Category Archives: Security

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

Online Data

Data storage is often a real headache for businesses. Additionally, the shift to the cloud in response to storage challenges has caused security teams to struggle to reorient, leaving 49 percent of organizations doubting their experts’ ability to adapt.

Even so, decision makers should not put off moving from old legacy systems to a more flexible and accessible solution — whether public or private. By putting the right system in place, businesses can free up IT staff for more strategic projects, ensure content is available and retrievable whenever and wherever it’s needed, and analyze data effectively for actionable insights.

Keeping Data Accessible

There are several obstacles that must be overcome when keeping data accessible:

1. Storage silos have been a problem since the first digital storage devices hit the market. Directory and folder hierarchical structures were fairly useful when dealing with a limited number of files, all accessed by users or a handful of applications that knew where to find the files.

But in today’s connected world, where remote collaboration and access by many devices and applications is the norm, these hierarchical structures are hindering new workflows and locking files in place (hence the term “silo”).

2. Search issues present a number of operational and financial challenges to businesses. Searching for data from multiple systems spread across several geographic locations is a laborious task, and the need to use both past and present data makes it even trickier.

The data that is searched is often indexed in a database located in a specific application. This valuable “data about the data,” also known as metadata, needs to be stored in a way that enables portability. The Internet of Things has opened businesses to a world of new data possibilities, but going back to a specific application to search for your file or continuously migrating entire data sets to different analysis applications wastes valuable time and introduces the possibility of errors.

3. Scalability dilemmas in storage capacity, both in file count and the amount of data, as well as expansion to different geographies, prevents businesses from keeping pace with the needs of modern data accessibility requirements.

Most organizations keep data forever because they don’t know what will have value. There are also many use cases in which government regulations require longer retention times and tighter security, creating a compounding effect on storage needs. This growth, combined with the need to keep the data accessible, poses a serious problem for traditional network attached storage solutions, file systems, and their complex hierarchical structures.

Making Your Storage Efficient

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While certainly challenging, these problems are far from insurmountable.  Here are 3 easy-to-implement solutions to help keep storage simple and efficient:

1. Consolidate your data in one storage platform.

The dawn of the cloud was a major breakthrough for data storage, and the first step toward a simplified storage process is to embrace that technology. Sharing resources in a virtual environment is at the heart of the transformation we’re seeing to a more service-based approach in IT.

You can now stand up a storage service within your own data center (a private solution) or use any one of the services on the market (a public solution). If you need to keep your data secure or plan to keep the data for more than three years, private is most likely your best option. However, if you have limited data center space or only need to store data for a few months or years, public is probably the way to go.

2. Leverage metadata.

Data is growing at an astonishing rate, and experts predict the digital universe will reach 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020. But what use is that data if it can’t be found or identified? Metadata is an essential tool for simplifying data storage because it allows managers to quickly and automatically identify characteristics about data in a way that can continuously evolve, providing new views of ever-changing data sets.

The key is making metadata portable and accessible by any application or device in a way that’s easy to protect. For this reason, metadata searching and management must be native features of your storage systems — not just afterthoughts.

3. Adopt object storage.

Object storage is a core feature of many major cloud storage services on the market and is the most efficient and cost-effective way to reliably store and provide access to petabytes of data and trillions of files. Object storage is highly automated, resilient, and easily available, resulting in a vastly improved capacity-to-management resource ratio. It’s common to find one system administrator managing more than 10 PBs of storage (compared to 1PB for a NAS solution).

Object storage uses a method of storing and retrieving data that uses a key or name, supplementing that with metadata. Think of it like a valet service for your data: When you store something, you get a key or associate a tag (metadata) with it. All you need to do is present the key or search for the specific tag or combination of tags, and the storage system will retrieve the data that matches your request.

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This approach not only makes data easier to find, but it also enables continuous, self-healing protection and virtually unlimited scalability. Certain vendors are also making significant advancements in integrating search and providing interfaces that plug right into existing workflows in a way that’s transparent to current users and applications.

