Category Archives: Education

Cloud Security: The Top 8 Risks According To ENISA

Cloud Security: The Top 8 Risks According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks

Does security in the cloud ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way.

So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and identified 35 risk categories. This analysis is used by a number of players in the industry, including certain banking regulators. From those 35, ENISA has selected 8 as the most relevant ones. This article explains them, not in any particular order. (And by the way: ENISA is pronounced as ‘eniesa’, not ‘enaiza’).


Loss of governance

As a cloud consumer you need to be sufficiently in control of your IT systems. If the cloud service agreement does not give you the proper tools, you have a problem. Example: you should be able to make a backup of your important data and get it out of the cloud provider system.


Can you move your data and processes from one provider to another? It will always take you effort, but how much? On the infrastructure level it may be fairly straightforward to move to a different provider, but it may be significantly more expensive to move to a different CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. Don’t get too scared though; remember that most companies have gone through similar projects before there was cloud.

Isolation failure

Cloud computing, by definition, is about sharing resources: i.e. processing capacity. Now if one tenant (cloud word for customer) can influence another’s resources that is considered isolation failure. One example is starving a tenant of CPU power. Another is hacking into another tenant’s virtual machine (which is pretty hard, by the way). A third example is leaking information between tenants, which happened to DropBox a while ago.

Compliance risks

A lot of cloud consumers need to demonstrate that they take proper care of their data, for example because it contains credit card numbers. If your cloud provider does not help you with that, you are in trouble.

Management interface compromise

This is another of those ‘risk-speak’ jargon expressions. You probably control your cloud usage through some portal over the internet, which potentially allows a bad guy from anywhere in the world access.

Data protection

This is similar to compliance risks. Can you check that all data is handled in a lawful way? Are you sure that their back end providers do the same? Certification can go a long way towards demonstrating that, by the way.

Insecure or incomplete data deletion

You are asking your cloud provider to store your data safely, which they probably do by making multiple copies. Then you ask them to delete that same data. That might be hard, as it probably is on multiple disks that are shared with other customers, so they cannot simply shred the hard disks. This problem is not very unique to cloud by the way. You may have it with your own servers, printers and copying machines, all of which contain a lot of storage.

Malicious insider

In a cloud provider you have a number of people who may have extreme powers because they can look at all data. One well know ridesharing website had implemented and used a ‘God View’, in which one person could look at all the data.

If you are evaluating cloud solutions, it makes great sense to take a look at each of these eight risk categories first, to see how you and your cloud provider would be handling them. In enough cases cloud providers are demonstrably good enough at this, which you can find out by analyzing their documentation and reports.

More cloud risks are elaborated in the CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge) body of knowledge. The ENISA research is part of that. For more information on that certification you can visit

Peter H.J. van Eijk

Selling Your Business To Your Employees

Selling Your Business To Your Employees

Mobility For Your Employees

It may seem a radical notion, the idea of selling your business to the people who work for you, but this is the era in which we now work. Employees of all levels are all incredibly aware of their options when it comes to mobility and employability. This doesn’t mean that jobs are falling out of the trees like fruit. Good jobs are still hard to find, but they are not “as” hard to find. A plethora of career websites and social media portals are available, giving motivated people great control over their personal career path. For CIOs this means adding an extra layer of internal sales to ensure employees remain engaged, productive, and present.

A significant development in this regard has to do with the devices employees use at work. The company issued laptop and phone just don’t cut it anymore. There is less prestige in lugging around a device that you don’t really like, and which doesn’t really fit; especially when the one you do like, the one you spent your own money to buy works better. Especially too, when the space between work and home is so conveniently bridged by the cloud.



