traveling for vacations and family visits,” commented IIA Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons. “Luckily, savvy use of broadband tools can help families get more for their money.” Of the 180 million U.S. adults expecting to shop Black Friday week through Cyber Monday this year, 114 million plan to shop online and 70 percent will use mobile devices, according to a new Consumer Technology Association (CTA) survey.

Simmons added, “Encouraging investment in 5G technology that will extend broadband to all Americans, from urban centers to rural areas, should be a top priority for policymakers...”

These are impressive numbers and are surely to only keep rising in the coming years as more people flock to using the internet to save money.

Kale Havervold

Visual Data Analytics Helps To Illustrate The Big Picture

Visual Data Analytics Helps To Illustrate The Big Picture

Visual Data Analytics

We’re consistently hearing how valuable data is today, how important it is to the success of every organization, along with the stats of the exponentially-increasing amounts and sources of data now available. But what most find when actually trying to put this data to active use is a case of easier said than done. SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, however, makes it possible to pull data from a variety of sources, examine it all in one user-friendly environment, and output reports quickly in engaging and visual ways – and perhaps most notably, without a degree in data science. With direct connectivity to SAP BusinessObjects or SAP Crystal Server software semantic layers as well as various personal data sources, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira combines disparate data into a single view for maximum efficacy; and once connected to the SAP HANA platform, pulling answers from near-limitless data becomes virtually instantaneous.

Accessible & User-Friendly

Visual Data Analytics

Ensuring users across the business have speedy access to insights, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira lowers the reliance on IT departments. With self-service delivery of insights, IT teams aren’t required to help with each and every question, and the data discovery functions available connect directly to the enterprise so that IT departments can focus on the delivery of information timeously while upholding good governance procedures.

Of particular note is SAP BusinessObjects Lumira’s straightforward platform that combines point-and-click manipulation with practical visualization tools. Data can be prepared and enhanced with geographic and time hierarchies, formatting and cleaning data is uncomplicated, and sophisticated formulas can be added without the need for any coding; and perhaps most remarkable, all transformations created are automatically applied to refreshed and new data. Once the data preparation is complete, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira makes sure valuable insights aren’t overlooked due to engaging visualizations built effortlessly through the drag-and-drop interface. Beautiful graphics and visualizations ensure data analytics express perceptions and trends through a range of available charts and graphs and provide the opportunity to see the big picture at a glance or drill down to details.

The Value of Visualization

Dan Roam, international bestselling author and visual-thinking leader, makes a strong case for business and data presentations relying on simple visuals; putting this tactic to good use ensures clarity, comprehension, and conversion. For centuries, language has relied on pictorial communication and though what we experience today is a far more complex form than ever before, charts, maps, schematics and graphics often provide the best way to understand complex data. Considering further that insights from Cisco’s 2015 Visual Networking Index state that 90% of all data transmitted today is visual, combining business data management with visualization (As seen with the example visual below) should be the obvious next step.

global-ip-data-visual

But making use of visualization isn’t just about consistency; though we don’t yet know the precise figures, it’s estimated that half to two-thirds of brain activity is dedicated to vision with the majority of brain power dedicated to visual processing and the combination of visual inputs with the inputs of other senses. And so, visualization isn’t just an easier way to communicate, it’s a stronger form of interaction better able to convey information.

For organizations working with data and data exchange, visualizations offer improved comprehension through story-telling modes and further ensure that the greatest part of brain functioning is focused on the pertinent data. SAP BusinessObjects Lumira doesn’t just make this possible; it actively promotes superior data management and performance for rapid insights and improved agility.

Sponsored spotlight series by SAP

By Jennifer Klostermann

Cloud Access Security Broker and the Cloud-based Business Role

Cloud Access Security Broker and the Cloud-based Business Role

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

Cloud is the new address for businesses nowadays. The number of applications, hosted on the cloud, is rapidly increasing and that contributes in the streamlining of various business operations. Accounting applications, PBX, ERP, and CRM, etc. are some of the business applications that bring in more convenience and efficiency with the touch of the Cloud.

Cloud hosted applications can modernize the way businesses connect –be it employee connectivity or customer retention strategies. With the ability of cross-integrating different applications, cloud provides a more able and productive platform to deliver enhanced business solutions. On the other side, this ability arrives with some valuable business data, concerning to customers, employees, and several other parties. So, any lack of security on these nodes can make way for some dreadful consequences.

Cloud Access Security Broker

Businesses are willing to move to the cloud to enjoy smoother operations, but that should not come at the cost of security vulnerabilities. This need of security leads to the rise in demand for Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) products.

CASB – Definition & Basic Importance

In simpler interpretation, CASB can be defined as dedicated security points deployed between cloud server and the user device. They together enable a highly secure and protected line of access for exchange of information for cloud applications by enforcing better authorization, encryption, loss-protection, vulnerability-detection, etc. CASB introduces innovative access, control, and monitoring solution for the enterprises to meet the rising business necessities, such as – BYOD, real-time collaboration, permission-restricted user access, etc.

