Category Archives: Technology

The Rise Of Threat Intelligence Sharing

The Rise Of Threat Intelligence Sharing

Threat Intelligence Sharing 

Security has been discussed often on CloudTweaks and for good reason. It is one of the most sought after topics of information in the technology industry.  It is virtually impossible to wake up and not read a headline that involves the words “Breached, Hacked, Compromised or Extorted (Ransomware)“.

Included (below) is an infographic discovered via the Alienvault Blog which highlights some interesting research findings.

  • Security professionals stated that they share threat intelligence with trusted peers (56%), internally (47%), with government agencies (28%), publicly (18%) and with crowdsourced/Open Source platforms (15%).
  • The largest jump has been in the adoption of crowdsourced platforms for threat intelligence sharing, which increased by almost five times since last year. This trend will continue to escalate as confidence in threat sharing platforms increases and as the trusted peer groups of security professionals expands.

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The nature of the security industry has been extremely secretive, so it’s very encouraging to see that more people are utilizing different sources and are willing to more openly share threat intelligence,” said Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault. “Malicious criminals innovate quickly, and the more our industry can achieve a similar level of agility through cooperation and collaboration, the more we can create a powerful collective defense against today’s advanced threats. Public threat intelligence sources, such as AlienVault’s Open Threat Exchange, enable even the smallest IT departments to leverage the collective knowledge of a global network of security experts to better identify, respond to and mitigate threats. We hope to see continued trust in these sources…”

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration

In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation.

But what about when you move to the cloud?

Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully select migration vendors to help you get there. All that remains is following the plan, right?

CloudTweaks Comic

Everything going well, your valuable data will be migrated without a hitch and will be at your fingertips just in case legal or compliance issues arise.

But what if it doesn’t? What if, when you go to pull-up company records, your data is corrupted or not there at all?

That’s when the headache starts. Your legal team starts knocking on your door, compliance officers look to point their fingers at one of your team, and you face a hefty fine for data spoliation.

Oops.

As much as I’d like to say I’m painting a dystopian picture that has very little foothold in reality… that’s just not the case.

Just ask UBS Warburg, West and Phillip Morris.

Now, I’m not an expert on all things data migration, but I do know a thing or two about the backbone of corporate communications: email.

Seemingly innocuous, email is the kind of thing many don’t tend to think much about. You send, receive, agonize over and trash thousands of emails a year. But it’s just email right? How difficult can it be to migrate it to a new cloud service?

The truth is, it’s pretty darn difficult.

Sure, there are lots of email migration vendors out there, waving their hands in the air and jumping up and down saying: “Pick me! Pick me!” (full disclosure: I work for Fookes Software and our product Aid4Mail is right there jumping and waving with the best of them). But how many of them can you really trust?

The fact is, converting email accurately is incredibly complex and we’ve seen very few vendors actually do it well.

Here are just some of the issues we’ve seen come up with poorly converted emails, all of which could result in data spoliation sanctions:

  • Entire folders of emails skipped because of a few special characters in the folder name
  • Unable to render special characters or character based languages (like Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew)
  • Lost attachments
  • Alteration of the SMTP header, this means:
    • Loss of original sent, received and stored dates
    • Loss of email addresses
    • Loss of status information (read, unread etc)
  • Emails being skipped as they’re too large

We even have an example for you:

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And here’s another one:

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So to put this into context, let’s say you produce consumer electronics. You’ve just launched a flagship device after a few years of planning and development. Everyone’s thrilled!

BUT there’s an issue with the battery. It overheats and catches fire in certain circumstances.

A few of your customers’ houses burnt down, a couple of cars caught on fire and around 20 people suffered from burns.

One of the burn victims has leaked some inside information, and now they want to sue you for negligence. The plaintiff is saying you knew about the battery issue and chose not to do anything about so as not to jeopardize the launch.

You’re not worried, you can prove that no one knew anything about it. So, you go back into your archives to pull up all the relevant communication between the project team and your Chinese battery supplier.

That’s when you see that all the emails between the China-based purchasing manager and the battery supplier are all question marks and blank spaces.

The sent date is showing as after the received date and all the emails look like they’re unread.

This, my friends, is data spoliation. Sure it’s not your fault, but you’ll still get sanctioned.

So, what’s the moral of this cautionary tale? Test, test and test again before you choose ANY migration application to move your email to the cloud.

