Category Archives: Security

The Cloud And Hype: Is The Buzz Still To Come?

The Cloud And Hype: Is The Buzz Still To Come?

The Cloud And Hype

Cloud computing is taking over the tech-world, both in terms of hype and clientele. Just like any new invention, cloud computing news has become an everyday topic in discussions, webinars and social gatherings. Conventions hinged on technological growth have had their share of input, making it possible for lay to display concerted effort in understanding this baffling phenomenon.

The diversity in views and implications of cloud computing has made it impossible for individuals in the industry to shun from prospecting. Prospects regarding issues facing cloud computing seem to overtake the propositions associated with the advantages and benefits originating from adoption of the service. As at now, users and non-users have a single concern: The cost-benefit analysis of joining the buzz.

Traditional computing has been around for a while now, making it less challenging. Competing on this platform places organizations in the same category as the millions of organizations who rely on IT for competitiveness. As a result, it has become necessary, even for public service entities to join the cloud, as they move away from the inefficiencies of contemporary computing.

Opponents of cloud computing are wary of the underlying exposure, and are keen on confirm success and failure stories from entities speaking from experience. Professional views from experts have strengthened the fear of cloud computing, especially considering that it is impossible to predict what tomorrow brings. In spite of the projected benefits of cloud computing, it is impossible to be certain of the future.

On the other hand, those who have already ventured into cloud computing still wonder why some people prefer ‘contemporary’ when ‘futuristic’ is here. Actually, the changeover from manual to digital systems faced similar challenges, making it highly impossible that absolute benefits can be assured. However, demand-side approach to cloud computing focused on expansion due to the availability of clients’ points towards a bright future for proponents of this new technology. If companies and individuals sit back and expect the cloud to roll out to perfection before committing, the expansion of cloud computing is bound to be delayed.

As a product of the information age, cloud computing is actually a victim of its success. People are aware of the benefits and risks associated with cloud computing, even before investing in it. Earlier on, investment in automation was plagued by the lack of information, making the mysterious source of competitive advantage. Right now, the situation is different, and organizations do not have the luxury of trial and error strategy implementation techniques.

Normally, hype is good for business, as long as positive messages are hyped more than negative elements. Unfortunately, modern day customers are keen getting the two sides of the story, and most of the time it is the negative elements that impact most.

Complementary or supplementary? Which way is cloud computing moving?

The actual and projected successes of cloud computing are built on the benefits of IT to the business place. As an improvement to the existing infrastructure, cloud computing has enhanced the catalogue of benefits drawn from consumption of IT. So, is cloud computing here to supplement or complement IT as we know it today?

IT products are mainly backed by hardware and software components, most of which have driven the growth and development in the industry. Investment in research and development of advanced hardware and software products has played a major role in revenue-generating capabilities of companies in this industry. The infrastructure and platforms associated with cloud computing will shift such roles and responsibilities from the existing firms to cloud service providers. You may call some sort of ‘middleman arrangement’ or a new player in the supply chain, but cloud computing is bound to become a major element in the delivery of IT services.

In light of this, most hardware and software companies have moved to establish themselves as cloud service providers. Probably, this is a divestment strategy, but it is clear that hardware and software services will be completely different under cloud computing.

Outsourcing has enhanced the availability of labor across the globe, introducing the global employee. How is cloud computing expected to affect this industry? Currently, most individuals and organizations rely on outsourcing as a complement and supplement to hiring and access to human capital. With a higher number of companies expected to rely on outsourcing for this purpose, it is important to understand the impact of cloud computing to outsourcing.

Easier access to software and hardware components is bound to sharpen the capabilities of contractors, thereby elevating the quality of their services. Enhanced connectivity is bound to enhance the horizons in outsourcing, with a larger number of individuals able to work from any corner of the globe. Outsourcing has long been plagued by the differences in infrastructure between clients and contractors. Hardware and connectivity differences across the globe have reduced the compatibility of systems, making it impossible to draw maximum benefits from the strategy. With the entry of cloud computing, hardware and connectivity challenges will be handled by cloud service providers, making it possible for compatibility challenges to be eliminated.

Although changes in the platforms have the ability to enhance the aspects of outsourcing, it is necessary for entities to realize that the contractors and clients may not have undergone an upgrade. Most of the challenges and benefits of outsourcing will be enhanced, making it a double-edged sword.

