Category Archives: Security

Cloud Computing Drives Need For A Common Language Of IT

Cloud Computing Drives Need For A Common Language Of IT

The IT landscape has changed significantly over the last few years and not only includes on-premise hardware and applications, but also virtual systems, employee-owned mobile devices, and cloud offerings. The increased adoption of cloud computing in particular provides enterprises with an opportunity to assess their application landscape and make better business decisions about what to keep on premise and what to move to the cloud. But the disparate nature of the rest of IT’s assets obscures its view of the environment and threatens a team’s ability to make informed decisions. Moreover, the inability to connect the dots and analyze the data across technical, financial and operational system silos leads to inaccurate analysis, thus increasing both the cost and risk of moving to the cloud.

How do you ensure that you have the right information and analysis to make sound decisions? The critical first steps in the analysis process include knowing which products the enterprise owns, connecting these assets to financial data such as licensing and contract terms, and mapping them against usage patterns. This type of information and analysis is not only critical for migration to the cloud, but is also essential for other initiatives such as IT audits, Windows 7 migration, data center consolidation and application transformation.

There are three key reasons why it is a challenge to establish a comprehensive view that spans operational, technical and financial systems and to connect the data across these systems.

1. Nomenclature mismatch across systems

To connect the data dots across your systems, the nomenclature must align. For example, your IT asset management (ITAM) system says that you purchased Dreamweaver, made by the vendor MacroMedia (since acquired by Adobe), but your operational system, which extracts much of its information directly from the software’s executable files, says that the product is from Adobe. To compound problems further, your purchasing systems might show slightly different nomenclature for MacroMedia, Inc., which was the company name when the software was purchased. Fixing such discrepancies requires painful manual reconciliation and makes data analysis expensive and error-prone.

2. Inability to measure the accurate cost, usage and vendor spend

Cloud decisions must be made based on accurate cost and usage information. However, measuring the true cost of software is challenging due to the inability to rationalize the software you purchased with the software that’s installed and the software that’s actually in use. Further, the inability to accurately aggregate your spend for each vendor impedes your ability to negotiate favorable vendor contracts as you consider moving to the cloud. In an ideal world, IT managers would run a report in an ITAM or financial system to understand products that are licensed, license costs and installed products. However, it is not that simple.

In addition to the matching nomenclatures, enterprises also need to understand the business lineage of software and software bundling options in order to aggregate and analyze data across these systems. For example, if you’ve been working with a vendor like Adobe, many of your employees may have purchased the Adobe Creative Suite or Design Suite. Other users may have installed individual products such as Photoshop or Illustrator. So your ITAM systems and your operational systems are no longer speaking the same language. Your asset management system thinks you have installed Creative Suite and Design Suite from Adobe, but your operational system can only see Photoshop and Illustrator. You need full knowledge of the business lineage, bundles and actual usage to derive the right cost metrics.

3. Lack of market information

In addition to pricing information, you need market data to make good business decisions. This includes:

  • Compatibility information – IT managers must consider any existing software’s compatibility or availability in a cloud offering.
  • Licensing alternatives – If the software in question can be purchased as a part of a suite, it is important to know which licensing alternatives will allow you to migrate at the lowest possible cost.
  • Support lifecycle information – Knowing where you are in the support lifecycle and total amount spent on support helps with decisions about which applications to migrate and when.

All the above criteria must be met across hundreds of vendors and tens of thousands of software titles in order to make the right trade-off decisions.

How does a common language of IT address the problem?

A common language of IT is essentially a comprehensive, current and common taxonomy of everything in IT. The taxonomy is neatly categorized into appropriate software and hardware types, vendor names, products, version numbers, bundles, business lineage and more. This guide map is an essential starting point. With a common taxonomy, IT teams can normalize data from any repository against data from any other repository. Further, by enriching this guide map with missing market data information, you can carry out sophisticated analysis that was never before possible on a consistent or accurate basis.

