Category Archives: Lists

Holiday Shopping For Drones? 5 Things You Need To First Know

Holiday Shopping For Drones? 5 Things You Need To First Know

Holiday Shopping For Drones?

FAA’s New Drone Registration Proposals

The Christmas shopping season is upon us and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is speculating that one of the hottest items for well-to-do shoppers will be drones. They are speculating that up to a million drones could be sold in the coming weeks – a development that complicates matters for an agency seeking to regulate the public airspace.

As such, the registration of drones has become a fairly urgent item of business for the FAA, and on November 23 it released its recommendations around a drone registration system. Online business news publication Quartz studied the report and summarized the findings.

FAA-drones
(Image Source: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

1) First and foremost, it’s important to note that it’s not the drone itself which needs to be registered, it’s the operator. One person can own multiple drones and only have to register once. “After completing the registration, pilots will get a number that they can use for all the drones they fly—they just need to complete the registration before they fly a drone for the first time,” reports Quartz.

If a drone weighs over 250 grams then it needs to be registered, the logic being that any drone under that weight which falls out of the sky is unlikely to hurt anyone.

Currently the fine for flying an unregistered drone stands at a whopping $25 000, which the FAA has acknowledged is perhaps slightly too steep, yet it has not come out and specifically indicated that it is contemplating a lower fee.

2) The FAA recommends that drones only be flown by people over the age of 13 and that everyone in the US who wants to fly a drone needs to be registered. For foreign drone operators, the agency is ‘still requiring them to register, but with an expedited application process.’

3) At this point there is no test envisaged for people to gain a license, yet there is an acknowledgement that gaining a license to operate a drone should also entail some sort of educational element, in order to make sure that people are aware of the risks and the dangers involved in flying an unmanned craft.

Take a look at this educational site, entitled ‘’Know Before You Fly.’’

4) The act of registering a drone will be done through a website and registration will be free. Furthermore, drone owners will have to provide a name and address, but not be required to give any other details unless they wanted to, and that this database will be kept secret, “recommending that it not ever be available through the Freedom of Information Act.”

Tech blog ArsTechnica reports that the registration process is unlikely to involve more than 3 steps, as “”Any registration steps more burdensome than these three simple steps may jeopardize the likelihood of widespread adoption,” the task force said in its final report, dated November 21.”

5) Details have still not been established on who will be building the website and on when it will be up and running and come into law. There was also no comment yet on what would be required for drones which are already operating in US airspace.

By Jeremy Daniel

10 Potentially Obsolete Security Technologies

10 Potentially Obsolete Security Technologies

Systemic flaws and a rapidly shifting threatscape spell doom for many of today’s trusted security technologies

Perhaps nothing, not even the weather, changes as fast as computer technology. With that brisk pace of progress comes a grave responsibility: securing it.

Every wave of new tech, no matter how small or esoteric, brings with it new threats. The security community slaves to keep up and, all things considered, does a pretty good job against hackers, who shift technologies and methodologies rapidly, leaving last year’s well-recognized attacks to the dustbin.

Read Full Article: Networkworld

5 Tips For Getting Millennials Onboard Your SaaS

5 Tips For Getting Millennials Onboard Your SaaS

Getting Millennials Onboard Your SaaS

Why are Millennials the key demographic that SaaS companies should focus on? For one, they are quickly making up a larger share of your total user base. However, it is more than just a shift towards a younger generation; it is a shift in ideology. Millennials approach information much differently compared to Boomers. According to a research conducted by Forbes (2013), 74% of non-Millennials stated that Millennials offer different skills and add inherent value to workplaces. A big reason for this is that they grew up with personal computers, Internet, and are generally more receptive to multi-tasking and rapid absorption of information.

Courtesy of: IntelliResponse

Therefore, in order to be successful as a SaaS company, software must be developed with Millennials in mind.

Here are 5 tips for increasing SaaS adoption for Millennials.

1 – Know Where You’re Going – Set End Goals

During the early stages of training, it is vital to have self-contained, easily understood objectives for the end user. Getting off on the right foot will make the overall adoption process much smoother. More specifically, the design should appeal to Millennials and their inherent qualities.