By Rick Watson

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Control And File Sharing

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Control And File Sharing

A cloud computing survey from Microsoft found that a chief concern of potential SMB cloud customers is the security and privacy of their data. A full 70% of small businesses are concerned about where their data is stored. Just over half of all SMBs cite data privacy as a potential deal breaker for adopting cloud services. And only 36% of businesses think their data is as or more secure in the cloud than their current on premises solution… Continue

The question then becomes. How much control do you really have over file sharing?


Keeping It Safe In The Cloud

Is It Safe In The Cloud?

It would be wonderful to think we live in a safe, secure, world but unfortunately we don’t. In the world of computing, this is even more true. Our digital lives are important to us and take years to build, but only a matter of hours to destroy, if that.

Security is important to everyone. Especially when you have spent years of your life trying to get a film to the big screen and you don’t want anyone to steal it or tamper with it. Add on something which seems as esoteric as the cloud and cause for concern happens. But should it?

Whether you like it or not, the film industry is becoming even more reliant on cloud computing. This has brought numerous benefits, increased productivity and just made a very hard industry a lot easier. The benefits have not stopped worrying stories hitting the media lately about security breaches.

Mat Honan from Wired Magazine had the data on his MacBook, iPhone and iPad deleted after a group of hackers hacked into his Apple iCloud account. The hacker’s took advantage of the fact that the Apple iCloud does not have a two-factor authentication system, something that Apple might want to fix. The hackers accessed his account remotely and Honan lost childhood pictures of his daughter amongst other things. He investigated and wrote an amazing article on it which you can read here.

Honan even chatted to one of the hackers involved. Honan has lost things you cannot even put a price on. His amazing investigation also tells you how Gmail, Amazon, iCloud, and Twitter give determined hackers enough information to ruin your life.

And who can forget the Playstation Network (PSN) going down?

But, as Honan said: “In many ways, this was all my fault. My accounts were daisy-chained together.” There are precautions you can take to keep your accounts safe.

How to stay safe

  • Multiple backups. Including an offsite one.
  • Research your cloud computing service. Make sure they take your security seriously. There are a lot of cloud services available so you have plenty of choice.
  • Don’t have one password for every account.
  • Don’t be over-trusting with your personal details. Make sure security is in place before you hand anything over.
  • Go for a cloud computing service which has a two-prong security service.
  • Choose proper, secure, passwords.
  • Keep your software up to date.
  • Have an antivirus, even if you have a Mac.

Safe clouding.

By Catherine Balavage

On Rob Kaufmann’s Thesis: NAS vs Cloud Part 1

On Rob Kaufmann’s Thesis: NAS vs Cloud Part 1

On Rob Kaufmann’s Thesis: NAS vs. Cloud Part 1

A few weeks back KPI Analytics employee Rob Kaufmann suggested that network attached storage (NAS) solutions for data serving could in numerous cases provide a greater advantage than Cloud services. Specifically, he cited that it would be preferable for those serving massive files or very sensitive data. This was debated at a press conference on July 17th.

I’m here to suggest that although Kaufman is making some interesting points, his NAS route isn’t as promising as Cloud – even given the nascent form of the latter. On many counts that Kaufman cites as reasons to adopt NAS in preference of Cloud, technologies are already mobilising to close the gap. Despite this, NAS certainly has its place in smaller-scale set-ups. Let’s look at a few different arrangements.

Kaufmann’s principle argument comes from ‘the bandwidth problem’. A recent Cisco research study in to data creation predicted a global data production rate of 1.3 trillion gigabytes by 2016. That’s 3 times the data production rate in 2009. Couple to this another finding – that the number of web-connected devices was likely to rise from around 2.2 billion in 2011 to 5.1 billion by 2016 – and ‘the bandwidth problem’ does seem like a potential threat to the internet-connection-heavy Cloud service. Our current infrastructure can hardly cope with the rate of expansion – even in highly developed countries, the difference between peak and off-peak broadband capacity is fairly large – and so, suggests Kaufmann, Cloud is not a great service to be putting all your faith in. Network Attached Storage, however, being connected locally (and in server clusters etc.) will never suffer from this problem. The bandwidth of your network is down to your network.

There are a few things to say on this claim here. Firstly, Kaufmann’s argument seems to overlook recent successes seen by server- and client-side virtualisation technologies. These aren’t technologies just starting out – they’re tried, tested and, in some enterprises, established. Through clustering remote servers from across multiple geographical areas, most bandwidth issues can be avoided. In fact, most bandwidth use is by synchronisation protocols in running coherent virtualised servers. The amount the user actually draws is fairly small by way of comparison.