Since new products are introduced every day and product ownership changes often due to mergers and acquisitions and other business events, it is critical to continuously update this information on an ongoing basis to ensure up-to-date analysis of IT information. Having a common language of IT enables enterprises to solve big data issues, simplify IT projects and reduce waste.

By Walker White

Walker White is the chief technology officer of BDNA Corporation, creator of Technopedia, the world’s largest IT reference catalog, with more than 450,000 hardware and software products listed from over 11,000 vendors.

Has Cloud Computing Come Of Age For Small Businesses?

Has Cloud Computing Come Of Age For Small Businesses?

Cloud Computing For Small Businesses?

Whether or not cloud computing has come of age for small businesses or not is a question of fact. Its answer varies from one individual to the next. However, what is eminent is the fact that, cloud computing is a force to reckon with and so are its applications. In a recent survey that was carried out, more than 64% percent of all small business owners have a cloud application of one sort. For the rest, how can you leverage your business, so that it can fully benefit from the cloud solutions available?

Backing up data is like insurance

To small businesses, backing up of information is like insurance. You need all the records and data you can get for your business. Naturally, if a fire or any other calamity would strike in your small business, this means hefty losses. It would also mean an uncertain future for the business, including making it possible for one to close down.

As a small business therefore, having a way that can help you have these details in order and completely secure means you can have where to start in case of such eventualities. Of course data backup is easy with other platforms, but the cloud offers not-notch security and reliability to this end.

Streamlining operations

As a small business owner, you need whatever dollar comes your way to survive. This means that, you have to ensure your business processes, employees and other optimal resources are fully utilized. There are different ways your small business can leverage cloud computing to boost your profits and cut costs. Here are the most important ways:

  1. File sharing is an essential part in any business. Or rather, you can link it to task sharing, efficiently. Different cloud solutions allow you to share information with different individuals. It could either be internally or externally with suppliers, to make orders and feedback and so forth. There is no limit to how much time and money this can save you assuming you or a member of your lean staff had to make the travels. This would be really costly.
  2. Cloud solutions can also allow your employees to telecommute. If your business is smaller, you could close shop and work from home. The trickle effect of this capability is made of stone. You will cut down your work load, spend less on small tasks, outsource part of your work and so forth. This cost cutting will help boost your business objectives.

Economies of scale

This is indeed, the most effective part of the whole cloud computing platform with small businesses. In many cases, small businesses cannot compete with big businesses because of the economies of scale the former enjoys. However with cloud computing, there is no limit to the things your business can leverage better when economies of scale are involved. This can boost a business’ competitive advantage and propel it to greater heights.

In general, cloud computing has immense benefits to a small business. As a business owner, what you need to do is analyze your business. Once you know what parts efficiency can be achieved, go for it and implement the changes.

By Walter Bailey

5 Business Benefits Of Implementing A Cloud Based ERP System

Benefits Of A Cloud Based ERP System

For many years, businesses worldwide have made use of cloud technology to carry out various business practices and in particular those with a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) or a Human Capital Management system have benefited from it the most. Many shy away when it comes to a cloud based ERP system due to security fears but this is no longer as big of a problem as it is used to be thanks to the vast developments made in the field of Software as a Service (SaaS). As a result of this, the wheels of a cloud based ERP system have started turning and it is expected that by the year 2015 global expenditure on cloud based ERP systems will have increased by 21% according to research carried out by Forrester!

So with cloud based systems taking off as they are, what are the benefits of implanting it? Well, here are 5 benefits to get you started:

1.Subscription benefits

First and foremost, since all SaaS services are offered on a subscription basis, there are no unexpected costs. Customers know exactly how much the system will cost them this month, next month and every other month which is a very appealing prospect especially for smaller businesses whose funds tend to be considerably smaller. Even if the prices for the SaaS system do increase, they don’t tend to increase by a great deal.

