Category Archives: Cloud Computing

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Google It

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Google It


By Christian Mirra

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Choice: A Critical Factor For A Successful Business

Choice: A Critical Factor For A Successful Business

A Critical Factor For A Successful Business

One of the most valuable business assets a company has today is its data. The problem is that most companies don’t know how to structure their information and then effectively leverage it to the benefit their organizations and their customers. Despite these challenges, there are now open, hybrid solutions (in the cloud and on premises) that have the unique ability to collect and analyze all of the unstructured data from companies, no matter what apps, devices, or storage are being used. To better plan for the year ahead, we took a look back at the 2015 trends around user interaction with company content.

One thing remained constant – diversity.

The following infographic shows employees used a variety of apps, devices, and storage this year to access and manage company information — more than we have ever seen before.

Applications & Mobility

Although consumer apps are extremely popular on mobile devices, business apps are primarily accessed via desktop. It is not because employees are not mobile, it is simply because today’s employees have more specialized roles. For example, construction workers who spend all day in the field will primarily leverage their applications from a tablet device. Meanwhile their colleagues on the design team, who are stationed at headquarters, will primarily leverage their applications via desktop computers. In some instances, employees even engage in specialized activities, where they may create content while in the office, but need to access it later while on-the-go. While this scenario only accounts for around 15% of employees, it is sizable enough for IT and management to consider.

Diversity Amongst Devices

While employees may be working from a specific set of approved applications, they use a variety of devices to access them. Although it has traditionally been seen as a Mac vs. Windows argument, in business today many different operating systems are being used to get the job done. Trends we have seen within subsets of our customers’ users this year are: R&D departments frequently working with Linux, sales teams tending to be more favorable towards Windows, and creative/marketing teams often collaborating via Mac OS. Again, the takeaway here is that businesses need to be able to support a variety of use cases and employee profiles. To do so, they must provide them with the ability to choose their own device, operating system, and even the specific applications they are most comfortable working with.

Browser Preference

When it comes to browsers there is no standardization or mandate from companies either. The data reflects that Google Chrome is the favorite this year, but there is still legitimate use of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. What’s surprising is that employees are significantly more fickle here than they are for other tools, like email or content editing solutions. They are willing to navigate through many windows across multiple browsers when interacting with their content – 40% using two or more at once.



(Image Source: Wikipedia)

In today’s technology-rich society, employees are easily customizing the way they work. While every organization may be different,, there is no denying that employee diversity is forcing IT to provide freedom and choice to their users. From devices and operating systems, to apps and services, it will be extremely important for companies to resist standardizing as it will ultimately hampers employees’ ability to work. Instead, IT needs to maintain visibility and control no matter what the employees decide to use and configure for their unique and varied workflows.

This can only be accomplished with an open, hybrid platform that can securely manage your information infrastructure and how it is being consumed and shared. Many cloud-only solutions aren’t able to provide this functionality for content, as they only have control of what resides in their stack. This inevitably forces users toward those content editing tools, which may be subpar in comparison to more popular apps on the market. Employees should be able to continue to work the way they want to, while your IT department safely manages the environment. No compromises required — just freedom of choice for IT and the organization.


By Isabelle Guis, Chief Strategy Officer at Egnyte


Isabelle is the Chief Strategy Officer at Egnyte, overseeing all global marketing, go-to-market, partnership and product strategies. She previously served as EMC’s vice president of Marketing for the Public Cloud Solutions Group and Enterprise Storage Division, driving cloud buyer and service provider segmentations, as well as messaging, product positioning and go-to-market strategies for the company’s core storage solutions. Isabelle has also held leadership positions at Avaya, Big Switch Networks, Cisco Systems, and Nortel Networks. She holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Supelec (France), and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Video Meetings And The Face To Face Conundrum

Video Meetings And The Face To Face Conundrum

The Face To Face Conundrum

Meetings have been a scourge on business productivity for many decades. British comedy genius John Cleese released a corporate training film back in 1976, entitled Meetings, Bloody Meetings, which not only became an instant classic, but spawned a sequel in 2012. The problems inherent in meetings are timeless and universal. And sadly, they take up way too much time. But things are changing.