In a smaller, more focused enterprise, NAS might make any bandwidth concerns a non-issue: by locating drives locally, there’s no painful limiting of speed from an external network (such as the world wide web).

Kaufmann then cites another reason to adopt NAS in the place of Cloud – full control of redundancy, security and backup procedures. We are living in an age where these things should be automated. It’s considerably better to ‘set and forget’ automated backup procedures than to manually oversee them. There’s less risk. There’s less data exposure. And it’s very, very unlikely to fail (especially if we’re talking sizeable virtualisation here, in which node failure has little impact on data integrity). Am I just hoping we’ll ‘leave it all to the machines’? Isn’t that a bit Terminator 3? No! Of course it isn’t! ‘Leaving it to the machines’ is surely the appropriate thing to do in so highly automated an industry! We rely on automated routines to provide virtually every user interface we ever interact with in business. Computers are light years beyond where they were when they needed to focus on providing stable GUIs – they can handle little chores like backup routines (in fact, that’s just what they’re good at).

Again, this isn’t a wholesale argument – enterprises may again see benefits form adopting NAS, especially if they haven’t opted for a huge bandwidth via their internet provider. This goes for backups, too – if there’s the option, a local backup via NAS is handy to have as a second, and will make a trusty primary storage location.

Next article I’ll take a look at two additional points that Kaufmann makes, and explain why both of them need more beef to be more convincing given the service provision by some corporations out there.

By Joanna Stevenson

Joanna studied mechanical engineering in London, and currently works for an energy research and consulting firm. She enjoys writing tech and business articles in her free time. She aspires to be an intrepid tech and gaming enthusiast with the exploratory spirit and witty prose of her favourite author of Robert Louis Stevenson.  Treasure Island for the tech world.

Privacy In Cloud Computing: Assured Or Assumed?

Privacy In Cloud Computing: Assured Or Assumed?

All avid computer users have enjoyed the benefits and conveniences of cloud computing, either knowingly or unknowingly. Most of us rarely understand what is happening behind the screens, especially when lost in interesting movie or music, or even when perusing the information about your competitors. As a result, the privacy and security of the information in cloud is sometimes assured. What of other times? Is it assumed?

Most of us overlook privacy warning and security procedures when utilizing the ever-dazzling gadgets, most of which expose us to an elevated echelon when it comes to compromises. A certain tech-user had his digital life taken over and destroyed over a span of minutes, with the perpetrators committing vilifying broadcasts in his identity. What started as a simple breach to an email ID boiled down remote erasure of data on multiple gadgets.

In the aftermath, questions lingered regarding the manner in which the perpetrators pulled the stunt off. Was the use of powerful spyware and virus employed to peel back on the secrets of the individuals and reveal overtures into his digital arena? Actually, the gullibility of people and processes was exploited through social engineering.

In just the same manner in which Facebook suggests friends from past associations, social engineering can be used to piece information and data about a single entity from multiple locations. Once the data is collated, it becomes easy to map the weakest link in his digital space, especially if daisy-chaining is used to link multiple accounts on different platforms.

With the rapid changes in the tech-world, it becomes impossible for vendors to keep up with the changes and exposures originating from the improvements in processing speeds. As a result, protection from such instances is accorded through the efforts of the individual, coupled with input from vendors and other service providers.

Loss of data is easily mitigated through back ups in physical locations and utilization of fool-proof sign-in processes to edge out bots. In addition, browsing through certified websites eliminates the exposure to spyware and viruses and other social engineering modules which could exist in different locations. Frequent changes in passwords and log in sequences eliminates exposure as well, since most social engineering stances are presented in predictable mode, which can be disrupted by change in algorithms in the system being tracked.

Finally, efforts by users of gadgets to understand the intricate nature of the gadgets they use are also necessary. Most manufacturers offers guidelines and manuals, most of which are written in extensive fine print, making it hard for people to pay attention to. However, it is imperative to take into consideration basic security measures, just incase.

By Rick Watson

10 Ways The Cloud Could Help Improve Our Lives

10 Ways The Cloud Could Help Improve Our Lives

Over the past decade, computing trends shifted towards the internet and globalization. This allowed for people across the globe to interact with each other anonymously through chat rooms and online forums. And now with the popularity of social networking, the anonymity is slowly disappearing. That is in the social aspect of computing. In the business aspect, another paradigm has grown in popularity. Because of the turbulent global economic climate, organizations are scrambling to find solutions that would help them leverage their strengths and open themselves to a wider market, a global audience. This is the promise that cloud computing is slowly fulfilling. It allows organizations to provide better services or better administer their internal business through cheap and scalable IT capabilities.