2.Faster implementation

Management and setup of an SaaS system are all the responsibility of the vendor so there no real setup or installation process . Most parts of the system will come preconfigured and ready to be setup integrate into your business. This results in a much faster and simpler setup process which ultimately lead to a faster ROI since initial costs are lower.

3.Lower initial costs

Since an SaaS system requires very little in the way peripherals and such technology normally found in the average non cloud based ERP solution, the costs of running an SaaS system are much lower as well. The only maintenance cost to the customer would be the wage packet given to the employees using the software. What’s more, most ERP vendors allow for additional users to easily be added into the SaaS system without the need for any additional technology to be implemented so the system can expand easily if you ever need it to.

4.Fewer Responsibilities

Running an in house system means brings with it the added responsibility of dealing with any problems that may occur such as on-site hardware implications, software problems and network issues which makes troubleshooting an error somewhat difficult. However, with an SaaS system all of this is the vendor’s responsibility so the customer does not need to worry about any problems that may occur.

5.Focus on What You are Best at

Possibly the major benefit of implementing any SaaS system is the freedom that the customer benefits from since many of the responsibilities of running and maintaining the system are given to the vendor so the customer can focus on doing what they do best – selling the products and services they offer.


By Rashed Khan

Rashed has an MSc in Software Engineering and is a regular guest poster on business/technology related tolpics. Rashed is currently guest posting on behalf of ERP, manufacturing and distribution software experts Epicor who offer an SaaS based ERP solution.

Cloud Computing Brings Huawei And Intel Together

Cloud Computing Brings Huawei And Intel Together

China’s premium telecommunication manufacturer Huawei has recently joined hands with global computing giant Intel via signing of a MoU, a move that aims at strengthening Huawei’s commitment to provide cutting-edge offerings to its existing and perspective consumer base. The partnership would heighten core mutual engineering collaboration, a step that would bring to the market novel products including servers, storage platforms, data center essentials and most importantly, cloud computing solutions. The cooperation further extends to harmonize long-term objective attainment and cut down product development time-span.

Technology innovation” was described by Zheng Yelai, president at Huawei IT product line, as being the key binding corporate value that has been holding Intel and Huawei together for as long as 10 years now. Huawei’s recent hardware marvel publicized in July, the Tecal V2 server, is powered at its roots by Intel’s Xeon E7 and E5 processor line – a vivid indicative of the duo’s pledge to provide consumers with dependable IT solutions.

Huawei also unveiled its latest cloud-oriented product, the FusionCube Converged Infrastructure in addition to three storage-related offerings.

The FusionCube boasts software support for virtualization and cloud management. The solution can double to serve as a distributed storage engine. Huawei demonstrated hardware interplay and compatibility of the same with other storage options and networked devices. At the heart of the product is the ability to fuse, explained Ren Zhipeng, Vice President of cloud products at Huawei. FusionCube distinguishes itself as a multifunctional management system that is bound to reduce the otherwise inevitable expenditures including IT installation, commissioning and continuance. The FusionCube is all about cloud platform optimization and that as well with expediency and resourcefulness.

Huawei is the first in the industry to provide this kind of solution”, claimed Ren, one that “integrates computing, storage, and networking in a single device.”

The Huawei OceanStor HVS, Universal Distributed Storage System and MVX Big Data Storage Solution were also announced at the congress; offerings that are expected to improve on the previous (utterly popular) cloud storage models offered by Huawei. Fan Ruiqi, president at Huawei’s IT storage division explained that OceanStor HVS, equipped with Smart Matrix Architecture, conforms to the highest of industrial standards and stands out as one of the most adaptive, consistent and efficient cloud storage architectural hardware out there.

While the Chinese manufacturer seems all set to make its mark on the global cloud hardware scene, response in the US might be lukewarm owing to the stained repute as an outcome of ongoing scrutiny over probable spying allegations.

Jawee Sun, in charge of the marketing division, was nothing but positive about the North American market. “It is true the government has a tight grip over America’s big carriers, but the enterprise market in the U.S. is huge and keeps open for Huawei. It is a win-win situation.”