The most effective and simple storage solutions incorporate data consolidation and the use of metadata with object storage. This provides greater data access, better protection from data corruption, and the streamlined performance necessary to keep any amount of data online, accessible, and providing value for growing businesses and organizations.

Whether you want to attribute the quote “With great power comes great responsibility” to Voltaire or Spider-Man, in the world of business, we need to preface that by saying “With great knowledge comes great power.” Once you simplify your storage, it gives you the knowledge to not only help run your business, but to also gain actionable insight and the power to make discoveries that can help you solve problems and propel your business forward.

By Jonathan Ring

jonathan-ringJonathan Ring is co-founder and CEO of Caringo, a leading scale-out storage provider. Prior to Caringo, Jonathan was an active angel investor advising a broad range of companies, and he was a vice president of engineering at Siebel Systems, where he was a member of the executive team that grew Siebel from $4 million to $2 billion in sales. Jonathan’s passion and experience are shaping the future of Caringo.

Cloud and the Convenience Solution

Cloud and the Convenience Solution

Cloud Mobility

Buying a new phone is always an exciting endeavour. Whether you had just broken your phone (ouch) or re-upping after a contract expired, it’s something most people look forward to. As a mobile carrier, while your line-up of fancy new phones and best-bang-for-buck service plans will entice your customers, one feature that doesn’t often make headlines is convenience.

It may be low-key, but over the years, mobile carriers have made an effort to make switching carriers, renewing plans, or signing a contract easier and easier.

Yet, one issue of convenience not being tackled by mobile carriers is backing up and moving existing personal effects onto a new one.

For example, we’ve seen offers like Verizon’s which helps customers keep their existing phone numbers or T-Mobile’s providing discounts for bringing in your pre-owned devices. All of this is done in the name of bringing in and retaining customers.

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But all of these existing promotions deal with hardware and assets. From our vantage point, we feel that consumer-side convenience is an up-and-coming market. And if you’ve ever bought a new phone and sat there moving, downloading, and checking everything into your new phone, I’m ready to bet that you’ve come across one or two things later that you inexplicably missed. While the software to help transition personal data on mobile phones exists, the process is still left outside of mobile carrier control.

The smooth and consolidated transfer of personal effects should be something mobile carriers add as more and more users buy their 2nd or 3rd smartphones – and we feel that white label personal clouds are just the way to access the market.

The Status of Cloud Integration by Carriers

According to research done by Ericsson in 2012, mobile carriers have dedicated significant amounts of time and money towards integrating cloud into their existing bundle of services. The report cites Verizon having spent “well over US$2 billion” trying to capture a large share of the global cloud community; while Australia’s largest telecom, Telstra, predicts that cloud would make up roughly 20-30% of its total revenue by 2018.

However, even with all that money spent, cloud computing has yet to headline mobile plans as a pillar of a winning 4G offering for customers.

This possibility of transferring files, is an opportunity left unexplored by most mobile carriers.

Convenience and Transition

In an open questionnaire by Android Police in 2015, over 63% of respondents claimed that they had owned between 1-4 smartphones (The survey looked at Android device ownership exclusively), with 3 being the most frequent response at 21%. Given the average smartphone plan length at 2-3 years, this indicates that most users have only gone through the hassles of transferring data once:

  • The first commercially available Android device, HTC’s Dream in 2008, had only 256 MB of memory and would’ve been an easy move for personal data
  • According to that 2-3 plan cycle, the next available smartphones, such as the Galaxy SII, was the first time where users had significant internal storage to move personal effects like photos, videos, docs, etc…
  • With their next phone (roughly 2013 and onwards on 2-3 year plan cycles) is the first time where users may have had difficulty transferring data given the sheer amounts (8 GB and up)

Granted, Android and iOS allows users to sync contacts, notes, and calendars through its own infrastructure, while apps downloaded can be backed up through the app stores of both platforms.