The desire to use personal technology at work is called “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), and it presents a dilemma for employers. On the one hand, the ease of use of a personally chosen device tends to increase engagement and productivity. But it does do at a price, primarily in terms of its potential as a security threat. Personal devices are generally woefully under-protected. Many devices lack adequate anti-virus related technologies, and their users enjoy the convenience of cloud-based storage tools such as DropBox, iCloud and Onedrive. Such online repositories make it very convenient to deposit company files, and although they offer significant levels of encryption and protection, it might not be so easy to certify where in the world the data is being stored, which can lead to legal and compliance problems for an employer.



Some employers are testing out a solution to this personal device problem by offering up a range of devices for employees to choose from, a technique called Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). This procedure gives employees access to the iPads, tablets, Chromebooks and smartphones they prefer, but which have been topped up with the appropriate security apps and protocols to ensure a company’s safety.

That such a procedure has to be enacted is a sign of the times. Where, in earlier years, employees would simply take what they were given, this no longer applies. Today’s professionals expect a level of work-life balance that matches their personal goals, and having access to technology is included in this.

Tables Are Turning


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The tables have turned in business and the customer is the new boss. Companies must now focus on an audience of one, providing customized experiences for each – this is the new mantra. But few employers have taken the step of seeing their employees as customers also. But they are. An employee trades time and talent for a job and a salary. It may not have always seemed this way, but more and more professionals are recognizing this about themselves, and these numbers increase as the newer generations enter – and make an impact – on the workforce and on the economy.

A new entrepreneurial mindset is required in which subsets of a company, such as the IT department, are no longer seen – or see themselves – as cost centers, but instead see themselves as a business unto themselves, buying and selling to visibly generate profit. As such, just like any competitive business, a department must now turn to disruptive technologies and innovative practices to attract and retain key talent.

According to an IBM 2013 Global C-Suite study entitled, “Moving from the back office to the front lines: CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study,

  • 70% of CIOs expect to work with a wider group of partners in the future, and they’re doing so in order to generate greater strategic and business value, rather than increase efficiency or reduce costs. They’re also focusing on putting in tools to facilitate effective internal collaboration. CIOs in outperforming enterprises are in the vanguard of this movement:
  • 82 percent aim to install social business tools to help employees and partners pool their brains, compared with just 69 percent of CIOs in underperforming enterprises.
  • Mobile technologies play a big part in their plans. Most CIOs want to cater to the needs of the growing number of employees who work outside a traditional office setting. They also have an eye on the opportunities for improving productivity.

What many executives are noticing, is that transitioning to this new entrepreneurial approach to workplace technology is not an albatross. Rather than slowing down progress and increasing costs, the technologies that are available on employees’ preferred devices are making things work better: better collaboration tools, communication tools, time management tools and more. These companies are discovering that by allowing a square peg to choose a square hole, more can actually get done.

This post is brought to you by The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

By Steve Prentice

Cloud Infographic – 21st Century Schools

Cloud Infographic – 21st Century Schools

Cloud Infographic – 21st Century Schools

Teachers have existed since the beginning of time and the practices used by modern instructors have been tried and tested over hundreds of years. Yet now we have cloud linked computers that are changing the way we do business and the way we learn. Students are becoming more versed in technology than even the instructors, so how can we keep up with this increase in technological knowledge?

Knowledge is the rising commodity in our age and being able to instruct and share that knowledge is becoming even more valuable. Here is a snapshot from Nova Southeastern University of a few ways technology is revolutionizing the way we, our children and our children’s children will be taught.

By Sam Hudgins


How To Keep A Cloud (And Your Data) Inside Your Borders

How To Keep A Cloud (And Your Data) Inside Your Borders

The Cloud And Your Data

One of the greatest challenges for companies considering a move to the cloud is in its very global and seemingly borderless nature. As an Internet-based technology, it is easy to assume that any data sent from A to B can take any one of a thousand paths, routed through cities and countries according to the whim of the network itself. But for many organizations this is not good enough. Compliance and intellectual property laws affect a number of industries, and require, among other things, that data will be stored inside the country in which the company or department does business. Any violation of these laws can have severe consequences.

