Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Startup Brings Wine To The Cloud Cellar

Startup Brings wine to the Cloud Cellar

They say that wine gets better with age. This is only true, however, when it is under slow fermentation in a cellar, and at that, a cloud-based dungeon, if the following news-making transition by a US company is anything to go by. The startup has already transferred all sales, marketing and distribution constituents of its brewery to the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) framework. One only has to make a request, and voila, the bottle is at the table, abroad.

There are some worthy additions, however, that make this more than mere email marketing or even traditional commodity shipping. The automated sales platform of the company is tracking down its growing list of prime tasters, now numbering 100, by suggesting improvements to their cellars. Market information shows that it can construe persuasive marketing to such personal quips as, one’s store is half full and it needs a refill, or one’s stock of the foregoing week remains untouched, despite having changed hands, and maybe the wine connoisseur needs a new brand from the same company.

The move to the cloud by this company by man and wife, who come from different fields, one in vintage wine and the other finance, has attracted rave press on the web. The primary point of lauding is the revolution they are making to customer relationship. It is now even possible to orientate the pricing to much cheaper value than that of a physical store. The upshot of this is that a bottle can go for as little as $130, a difference that halves the price of the same quantity, the previous year. The reason for this is simple: the cloud has a centralized and commodity-savvy system that reduces expenses of equipment. Storage is pay-as-you-use and the applications are at throw away prices, should one make the necessity of availing them.

There are already big names in the celebrity rooster that have joined the century-odd prime wine tasters, for the US startup. These include the cinema star, Harrison Ford, who is apparently enjoying the break from the conventional location-based wine shop.

The startup also vaunts a consortium of bright lights in their fields that are helping the husband-and-wife team to run the company on the public cloud. One of these is a partner with a tech establishment, while the other works with the World Economic Forum. This gives but a hint of how business and finance go hand-in-hand with technology.

Apparently, the company whose physical offices are in St. Helena says that its appellation, Soutirage, derives from a French word that means culling of lees at the bottom of the drink, from pure wine. Thus, it may look, from the outset, like a pure offering for the elite through the cloud computing conduit.

In denouement, it suffices to say that these wine revolutionists are not using cloud computing in the traditional way to reach consumers. Albeit, they approach digital marketing as gentlemen who do not lure their clients by a fusillade of email lists. There are no Press Releases, either. Rather, they use individual quips to poke the ribs of each of the prime clients and thus have them take another bottle off the soft rack. There is also the appendage of advisory communiqués on what wine in the market, currently lifts one’s spirit best. To do this work, the team passes the information to the select customers on a regular basis, via, as one may have guessed, technological outlets. To this end, the consumers have the luck of getting microscopic updates about their latest wine bottles, in their cloud ‘cellars.’

By John Omwamba

The Reality Of Government Intrusion Risks For Cloud Businesses

The Reality of Government Intrusion Risks for Cloud Businesses

The concerns around government intrusion in cloud stored data, especially to reveal user sensitive information are amongst the most discussed topics within the cloud community. Although the concerns are often exaggerated, there is some truth in these concerns and sooner or later a cloud service provider may receive request from government authorities to reveal information or processes that are considered private and sometimes regarded as secrets, both in personal and organizational capacities. A more serious issue is that of unwarranted snooping into data residing in cloud and several incidents of data breach from both government and private authorities are in fact unlawful.

After the passage of Patriot Act, security agencies have issued several thousand NSLs (National Security Letters) to companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon etc. to obtain information and private data of hundreds of users without their knowledge or consent. Some other laws, such the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) applies directly to foreign nationals who have stored data in servers or cloud services residing in the U.S. and the law allows the Government to have unrestricted access to their data. The agencies have also deployed specialized infrastructure to eavesdrop on network traffic in order to obtain intelligence rendering most unprotected data vulnerable to leakage, even with the knowledge of service provider.

Hence data privacy breach from Government is a unique case of data protection which requires special measures to protect user privacy. After all, the adaptability of a cloud service by users will rely upon their confidence in the service provider for protecting their data to the same level as they would obtain for in-house storage. In fact, many users are reluctant to use cloud services because of the security breach concerns and the threat of losing control over the data. Additionally, some cautious administrators believe that if the government can spy on their data, so can criminals, making it crucial to add protection layers.  Hence, it is important to make any intercepted data useless for hackers and robust data monitoring and threat detection techniques are needed to be deployed as part of an effective security framework.