Cloud computing is not just revolutionizing businesses, but also affecting the daily lives of the normal everyday Joe. This is because in our day to day interaction with the internet, we are bound to come across aspects of cloud computing whether we know it or not.

The Possibilities

So here are some of the ways that cloud computing is doing to actually improve our lives, or at least change it in some way.

1. Power to provide speed and computing power without interruption. For a person to become a “real gamer” that person needs the hardware to support the claim, or at least support the game and run it in a decent manner. This of course needs a lot of the green stuff, you know, money. But cloud computing is changing all that. Imagine playing the most hardware demanding games on a tablet. Yes this is entirely possible as the game itself will be run on very capably hardware on the server side, while the player is on a mobile device or a weak computer simply streaming the video from the server and uploading controls in real time. All you need is an internet connection capable of streaming videos without stuttering. An example is the service OnLive.

2. Timely corrections can be done. Cloud computing will literally make life easier through notifications and alerts and specific information streaming. For example, as your car may be running near empty and the computer calculates that it cannot reach the nearest gas station, it could send an alert to that gas station in advance that you need some gas delivered halfway to their station, thereby avoiding the inevitable. And if ever your car breaks down, its computer could simply stream you some instructions on how to fix it if it can be remedied or notify the nearest towing company if it can’t.

3. Computing will become invisible. Pretty soon computers and software will become “invisible” in that they are hidden from view. We may simply have to make gestures and a camera will interpret those and provide us what we need, or we simply have to say it. Consider J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Ironman movies, you simply ask something and that information is streamed from the cloud to a projection or a monitor. Most times it could even predict what you need based on past actions and personal behavioral trends.

4. Visibility and reliability of inventory records. Sometimes we go to an online catalogue and see an item we want but then find out that it’s unavailable from the store only when we get there. With cloud computing, these inventories can be updated automatically and will prevent such disappointments. You might ask, what’s the point and why not just buy it online? Well, if you are shopping for clothes, it is always best to do it personally.

5. Companies will become trusted advisors. With our activities being logged online, it won’t be long that companies will know exactly what we want or need when we want or need them. When this happens, advertisements will no longer be required to grab our attention so we buy them but rather they will simply know who needs their products and immediately advise those persons instead.

6. Provide a unique way of selling. As with the point above, businesses would already know what we want and need so they can immediately target the real customer. In other aspects our purchases are slowly moving from the retail store to online stores. In terms of software, free versions can be provided through the cloud and eventually when these people need the other functions of that software, they will purchase it.

7. Globalization of small scale businesses. Because of the very low barrier of entry to cloud computing and the pay-per-use use model, even small businesses can have the IT capabilities of large multinational companies, and thus allowing them to compete globally. For example a small graphic studio from a third world country like the Philippines can sell their services online through various cloud solutions which could not have been possible just a decade ago.

8. Secured data stored in laptops. Stealing corporate laptops is the easiest way to gain sensitive information and conduct industrial espionage. By storing important files and data on the cloud, it can be made secure and can be accessed from anywhere around the world, not being tied down inside a specific device.

9. Developing countries exploiting cloud computing quicker. Organizations and businesses in developing countries that may not have the IT equipment available to large corporations will embrace cloud computing faster to be competitive and may even become market leaders in their own right because of it.

10. Make everyone self reliant. Because of the vast resources being made available through the cloud, companies can rely solely on their own prowess with the help of these resources. It can be used for product development, testing quickly and cheaply, and even collaboration.


With cloud computing, the nature of business is rapidly changing giving small parties a chance to compete with the big boys. And because of this, the consumers will benefit tremendously in the long run because of enhanced services and products and the affordability that competition and consumption can bring.

By Abdul Salam

HP Joins The Cloud, OpenStack Gains Strength

HP Joins The Cloud, OpenStack Gains Strength

Everyone is jumping on the cloud computing wagon now, and smartly so. Lucky us. Choice is always a great things for consumers. So who else is in the market who we should probably take notice of?


Hewlett-Packard has always been a big fish in it’s industry. Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman has taken over from former CEO Mark Hurd and is moving Hewlett-Packard closer to the cloud. Hewlett-Packard has not been having a good time of it lately. Whitman has let 27,000 people go and their shares are down by 25 per cent this year.