Since your end users will typically be more tech-savvy and connected, you should ensure that your software offers a similar experience that they are used to. This means a stronger emphasis on clean UI, optimized media, mobile connectivity, upfront and easy-to-find objectives, and a knowledge base with a wide breadth.

2 – Know How You’re Doing – Monitor Performance

Perfect SaaS onboarding strategies cannot be made inside a vacuum. They take a careful blend of observation, and re-evaluation. Likewise, improving adoption of SaaS follows these same methods. You should monitor user performance during and after training. This allows training managers to provide more nuanced support whenever issues arise. Monitoring software can include databases, and integrated tests.

Once initial training ends, you should evaluate whether or not the original training objectives were met. This clues you into what was successful in the training program, and what could use some polishing. Also, feedback from the end user is important to get a gauge on how well the training program was received. Ideally, this monitoring and re-evaluation feedback loop should occur at regular intervals in order to improve training methods efficiently.

3 – Go Digital – Offer Online, Real-Time Help with Problems

Instead of offering paper worksheets and static instructions as a part of training, look towards more dynamic, real-time training methods. This can include automated walkthroughs, context sensitive tutorials, and other collaborative multimedia functions. These methods do not have to be strictly web-based either, since there are resources like online flowcharts that are simply digital analogues of paper versions. Real-time mentoring can be beneficial along with other online methods. The main factor to consider is that training materials are adaptive and easy to absorb.

Another benefit of dynamic approaches is that they are more convenient to update as information becomes outdated. This makes it cost-effective and aligns closer with Millennial expectations of adaptive material. Millennials can be described like sponges, soaking up information, coaching and tips.

4 – Bridge the Gap – Implement Cutting-Edge Tools

cutting-edge

Staying on the cutting edge of technology has several benefits for Millennials. New toolkits help provide support for advanced users and can help in providing better real-time support, or monitoring user improvement as mentioned in the previous tips. Not only do these tools tend to offer better cost-to-performance ratios, they are also more appealing for Millennials from a technological perspective.

Neuro-linguistic artificial intelligence functionality such as Apple’s Siri are quickly becoming popular options among these tools. While they aren’t perfect solutions, they help bridge the gap between tech-savvy Millennials and older generations of your workforce. Context sensitive assistance tools like WalkMe are another option for bolstering your training suite – they teach your users how to use applications, like CRMs, through step-by-step guidance balloons that leads a user through the site.

5 – Don’t Stop! –Offer Continuous Training

The key to great training programs is that they aren’t simply complete after the initial training period ends. Long-term training keeps users sharp and adaptive as new tools, technologies and market forces change. It reinforces what was learned, instead of placing it in the backburner, and it reduces the amount of initial training stress.

Applying and sticking to the right training methods and technologies are essential if you plan on attracting Millennials into your user base.

By Boaz Amidor

5 Steps To Effective Social Media Marketing

5 Steps To Effective Social Media Marketing

Push Your Cloud Startup Using  Social Media Marketing

We’ve talked on a number of occasions about the Social media cloud as well as topics such as Social listening and would like to a bit about Marketing in the social cloud.

Social media marketing can be a cost-effective and prolific tool when used correctly, and considering the continuing boom in the social media space, developing a robust strategy should be a top priority. Below is a condensed approach for creating your own successful plan, with The 2015 Social Media Marketing Start Kit offering additional resources that help you get started with social media, discussions around big data’s usefulness in social engagement, and insights into advocate marketing.

Provided is an example of the number of tools existing today in the (Infographic credit: http://chiefmartec.com) Social cloud marketing landscape.

Click to zoom 

marketing_technology_jan2015

1) Pay Attention

Companies that are successfully using social media to market their brands are listening to their customers first. By reading and joining your target market’s online discussions, you’ll learn what they value, what they require, and what they’re missing. This aids you in creating a focused and constructive campaign that targets the right people most effectively.