Traditional Meetings Endangered Species List

A combination of factors now places the traditional meeting on the endangered species list. People no longer have the time or patience that they used to, and for the new generations of employees and managers who have grown up with sophisticated video gaming and unconstrained access to online resources, a tedious one-hour or longer meeting often fails to prove its worth. When that happens at the outset, engagement is sure to evaporate.

We have moved well past the era in which the only way to share ideas with a group of people was to corral them in the same room. Numerous options now exist from the good-old teleconference, to multi-screen video chat, through to virtual meetings using VR tools; but this leads to a conundrum: how important is physical presence to the efficacy of a meeting?

Many of us have participated in tele-meetings where Internet-based video conferencing– was available, but in which the participants still chose not to use the video component, opting solely for voice. For small meetings, this might be due to shyness or vanity – we don’t always look the way we want to, especially when working from home. There is also something decidedly disturbing about the “downwards glare,” where inexperienced video conference attendees look at the onscreen images of the other participants, rather than looking into their own camera. This creates an immediate sense of disconnection between people and points to the importance of eye-to-eye contact during discussion.

Body Language Cues

In multiple participant teleconferences, additional frustration comes about through the lack of body language cues, especially in regard to the rhythm of an actual conversation. We use facial or body gestures to signify comprehension of a point, as well as to signal our desire to speak. Such subtleties are lost when the visual component is missing or inadequate.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

This does not mean that virtual meetings should not happen – they should. In fact, they should happen more often, since they save enormous amounts of time and money, and can actually be more productive than their analog counterparts, in most cases. What is critical is that the chairperson of a virtual meeting delivers and enforces an updated set of rules that ensure optimum behavior and synergy.

Firstly, if a company has access to a high-end video telepresence setup – using good video cameras and a bank of screens showing the other participants, then book this well ahead of time. These types of premium virtual meeting rooms are generally available in large organizations with numerous offices locations. They are not available to everyone, but they are worth it, since they offer the chance to see other people as if they were sitting across the table from you, and the 3D sound and video quality is generally superb. When these are not available, a phone or VOIP teleconference can do just as well, but the rules must be adjusted accordingly.

Go for “visual” whenever possible. Humans place greater trust in people when they can see who they are dealing with. They can also read body language cues, and frame the dynamic of the conversation accordingly. Instruct participants to spend a few minutes preparing, prior to the call. This doesn’t mean calling the stylists and makeup artists in, is simply means just allowing adequate light and establishing a desired visual look.

Photo Op

If video is not possible or not desired, then ensure photos are available. This could be as easy as inserting participant’s pictures on the meeting agenda (sent by email or posted in a meeting space.) A photo is a more controlled version of a person’s image, and although it does not allow for visual cues, it still flavors the dynamic of the conversation in a more human way.


Set up a system for side chats. It is very disturbing when people need to make a side comment while another person is speaking. Whispering is impossible on a conference call, but texting is easy. Whether this is done through an onscreen conference hub, or just texting to each other’s phones, this is an essential component of meeting dynamics that reduces interruptions while boosting synergy. It can also be used as a way of “raising your hand to speak,” by texting the chairperson from miles away.

There will always be some occasions which necessitate pulling people physically into a room for a meeting, but these are becoming fewer and fewer. The technology exists to bridge the obstacles put up by distance, time and money, but what is needed now is a revised mindset, that focuses pro-actively on the dynamics of human communication, and curates the available technologies to achieve the meeting’s intended goal. This way, Mr. Cleese will not have to make another sequel in 2018.

For more on this topic, go to, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

M2M, IoT and Wearable Technology: Where To Next?

M2M, IoT and Wearable Technology: Where To Next?