Jayson Noland, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & San Francisco said of Whitman: “She’s taking the company toward higher margin, more strategic categories. If she does what she says she’s going to do, services is going to be a smaller, more profitable business. She’s talking about cloud, analytic and security – and not competing with the Wipros and Tatas of the world.”

Hewlett-Packard has been slow off the mark when it comes to cloud computing. Let’s hope Whitman, who had been the CEO since last September, can pull it together. Whitman is also turning WebOS into an open-source project

Although Hewlett-Packard sells good hardware (I have one of their printers, which has lasted for about five years. That’s rare) their future success may depend on the success of their cloud computing service. Cloud computing just keeps growing and any technology business as big as Hewlett-Packard really needs to get a slice of that cake. I will keep you updated on Hewlett-Packard’s progress in cloud computing.

Openstack has passed it’s two year anniversary. Well done guys. Openstack is an Open Source software which is used for building cloud infrastructure. Other companies that let you create a cloud include CloudStack, VMWare’s vCloud Director and Eucalyptus.

OpenStack have had 166 organisations supporting it, including NASA, Intel, AMD, Rackspace, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Dell, AT & T, IBM, Canonical, Red Hat, Citrix and Rightscale. Phew. That is impressive. Rackspace and NASA were the first to support OpenStack.

OpenStack have a new release called “Essex” and it’s new release will come out in late September. Openstack has had a lot of support and is gaining momentum at a fast pace. They have not gained on Amazon EC2 yet and EC2 is still dominating the market. It is not all good news though. NASA has dropped funding. Others who have dropped out are Citrix who have their own cloud now called CloudStack.

By Catherine Balavage

Making Music In The Cloud

Making Music In The Cloud

freelance whales

There was a time – and not all that long ago – when the only options for musicians to create together involved enclosed spaces, physical isolation from the world and, above all else, physical proximity to each other. This physical proximity is the subject of many a dramatic “Behind the Music” meltdown anecdote, and has led to innumerable arguments, physical confrontations, and band break-ups over the past sixty years. I can attest to the strain that such intense and constant contact between creative individuals places on an artist’s ability to create calmly and productively. Making an album is a volatile process, and one that is a paradox of physical, emotional, and artistic elation and exhaustion. This paradox is something that every band that has ever tried to make music for an extended period of time has come up against, but it is this paradox that has been summarily solved by the existence and evolution of cloud file sharing.

Since 2008, DropBox has been steadily making a name for itself as one of the most efficient ways in which individuals can share and collectively edit files over the internet. As one person uploads files into a folder designated as shared, those with whom the folder is shared have immediate and unlimited access to the files being uploaded. For anyone who has ever worked in a group setting, the benefits to remote file viewing, downloading, and editing, are obvious. That immediate access means that musicians, engineers and producers don’t have to be crammed in a sweaty, smelly recording studio for weeks on end. Rather, those people can be comfortably creating both in the studio and at home, yet still have access to all the same vital information.

This revolutionary concept is even further changing the face of a nearly unrecognizable music industry. Not only can people make music together in home-based recording studios; people can now make that music and instantaneously make it available for cloud collaboration via Dropbox. There are similar file sharing services (MediaFire, YouSendIt, GoogleDrive), but none of them allow for the same unique and pivotal real-time interface that Dropbox allows its users. Folder sharers can literally see the files and their progress as they are being uploaded into the folder. Short of remotely accessing a desktop, we as computer users and musicians have never had this sort of unbridled ability to communicate and collaborate virtually.

By Jacob Hyman

CloudTweaks Comics
Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

DDoS Knocks Out Several Websites Cyber attacks targeting the internet infrastructure provider Dyn disrupted service on major sites such as Twitter and Spotify on Friday, mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast. It was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau…

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

DYN DDOS Timeline This morning at 7am ET a DDoS attack was launched at Dyn (the site is still down at the minute), an Internet infrastructure company whose headquarters are in New Hampshire. So far the attack has come in 2 waves, the first at 11.10 UTC and the second at around 16.00 UTC. So…

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms Above DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms, malware is the most common incident that security teams reported responding to in 2014, according to a recent survey from SANS Institute and late-stage security startup AlienVault. The average cost of a data breach? $3.5 million, or $145 per sensitive…

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

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

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

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

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

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

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

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…


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