Taking the time now to thoroughly test the application in all scenarios before you commit will pay off in the long run.

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katie-cullen-montgomerieBy Katie Cullen Montgomerie

Katie is the marketing and communications manager for Fookes Software, the developers of email migration software Aid4Mail.

Big Data and AI Hold Greatest Promise For Healthcare Technologies

Big Data and AI Hold Greatest Promise For Healthcare Technologies

Digital Healthcare Executives and Investors Addressed Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Industry

New York City – September 21, 2016  According to a survey of 122 founders, executives and investors in health-tech companies released today by Silicon Valley Bank, big data and artificial intelligence will have the greatest impact on the industry in the year ahead. Healthcare delivery and healthcare IT also promise the most growth in 2017.

Big data has been integral to our work at Celmatix. It has empowered physicians to be able to counsel women about their chances of having a baby, based on their relevant personal metrics, and not just their age,” said Dr. Piraye Yurttas Beim, Chief Executive Officer at Celmatix. “It’s an exciting time to be in a field where the pace of innovation continues to increase as both physicians and patients realize the potential of big data and personalized medicine.

The Silicon Valley Bank survey was conducted at the company’s HealthTech NYC event on September 8, 2016. The day-long event brought together more than 200 founders and executives from healthtech companies including Aledade, babylon Health, Celmatix, PokitDok, Quartet Health and ZocDoc, as well as healthcare and technology investors from firms including  Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates and Venrock. Featured speakers included Karen M. Ignagni, President and CEO, EmblemHealth; Tom Rodgers, SVP and Managing Director, McKesson Ventures; and Steve Allan, Head of SVB Analytics, who presented the latest SVB research report on digital health called, Consumer Digital Health: How Market Shift is Leading to New Opportunities.

Findings from the survey highlight the biggest opportunities and threats for healthcare-related technology companies in the coming year:

  • Biggest ChallengeAlthough the industry is at the forefront of innovation, consumer, patient and client adoption remains the biggest industry challenge (37 percent) followed by regulation (34 percent).
  • Greatest Impact on Investments Thirty-four percent of survey respondents say the success of existing technologies gaining traction will have the greatest impact on investment in the sector next year. Despite uncertainty, the upcoming US Presidential election was seen as least influential factor impacting investment in the industry (7 percent).
  • Most Promising Technology – Survey respondents say big data (46 percent) and artificial intelligence (35 percent) are the technical innovations that will have the greatest impact on healthtech in 2017.
  • Biggest Growth Sector – Healthcare delivery/IT is cited as most likely to experience growth in the coming year (45 percent), ahead of more consumer-focused products including mobile health apps (8 percent) and wearables (7 percent).
  • Best Funding SourceThe majority of respondents (61 percent) believe venture capital will provide the greatest funding opportunities for healthtech companies in the coming year.

The complete survey results are available below.

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About Silicon Valley Bank 

For more than 30 years, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise through its offices in innovation centers around the world. With commercial, international and private banking services, SVB helps address the unique needs of innovators. Learn more at svb.com.

Four Tips For Better Information Security In The Cloud

Four Tips For Better Information Security In The Cloud

Information Security

Businesses are increasingly relying on cloud based application deployments and are open to entrusting their most critical data to it. Unlike the early days of cloud, now, there is wider acceptance that cloud-based data can be as secure as on premise and, in some cases, perhaps even more so. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean businesses can be complacent about cloud security. Stringent governance, risk and compliance is needed to keep information secure.

There can be no doubt that the public cloud services market continues to grow. Gartner forecasts it will reach $204 billion in 2016 – a more than 16 percent growth on 2015. A RightScale survey revealed that Amazon Web Services are in use by over half of the questioned IT professionals and enterprise workloads continue to move to both public and private cloud with more enterprises now running more than 1,000 virtual machines. Furthermore, the survey revealed that security has now been overtaken by a lack of resources or expertise as the number one cloud challenge.

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This last point is highly significant. What was once a detractor could soon be a reason for migrating to the cloud. Gartner has predicted that security will become a primary reason for cloud take-up by government; big players such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, points out research director Neville Cannon are able to invest more than most government agencies in state-of-the-art security.