M2M, IoT and Wearable Technology

Profiling 600 companies and including 553 supporting tables and figures, recent reports into the M2M, IoT and Wearable Technology ecosystems forecast opportunities, challenges, strategies, and industry verticals for the sectors from 2015 to 2030. With many service providers looking for new ways to fit wearable technology with their M2M offerings in order to route the masses of data being collected, IoT service providers may receive service revenues of up to $231 billion by the end of 2020, suggesting a CAGR of 40% between 2015 and 2020.

The Status Quo

With consumer voice and data service revenues reaching a saturation point, mobile operators are looking for new avenues to increase revenue growth, and providing connectivity for M2M (Machine to Machine) devices could be the next big opportunity.


(Infographic Source: The Fow Community)

Devices such as connected cars, smart meters, and healthcare monitors are becoming more commonplace, encouraging growth in various associated industries, and M2M connectivity could provide multi-billion dollar revenue options for MVNOs, mobile operators, and service aggregators attempting to address these needs. Enabling network connectivity between physical objects, M2M boosts the IoT vision of a global connected network of equipment, sensors, smart devices, appliances and applications able to communicate in real time, and furthermore allows for the monetization of wearable technology.

What to Expect

This year, 72.5 million connected wearables were shipped, almost triple as many as shipped in 2014. With a compounded annual growth rate of 25.8%, total shipments of smart glasses, smart watches, activity and fitness trackers, people and safety monitoring devices, medical devices, etcetera, it’s forecast that this figure will reach 228.3 million units shipped in 2020. It’s expected that Bluetooth will continue to be the primary connectivity option in the future, and forecasts suggest that 17.8 million of the wearables sold in 2020 will incorporate embedded cellular connectivity – specifically covering the smart watch and people monitoring and safety categories.


With Apple quickly becoming the leading smartwatch vendor in 2015, competition is hitting back hard, providing attractive Android Wear devices from vendors such as LG, Motorola, Asus, and Huawei, while vendors such as Samsung and Pebble explore alternate platforms. By the end of 2015, it’s expected that 19.5 million smart watches will have shipped, a 353% year-on-year increase. Additionally noted by Johan Svanberg, Senior Analyst for Berg Insight, “This market development has not gone unnoticed by the traditional watch industry and several vendors including Fossil and TAG Heuer have presented smart watches of their own.”

Though fitness and activity trackers are currently the largest device category, in the next five years, improved devices available in different price segments will encourage adoption, and smart watches are predicted to become the primary category. New form factors and decreasing costs are, however, likely to enable dedicated activity and fitness trackers to reach 71 million shipments in 2020.

Already common in the medical and people monitoring sectors, connected wearables such as ECG monitors, cardiac rhythm management devices, mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (mPERS), and wearable computers are likely to infiltrate new markets, thanks in part to low power wireless connectivity, miniaturized electronics, and cloud services providing a wider range of connected wearables such as notification rings, gesture wristbands, smart gloves, and smart motorcycle helmets. And though smart glasses shipments have been fairly small to date, promising use cases in both niche consumer segments and professional markets suggest smart glasses will become a considerable connected wearable device category by 2020.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Google Takes On Uber In Self-Driving Taxi Business

Google Takes On Uber In Self-Driving Taxi Business

Self-Driving Taxi Business

Google is turning its self-driving car team into a standalone company with a potential eye towards ride-hailing

Google and Uber may soon find themselves competing in the self-driving taxi business. Google is planning to make its autonomous vehicles unit a standalone business within Alphabet Inc. next year, reports Bloomberg. This new company would offer an on-demand car service similar to Uber, which is also researching self-driving car technology.

This new Alphabet company would first deploy driverless cars in places like college campuses, military bases, or corporate parks before rolling out to open roads. The car service could launch in areas such as San Francisco, Calif. and Austin, Texas first, Bloomberg reports. Google’s autonomous vehicles have already logged more than one million miles on public streets in those regions…

Read Full Article: Time

The Future of Digital Currency

The Future of Digital Currency

The Future of Digital Currency

It may come as a surprise to learn that Bitcoin is only six years old, but has had more media coverage that any other type of currency, although the coverage hasn’t always been positive. Back in 2014, a half-billion dollars’ worth of Bitcoin vanished from an online exchange in Tokyo as well as the 24-year-old vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation being arrested after being charged with money laundering.