2) Strive for Worth

Consumers are bombarded with advertising on a minute-to-minute basis, and much of it becomes disregarded white noise. Entrepreneur notes that effective social media strategies tend to be 80% quality and 20% quantity. Provide your carefully chosen market with tailored and engaging content that does more than flog your products and services. Less is more when your message is reaching the right people and making a positive impact, and the value of providing quality content additionally encourages your audience to follow your future broadcasts, and share your communications with their own networks.

3) Peer Pressure

An inherent quality of social media is the influence it offers, both through you and through your customers. Once you’re appraised as a respected and attractive authority, your influence is pervasive. Furthermore, Oracle considers social influence the holy grail of social marketing, and the social influences that branch through your network invaluable.

4) Relationships

Making your customers feel like individuals is possibly the greatest benefit of social media marketing. No one wants to be a number, and no one thinks of themselves as an invisible part of the wider market. By responding directly to customers and engaging them in discussions, loyalty is generated. Customer service takes on a more personal role, and the engagement from both the business and consumer side tends to evolve into a stronger, subjective connection that benefits everyone.

5) Share

Social Media Examiner reveals social sharing habits that show mobile sharing has doubled, Facebook dominating the share market, as well as insight into the types of posts most shared. Since you’re hoping to have your broadcasts spread through consumer networks, remember that everyone else is hoping for the very same support. Sharing and responding to consumer discussions not only tells your customers that you appreciate them but encourages them to talk about you.

By Jennifer Klostermann

5 Ways The Cloud Is Redefining Modern-Day Data Centers

5 Ways The Cloud Is Redefining Modern-Day Data Centers

Modern-Day Data Centers

Cloud computing is driving a major shift in the IT landscape. According to research firm IDC, the cloud has changed the fundamental nature of computing and the very way business is done and IT is provisioned. The global cloud market is projected to reach $250 billion by 2017 as more companies seek new ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Cloud computing’s rapid proliferation is driving significant changes not only in business operations and IT provisioning, but also within the data center – where it starts. From data center design, to colocation, hardware, consolidation, and cross-connects, the cloud has had a profound impact on nearly every facet of the modern-day data center facility. In addition to enabling innovation, it is also opening the door for new approaches and opportunities for key data center stakeholders, including facility owners and operators, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and hardware vendors.

Here are five ways the cloud is redefining the modern-day data center:

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1 – Design:

In today’s data-driven world, latency, performance and quality can no longer be compromised. The consumer is getting smarter, causing today’s providers to have very specific infrastructure requirements in order to effectively serve their customers’ needs. Because of this, the data center becomes a key component in the delivery of the user experience. Enter the “specialty” data center and key players in this space such as EdgeConneX®, which offer an alternative to the traditional cloud model and give providers exactly what they need, where they need it. Replacing massive facilities in major cities with vast populations yet no direct access to cloud data centers, these local data centers are strategically positioned at the edge of the Internet to move content closer to the end-user, thereby ensuring the lowest latency data delivery, with an improved quality of service.

2 – Colocation:

Historically, colocation service offerings have been developed around rigid contractual and service delivery models, forcing customers into commitments that offered either too little space or obligated them to pay for extra space they did not use. In response to the agility offered by the cloud, as well as growing customer demand for more flexible service setups, colocation is beginning to evolve. Providers like MOD Mission Critical are at the forefront of this evolution, offering micro-colocation services like Colo by the ‘U’ to give customers the right-sized solution for their unique business needs.

3 – Hardware:

For many data center operators, power is still the number one cost within a modern facility, not to mention a key environmental concern. Today, the cloud is enabling significant improvements in data center efficiency. Hardware providers like Ciena® have already developed smarter hardware platforms built on cloud computing that lower data center power consumption.

4 – Consolidation:

The data center industry is very cyclical in nature; an influx of players in the market is followed by widespread consolidation – which is what is happening today. With the rise of the specialty data center, providers are focusing their business models on either Managed Services, such as New York-based Webair, or Bare Metal such as Equinix.