However, everything from photos, videos, documents, messages have to be transferred by the individual through third-party apps or through their PCs rather than through the operating system.

For consumers in emerging markets, this solution becomes even more pivotal given that many of their users have skipped the ‘256 MB era’ altogether. This means these smartphone owners will face the issue on their second phone.

This is the chance white label cloud solutions can aim at.

Backup and Access As Needed – All Under Your Brand

Given the costs associated with integrating a cloud onto existing services (i.e. Verizon’s US$2 billion cloud budget), we wanted to offer mobile carriers a scalable and affordable cloud option. For us, that included making sure that mobile service subscribers wouldn’t be handcuffed to packages (like Dropbox’s Pro option) should they decide to exceed their allotted 2 GB.

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(Comic Above Is Free For The Commercial/Personal Reuse Courtesy Of CloudTweaks)

With white label, brands have the opportunity to brand and advertise their newfound cloud feature. Enabling them another leg up on the competition when they can quote features such as ‘transfer all of your personal effects from one phone to another’ without issue.

In conclusion, yes, we feel that white label cloud solutions should take sight at this market deemed convenience. As more and more users go through smartphones with sizeable memory, we’re banking on this issue becoming more and more prominent.

The question is: Will your mobile carrier be ready with a solution?

By Max Azarov
Social And Organizational Issues Related To Big Data

Social And Organizational Issues Related To Big Data

Working With Big Data

Every day, the world is creating new data through online purchases, click-throughs, social media interactions, and the many, many other activities performed which, whether we’re aware of it or not, collect and store information about individual behaviors, preferences, and the likes. In its latest prediction, IDC estimated that by 2025 total worldwide digital data would reach 180 zettabytes, a nearly incomprehensible quantity alone, but even more staggering when considering that in 2011 the world created ‘just’ 1.8 zettabytes of information. This big data is used by businesses to personalize customer experiences and amplify engagement, it helps companies make smarter decisions, and with the right tools and analytics in place can improve conversion rates and raise revenue. However, the power of big data is perhaps more talked about than actually implemented and several obstacles prevent organizations from being more data-driven.

Challenges for Big Data Utilization in the Organization

According to SAS, pairing big data with visual analytics can help significantly with the presentation of data, but there are still a number of hurdles to address. The sheer quantity of data produced may seem challenge enough, creating a minefield of data management and data sharing difficulties, but several more subtle components set up their own complications. Data quality is one such component more often considered today as analysts recognize the necessity for both accurate and timely data for the generation of the most valuable insights, and enterprise data management strategies are being implemented more regularly to help address data quality needs.

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Another key consideration is the sharing of data, be it within the business across departments or units, or amongst different people. Organizations face a range of dilemmas regarding data sharing such as adequate security of the data, necessary authentication requirements to ensure only those individuals granted access are able to retrieve information, and protection of privacy related to the extremely personal and sensitive nature of some data. Aside from data security and protection, data sharing introduces a subset of challenges regarding whether or not, and how much, data should be shared between businesses. Though competitive stances would suggest the less shared with rivals the better, there is some advantage to be gained from a more open culture of data sharing.

Big data analytics, while a key solution for better data utilization, also produces its own set of challenges, and currently many marketers feel they lack an intuitive way to make sense of all of the available data and generate actionable insights from it. It’s possible that such concerns can be handled not only with the creation of a resilient data culture within organizations, but an analytics culture that promotes quality data collection, information monetization, and broadens the overall understanding of the insights available through data analysis.

Big Data & the Social Sphere

social-data

Aside from the data being collected and analyzed in organizations, big data holds a weighty position in the social sphere too. As the internet creates the channels for personal communication between strangers, it’s necessary to contemplate the trust many of us put in the advice and reviews of product and service provided by other users. Networks such as Amazon, eBay, and Airbnb rely on user interaction and information for repeat business, and these networks have developed sophisticated trust and safety mechanisms that may emulate the intentions of government regulations is many ways, but instead of implementing up-front granting of permission achieve their objectives through the concentrated use of peer review and data. Utilizing social data efficiently opens up an entirely new field for marketers with a different set of challenges and opportunities.