Add to this the drop in value seen over 2014 and 2015, and many may be tempted to take the advice of entrepreneur and investor Warren Buffett and ‘stay away.’ As such, it wasn’t long before many of Bitcoin’s critics were labelling the currency as dead in the water.

While it may have had some teething problems, there are those who have fully embraced Bitcoin and digital currency as a whole, and whether we like it or not, the underlying technology used within Bitcoin is here to stay.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is effectively an online currency, so while they can be used, purchased and sold online, you will never hold a physical Bitcoin. Instead, they are purchased online using your local currency. You will also need a secure platform to store your Bitcoins.

Rather than using up resources, Bitcoins are created by computers that go through a series of number-crunching exercises before going through each and every permutation one at a time. Although created via a digital platform, the process used can be compared to the mining of precious metals used to create local currency, with the value being determined on how difficult the Bitcoins were to produce.


(See Full Infographic At Visual Capitalist: 50 Bitcoin Facts)

As well as Bitcoin, there have been a plethora of other online currencies introduced into the marketplace. These include Litecoin, calling itself the ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold,’ and offer a faster processing time than Bitcoin. A further introduction was Peercoin, which markets itself as an energy-efficient company. Peercoin state that the company is designed to have a 1 percent rate of inflation.

The Value of Digital Currency

Although it can be argued that the price of digital currency fluctuates far too much, if you were to read between the lines, you can get an overview on why digital currency is so popular. Firstly, it can be used anonymously. Although illegal sites such as Silk Road trade in Bitcoins, that’s not to say everyone who uses digital currency anonymously is a criminal.


(Infographic Source: Adweek)

Many people just prefer to go about their day-to-day activities without the world looking in, this could be in relation to the spending habits, or what they look at online. In this regard, Bitcoins are ideal for those who have grown a little tired of people sifting through your bank account every time you call up for some assistance.

As digital currency is decentralized, it offers online users are new way of exchanging money. ~If implemented in the correct way, Bitcoin and others like it could revolutionize the global economy, saving a small fortune on fees charged by banks and payment processors.


Despite the bad press associated with Bitcoin, the underlying premise is one that still proves to be interesting, and in most cases, effective. The fluctuating rate of some digital currencies can make people nervous about using it, especially in day to day scenarios. Nobody wants to spend more on their groceries because of a sudden decrease in value.

However, tailored in the right way, digital currency has a place in the online world, if not beyond. How it affects the global economy moving forward will really depend on how the online community embrace it moving forward.

By Paul Simpson

The Evolution Of Customer Service

The Evolution Of Customer Service

Customer Service Evolution

Much of the work that goes into developing sustainable businesses revolves around customer satisfaction. From utilizing beacons to gather customer information to accessing and exploiting Big Data for suitable product development and marketing, the ultimate provision of customer service can make or break a business. About eight years ago Zendesk was launched offering practical and customizable customer service tools and strategies.


Located in San Francisco with over 1,000 employees, Zendesk is a publicly listed company boasting a unique business approach. Says SVP Marcus Bragg, “As the company has grown, and particularly post-IPO, it has changed somewhat and lost some of its zaniness. But it’s still a fun place, we may have gone from t-shirts to colored shirts and blazers, but there’s certainly still no suits around the place.” With over 60,000 customers and revenues of $55 million in the last quarter, it’s difficult to envision the jaunty startup that developed into what is today a leading provider of customer service support.


