Category Archives: SaaS

How To Use Remediation To Accelerate Your IT Transformation Journey To The Cloud

How To Use Remediation To Accelerate Your IT Transformation Journey To The Cloud

How To Use Remediation To Accelerate Your IT Transformation Journey To The Cloud

In my last article I discussed the importance of conducting a comprehensive assessment of your current IT environment before deciding on any kind of a cloud strategy. To summarize: you must know exactly where you are before you can accurately chart a course to where you want to be along the IT transformation journey.

Usually, there is a clear business case for performing systematic and strategic remediation of your onsite IT environment to get it running as effectively and efficiently as possible. Unless, of course, your assessment revealed so many problems that you no longer want to operate your own IT environment and are in a position to make an immediate and total move—i.e., start over— in a cloud environment.

Your cloud environment will be a totally honest reflection of your on premise environment. That means, if your on premises environment is under- or over-utilized, your cloud environment will be as well. Simply moving an inefficient environment to the cloud will not by itself make it any more efficient.

The best approach—and the focus of this article—will be how to get the greatest payback from the information you collected during your assessment by performing remediation of inefficient systems—physical and virtual. The good news is that there are many short term benefits from remediation as part of a thoughtful strategy that ensures the upgrades you make to each component contribute to the development of a converged infrastructure. To avoid bouncing off the guardrails on your IT transformation journey you need to align each new project that crosses your desk with your long-term vision. The strategic choice might be more expensive in the short term, but nothing is as expensive as finding yourself in a technological dead-end that forces you to start over.

Let’s look at a few key topics.

Virtualization

Many IT directors think they are much more virtualized than they actually are. According to reseach, a typical IT environment is about 50 percent virtualized. That, obviously, leaves the other 50 percent to be virtualized. The ROI and other benefits of extending virtualization are well established.

Besides the need to extend virtualization, most organizations need to rationalize the systems they have virtualized. It is all too common to see where 100 physical servers have been transformed into 200 or more…sometimes many more…virtual servers.

It doesn’t take much to create them, but virtual machines have the same support, security and compliance issues that physical machines do. The cost of server sprawl, as a result, can be significant. After evaluating one organization’s virtual environment recently, for example, we told them that, if they spent some money on remediation, we would be able to charge them half of what it would cost per month if we had to manage their existing environment unchanged. The bottom line: Every dollar they invested up front would be paid back manyfold in a short period of time.

Remediation of virtual environments is directly related to remediation of management abilities through the development and execution of ITIL best practices as part of an IT service management (ITSM) strategy. We’ll return to this topic in a subsequent blog. Let’s go back to the physical enironment for a bit.

Blade Servers

Blade technology has initiated a wave of change through everything in the data center. Blades are modular, need fewer cables, require less floor space, use less power, require less cooling and can be managed by integrated management tools. These and other dramatic efficiencies enabled the blade form factor to take the data center by storm. A key advantage of introducing blades to your data center is that your investment in the blade chassis is protected over time because you can always add additional blades, unlike money spent on maintaining older technology for which there is no roadmap to the future.

Converged Storage

The prevailing tendency in most organizations has been to buy more storage than you need—“just to be sure.” Predictably, the tendency to over-buy has filled many data centers with a variety of storage devices all performing at a small percentage of their designed performance—kind of like where servers were before virtualization when the rule of thumb was a server for every application.

Ultimately, you will be able to implement a common storage platform that will make it possible to dynamically select the best storage configuration for a specific application from a menu that includes all the choices. In the meantime, organizations need to carefully select a specific storage solution that meets their current needs and leaves their future options open.

That means implemening converged storage area networks (SANs) for your virtual server farms. Converged SANs lets you assign virtual storage and provide high availability with commands from the hypervisor environment, just the way you manage virtual servers. That your attached storage is controlled and managed by hypervisor is what makes it “converged.” We do have to keep an eye on the industry and where storage is headed. Recent advancements in flash and direct-attached storage may soon provide services that were traditionally only supported through a SAN.

The ideal goal, of course, is to get everything into the converged infrastructure where you have lowest costs per port, the lowest cost for SAN storage, for compute resource…for everything, compared to a discrete physical environment; and you can take advantage of the dynamic movement, self provisioning, scaling and all the benefits of shared resources model.