The role of big data and it’s analysis will only grow in the coming years and with it many avenues for business improvement through marketing, customer engagement, decision making, and product development. The right solutions help organizations make the most of their big data and provide the upper hand in today’s highly competitive markets.

Article sponsored by SAS Software and Big Data Forum

By Jennifer Klostermann

R.I.C.E: Reducing Cost, Improving Compliance, Controlling Data, Enhancing Experience

R.I.C.E: Reducing Cost, Improving Compliance, Controlling Data, Enhancing Experience

R.I.C.E Therapy for Next Generation Customer Experience

As industries worldwide adapt to the digital transformation that is modernizing many business processes, one big benefit is the ability to focus more on improving customer experience. An example of this change is the digitization of client communications. Today’s client is tech-savvy, and expects access to their sensitive documents at any time, from any device. However, the need for augmented communication calls for an evaluation of how organizations can deliver both transparency and security to ensure and easy and secure user experience.

Current customer experience roadblocks

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In addition to the rising concern of leaking sensitive information, there are several other customer and client experience roadblocks in today’s processes, including:

  • Lack of e-mail surveillance risk of important documents ending up in the wrong inbox, digging through piles of e-mails
  • Poor communicationlag in sending time, confusion in attached documents, clunky interface causing both employee and client frustration
  • No ROIcostly printing and mailing fees, growth at a gridlock
  • Weak securityfailing to comply with regulations, risk of being fined

Leveraging online communications platforms that are vetted and validated can help organizations avoid these all-too-familiar pain points. Companies should look towards technologies that incorporate features and benefits to fit the needs of their growing customer base.

Turning to R.I.C.E for support

What’s the best way to ensure a speedy recovery from a sprained ankle? Some experts stand suggest a little R.I.C.E therapy will have you back on your feet in no time: a little rest, ice, compression and elevation typically does the trick. But what’s the best way to repair client communication?

R.I.C.E can work for organizations looking to transform client communication, too. Reducing cost, money and effort; improving compliance; controlling data; and enhancing experience are key ways companies can overcome current roadblocks and put them on a path toward customer experience recovery.

  • Reduce cost, money, and effort responding to more client and financial advisor requests in less time, reducing printing and mailing costs
  • Improve compliancestrengthening policies and procedures related to safeguarding client data
  • Control dataalternatives to e-mail when sharing “high value” information such as clients’ personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Enhance experiencefocusing on digital client engagement, providing real-time access to information, delivering investment information in clients’ preferred format

By following these core concepts, businesses can not only ease customer or client nerves about data collection and cloud storage, but also improve and streamline communication. With a secure content collaboration platform to back companies up, common customer grievances such as trust and responsibility will no longer be a concern.

Building client credibility: Tryperion

As a niche real estate investment firm in Los Angeles, Tryperion serves a range of foundations, family offices, and high net worth investors. Tryperion is a great example of a company that realized it needed a new tool to meet its industry’s transition of priorities to fostering better client relationships, rather than just enhancing performance. The rising concern of private investment statements and real estate investment reports ending up in the wrong hands made Tryperion recognize the need for an upgraded digital solution that delivered greater transparency and security.

Clients were complaining about their experiences using Tryperion’s existing portal, so retaining investors and making them happy was a key driver for change. Tryperion also had to manually put documents into each investor’s portal, and when that portal wasn’t working properly, the Tryperion team wasted hours trouble-shooting and sending out individual emails to investors. With its new enterprise-grade, secure collaboration platform, Tryperion can now securely and seamlessly upload various documents one time and automatically distribute them to each investor. This frees up the team to focus on more important issues affecting the growth of the firm. Moreover, their investment managers can now get up to speed and exceed their investor clients’ expectations via a platform that offers a convenient and hassle-free interface where clients can access capital calls, distributions notices, K-1 reports, capital account statements, tax forms and several other classified investment documents from a click of a mouse.