Advanced Voice

In keeping with the belief that “Better customer service starts with better communication”, Zendesk provides email, social media, voice, and chat services to organizations wishing to streamline their customer support with tools like triggers, ticket views, and automation. And they’ve now made Advanced Voice, a superior version of their phone support offering that’s directly embedded into their cloud-based contact center, generally available

With promises of quick and easy setup, Zendesk customers are able to access a free trial that requires no additional equipment and allows the making and receiving of calls from one multichannel support environment. As stated in Forrester’s recent report, Contact Centers Must Go Digital or Die, “Consumers are increasingly impatient and want quick answers to their questions. They use self-service channels as a first point-of-contact and escalate the more complex questions to live agents. This means that live agent interactions are increasingly important in building customer relationships.” Zendesk insists that Advanced Voice will make customer contact centers more accessible for a broad range of organizations.

ryanIncluded in the new Advanced Voice offering is multi-level interactive voice response, correctly routing customers to the relevant agent or department, and offering recorded responses for FAQs. And warm transfer technology ensures smooth handoffs, quicker resolution times while limiting repetition. Zendesk’s latest product additionally provides real-time dashboards allowing monitoring and adaptation of queue and agency activity; Customizable auto-agent wrap-up time giving agents the ability to complete conversation related work without interruption from new calls; Tracking and measuring of operational efficiencies with call data in Zendesk; And scheduling features enabling the assignment of specific business hours to individual phone numbers for global organizations that need to accommodate worldwide operating hours.

Though the channels of customer interaction continue to increase and improve, telephonic conversations provide intimate contact between customers and organization. Says Ryan Nichols, General Manager of Zendesk Voice, “Our vision is to help companies move from thinking about phone support as an obligation to thinking about voice as an opportunity to engage customers in a highly personal way.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Cybercrime VTech Hacker Arrested

Cybercrime VTech Hacker Arrested

VTech Hacker Arrested

A 21-year-old man has been arrested in Berkshire by police investigating the hacking of electronic toy maker VTech. The man has been held on suspicion of “unauthorised access” to a computer, said the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (Serocu) in a statement.

VTech was hit in mid-November when servers holding its customer information were breached. In total, details of more than six million people are believed to have gone astray.

Data deluge

We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done,” said Craig Jones, head of the cyber crime unit at Serocu. “Cybercrime is an issue which has no boundaries and affects people on a local, regional and global level.”

In the attack, servers used to support VTech’s Learning Lodge app were compromised. The software lets registered customers download extra content such as games and e-books to their handheld devices…

Read Full Article: BBC Tech 

CloudTweaks Comics
Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things. One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various…

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Security, Security, Security!! Get use to it as we’ll be hearing more and more of this in the coming years. Collaborative security efforts from around the world must start as sometimes it feels there is a sense of Fait Accompli, that it’s simply too late to feel safe in this digital age. We may not…

The DDoS Attack That Shook The World

The DDoS Attack That Shook The World

DDoS Attack: Update 2 6 days after the DDoS attack that rocked the internet to its core, Dyn have released detailed analysis of the attack and further details have emerged. The attack has been confirmed to have been the largest of its kind in history, and the Mirai botnet has been cited as the official cause.…

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

Botnets and DDoS Attacks There’s just so much that seems as though it could go wrong with closed-circuit television cameras, a.k.a. video surveillance. With an ever-increasing number of digital eyes on the average person at all times, people can hardly be blamed for feeling like they’re one misfortune away from joining the ranks of Don’t…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

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…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

Are CEO’s Missing Out On Big Data’s Big Picture?

Are CEO’s Missing Out On Big Data’s Big Picture?

Big Data’s Big Picture Big data allows marketing and production strategists to see where their efforts are succeeding and where they need some work. With big data analytics, every move you make for your company can be backed by data and analytics. While every business venture involves some level of risk, with big data, that risk…

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Data Center Protection In April 2015, one of the world’s biggest jewelry heists occurred at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in London. Posing as workmen, the criminals entered the building through a lift shaft and cut through a 50cm-thick concrete wall with an industrial power drill. Once inside, the criminals had free and unlimited…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

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

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Governance, Risk and Compliance Businesses are under pressure to deliver against a backdrop of evolving regulations and security threats. In the face of such challenges they strive to perform better, be leaner, cut costs and be more efficient. Effective governance, risk and compliance (GRC) can help preserve the business’ corporate integrity and protect the brand,…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…


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