Yet at the same time, cloud deployment represents an economic and highly versatile method of storing data, communicating with clients and operating mission-critical applications. Economic and reliable, yes, but where is it all, exactly?

Power By Numbers – Four thousand Hybrid Cloud and IaaS Powered Providers

The people at VMware are addressing this challenge with the VMware vCloud Air Network, a global collection of almost four thousand Hybrid Cloud and IaaS Powered service providers located in more than one hundred countries, who can deliver hybrid cloud expertise to a local client base, and with it, the assurance of locally-stored cloud data; a concept called Data Sovereignty.

Built on the VMware vSphere virtualization platform, the VMware vCloud Air Network seeks to introduce a level of validated quality and reliability through this global network of partners.

This approach addresses a concern that has been held by IT managers and CxO’s for all the years of the cloud’s existence: allowing both data and the activity of IT to leave the four walls of a company’s place of business. This speaks to a traditional mindset that keeping things in-house makes them safer. This sometimes has to do with the fact that when computers and network systems are physically resident in-house, it is easy and somewhat reassuring to walk into the server room and see all the blinking lights. However, this is no longer as possible as it once was, given the cost of acquisition and maintenance of computer systems, plus the people required to run and upgrade them.

Security Benefits Through Globally-Dispersed Service Providers


Ongoing security is also an issue. Keeping a network safe from malware, hacking, DDoS attacks and similar threats is a full-time job which requires constant vigilance. Numerous organizations that have outsourced their data and storage needs to cloud providers have done so in order to delegate the responsibility to reliable, certified people who not only make it their business to understand the technology, but who also understand the industry, the laws, as well as the country, culture and language in which the client operates. This becomes one of the benefits of using globally-dispersed service providers. The client can meet them and talk to them. They are nearby.

It is important to recognize that the comfort in knowing a company’s data is safe within the borders of its home country doesn’t limit itself to the static storage phase. Transit between points is equally crucial, which is why the VMware vSphere virtualization platform allows for easy movement back and forth between a company’s own virtualized environment and its hybrid cloud environment, all the while being able to account for its paths of travel.

It is these types of innovations that allow IT managers the chance to sleep a little better at night, knowing the cloud holding their data is hovering nearby.

This post is brought to you by the VMware vCloud Air Network.

By Steve Prentice

Big Data College Education

Big Data College Education

Big Data’s Use In Colleges

Much has been written about how Big Data and cloud computing can be used for diversifying educational learning platforms. For example, Big Data is being used to track students’ academic performance and alert them and their supervisors to falling grades, attendance or both. Even before the future students pack their bags, universities offer them possible learning paths, before and on campus–the University of Georgia, for example, predicts on which majors a student is likely to succeed based on performance on past courses.

Other universities are also quick to leverage this data analysis phenomenon–after all, they were never really short on data about their students in the first place. What’s really putting colleges on the edge now, though, is the shifting education landscape. With President Obama’s new ‘value ratings’ system to set to work next year, higher education establishments are forced to become more efficient, and soon, to qualify for government aid. Eventually, the goal is to “Hold students and colleges receiving student aid responsible for making progress toward a degree.” The stakes are thus rather high.

arizona state

Universities pioneering in Big Data, like the Arizona State University, are long employing analytics tools that help both students and their supervisors. A.S.U’s eAdvisor system, in place for seven years already, has helped achieve substantial increase in lower-income students’ graduation rates–from 41 to 26 percent–over the past three years. They achieved this partly by using eAdvisor to notify the students and their advisors if the former are straying away from the path to a degree.

Similarly, Marist College in Poughkeepsie New York has implemented an early warning system that can indicate, three weeks into a course, if a student will have problems finishing. The system works by collecting online learning breadcrumbs, much like Facebook and Google do, to see how much attention a student is paying to the course. Within two to three weeks, they know with a 75% certainty whether someone will have trouble keeping up. In order to help the students, they send an email to the professor teaching a course so that the student can be helped privately. Before, the students themselves received an email, but many of them panicked and dropped the course, making the ‘social smarts’ aspect in such software rather evident.