Primarily, all data should be encrypted before it leaves client premises and the encryption keys must be maintained in a separate server, ideally placed in-house. A similar technique is employed by Dropbox and Google Drive services which help them secure data against network intrusions. For those requiring extra security, a local service can be used on top of cloud service application that can encrypt and maintain keys locally using cryptographic algorithms such as AES and SHA. Some software already provides such functionality such as gKrypt and SafeMonk that can ensure users against intrusion from service providers or unwarranted government involvement. However new security architectures may be required that balances information security without compromising legitimate access by government to detect malicious information.

By Salam UI Haq

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Staff Relocation

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Staff Relocation



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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.

Cloud College: Room Still Smells Like Grapes

Cloud College: Room Still Smells Like Grapes

Cloud College: Room Stills Smells Like Grapes

In light of recent college graduates leaving the fake world of percentages labeled on their work letting you know just how hard you tried, compared to, “Do it again or your fired.” I am thinking stress levels maybe a bit high. I certainly remember after I graduated I would sleep under my bed with all text books because the bed was not a futon. I also bought a thousand scratch and sniff good job stickers too, and I put them on everything I did. My room still smells like grapes. Of course I ran out of these stickers and I was forced to become an adult when I didn’t have the money to pay for more stickers. So I got a job and now I repress my wants to live like a college student with yard work and vacuuming my house. Anyways, if you are a recent graduate with a degree in computer science you are probably working. Of course you can still send this to your liberal arts major friend, because what I am about to offer is valuable information for cloud networking classes at an imaginary school that is designed specifically for their liberal arts major.scratachandsniff

  1. Networking 103 for English Majors.

Yes before you come to class make sure you have drunk a stones weight in absinthe and pick a daisy for the teacher because this class is for the poets. You will learn the finer basics of what a network is, without the scary concept of numbers and computers muddling up your whimsical mind. This class will still allow for your creativity to flourish with the colors of an ether frolic after a reading of the Myth of Lycurgus. You may ask our professor such questions like, “Doth the red blinking light on the triumphant tower of cloud networks show the same anger from Aries’ rage or is it soft and joyous color rejoicing in its abilities liken to the redden cheeks of a cherubim?” Once you graduate from this class you will be ready to teach your fellow IT co-workers about the literary comparisons of storing your files on a network and Chaucer’s intent of the Canterbury’s Tales. Here at Networking for English majors you will learn that the cloud is not just a metaphor for sadness.

  1. Security Protocols for Criminal Justice Majors

Listen up maggots you are the last line of defense between order and UTTER CHAOS! What you will learn from this class will be used out in the real world to provide those working with the cloud the security to sleep at night knowing their files are safe in your trusted gaze. Do you want to disappoint those people sleeping so soundly like babies? I don’t think so. You will learn about deterrent, preventative, corrective, and detective controls to keep little Susie’s My Little Pony box set collection safe from any adult male who is otherwise known as a Brony. Those sickos are not getting by us because we hold the keys tonight. You want to ask questions? Well you can’t I tell you what security is, and then you make it happen.

  1. Cloud Theory for Philosophy Majors

What is a cloud? Can we begin with that first? Yes the outside world of philistines and troglodytes may view it as a machine, a machine that holds abstract numbers strung together to make something digital known in the technological realms as code. This code creates the ability to hold onto other coded items and distribute them according to the will of the person, be it determined or free. Then again is any of that real? What can we say about the cloud?

1. The cloud was created by man.

2. All men are mortal with a finite lifespan.

3. Therefore, the cloud network is mortal.

That seems like a misstep in logic but for all we know our logic is misled! Why if men are moral and clouds cannot work without men do they not feel the stinging coldness of mortality as they watch as wither away? This is why we need you to ask . . . the . . . QUESTIONS!