One size fits all: The ACE bandage of communication

R.I.C.E can apply to industries everywhere, not just investor communications. Organizations across all fields need to identify key areas of opportunity to improve customer experience and act on them. Taking a look at client communication is a good place to start.

By Daren Glenister

3 Cloud Developments Happening Right Now

3 Cloud Developments Happening Right Now

Cloud Developments

With cloud computing still gaining steam among mainstream consumers, enterprise and governmental entities alike, some of the biggest information technology developers are now making bids for industry dominance. As a recent poll by RightScale reports that 95 percent of all respondents are currently using the cloud, there’s a large and diversified target audience to accommodate.

cloud-computing-trends-2016-how-optimizing-costs

Here are three important cloud developments going on right now.

1. Microsoft and Adobe Join Forces Within the Cloud

One of the latest events in the world of cloud computing, the recent partnership between Microsoft Corporation and Adobe Systems Inc., will bolster the company’s’ service offerings by integrating various Adobe software with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Initial programs offered include Photoshop and Illustrator.

Additionally, Microsoft will utilize Adobe’s own marketing programs as the preferred option for managing key customer relationships. The new venture is expected to strengthen both companies’ competitiveness in the industry, particularly against challengers such as Amazon and Salesforce.

2. The Launch of the Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Not to be outdone, Salesforce is expanding its presence through the launch of the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Announced shortly after acquiring the Demandware, a popular e-commerce system, the new cloud is meant to close the gaps between physical and online retailers while increasing their reputation in the areas of marketing, sales and IT.

Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud adds nearly 2,000 new sites to an e-commerce brand that already includes names such as Adidas and Pandora. Apart from increasing the size of Salesforce’s family, the new service also features user-specific product recommendations, the ability to arrange product search results according to their relevancy, and in-depth commerce analytics.

3. Imminent Trouble for Plex Cloud

The Plex Media Server was originally created in 2008 after its original developers parted ways with the development team of a different media app. While it’s been struggling to carve out an existence in their highly specialized niche, the launch of the new Plex Cloud might very well mark the beginning of the end for its endeavors.

At first glance, the Plex Cloud seems like a great idea. Its purpose is to provide users with cloud-based file hosting of movies, music and digital images. While this concept isn’t inherently unlawful, users who store copyrighted or pirated content could be found guilty of breaching their cloud provider’s terms of service as well as federal law.

As Matt Burns clarifies on TechCrunch, “Amazon Web Services does not prevent users from uploading such content. But AWS will likely remove it as soon as it’s identified.”

Using Web-Based Applications to Ease Cloud Adoption

Major IT developers are pushing for increased cloud adoption across the entire spectrum of users. This is especially true in the healthcare industry, where there is a growing interest in cloud-based health records for easier information access and updating.

While web-based recordkeeping and cloud-based data storage options both share many of the same benefits, certain organizations are still hesitant to adopt modern cloud services. In this case, web-based electronic health records can be a great alternative. Not only does this give you many of the advantages associated with modern IT, but it can pave the way for future cloud integration down the line.

Some of the most common perks of both web-based and cloud-based recordkeeping include:

  • An improvement in quality control
  • Greater workflow efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Less paperwork
  • Streamlined accessibility
  • Advanced security

Staying on Top of the Latest Cloud Developments

The world of cloud computing is a highly complex, dynamic and fast-paced business. Although it’s certainly important to monitor the ongoing evolution of the industry, you should always take care when adopting and embracing the latest advancements. While the majority of these innovations are meant to aide and support your success, either as an individual or as an organization, some may actually cause more harm than good.