5 – Cross-Connects:

Cross-connects remain the last frontier of physical connectivity in a world of virtualization. The growth of cloud is casting a spotlight on companies’ cross-connect models, with some choosing to charge larger, non-reoccurring upfront costs and small recurring charges per month, while others opt for the opposite. Data center providers like Telx are also creating easier ways to connect their customers to cloud services through advanced interconnection solution such as cloud exchanges.

By Michael Hollander, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Mod Mission Critical

micheal-hollanderMichael is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of MOD Mission Critical, a worldwide network integrator. After a four-year stint with Allegiance Telecom, (later XO Communications) at 27, Michael Hollander began a venture of his own by co-founding global data network service provider WBS Connect, where he was a managing partner receiving accolades from the Denver Business Journal and INC 500 for triple digit growth. 

Here Are Four Ways To Elevate IT

Here Are Four Ways To Elevate IT

Here Are Four Ways To Elevate IT

Prior to joining the consulting side of the industry, I worked in corporate IT for the first 7-8 years of my career. While my time in corporate IT has long come to a close, I can still vividly recall the pain points and dreaded battles I endured.

A recent study confirmed that up to 80 percent of IT budget is allocated to keeping the “lights on.” Such tedious maintenance tasks range from mundane file restoration to the stressful rehabilitation of mission critical server failures.

IT-Lights

Here’s the good news: this spending has decreased in recent years as the adoption of cloud technology has increased. Earlier estimates had the cost of IT maintenance at 85% percent from the current 80%, and I anticipate this number will continue to drop. As more companies invest in the cloud and cloud services, budgets for keeping the lights on will shrink, thanks to the cost savings and efficiencies offered by cloud services. To ensure you’re making the most of available budget without spending too much time, or money, I’ve outlined four ways an IaaS provider can help to make tasks that can be very time-consuming with little return, much more efficient:

  1. Hardware & Maintenance—one major cost of IT is server hardware and maintenance. One of the few components left with moving parts, server hardware is prone to wear and tear. As such, there is always the need to allocate large amounts of time dedicated to maintaining these servers to keep everything up and running smoothly. By leveraging an IaaS provider, IT departments instantly offload a huge burden, letting the IaaS provider maintain server hardware, replace bad memory modules or failed drives. Providing a more efficient and low-cost alternative to internal maintenance, IaaS providers can help companies save money and focus their IT efforts elsewhere. Alleviating the bothersome late-night calls/texts when a server fails, employing an IaaS provider is the first step towards IT Utopia.

Disaster recovery

  1. Storage Area Network—another notable IT budget allocation is the storage area network (SAN). A SAN is typically very reliable, but when an issue arises, it usually affects major business critical systems causing mass hysteria in the IT camp. IaaS providers offer storage space for companies to take advantage of. By doing this, you move a very large expense off the maintenance budget while also removing the responsibility of the storage system upkeep and management. You’re now two steps closer to IT Utopia.
  1. System Backup —ensuring that all backup are complete is a tedious, time–consuming task. Between spending the morning sifting through backup logs and rescheduling unsuccessful backups a major chunk of any IT professional’s day. With today’s cloud service options, IaaS providers are able to back up the system they are hosting, which in turn, enables companies to recapture wasted time and move one step closer towards an IT Utopia.
  1. Software Distribution and Maintenance—these are crucial, but also time intensive IT tasks. From deploying a new application to rolling out a new major release of an existing application, distribution is usually a tedious and time consuming task for IT. Software as a Service (SaaS) can help companies minimalize time spent in this area by. SaaS is gaining popularity for many reasons and is a win-win for both IT and the software vendor. SaaS rollout is simple, requiring IT professionals to merely point their users to a URL.

With that said, there is application and user setup that needs to happen as well as potential data migration that needs to occur, but once that is done, the application is now available from any device with a browser with no additional configuration from IT. Users can access the application from any laptop, desktop or smart device without IT intervention.  When a new update comes out, the user will automatically see it the next time they login with no IT intervention.  Many popular SaaS applications are gaining momentum, such as Microsoft Office 365, SAP as well as the market maker, SalesForce.com. IBM has made a commitment to deliver all its software via a SaaS format over the next few years demonstrating that this will be the method of choice for software delivery in the future. The fourth step towards IT Utopia is now complete.