  1. Files on the Go 101 for Anthropologist

Are you the kind of person who is on the go? Someone who feels they are not content until they have hiked every mountain range in Sub-Saharan Africa with nothing but a back pack and a friendly disposition to cultural relativism? Well if that is you have you also ever wondered how all your curry recipes and pictures at waterfalls were sent to all your devices without you manually doing it? No it wasn’t a blessing from the Goddess Willow of the Black Forest. It is actually from this new culture of IT personnel that you can learn about. This aloof group of people’s way of life has never been studied but they do so much for you. Soon you will realize just how the cloud distributes your files throughout your network so you can never go without the music you need for the harvest dance of the full moon.

  1. Painting Clouds for Art Majors

We aren’t kidding anyone here we know you guys were art students so we are just going to give you some paint to make the cloud network hardware look appealing.

By Chris Kenealy

(Image Source: http://www.foodiggity.com)

Cloud Infographic: Raise Your Cloud IQ

Cloud Infographic: Raise Your Cloud IQ

Cloud Infographic: Raise Your Cloud IQ

What Is?

Data Center

A purpose-built facility for housing ICT resources, e.g. computing servers and telecommunications equipment. Very large enterprises (e.g. Facebook, Google) operate their own facilities. Others are “carrier neutral” and make up the points of presence for telecoms firms to build their networks and that make up the Internet’s backbone. Some are used expressly to provide colocation services to business customers. Datacentres are also the “homes” of cloud services

Virtualization

In a technology environment, a concept whereby the logical entity (like a network, server or desktop platform) is separated from the physical entity (the hardware itself). In a cloud hosting situation, this would mean that virtual machines perform the functions historically provided by dedicated servers, offering significant performance and resilience advantages… More Cloud Jargon Terms can be found over at: http://uptothecloud.6dg.co.uk/cloud-resources/jargon-buster

What is your cloud IQ? Attached is an insightful and very creative infographic produced by SAP.

SAP_m2m_April_23

UAE’s Cloud Computing As Security On An Upward March According To Latest Analysis

UAE’s Cloud Computing as Security on an Upward March according to Latest Analysis

Despite ranking as one of the telltale recipients of spam, en masse, on the planet, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has faced all odds and championed the cloud like no other country in the Gulf. A reputable research agency, on tech matters, has provided the latest details on this progress, to the effect that cloud computing security is taking a life of its own in the UAE.

Reports show that the  nation’s gross returns on the security wing, alone, inside the cloud industry was about $8.7M in 2012, and projections indicate this might rise manifold, to hit over seventy two million dollars, by the turn of the current decade. The upshot growth of the security subsector underlies the fact that an aggregation of companies in the logistics and wholesale niches has plunged into the sector, with staying power. There are even hints that as the anti-spam and other safety-in-the-cloud campaigns, take center stage, there may even evolve a ‘cloud as a service’ framework that will be an industry preferential to safety matters for organizations.

Though, the United Arab Emirates with Dubai and Abu Dhabi being its computing hotspots, is still lagging in its unilateral embrace of the cloud. However, the fact that the industry has survived and even shown handsome returns, even in its small scope and amid a fusillade of web threats, means it may yet prove an attractive prospect for the majority. The major tags that are predisposing this future inclination are the benefits the industry brings forth, including the pay-as-you-use flexibility and big data storage provision, besides retailers’ technologies, all accessible in a click.

Impressive, too, for the country’s improvement in the cloud security niche, is the fact that large companies that form the very lifeline of the country’s economy are also in the fold. From gas multinationals to petroleum giants and from financial institutions to government corporations, the tide is turning all the way to the cloud atop the UAE’s Internet.

New Threats for Corporations

Amid the growth of the safety offering of cloud computing in the UAE, there is now evidence that this growth is coming, hand in hand, with grim prospects. Social networking by corporate workers of companies may yet prove the means by which information-phishing, ID thievery and other data hijacking limitations may proliferate into the country’s cloud. Inversely, however, it might also be the means of strengthening the industry. According to the latest survey figures, there will be corporations that will turn external environment’s weaknesses, such as, the social networking sites that their staff access, into ways of appropriating new security apps. Indeed, this is already happening as major organizations start to comb the developer and even in-house markets for the latest stats that can nip web threats in the bud.