Sun, beaming with optimism, revealed that Huawei has only just secured a $6 million worth of contract with an undisclosed American corporation. This seems very good news for all the cloud zealots out there, since the majority of Chinese firms are known for competitive price quotes. Cloud cost shed awaited.

By Humayun Shahid

The Day Hard-Drives Become Obsolete

The Day Hard-Drives Become Obsolete

Not too long ago, the only way to store data for personal users was on the hard-drive of a computer. After that came the use of disks, thumb drives and external hard-drives. This was the way of life for most users for years – until cloud storage. Today, cloud storage is growing in popularity and more users are skipping the traditional methods of storage and opting for the cloud instead. Cloud storage is essentially just a fancy way to back up information, only this time it is left on a server rather than a physical device that can be lost or stolen.

Today, cloud storage has expanded to allow users the ability to collaborate and update documents within their cloud in real-time. Document storage can also be synchronized on multiple platforms and devices, which mean what a user saves on their PC can still be viewed on their iPad. For users who are unfamiliar with cloud storage or are unsure where to turn, there are two major providers in the cloud storage community that have proven effective and offer a variety of services to meet the needs of private and business consumers alike:

Google Drive

Once referred to as “Google Docs”, Google Drive is a downloadable application from Google that allows individuals to use the features of Google Docs on their desktop as well as through the online browser. Files can be stored directly through Google Drive and accessed on a variety of devices. The one drawback to Google Drive, however, is that iPhone and iPad users will have to use their browsers on their device rather than an application since Google has yet to create an app for iPhone. Android users on the other hand will have direct access to their drive by using a Google Drive app.


DropBox has a creative system that allows users to save directly to their cloud storage directly from their computer. No more logging into an online site and uploading files – with DropBox users just save like they would to their hard-drive. The advantage of DropBox for businesses is that if multiple employees are collaborating on the same project, the project will be updated in real-time, which means multiple individuals can work on the same project without waiting for another person to finish their portion.

Cloud storage and cloud computing are becoming the new method for safe, reliable storage. With more cloud storage providers offering a variety of features and accessibility options, it is no wonder the hard-drive is becoming obsolete. 

KoriLynn Johnston

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Thunderstorm

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Thunderstorm

By David Fletcher

Are you looking to supercharge your Newsletter, Powerpoint presentation, Social media campaign or Website? Our universally recognized tech related comics can help you. Contact us for information on our commercial licensing rates. 

Reasons Why Cloud Computing Remains Unpopular Past 2012

Reasons Why Cloud Computing Remains Unpopular Past 2012

There is no limit to what cloud computing can offer to individuals, corporations, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. Cloud computing benefits cut across storage, working, communication, and so many other industries and functions. As yet, few people actually use it; or rather very few individuals are making the transition to it from the ‘inefficient, traditional and expensive’ forms or techniques.

These negative attitudes have been promoted by a number of reasons. Some are mere excuses where logic is called upon. Others are real concerns and thus form the basis of this article. People don’t use cloud computing for different reasons; and the most contentious ones include the following. According to most cloud computing industry experts, these could be the reasons why most people avoid cloud computing.

On top of the list is the cost of cloud cost computing. Premium and efficient cloud computing services remain costly for the regular business person and thus make uptake very slow or non-existent. Setting up, subscriptions, and service maintenance costs are high—so is the cost of doing business. Rather than setting up new systems at an extra expense, most businesses prefer operating on slow and inefficient systems which are (now) cheaper at maintenance level. Businesses don’t want an extra expense to devalue their present working servers, among a horde of other reasons. Of course, there is a valid opportunity cost explanation to justify why cloud computing is the cost efficient option in the long run. However, most businesses, small businesses especially, find this pretty hard to concur. As such, because of the cost debates, the adoption of cloud computing remains slow.