This discussion demonstrated only four items where Cloud services can be leveraged to minimize the time spent by IT on monotonous, tedious and time-consuming tasks that provide little value to the business.  Cloud services can help companies innovate in leaps and bounds, reducing IT costs and streamlining operations. Furthermore, cloud offerings allow  IT departments to focus on adding value to the business rather than “keeping the lights on,”  thereby attaining a state of IT Utopia.

By Marc Malizia

From AOL To Twitch: A Decade Of Big Data Hacks

From AOL To Twitch: A Decade Of Big Data Hacks

A Decade Of Big Data Hacks

The idea of hacking has been around forever. Popular in science-fiction films for decades, hacks have now become a reality for many people who engage in basic activities online. Here is a look at a list ten years in the making, a decade of hacks year-to-year.

Included is an infographic by ObserveIT which illustrates a few shocking facts.

data-breach-700px

2005: An inside job at AOL led to the theft of 92 million screen names and email addresses. Using these emails, spammers eventually sent out 7 billion emails. The perpetrator, Jason Smathers, was eventually sentenced to 15 months in prison.

2006: AOL mistakenly posts the search data of 650,000 users. This data included their web searches, if they clicked on a search, and where on the search page the query was located. In total, approximately 20 million web searches were outed by AOL.

2007: T.J. Maxx is hit by the first major digital credit card breach of a retail store. At least 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers are stolen in this attack. The hacker behind the attack, Albert Gonzalez, is sentenced to 20 years in prison for the security breach. He is scheduled for release in 2025.

2008: Albert Gonzalez didn’t just hack T.J. Maxx. In 2009, Heartland Payment Systems was hit with an attack that targeted 130,000,000 customers. This remains the largest breach in internet security history. As for Gonzalez, his role in the hack was reflected in his previously stated prison sentence.

2009: The U.S. Military suffers a major breach resulting in the loss of over 70 million military member’s personal data. The data was stolen when the drive used to store the data failed and was returned for service. When service failed it was sent for recycling. Somewhere along those lines of transit the drive was taken, and the data extracted.

2010: A leak at AT&T led to personal data of 114,000 iPad owners to be disclosed. One of the victims happened to be the White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The leak contained the users email addresses.

2011: One of the most famous leaks of the last half-decade, the Playstation Network was hit in April 2011, resulting in the theft of 77 million user’s personal data. In addition, the gaming network was completely down for 23 days following the discovery.

2012: LinkedIn was hacked in June of 2012 resulting in the theft of 6.5 million user accounts. This act was perpetrated by Russian cybercriminals who then posted the passwords and logins for the accounts on Russian hacking forums.

2013: A massive hacking spree was uncovered in 2013 that targeted some of Corporate America’s heaviest hitters. Companies involved include NASDAQ, Heartland Payment Systems, and Global Payment Systems. In all, the hackers were able to sell the data for upwards of $300 million.

2014: In August 2014, a hack of a different sort took place, targeting the personal photos and videos of celebrities who backed up their photos to Apple’s iCloud. This attack didn’t attack in bulk, but instead focused on a list of celebrities revealing private and adult images and videos. Victims of this attack included Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and many more.

2015: On March 23rd, 2015, game streaming service Twitch posted a blog on their website alerting users that their accounts have likely been tainted with. The Twitch community numbers over 100 million, with personal data ranging from emails to social plug-ins that could effect services like Twitter and YouTube. While the extent of the damage is yet to be known, it shows that these attacks are here to stay, and as the last decade shows this should come as no surprise.

By Keith Holland

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks

Does cloud security risks 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’).

Cloud Security Risks

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.

Lock-in

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 cloud security risks and 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 http://www.ccsk.eu.

Peter H.J. van Eijk

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

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The Business of Security: Avoiding Risks

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Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

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Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

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Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

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The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

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The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

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Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

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