Scores by Neighboring Countries

Despite being another high performer on the negative spam list of the world, India, to the south of the UAE, has also made gains in the cloud. Vaunting one of the biggest markets for IT firms among emerging economies that include Russia and China, the country has now a projection for 2013 that traces an ongoing growth margin of 36%, in the cloud market. This will amount into $443M, an increase of $127M from the 2012 figures. This is hardly a surprise because the cloud market is a highly scalable one, like most IT dispensations, and thus can grow manifold. However, how is the security factor faring, in the mean time?

Reports for 2013 show that, with some 11% of the market, the cloud security factor in India just manages to inch at the bottom of its top five cloud priorities. The leader is Software as a Service (SaaS), but what astonishes is that advertising comes before the safety factor. Still, the country may expect an improvement, in coming years, for most companies now combine management with their security wings, meaning a close priority for the latter in any management task.

Thus, as UAE takes a leap forward in the cloud security offering, India is experiencing a hike in general cloud growth. The fact that both countries are spamming receiving ends of the world does not seem to check the improvements and may even turn the dice, in their favor, as they seek applications to overturn the newest security threats. This is why many corporations in the United Arabs Emirates are going a step further by actually marketing their very security prowess, to assure their clients.

By John Omwamba

Big Data Tweaks For Small Businesses Success

Big Data Tweaks For Small Businesses Success

Big Data Tweaks

The ever expanding internet data coupled with social and mobile infrastructure expansion has made big data tweaks and analytics a buzz term, especially looking at the fact that ninety percent of the world’s internet data is created in the last couple of years. However Big Data is the name of a problem, not a solution. The solution is the advanced algorithms running on large platforms crunching data and numbers to generate useful information.

big data tweaks

It could be termed as data recycling to obtain packets of information from a dense knowledge and data clouds. Naturally, most solutions involving big data are based on huge processing clusters to handle the load of processing bulk information making it prohibitive for small and medium level business which cannot cope with the barrier of entry investment. In the last few years, large enterprises have invested their resources to generate analytics and harvested tremendous gains in business by streamlining marketing and streamlining products to user needs. However cloud computing platforms have opened this market for small and medium sized business that can now leverage the available processing power of the cloud to dive into the immense analytics market. There are numerous lucrative opportunities in commercial transaction systems, website traffic monitoring and social media analytics besides others that are waiting to be explored.

Most experts have learned over time that taking scratch notes or relying on excel sheets alone will not make them competitive. They have to take advantage of systematic skills in data management with advanced technologies which can process large amounts of data and make sense from it. The pay as you go model in cloud platforms is ideal for small companies that can pay little, especially in terms of infrastructure and human resource overheads. The time savings and quick testing also makes sense for companies that wish to touch the base before diving full throttle. Hence the availability of cloud resources is opening new venues of business expansion for small companies that can quickly take up a specialized analytics opportunity to improve internal business or provide reporting to other enterprises. At the same time, small companies can take advantage from new cloud-computing based tools that are already leveraging new techniques to mine analytics and generate trend reports. These tools can capture behavior and impressions of prospective and previous customers to produce predictive models and forecast future actions. By spending small sums on these reports, some time just a few hundred dollars, a small company can get a grasp of user needs or information and technology flow. However, the overwhelming information can be a pitfall for small companies that may collect more than they need. Hence it is crucial to decide on the factors that value your business the most as well as concentrating on fewer but complete tools to achieve better accuracy and convergence.

By Salam UI Haq

Move Over Brick And Mortar, Education-As-A-Service Is Taking Over

Move Over Brick And Mortar, Education-As-A-Service Is Taking Over

Education-As-A-Service Is Taking Over

As Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a-changin’.” Its a verse that sticks like glue in the back of my mind when I reflect on the technology landscape today. Just a few years ago, data analytics services were few and far between and cloud computing unheard of. For example, cloud-related spending was only 4 percent of the total IT market in 2009, but according to IDC this is expected to increase by 12 percent — equaling $55 billion — by 2014.

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. What is innovative today will become old news before you can bat an eye. Systems like the cloud will continue to evolve and adapt as technology advances. As businesses strive to remain competitive, it is the IT specialists supporting the transition from old to new technology that are the hamsters caught spinning the wheel. How do you as an IT professional stay up-to-date with the newest technology while retaining a firm understanding of past software?

cloud-IT-jobs

If you’re working in IT, one thing you can be sure of is your job will never get boring. With a career devoted to keeping networks and systems humming, you’ve dedicated yourself to a lifetime of continuous learning to stay on top of the latest trends and technology.