As information becomes a strategic and competitive asset for tomorrow’s digital organizations, information security will become a bigger business priority in the years to come, regardless of the infrastructure, applications and data storage options deployed. Digital organizations cannot afford the business and reputational damage of a leak, hack or loss of information. To protect and preserve business data and reputation when using the cloud, it is imperative that businesses get the following four aspects right:

1. Separation of data

While multi-tenancy has been the mainstream cloud architecture, isolation of client data and applications is an increasing imperative. Multi-instance is therefore gaining ground as a cloud storage solution that separates company data.

For cloud service providers, managing customer expectations around the segregation of sensitive data can be a challenge. Today’s businesses have a higher level of understanding when it comes to specific controls around data access, storage and retrieval and managing network stack requirements.

Happily, virtualization technology now enables complete applications to be encapsulated in a virtual container with performance preservation and security isolation. This makes achieving multi-instance architecture simpler. It also allows for significant gain in terms of economies of scale and cost while preserving the data segregation principle across customers.

2. Access

Robust identity management is essential for the business to retain control over the type of access its users have. This includes strictly enforced processes for managing updates within the organisation, such as personnel responsibility changes. Such changes can impact the data and applications that team members need access to – and those that they don’t.

security-concerns

The cloud service provider should be able to track who accesses what and when and provide this information for early intrusion detection. This is a basic requirement and as such a robust authentication and authorization framework compatible with single sign on and active directory is now the entry-level standard. Advanced identity management tools such as Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) are also now available to ensure management of access control between on-premises and cloud applications.

3. Regulatory compliance and data protection

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in 2018 in the EU. This will impact how businesses use and share customer data. Yet a study by Blue Coat Elastica Cloud Threat Labs found that 98 percent of analyzed apps aren’t GDPR ready and, shockingly that 12 percent of ‘broadly shared documents and files contain regulated information and confidential data such as source code and legal information.’

The government-wide Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) has clearly defined considerations for storing data on cloud. Increasingly, compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is becoming mandatory to do business and industry specific compliances such as HIPAA are gaining ground.

Companies remain responsible for regulatory compliance regardless of whether they own and manage their own IT infrastructure and storage solutions or use the services of a cloud provider. Organizations need to be aware of the type of data they hold and all relevant compliance considerations that may apply to it, for example protected personal information and financial information.

While specific demonstrations of compliance vary according to the compliance ability, it needs to be clear within the cloud service provider agreement the measures that the provider has in place for compliance.

4. Business continuity management

As organizations become globalized and inter-dependent, their ability to continue business 24X7X365 is one of the essential needs. Hence, companies should insist on a business continuity plan and periodic test assessments from the cloud service provider. Generally, this is established practice, as is providing proof of business continuity exercises every quarter. SSAE16 certification – the auditing standard for service organizations – covers some part of this.

Cloud storage and applications provide compelling business benefits around cost savings, efficiency and collaborative working. Companies dependent on cloud service providers for the integrity and security of their data need to have complete confidence in their provider. This means shared and agreed risk management processes that will help preserve and protect the security of the company’s information and safeguard the integrity of its operations.

By Vibhav Agarwal

Cloud Adoption Goes Mainstream

Cloud Adoption Goes Mainstream

Cloud Mainstream

Cisco has just released the results of a global study which reveals that cloud adoption has hit the mainstream, but unfortunately, many organizations aren’t yet fully exploiting the many benefits of cloud. The study suggests that approximately 68% of organizations are helping drive business outcomes through cloud, an incredible 61% increase since last year’s study. And it appears that cloud-native applications are encouraging this intensified cloud adoption with cloud-based solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and security playing a significant role.

The Need for Development of Cloud Strategies

With findings that 69% of organizations are without mature cloud strategies and just 3% with optimized cloud strategies that generate enhanced business outcomes it’s clear that the development of cloud strategies is necessary. Annual benefits per cloud-based application for organizations with the most advanced cloud implementations are in the range of $3 million in extra revenues and a further $1 million in cost savings, and revenue increases are chiefly due to new product and service sales, accelerated sales into new markets, or the more rapid development of new customer bases.

Hybrid IT Environments

Further results note that 95% of top achieving organizations with optimized cloud strategies have implemented hybrid IT environments which make use of multiple public and private clouds that are based on location, economics, and governance policies. In the Cisco-sponsored InfoBrief developed by International Data Corporation (IDC), Cloud Going Mainstream: All Are Trying, Some Are Benefiting; Few Are Maximizing Value, IDC recognizes five levels of cloud maturity: ad hoc, managed, opportunistic, optimized, and repeatable.