My next article will look at how to can break down the traditional silos of specialites that exist today in most IT departments like feudal baronies in constant territorial disputes with each other. To advance along the IT transformation journey, your IT team is going to have to learn to get along.

By Kevin Gruneisen, Logicalis Senior Director Cloud and Data Center Solutionskevin

Kevin has nearly 30 years of experience in the Infrastructure Technology business. His key responsibilities at Logicalis are focused on matching Logicalis’ capabilities with the cloud and data center needs of its customers. Kevin joined Logicalis in 2004 when Logicalis acquired Solution Technology, Inc. He began his career in technology with IBM in 1984. 

For more information, Kevin recommends IT pros explore the IT Transformation Journey, a microsite dedicated to this topic, at www.unlikeanycloud.com.

Cloud Infographic: IT Business Continuity

Cloud Infographic: IT Business Continuity

Cloud Infographic: IT Business Continuity

Axcient, business continuity provider, has introduced a new infographic depicting the common issues IT professionals face when on vacation, in addition to how downtime affects the rest of their organizations.

Some of the notable stats include: • 72 percent of IT managers have had at least one vacation interrupted during the last five years due to IT issues, • 39 percent of problems encountered during vacations were from connectivity/network outages, • $26 billion is lost in revenue in North America annually due to downtime.

Infographic_No_Relaxation_For_the_IT_Manager

Infographic Source:  Axcient

Good Bots And Bad Bots Online: They Outnumber Us

Good Bots And Bad Bots Online: They Outnumber Us

Good Bots And Bad Bots Online: They Outnumber Us

bot-traffic-report-2013

Bots account for 61.5% of all Internet traffic, according to a new infographic published by online data security company Incapsula. This represents a 21% increase over the past year, and it signifies not only an increase in automated web traffic, but a significant increase in activity by the bad bots – those out to skim information and infiltrate databases and computers everywhere.

Of particular interest is the revelation that half of all bot traffic is “good,” meaning that it is comprised of search engines and other automated programs that supposedly collect data about us for our benefit. The other half, however, consists of “bad” bots, which Incapsula subdivides by type.

These consist of the following:

  • Scrapers: some of these steal email addresses for spam purposes, while others reverse-engineer pricing and business models – essentially scraping data from existing websites for re-use elsewhere;
  • Hackers: tools that break in to other sites to steal credit card data or inject malicious code;
  • Spammers: these steal email addresses and send out billions of useless and annoying email messages, as well as inviting “search engine blacklisting;”
  • Impersonators: these specialize in intelligence gathering, DdoS attacks and bandwidth consumption.

In a recent interview with CloudTweaks, Incapsula CEO Gur Shatz stated that “the inadequacies of today’s defenses, juxtaposed with the ever-rising value of the information that can be stolen, represent a huge opportunity for cybercriminals. Personal or corporate devices are a tremendous intelligence source, carrying richer and more accurate data than ever before, but protections on these devices still mostly rely on outdated technologies such as passwords.” Compounding this issue is the degree by which so many devices are interconnected, and that the public remains largely unaware of the unrelenting presence and of bots and other automated programsthat visit their computers and read their data either unnoticed, or worse with the user’s consent.

Shatz points out that even a company without any major secrets or critical online functionality is still subject to being used as a “mule” to conduct cybercrime. “Even small online businesses such as ecommerce sites are vulnerable,” he says, “because downtime or slowness costs them both money and reputation damage”.

In the short space of one year the proportion of bots to human users has shifted from roughly 50-50 to 60-40, a trend that with most things technology-related, promises to continue, in accordance with Moore’s law, to the point that the vast majority of all web traffic will be automated, and much of that will be up to no good.

By Steve Prentice

5 Cloud Security Predictions For 2014

5 Cloud Security Predictions For 2014

5 Cloud Security Predictions For 2014

Data security is always a hot topic among IT industry pundits, but I believe 2013 will go down as the year security crawled out of the basement and into the cultural zeitgeist.gazzang_image

Edward Snowden and the NSA spying revelations may have been the biggest tech story of the year. And mass data breaches at Twitter, Facebook, Adobe and The New York Times (just to name a few) were PR nightmares that raised the profile of data security — particularly in the cloud — as a recurring topic of conversation in the boardroom.