By Kayla Matthews

Microsoft Increases European Cloud Investment To $3 Billion, Unveils Cloud Policy Recommendations

Microsoft Increases European Cloud Investment To $3 Billion, Unveils Cloud Policy Recommendations

Microsoft Increases European Cloud Investment

DUBLIN — Oct. 3, 2016 — Reflecting the significant investment Microsoft Corp. is making in cloud computing in Europe, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith on Monday shared new details about how this momentum is taking shape. Nadella stated that Microsoft has more than doubled its cloud capacity in Europe in the past year, noted that the company has invested over $3 billion (USD) across Europe to date, and shared that Microsoft intends to deliver the Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in France, starting in 2017. These new investments in cloud are helping customers — including the UK Ministry of Defence, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Ireland’s Health Service Executive and ZF from Germany — to innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while meeting European data sovereignty, security and compliance needs. Furthering its commitment to make the cloud more trusted, responsible and inclusive, Microsoft also released a new book titled “A Cloud for Global Good.” The announcements were made in Dublin this morning as the two leaders began a four-day visit to Europe to meet with business and government leaders.

We continue to invest heavily in cloud infrastructure to meet the growing demand from European customers and partners,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Building a global, trusted, intelligent cloud platform is core to our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. There’s never been a better time for organizations across Europe to seize new growth and opportunity with the Microsoft Cloud.

Cloud-powered digital transformation in Europe

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As part of this cloud momentum, Microsoft announced plans to offer Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 from multiple datacenter locations in France. Initial availability is anticipated in 2017. Today, Microsoft offers customers across Europe a range of innovative regional Microsoft cloud services to transform their businesses, including recently announced generally available Microsoft Cloud services from datacenters in the United Kingdom (Microsoft Azure and Office 365) and Germany (Microsoft Azure with Office 365 planned for early 2017), with the latter offering a first-of-its-kind model in Europe where access to customer data is controlled by a data trustee, T-Systems International, an independent German company and subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.

The collective investments, including datacenter hubs in the Netherlands and Ireland, which continue to expand, together with locations in Austria and Finland, enable Microsoft to meet anticipated customer demand in Europe and offer European customers greater ability to digitally transform their organizations through the cloud, by meeting their security and compliance needs while understanding where their data resides.

The Microsoft Cloud, including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, offers customers a trusted global infrastructure with 30 available, and 36 announced, datacenter regions — more than any other major cloud provider in Europe and globally. These investments mean that more European customers are using the Microsoft Cloud to transform their businesses and their lives.

They include the following:

  • The Ministry of Defence for the United Kingdom, which employs circa 250,000 people, will use Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure cloud services as part of the government’s digital transformation agenda to deliver cost-effective, modern and flexible information capabilities.
  • The Renault-Nissan Alliance will work with Microsoft to develop next-generation connected services for cars powered by Microsoft Azure to improve customer experience via advanced navigation, predictive maintenance and vehicle-centric services, remote monitoring of car features, external mobile experiences, and over-the-air updates.
  • Ireland’s Health Service Executive is investing in the creation of a digital fabric to build a better health service and increased patient safety. The eHealth Ireland initiative will create a secure cloud infrastructure using Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 and will allow a single unique identifier for all patients, single electronic health records for all mothers and babies in Ireland, a single national lab system, digital identity for health workers across the system, and communications tools to enable relationships between clinicians and patients to develop in real time.
  • ZF, a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology, is using Azure Germany for its data platform, deTAGtive logistics under the brand Openmatics, to connect, control and manage transports using the benefits the public cloud provides.

Building a cloud for global good

Nadella and Smith also highlighted the importance of making sure that the wave of innovation being unleashed by cloud computing benefits everyone and that nobody gets left behind. Recognizing that the rapid pace of change creates concerns and even challenges for some individuals and communities, they highlighted the importance of ensuring that the cloud is a cloud for global good. They acknowledged the need for tech companies, the community and governments to work together to achieve this. As a contribution to this important debate Microsoft also announced today it has released a book called “A Cloud for Global Good” that details 78 public policy recommendations in 15 categories to help make cloud technologies more trusted, responsible and inclusive. Topics include next-generation skills, enhancing security and privacy in the digital age, environmental sustainability, keeping communities safe, and securing a bright future for all our children. The book’s specific proposals tackle challenges like data flow disruptions that can interrupt critical services, protecting people from online exploitation and fraud, and ensuring those with disabilities can access e-government services.