That’s the usual caveat with data, big or otherwise. It’s as good as the people using it. A university with poor personnel can get better using Big Data, but, with the new regulations, this alone may well not warrant the survival of the institution. Notifications about failing grades can remind a student about her duties, but a heart to heart with a real human being can do much more–if both parties are equally interested, of course.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Lauris Veips

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

Cloud Computing Education

The benefits of cloud computing are being recognized in businesses and institutions across the board, with almost 90 percent of organizations currently using some kind of cloud-based application. The immediate benefits of cloud computing are obvious: cloud-based applications reduce infrastructure and IT costs, increase accessibility, enable collaboration, and allow organizations more flexibility in customizing their products both for their brand and for their audience. But cloud computing is having other effects as well, which have the potential to greatly change how education works, both in online courses and in traditional classrooms.

Here are five surprising ways cloud computing is changing education:

1. No more expensive textbooks. It’s no secret that university-level textbooks are expensive. The cost of textbooks has outpaced the cost of virtually everything else in education, including tuition. As a result, many students are simply refusing to buy them. Cloud-based textbooks can solve this problem as digital content is significantly less expensive than printed content. This levels the playing field so that lower-income students can have the same access to quality learning materials as their higher-income counterparts. Currently, higher education institutions across the United States are piloting an e-textbook program involving 50 publishers and close to 30,000 textbooks.

2. No more outdated learning materials. In the K-12 arena, the problem of expensive textbooks means that many of the materials students are using are outdated. The average social studies book in elementary and junior high schools is seven to eleven years old, which means that the world maps in these books are no longer correct. With cutbacks in school budgets, many districts, especially in less affluent areas, simply can’t afford to replace these outdated resources. Cloud-based materials are easy to update in real time so that students always have access to the most current learning resources.

3. No expensive hardware required. Cloud-based applications can be run on Internet browsers, but most are compatible with mobile devices as well. This means that schools and students do not necessarily need to own expensive computers—a $50 smartphone can access these applications just as well as a $500 laptop. Students also don’t need to purchase external storage devices as there are plenty of companies, like Google, that offer free cloud-based storage.

4. No expensive software required. One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based computing is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Many software programs are now available either free or on a low-cost subscription basis, which substantially lowers the cost of essential applications for students. For example, instead of purchasing a single Microsoft Office student license for $140, students and their families can purchase a cloud-based subscription for five computers and five mobile devices for only $10 per month. Even better, they can use Google Docs for free. Institutions can also save big by using SaaS applications—traditional learning management systems can cost upwards of $50,000 or more, but cloud-based learning management systems like ProProfs’ Training Maker are available starting at $60 a month with no per-user fee.

5. Reaching more, and more diverse, students. Cloud computing opens up a world of new possibilities for students, especially those who are not served well by traditional education systems. For example, until education moved online, the options for adult students who didn’t finish high school were very limited—now these students can earn their diploma or GED online. There are many other types of students for whom a traditional school environment simply doesn’t work, and these students now have many options for pursuing alternative forms of education.

In these and other ways, cloud computing is not only reducing costs, but also creating an environment where all students can have access to high-quality education and resources. Whether you are an administrator, a teacher, a student, or the parent of a student, now is a great time to explore how cloud-based applications can benefit you, your children, and your school.

By Sameer Bhatia

Cloud Infographic – Digital Classrooms Are Far More Than A Reality

Cloud Infographic – Digital Classrooms Are Far More Than A Reality

Digital Classrooms Are Far More Than A Reality

The principle goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.” – Jean Piaget

With the predominance of modern technological applications in all spheres of life, it is hardly possible to imagine a classroom deprived of high-tech trends. Day by day, modern education feels how important it is to be able to keep up with the challenges existing in the modern world of technology and science. Naturally enough, the outdated looks over education and classroom life are rapidly being replaced by the innovations of our digital age.