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Korea, Japan, and China exhibit the greatest percentage of organizations using a mix of public cloud and private cloud services, but hybrid cloud adoption isn’t far behind in many other countries. Germany falls a little short of the top three at 51% hybrid cloud adoption, both Canada and Latin America Region present at 47%, the UK at 46%, and the United States at 45%. The Netherlands, France, and Australia aren’t far behind, settling in the low 40s.

Optimizing Cloud Strategies

Addressing the reasons behind why the majority of cloud strategies aren’t yet fully matured, the study observes various obstacles faced by organizations hindering greater cloud development. These include skill and capability gaps, legacy siloed organizational structures, a lack of well-defined cloud blueprints, and Information Technology/Line of Business misalignment.

Says Scott Clark, Vice President of Advanced Services, Cisco, “Our customers are dealing with increasingly diverse and complex environments as their hybrid and multi-cloud deployments grow. These customers want the freedom to choose the best environments and consumption models for their traditional and cloud-native applications, which all drive a variety of business benefits. Yet, as this research bears out, while many customers are embracing cloud, most are still in the early stages of their journey to an optimized cloud model. That is where our new and enhanced Cisco Professional Services can help. Working with our partners, our joint services offerings are designed to help customers achieve a highly secure and optimized cloud environment specific to their unique business needs.”

In an effort to help organizations optimize their cloud strategies, Cisco has launched their new set of Cloud Professional Services as well as released the Cisco Business Cloud Advisor Adoption Report. With the Cloud Professional Services including a host of new tools such as multi-cloud management and orchestration services, Cloud Acceleration Services, and IT transformation services for DevOps, as well as improved application and cloud migration services, Cisco endeavors to aid businesses in the enhancement of their cloud environments. The Business Cloud Advisor Adoption Report, a tool to be offered to Cisco partners to use with their customers, provides further assistance by rendering these latest findings into personalized analysis and direction. Richard Scannell, President and CEO of RiverMeadow Software, suggests, “In a complex multi-cloud world, customers require choices on the environments and consumption models for their cloud workloads.” Cisco and its partners are collaborating streamline this exercise.

By Jennifer Klostermann

New Self Driving Car Is All Smiles For Pedestrians

New Self Driving Car Is All Smiles For Pedestrians

New Self Driving Car

Would you feel safer crossing the street if self driving cars smiled at you? A Swedish engineering firm is testing this concept with the first smiling self driving car. The smile, which appears on the front grille of the vehicle, is a signal to let pedestrians know that the car sees them and that it is safe to cross the street.

It is predicted by Business Insider that by 2020 there will be over 10 million self driving cars on the road. In a survey conducted by Semcon, it was found that 8 in 10 pedestrians look out for eye contact and body language from drivers to determine whether or not it is safe for them to cross the street. 47% of these pedestrians also answered that they do not trust self driving cars, possibly due to this lack in eye contact and body language. Only 15% of those respondents had faith that self driving cars would stop to let them pass. Semcon also produced a video of a car that was rigged to appear like it was self driving so they could record the responses of pedestrians. Many of them appeared angry or startled when the car approached them.

While it is certainly impossible for self driving cars to make eye contact with a pedestrian, Semcon still sought a means by which to let pedestrians know that self driving cars see them. Karin Eklund, who is responsible for User Experience at Semcon, commented that “A lot of the discussions regarding self-driving cars are about the car’s technology. But how these vehicles will interact with unprotected road users is just as important. Self-driving cars need to communicate in a way that feels familiar and creates trust.”

Thus the concept of the smiling self driving car was born. Every time the car’s sensors detect a pedestrian in front of them, they send a signal to a display in the front grille of the car that activates a lighted smile. This lets the pedestrian know that the self driving car sees them. The Smiling Car also has a rear screen that is capable of letting the cars behind it know why it has stopped. Karin Elund also commented that “the strength behind The Smiling Car is that we allow people to communicate in the way they are used to, instead of taking an unnecessary detour via technology.”

Semcon is not stopping there, though. They are also refining the Smiling Car’s eye tracking and laser technology, which they call Lidar. Lidar will be able to conduct a more detailed analysis of the surrounding environment, such as detecting small head movements or reading pedestrians’ eyes. Semcon is hoping that this will make for much safer interactions between humans and self driving cars.