The second reason why cloud computing remains unpopular is because of security concerns. Security in the cloud continues to be a hot debate topic at most cloud computing conferences. There are hackers, thieves, and other malicious individuals who would benefit a lot from stolen data off cloud computing servers. Whereas most cloud computing providers offer some of the best security protocols that are difficult to bypass, people and businesses still have security concerns. These are measured on the basis of traditional businesses which have all their digital data stored within their premises; therefore, charging securing roles to a third, large party, is difficult.

Lastly, privacy is another big problem cloud computing faces, bringing a lot of negative publicity (hence, additional costs) to cloud computing industry. In a recent outburst, Steve Wozniak—Apple’s co-founder—stated that cloud computing would not be in the cosmos in the next five years, that it would become practically impossible to keep digital secrets because one firm will be having them!

These sentiments have been echoed elsewhere. Digital ownership will become a thing of the past. Of course where ownership is concerned, that’s enough for any self-caring person to avoid the technology. Overall, although some of these details are sensitive and scary, cloud computing remains a candidate as the technology to beat in the future.

By Walter Bailey

Proven Ways To Increase Competitiveness With Cloud Computing

Increase Competitiveness With Cloud Computing

As cloud computing is currently enjoying a wave of global discourse by the business community, it is projected that more and more businesses are adopting cloud computing services as the preferred way to do business. Senior Vice President of Research for Gartner, Mr. Peter Sondergaard claims that cloud computing sits among the top four trends that will change IT in the next few years. It is no secret that any business outfit that is still reluctant in the adoption of this technology is losing out on a lot of benefits. The early adopters, furthermore, are not sitting pretty and enjoying these benefits but rather are looking for more effective ways that they can harness for a more competitive edge in their field of business

Competitiveness is often acquired when a business attains an upper hand through practices or resources that will outperform its competitors. These practices, strategies or resources are those that will save the company money in cost reduction, those that will improve effectiveness and or increase revenue. Any business can indeed achieve competitiveness through strategic exploitation of cloud features as follows;

Cost Reduction

To ensure a higher ROI, which is a realization of your competitive edge, you ought to reduce costs as much as possible. The first cost that cloud computing will help hive off is the “cost of ownership” or the capital expenditure; the setting up and the maintenance of servers, physical space and staff.

This reduces significantly the need for a humongous capital base and ensures that small enterprises can go up against bigger businesses with bigger capital bases and still claim a competitive muscle. Cloud computing also ensures that businesses pay only for what they use and utilize through the ‘pay as you go’ feature of cloud computing.

Information & business scalability

To be competitive in the current market environment one needs relevant information; the correct data, forecasts and analysis that will help them make strategic decisions. The business may not have the necessary hardware and algorithms to access, tabulate and utilize such data but they can easily and cheaply access them through cloud service providers. Such data may include data on customer/consumer demographics or “socialknowledge” that will give you a competitive edge in terms of better market intelligence.

Depending on the current need, a company can keep up with the competition through the ability to easily and cheaply scale up or down-size their systems to fit instant or essential market conditions. This hassle-free scalability could not be achieved without employing the magic of the cloud.

Flexible working practices

There is a generational and perceptional change in modern day working practices where employees tend to be more productive when placed in flexible working environments like working from home or at their own time.

When Google launched Google Docs, it broke ground in the world of file sharing and document accessibility. This allowed anybody with an account access to a cloud ‘storage’ or virtual office facility where they can keep their presentations, spreadsheets and other office documents. This flexibility in access means that your employees can work from their preferred environments. They get increased internal and external coactions coupled with quick universal access for improved productivity.

The environment is also crucial because there is an increasing universal pressure on environmental concerns. There are a lot of people now with changed or changing perceptions when it comes to environmental sensitivity. Businesses can achieve a competitive advantage by addressing these concerns. You can go “green” with cloud computing as it cuts down your carbon emission by reducing the need for massive energy usage in the data centers.

By John Omwamba

CloudTweaks Comics
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