Cloud computing has the potential to solve some of our world’s most challenging issues, but, as with all technological advancements, it raises important questions for society,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft president. “We must work together to build a cloud for global good. Our hope is that the ideas shared in this book will help move technology forward while ensuring no one is left behind.

More on “A Cloud for Global Good” can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/cloudforgood.

Around The Cloud – Tech News For The Week

Around The Cloud – Tech News For The Week

Around The Cloud

Ars Technia has been buzzing this week about how safe the Linux kernel is, calling its current situation an “unprecedented security crisis”. Linux now underpins not only server farms but also the cloud, Android phones, Chromebooks, and everything connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). It now serves as the single point of failure that, like the first domino in a line, can send all the pieces crashing down should an exploit be discovered. Kees Cook, the head of the new Linux Kernel Self Protection Project, said “…the Linux kernel needs to deal with attacks in a manner where it actually is expecting them and actually handles gracefully in some fashion the fact that it’s being attacked.”

Google is planning on showing off their latest and greatest innovations at an event in San Francisco on October 4th. We’re expecting to see new phones, new pricing and release dates for Google’s Amazon Echo competitor, a new Chromecast, and a new router. But what the internet is really buzzing about are the new Pixel and Pixel XL phones, which will be showcasing Android Nougat 7.1 and Google’s new virtual assistant app called Allo. The Verge goes in more details about the Pixel phones, as well as Google Home (the Amazon Echo competitor), Chromecast, Google Wi-Fi, and a mysterious new operating system for laptops and tablets nicknamed “Androme”.

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In other Google related news, TIME reported today that Google has started testing their Uber competitor, Waze Rider, in San Francisco. The Waze Rider app searches to connect riders with drivers that are already traveling in the same direction as the rider. In contrast, Uber just seeks to connect a rider with the nearest driver, disregarding where the driver is headed and requiring the driver devote themselves entirely to the rider’s interests. While this results in cheaper fares for riders, it also means lower pay for drivers. However, drivers also do not have to turn it into a part time or full time job, making Waze Rider the ideal way to earn a little money while on your way to work or running errands around town.

An angry French man has won the internet today with his display of passion in an Apple store. While Apple often has received praise for their high standards in customer service, evidently this man did not agree. He entered an Apple store in Dijon yesterday and started calmly smashing Apple devices with a weighted boule metal ball (used in a French bowls game) to make his point clear, perhaps because he felt that no one was taking him seriously before. Video footage of this event can be seen at The Verge.

By Jonquil McDaniel

Expert Insights Into The Yahoo Breach

Expert Insights Into The Yahoo Breach

Yahoo Breach

Latest reports suggest that the recent Yahoo! data breach may exceed 500 million records, with some sources implying millions more records penetrated, upping the total number of records stolen in various recent hacks to approximately 3.5 billion. CloudTweaks spoke to Kevin O’Brien, CEO of GreatHorn, for expert insight into this latest violation. GreatHorn provides cybersecurity solutions for cloud communication platforms and is the first automated spear phishing prevention platform natively integrated into cloud-based email systems such as Google Apps and Office 365.

kevin-obrienSays O’Brien, “It’s concerning that it took two years to uncover the breach and demonstrates how ill-equipped even one of the world’s largest tech companies is to address the gap between a breach and detection. The attackers – who are presumed to be state-sponsored hackers – didn’t just steal your grandmother’s email address. They stole the good stuff: unencrypted security questions and answers as well as full names. It’s troubling that this data was unencrypted at all; security questions are often re-used between sites and provide full account access.