Along with the research institute Viktoria Swedish ICT and other auto industry partners, Semcon is hoping to create a new global standard for communication between humans and automated vehicles. “Today there are clear agreements on how cars must indicate when changing lanes. We now need to develop a common language for how self-driving cars will interact with pedestrians,” says Markus Granlund, president and CEO at Semcon.

By Jonquil McDaniel

Problem In Customer Support – What Mobile App Developers Can Learn From AmEx

Problem In Customer Support – What Mobile App Developers Can Learn From AmEx

Mobile App Developers

Peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, marketing and… customer support?

We don’t tend to consider customer support as a complement to marketing, but when an organization experiences success in retaining customers and securing customer loyalty, it’s likely they owe it to the two segments of business working together. Marketing, with all its bells and whistles, gets all the glory for attracting new customers, but customer service – good customer service — is the secret sauce that keeps the customers coming back – and bringing their friends and family with them.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a marketer or involved with marketing in some respect, so it’s likely you already know about the concept of “customer segmentation” – the process of separating a customer base into groups based on specific demographics or company engagement. However, customer segmentation can also provide a big payoff through customer support. Segmentation enables customer support reps to deliver differentiated experiences to users, allowing organizations to adjust their approach and service level based on:

  • Customer lifetime value (actual or potential)
  • Recent purchase/transaction
  • App engagement and usage history
  • Customer support team size
  • Fluctuating ticket volumes

By segmenting customers by these factors, it enables companies to define distinct service-level agreement per segment and optimize resource allocation accordingly. For example, a company may have a 48-hour wait time for a lower-tier customer, but a two-hour response time for a V.I.P. Additionally, being able to access customer segmentation data in real-time enables businesses to appropriately route their users’ tickets. A lower-tier customer may get routed to a general hotline, while V.I.P.s get a dedicated concierge.

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Most businesses deliver customer support based on the problem, routing customers to the right team or agent to address a given issue. But businesses that have taken a tiered customer group approach by focusing on the customer’s segment type have experienced happier customers and longer customer retention. Take American Express, for example. The financial institution aligned its help desk workflows with an eye for people, not problems. Over the last few years, the organization has created a tier of customers with a series of customer support services available to each. Its V.I.P. members expect V.I.P. service, whether they’re being notified of potential fraudulent activity or forget their password to their online account. By focusing on the customer first and the transaction second, American Express is able to deliver differentiated, higher-touch customer service to its highest value customers. The results speak for themselves: since shifting to a customer-centric model, the organization has been able to triple customer satisfaction, increase cardmember spend by 10 percent, and decreased its card member attrition by 400 percent.

When considering how to improve your customer retention and overall customer satisfaction, a natural first step is to start with changing the model for customer support to be customer-centric rather than problem-centric.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Who are your most valuable customers?
  • Are you treating them differently than the rest of the pack?
  • Once you secure a customer, what’s the retention plan? Do you have one?

By aligning these elements with your overall marketing and customer support strategies, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring customer retention and loyalty.

By Barry Coleman, CTO, UserCare

barry_colemanBarry Coleman is CTO at UserCare, an in-app customer service solution that uses Big Data to help companies grow lifetime value by blending real-time support with relationship management.  Prior to UserCare, Coleman served as CTO and vice president of support and customer optimization products at ATG, which was acquired by Oracle for $1 billion. Coleman is the author on several patents and applications in the areas of online customer support, including cross-channel data passing, dynamic customer invitation, and customer privacy. He holds a B.A. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Sussex.

Infographic: 12 Interesting Big Data Careers To Explore

Infographic: 12 Interesting Big Data Careers To Explore

Big Data Careers

A Career in Big Data isn’t just a dream job anymore nor is the terminology associated just another buzzword. It is now operational in almost every business vertical possible. Strategic decisions employ a variety of applications for Big Data in various industries and continue to create value for businesses across the board.

Everyone wants a piece of Big Data and the demand for jobs in the sector continues to outrank the supply. In order to carve out a career in this field, a course in Big Data and Analytics can provide an aspirant with a ladder to scale quickly.

This Infographic by simplilearn (below) takes you through 12 Interesting Career options in Big Data which opens the door for those seeking a career in this vertical.

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