Modern students use more and more digital devices and applications for classroom use. Students turn to their tablets, laptops and smartphones to find practical solutions to accomplish their in-class research and assignments, or to communicate with their professors and take the necessary notes. Increasingly, government organizations and educational institutions, companies and research centers keep on focusing on the rise of digital educational materials and products all over the world.

Today’s digital world tends to cultivate more originality and creativity among students. Modern students need more independence and self-reliance. Thus, they are looking forward to digital classrooms that will serve their classroom needs through fingerprint solutions and electronic textbooks, and will help them conduct their student and campus life more easily.

Find an interesting infographic below provided by



By Lilit Melkonyan

EMC Answers The Call For up-to-the Minute Cloud Infrastructure Education

EMC Answers The Call For up-to-the Minute Cloud Infrastructure Education

EMC Answers The Call For Up-To-The Minute Cloud Infrastructure Education

Building and managing cloud infrastructure is not easy. Comprising a collection of fast-changing technologies that compete with shifting policies and laws, user needs, and corporate objectives, it emc_logorequires technical knowledge paired with the skills to talk to non-technical decision-makers as well as programmers and software specialists.

The role of Cloud Architect is a new kind of career for a new age, requiring new skills to help meet the unique challenges that cloud infrastructure presents. As traditional universities and colleges struggle to keep pace, new sources of cloud skills development and certification are widely recognized as the most effective providers of this must-have education.

Chief among this new breed is the professional education arm of EMC, a global IT solutions organization with approximately 60,000 employees, that helps its clients move toward information technology as a service (ITaaS) in areas such as cloud computing. EMC Education Services, which specializes in skills development and certification targeted to IT professionals, was the first in the industry to develop a comprehensive cloud computing curriculum, launched in 2011.


Delivered in classroom, streaming, and flash-drive-based formats, EMC’s industry-leading cloud curriculum and certification have helped bridge the cloud skills gap, leveraging an ‘open’ approach that focuses on concepts and principles applicable to cloud environments built on multiple vendor technologies. The Cloud Architect curriculum is aligned with EMC Proven Professional, a leading certification program in the IT industry.

EMC recently announced the release of its Cloud Infrastructure and Services (CIS) v2 course, described as a cloud essentials course that focuses on concepts and principles of building and managing cloud infrastructure. The course enables IT managers to gain a full understanding of the Cloud Computing Reference Model. The model is designed to convey the basic functionality of a cloud infrastructure and enhance understanding of the fundamental principles of building it. Additionally, it facilitates efficient communication of cloud infrastructure details between stakeholders. The course aligns to EMC Proven Professional Cloud Architect Associate-level certification (EMCCIS). EMC Education Services is offering a significant discount on pre-order of the streaming version of the CIS v2 course prior to October 17, its official go-live date.


IT managers have become vital contributors in the corporate-level decision process. Today, decisions regarding security, ecommerce, operations, or marketing must include the input of IT management. Consequently, the education they invest in must prepare them for the new roles they are taking on. Without IT there is no cloud, and with no cloud there is no business.

The five-day CISv2 course covers nine modules:

  • Introductory Cloud Concepts
  • Building the Cloud Infrastructure
  • Physical Layer
  • Virtual Layer
  • Control Layer
  • Service and Orchestration Layers
  • Business Continuity
  • Security
  • Service Management

In the past few years, EMC’s industry-leading cloud courses have seen more than 28,000 course registrations and 5,500 certifications. Students come from a wide range of large and medium-sized organizations worldwide.

More information about the CIS v2 course can be found at

By Steve Prentice

(Sponsored By EMC Education Services)

CloudTweaks Comics
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The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

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What You Need To Know About Choosing A Cloud Service Provider

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