The Relevant Details

With the theft potentially including a variety of personal data from names to telephone numbers to security question answers, users of this global service have been put at risk. Possibly the largest attack of its kind in terms of user accounts penetrated, the FBI is involved in the investigation though has yet to make any comments on the allegations that the attack may have come from outside the USA, possibly from a foreign government. Though Yahoo! hasn’t revealed the evidence which has led them to believe this attack may be state-sponsored, governments have in the past hacked email accounts to keep track of citizens or dissents, and there is some expert opinion suggesting that the 2010 Google Gmail hacking of accounts used by Chinese human rights activists may have been of such motivation.

Unfortunately, the discovery of the hack is most certainly not the end of the line. Stresses O’Brien, “The Yahoo! breach will likely lead to a long tail of harder to detect phishing attacks. For example, since Q2 2015, we’ve been tracking a resurgence in ‘Display Name’ spoof attacks, aimed especially at enterprise clients where the stakes are millions of dollars’ worth of damages. These attacks involve a criminal using a friendly name, e.g., that of a spouse, co-worker, or friend, but sending messages from an email address that isn’t the one the sender typically uses. This is often an attempt to trick people into divulging sensitive information – ‘I need the W2s for these employees for a wage study, can you send them to me?’ – or authorizing fraudulent invoice payments or wires. With the account credential loss involved here, we can expect these attacks to become more sophisticated, as these faked emails will come from the actual addresses of the spoofed sender, not “yourceo@c-level.co.”

What’s Next?

As if we’re not constantly reminded, ensuring you’re running the latest in cybersecurity solutions should be of top priority; furthermore, we all need to pay attention to standard security protocol, stay informed about potential risks, and follow fundamental security principles. The Yahoo! breach may still leave ordinary users at risk, especially if the information makes it onto the black market and is sold on. With many people using the same username, email address, and password for many online services, some of these sites storing financial information such as banking and credit card details, the transmittal of breached data further increases vulnerability. Resetting passwords for Yahoo! accounts isn’t enough; for those potentially affected, an overhaul of all online and network protection may be in order.

A wake-up call for many, whether users of Yahoo! or not, we’re reminded to review our accounts for suspicious activity, implement two-step authentication where possible, and take seriously the threats of phishing campaigns. Who knows what breaches are happening right now that we won’t be aware of for another two years?

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

The Financial Services Cloud Fintech investment has been seeing consistent growth in 2015, with some large moves being made this year. The infographic (Courtesy of Venturescanner) below shows the top Fintech investors and the amount of companies they’re currently funding: Just this week, a financial data startup known as Orchard Platform raised $30 million in…

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Successful digital marketing campaigns are being driven largely by trending technologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and The Cloud. These may be used for a huge number of marketing applications, from optimizing the performance of sports teams to improving science and research, even helping to aid law enforcement. Amazon Web…

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…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

Green Technology Finland Last week we touched upon how a project in Finland had blended two of the world’s most important industries, cloud computing and green technology, to produce a data centre that used nearby sea water to both cool their servers and heat local homes.  Despite such positive environmental projects, there is little doubt that…

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills Cloud technology has completely changed the infrastructure and internal landscape of both small businesses and large corporations alike. No professionals in any industry understand this better than IT pros. In a cutthroat field like IT, candidates have to be multi-faceted and well-versed in the cloud universe. Employers want to know that…

The Big Data Movement Gets Bigger

The Big Data Movement Gets Bigger

The Big Data Movement In recent years, Big Data and Cloud relations have been growing steadily. And while there have been many questions raised around how best to use the information being gathered, there is no question that there is a real future between the two. The growing importance of Big Data Scientists and the…

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

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

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Big Data Analytics Trends As data information and cloud computing continues to work together, the need for data analytics continues to grow. Many tech firms predict that big data volume will grow steadily 40% per year and in 2020, will grow up to 50 times that. This growth will also bring a number of cost…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

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…

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Governance, Risk and Compliance Businesses are under pressure to deliver against a backdrop of evolving regulations and security threats. In the face of such challenges they strive to perform better, be leaner, cut costs and be more efficient. Effective governance, risk and compliance (GRC) can help preserve the business’ corporate integrity and protect the brand,…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

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…

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…

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

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

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…