No doubt today’s breaking news will define many of tomorrow’s innovative technologies. We’re watching these developments closely at Gazzang and continuing to evolve and enhance our solutions to meet the growing needs of enterprises in the cloud and with big data.

As we close the book on 2013, I’d like to share a few cloud security-related predictions for 2014:

  •  SaaS vendors will offer encryption keys revocable by end users. SaaS providers understand they have an obligation to protect sensitive data on behalf of their clients. I believe more cloud vendors will provide encryption, and allow their clients to control access to the encrypted data by giving them ultimate control of the keys. This includes the ability to revoke the key and render data unreadable by the SaaS vendor.
  • Vulnerability of APIs will be exposed. APIs are increasingly popular for application integration because they enable apps (and soon Internet-connected objects) to request data from each other. Yet exposing core business data and processes via APIs makes them more susceptible to hackers — increasing the risk for intrusion attacks, data theft or DOS attacks.
  • European companies migrate data from US-based cloud and SaaS providers in response to NSA Prism scandal. US-based cloud service providers including Google, Amazon and Microsoft account for approximately 85 percent of global markets. However, a recent Cloud Security Alliance survey of 500 respondents found that 56 percent of non-US residents were less likely to use US-based cloud providers in light of recent revelations about government access to customer information. In response, the EU’s European Cloud Partnership is drafting a charter to promote an EU-based digital cloud service.
  • As NSA concerns fade, data privacy concerns skyrocket. Most people and organizations will realize they’re not being targeted by the NSA; however, the residual effect of the spying scandal is that data privacy will become a scorching hot topic in 2014. A recent poll shows 86 percent of U.S. Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints using a variety of methods, and more than 70 percent of E.U. citizens want to have more control over how their data is used online.
  • Major trustees of consumer data, such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook begin to offer consumer-based key management services, where the provider hosts the encryption and the end-user manages the keys to their personal data. Consumer cloud storage providers tend to design systems that emphasize recoverability over security. However, as organizations like the NSA continue to snoop on citizens, cloud services face increasing pressure to up the ante in privacy protections and data security, allowing users to hold their own encryption keys and prevent access to sensitive data that might otherwise fall subject to government subpoena.

Larry_WarnockBy Larry Warnock, President & CEO/Gazzang

Larry is responsible for Gazzang’s leadership, operations and strategic direction. He brings more than 27 years of operational expertise working with startups and established technology companies to his role at Gazzang, particularly in the enterprise software, security and data center tools markets.

Open Innovation And Freelancing – The Cloud And The Crowd

Open Innovation And Freelancing – The Cloud And The Crowd

Open Innovation and Freelancing – The Cloud and the Crowd

The State of Enterprise Crowdsourcing INFOGRAPHIC_001

Back in 2007, before the cloud was called the cloud, the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI), an organization formed by the U.S. Congress to assist in cleaning up the lasting damage from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, sought to find creative techniques for separating oil from water in recovery barges in the sub-freezing temperatures of the Alaskan winter, where everything turns solid, or at least extremely sludgy, making cleanup extremely difficult. The OSRI turned to InnoCentive, a centre dedicated to open innovation by opening up challenging engineering and scientific problems to the world, and providing rewards for people who are able to come up with a solution. The OSRI found a solution in the mind and experience of one John Davis, whose background was not in the oil industry, but rather in the concrete industry, where vibrating metal poles were commonly used to keep concrete from hardening too soon. He proposed that the same technique should be used for the oil sludge, and thus brought together two worlds that had previously seldom interacted.

The OSRI example is just one of many case studies that highlight the growing power of connecting people through various cloud technologies, such as crowdsourcing, open innovation and freelancing.

Access to FaceBook in the workplace, for example, has long been maligned by senior management circles as being a timewaster and a poor example to visiting customers. However other organizations are recognizing major benefits from the data and atmosphere of FaceBook-style social media: it connects internal people who might otherwise never meet, allowing their mutually compatible talents to be joined and used for the benefit of the organization. Others are starting to recognize that an employee’s social media profile might actually be a better indicator of performance than more traditional personality tests, and research, such as that done recently at Cornell University backs this up.