Fine-tuning skills and brushing up on certifications has always been part of the IT job description, but in recent years this is becoming less of an option and more of a requirement. To give some perspective: imagine getting your B.A. degree to find out three months later you have to go back to earn another degree and yet another six months after that. IT jobs demand the ability to grasp new technology quickly, and hiring managers are clamoring for people that can master this challenge.

According to the Department of Labor Information, technology employment is expected to grow between 18 to 26 percent for all occupations through 2014. There is a massive growth opportunity in IT that shows no sign of slowing down. Yet, hiring managers struggle to find skilled candidates that are versed both in legacy systems and new technologies like the cloud.

Until recently, the options for IT professionals to hone their skills were limited and often expensive. It’s a challenge that has plagued professionals in the industry for years: how to keep up with a constantly evolving field while juggling a full-time job. In the past, the only answer was time-consuming seminars and costly brick-and-mortar courses. Fitting a career, family and other obligations into the mix make these options less than desirable.

Lately, we’ve seen several companies break down traditional education barriers to provide a viable solution. Lynda.com, Treehouse and my own company TrainSignal are transforming the very foundation on which technology education is built — after all, shouldn’t education be just as innovative as the technology it supports? The flexibility and affordability makes online options appealing, but it’s the real-time capabilities that make it ideal for those working in technology.

Skills that might take months to grasp in classroom curriculums, can now be mastered in a matter of weeks or even days with online platforms. These courses are up-to-date and can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. That means a cloud engineer can brush up on the latest VMWare or Microsoft fundamentals during a moment of free time at work or during a long commute.

If you are a technology professional, the cloud is not just where you work, it’s where you can learn everything you need to know to have a successful career. Whether you are looking to learn how to build an app, spruce up your design skills or take a refresher course in virtualization, online resources are becoming widely available in all areas of technology. It won’t be long before we see that “the times they are a-changin” towards a more skilled, self-educated workforce across all industries.

By Scott Skinger, CEO & Founder, TrainSignalScott Skinger_TrainSignal (1)

Scott’s passion for IT education began when he passed his first certification to become a Novell CNA. Scott went on to teach at several technical schools where he realized traditional IT education was not providing students with the skills they needed to succeed. In 2002 Scott founded TrainSignal, a leader in IT education providing training courses to professionals worldwide. Scott earned a degree from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL and serves on the advisory board of Salute Inc.

CloudTweaks Comics
The Big Data Movement Gets Bigger

The Big Data Movement Gets Bigger

The Big Data Movement In recent years, Big Data and Cloud relations have been growing steadily. And while there have been many questions raised around how best to use the information being gathered, there is no question that there is a real future between the two. The growing importance of Big Data Scientists and the…

Explosive Growth Of Data-Driven Marketing

Explosive Growth Of Data-Driven Marketing

Data-Driven Marketing There is an absolute endless amount of data that is being accumulated, dissected, analyzed with the important bits extracted and used for a number of purposes. With the amount of data in the world has already reached into multiple zettabytes annually. A Zettabyte is one million petabytes or one thousand exabytes. With data…

12 Promising Business Intelligence (BI) Services For Your Company

12 Promising Business Intelligence (BI) Services For Your Company

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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,…

The Business of Security: Avoiding Risks

The Business of Security: Avoiding Risks

The Business of Security Security is one of those IT concerns that aren’t problematic until disaster strikes. It might be tomorrow, it could be next week or next year. The fact is that poor security leaves businesses wide open for data loss and theft. News outlets just skim the surface, but hackers cost business up…

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

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The Future of M2M Technology & Opportunities

The Future of M2M Technology & Opportunities

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Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

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Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

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The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

Privacy in the Internet of Things Revolution The Internet of Things (IoT) has been promising a lot to consumers for a few years and now we’re really starting to see some of the big ideas come to fruition, which means an ever-growing conversation around data security and privacy. Big data comes with big responsibilities and…

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,…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

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Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

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Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

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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…

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

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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…

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

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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…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

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Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

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