Think of it as a third-party security broker hired to safeguard the application data during the transmission from premise to the cloud. Businesses strive to maintain data security at the user-end while cloud providers are burning candles at all ends to mitigate the security flaws. The gap between them remains susceptible. Implementing CASB will secure the gap between them and eventually, the overall cloud system will become secured.

The importance of CASB can be judged with the prediction of Gartner that states close to 85% of the large enterprises will have CASB product in action, by 2020. Currently, less than 5% of enterprises have these services in action. So, the coming years are all set to see a tremendous rise in the number of CASB implementation. This improved level of security will also allow the developers to deliver more productive applications on the cloud.

What CASB Can Do For Business Applications

Cloud security has grown by leaps and jumps in the recent years. But it may still have certain weaknesses and anyone with the proper knowledge and malicious intent can hack their way into the system and wreak havoc. A cloud-based business service, such as – Hosted PBX, can carry crucial details of your business like call logs, client contact details, call recording, etc. Such information cannot be compromised upon by the business. So, there is demand for more reliable security measure – CASB. CASB ceases the flaws that exist between the local device and the cloud server. Mitigating those errors, cloud can be even more reliable solutions for business, as well as the end-user.

Here is what CASB has to offer:

1. Application Governance

Applications governance refers to understanding and the controlling of permissions associated with the Cloud hosted applications. To help this cause, CASB enforces an enhanced credential mapping, encryption, device profiling, and policy classification. These actions help better application detailing and boosting the security points accordingly. It is very much like a personalized security setup for the application. Regardless if its a soft-phone, tax software, or any other Cloud hosted application, CASB will offer special security governance as per the need of application.

2. Access Monitoring

security watch

Better access monitoring ensures that every attempt made to access the application is detected and duly logged. By defining the access permissions on the basis of recent and usual log in activities of the users in an intense manner for different users (support agent, customer, manager, etc.), they are restricted to access only the permitted data and hence, shielding the key data from the different users. CASB utilizes various methods, such as- single sign-on, authentication, authorization, logging, etc. to monitor the accessed application.

3. Controlled Safekeeping

Different CASB products have various boosted security measures that help them detect and prevent any malware intrusions. To keep such attempts at bay, they are even able to offer them non-sensitive (worthless) data to steal away using the ‘tokenization technique’. So, attempts for the data intrusion can be mitigated without much damage.

Wrapping It Up

Cloud computing is considered one of the finest examples of technical advancements as it offers on-the-go solutions without any restrictions of the device platforms. Cloud dependent services, such as – application hosting, VoIP, etc. have eased the data control element for businesses and enhanced the productivity measures. The technology has advanced to offer high-on-quality and low-on-expense solutions. However, the challenges associated with data security has often restricted the Cloud from being a supremely accepted option for businesses. Implementation of CASB products promises a near-perfect security for the cloud setup. But the fingers are kept crossed for now as the service is yet to face the real usage testing.

By Kirti Khanna

CloudTweaks Comics
Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

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

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Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

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Cloud Infographic – Disaster Recovery

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Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

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5 Reasons Why Your Startup Will Grow Faster In The Cloud

5 Reasons Why Your Startup Will Grow Faster In The Cloud

Cloud Startup Fast-tracking Start-ups face many challenges, the biggest of which is usually managing growth. A start-up that does not grow is at constant risk of failure, whereas a new business that grows faster than expected may be hindered by operational constraints, such as a lack of staff, workspace and networks. It is an unfortunate…

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…

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors A recent BI Intelligence report claimed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is on its way to becoming the largest device market in the world. Quite naturally, such exponential growth of the IoT market has prompted a number of high-profile corporate investors and smart money VCs to bet highly…

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…

Infographic Introduction – Benefits of Cloud Computing

Infographic Introduction – Benefits of Cloud Computing

Benefits of Cloud Computing Based on Aberdeen Group’s Computer Intelligence Dataset, there are more than 1.6 billion permutations to choose from when it comes to cloud computing solutions. So what, on the face of it, appears to be pretty simple is actually both complex and dynamic regardless of whether you’re in the market for networking,…

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud Cloud computing is more than just another storage tier. Imagine if you’re able to scale up 10x just to handle seasonal volumes or rely on a true disaster-recovery solution without upfront capital. Although the pay-as-you-go pricing model of cloud computing makes it a noticeable expense, it’s the only solution for many…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Federal Government Cloud Adoption No one has ever accused the U.S. government of being technologically savvy. Aging software, systems and processes, internal politics, restricted budgets and a cultural resistance to change have set the federal sector years behind its private sector counterparts. Data and information security concerns have also been a major contributing factor inhibiting the…

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…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…

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…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

Online Data Data storage is often a real headache for businesses. Additionally, the shift to the cloud in response to storage challenges has caused security teams to struggle to reorient, leaving 49 percent of organizations doubting their experts’ ability to adapt. Even so, decision makers should not put off moving from old legacy systems to…

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,…