Freelancing, too, has become a major new channel of employment opportunity for professionals of all ages, from students just starting out, to more seasoned workers either looking for new horizons, or having the choice forced upon them through downsizing. Cloud-based freelancing sites such as elance.com, freelancer.com, guru.com and odesk.com provide an opportunity for people to meet: those who need talent and those who have skills to sell. The pay for many of these jobs is lower than it might be inside the walls of a bricks-and-mortar company, but they often lead to repeat and referral jobs and in some cases, longer-term contracts.

Companies are discovering that instead of simply being time wasters, the social side of cloud technology actually helps people connect in ways they simply cannot or will not in more traditional avenues, such as meetings and email. Superconnectors, those people who are naturally able to network and communicate – the movers and shakers of any corporate community – are more likely to be found through the various channels of the cloud than anywhere else. Innovative minds, too, might not be easily spotted using traditional terminologies of résumés, but instead through keywords and hashtags.

Companies that stand to survive into the next decade are ones that see the cloud revolution as not simply one of technological change, as in shifting data from internal servers to cloud-based storage, but instead that envision a wholesale change in relationships with employees and with employees’ talents. Those that embrace a dynamic cross-pollination by allowing the social media side of the cloud to become a fully supported element of workplace society will benefit from a degree of innovation and interaction that is no longer a luxury as it is a necessity.

By Steve Prentice

Cloud Computing Expected To Continue Accelerated Tech Growth

Cloud Computing Expected To Continue Accelerated Tech Growth

Accelerated Tech Growth

With the worldwide cloud market expected to rise from $111 billion last year to $131 billion in 2013. Gartner, Inc., one of the world’s leading information technology research firms, indicates its accelerated tech growth will continue well into this decade. By 2016, it predicts the majority of new IT spending will be on cloud computing technologies. Read on discover what’s driving this growth.

Cloud Computing Allows for More Flexible Working Conditions

Accelerated Tech Growth

American employees aren’t just working within the confines of the office anymore. Since the turn of the century, the number of American employees working from home has risen by around 41 percent. Around 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week. That number’s expected to grow by 63 percent over the next five years.

Even Americans who travel to the office typically work outside its walls. They’re getting a jump start on work, with the average American checking working e-mails from 7:33 am over breakfast or during their morning commute.

As flexible workplaces increase, businesses will become more reliant on the kind of virtual offices cloud computing can create. Hybrid devices allow employees to log on to their virtual office, no matter where they are, and be as productive as any other member of staff. These devices are compact and portable like traditional tablets, but the keyboards are ideal for composing e-mails or business documents on the go.

Cloud Computing has Applications across Many Industries

Studies show companies that use the internet as a key business tool are twice as likely to grow as those who don’t. It’s no wonder then that more than half of American businesses have already adopted cloud computing technology.

We’re seeing this growth across a range of industries, not just the information technology field. For example, hospitals and doctors are discovering the potential of cloud computing for their businesses. In 2011, the global health care cloud computing industry was worth just $1.8 billion. But more providers are realizing its potential for affordable data storage that can be readily shared with other healthcare providers. By 2017, it’s expected that the worldwide healthcare cloud computing market will be worth $5.4 billion.

Growth will continue as more industries realize the unique ways that cloud computing can work for them.

Cloud Computing Helps Businesses Grow

Cloud computing will continue to grow as more businesses realize the ways it can help them succeed. Cloud computing gives companies greater access to advanced technological resources with far fewer costs than many firms realize.

Cloud computing enables companies to house data offsite, so they don’t need to spend money on additional servers and storage solutions. Many small to medium firms also find it easier to essentially rent storage space rather than paying large fees upfront. Keeping data on the cloud also eliminates maintenance costs.

Companies can also run efficiently with fewer information technology staff, and ensure these employees are better utilized. Information can also be more readily shared amongst employees, which makes workplaces more productive.

Studies show all these factors see cloud computing promoting economic growth and competition across a range of industries.

Cloud Computing is Evolving

Any innovation must evolve to continue experiencing rapid growth. The key to cloud computing’s continued success is its willingness to evolve to better serve businesses. We’re seeing that as tech-savvy companies move from a traditional cloud computing arrangement to hybrid cloud computing. Gartner predicts the private cloud computing model will give way to the hybrid cloud during 2016. By the end of 2017, almost 50 percent of large companies will use hybrid cloud computing.

A hybrid cloud environment sees firms using both private and public cloud services. For example, a legal firm might use a public cloud service to store its archived data, as such services are affordable with limitless space. However, it might prefer to manage sensitive data, about current clients and cases for example, with a private cloud. This approach limits the risk of security breaches while allowing businesses to take advantage of the benefits of public cloud services.

With massive growth and no sign of slowing down, cloud computing may prove to become one of the most important information technology developments of the 21st century.

By Elliot Martinez,

Elliot is a business graduate of the University of South Florida and currently working towards his graduate degree. He is a freelance writer covering all tech topics, Lenovo gadget geek, and social media fanatic.

Cloud Infographic: Keeping Your Business Safe Online

Cloud Infographic: Keeping Your Business Safe Online

Cloud Infographic: Keeping Your Business Safe Online

Today’s information security teams increasingly rely on security systems with big data capabilities. In order to seek out and detect today’s complex advanced persistent threats you need to monitor network, host and application behavior across your organization’s IT data.

Read this white paper to understand the evolving security landscape and how advanced persistent threats and sophisticated malware have fundamentally changed the way security teams must think about these new threats and the tools used for detective controls.

Included is an infographic provided courtesy of Sage which highlights some key points on how to keep your online business safe.

Business-Cloud

Infographic Source: Sage One

CloudTweaks Comics
Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization And The Cloud “Right now, the biggest technology shift in the cloud is a rapid evolution from simple virtual machine (VM) hosting toward containerization’’ says the CTO of Microsoft Azure, Mark Russinovitch, a man who deals with the evolving cloud infrastructure every day. In his words, containerization is “an incredibly efficient, portable, and lightweight…

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

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

Big Data and Financial Services Cloud Banking Insights Series focuses on big data in the financial services industry and whether it is a security threat or actually a massive opportunity. How does big data fit into an overall cloud strategy? Most FI’s have a positive mind-set towards cloud IT consumption as it not only enables…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

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Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

The Internet of Things Is About To Explode By 2020, Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion worldwide. It’s an astoundingly large figure given that the sector barely existed three years ago. We are now rapidly evolving toward a world in which just about everything will become…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

5 Predictions For Education Technology

5 Predictions For Education Technology

Education Technology Although technology has fast influenced most sectors of our world, education is an area that’s lagged behind. Many classrooms still employ the one-to-many lecturing model wherein the average student is catered for while a few are left behind, and others bored. Recently, there’s been a drive to uncover how to use technology successfully…

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing Despite the rapid growth of cloud computing, the cloud still commands a small portion of overall enterprise IT spending. Estimates I’ve seen put the percentage between 5% and 10% of the slightly more than $2 trillion (not including telco) spent worldwide in 2014 on enterprise IT. Yet growth projections…

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid: Which Cloud Is Right for Your Business?

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid: Which Cloud Is Right for Your Business?

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid The debate surrounding the deliverability of cloud computing is coming to a close. Businesses have begun to rapidly adopt the use of cloud services, courtesy the ROI this disruptive technology brings to the table. They have finally realized they cannot afford to ignore the cloud. A Forrester study found that…

Are Women Discriminated Against In The Tech Sector?

Are Women Discriminated Against In The Tech Sector?

Women Discriminated Against In Tech Sector It is no secret that the tech industry is considered sexist since most women are paid less than men; there are considerably fewer women in tech jobs; and generally men get promoted above women. Yet the irony is twofold. Firstly, there is an enormous demand for employees with skills…

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware A new report published this morning by Menlo Security has alarmingly suggested that at least a third of the top 1,000,000 websites in the world are at risk of being infected by malware. While it’s worth prefacing the findings with the fact Menlo used Alexa to…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

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Success for Today’s CMOs Being a CMO is an exhilarating experience – it’s a lot like running a triathlon and then following it with a base jump. Not only do you play an active role in building a company and brand, but the decisions you make have direct impact on the company’s business outcomes for…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

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

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

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

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

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

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…

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…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

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The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…