Category Archives: Technology

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

Cloud Computing Benefits

A growing number of small and medium businesses in the United States rely on as a means of deploying mission-critical software products. Prior to the advent of cloud-based products — software solutions delivered over the Internet – companies were often forced to invest in servers and other products to run software and store data. The advent of cloud services as well as their steady improvement in such areas as security and reliability make these solutions a logical choice for business owners and principals who want the latest innovations, functionality, and efficiency as well as cost effectiveness.


Many businesses garner considerable cost savings by migrating their software systems to the cloud. In addition to reducing reliance on the purchase and maintenance of servers, companies often lower their information technology costs in such areas as dedicated personnel and software upgrades. Most cloud services upgrade and update software via the Internet with little or no downtime for end users, decreasing the wait time associated with installing and testing software on an on-site network. Moreover, according to Australia-based Dynamic Business, cloud-based products are scalable; unlike conventional software, cloud services can be expanded as needed to encompass as many end users as required without server upgrades to handle added workloads.

Companies also reap significant functionality from cloud services. The cloud allows designated employees to access data from anywhere. That means that an employee on vacation or in an airplane can examine information and work on projects using a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. It also increases an organization’s ability to outsource many functions without sacrificing collaboration. Because employees and contractors can work together effectively from numerous locations, companies also gain the opportunity to hire people with very specialized skills or superior capabilities even if they live in a different part of the world.

Cloud-based services also provide virtual storage options that protect data and make it readily available even in the event of an outage at a company’s physical location. Information Week reports that software-as-a-service vendors are expanding their offerings to make them extremely efficient and cost effective for small and medium businesses, often giving the smallest organizations the ability to integrate into their business operations the same class of technology used by the largest enterprises.

By Glenn Blake

Cloud News Round Up – February 5th

Cloud News Round Up – February 5th


Microsoft Appoints New, Cloud-Focused CEO – It’s been a headline maker for months, as many media outlets have been asking the question of ‘who will be Microsoft’s next CEO?’, with these articles analyzing who would be best to lead Microsoft into an era where tablets are as much of a must have item as their own Windows-running PCs. That person is Satya Nadella, recently picked to head up the company and most interestingly about Microsoft’s new boss, he was also one the key figures who got Microsoft into the cloud. What Nadella’s appointment could mean is that Microsoft will put more of a focus on SaaS technology, with some suggestions being that he could take Microsoft’s Xbox brand and find a way to add game streaming – via the cloud – to their new console, the Xbox One. (Image Source: Microsoft)

Comcast to Launch X1 DVR With Cloud Technology – It is no secret that even the biggest cable television providers are losing out on customers and sales due to cloud streaming services such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM. In an effort to combat this, Comcast have now announced that they will launch their ‘X1 DVR’, which is set to offer users usage of the cloud. Xfinity TV customers, whom the X1 DVR will be available to, will be able to stream TV shows within their homes, as well as being able to use the cloud to watch their DVR recordings on their mobile devices and computers via Comcasts’ IP network. The X1 DVR also reportedly allows users to download their DVR recordings via the help of the cloud, allowing them to watch their shows even when they aren’t connected to the Internet. The service is currently available to Comcast customers in Boston.

Intel To Begin Providing Cloud Tech Certification – Getting into cloud technology, even in 2014, can be a risky business, as despite the world currently existing in a time where we are beginning to understand and accept new-fangled technologies rather than shunning them on a basis of non-understanding, people are still vary much wary of the ‘big data banks in the sky’. As a result, Intel, who are a well recognised and well trusted brand across the globe, have come up with a solution. The computing company will now begin to offer ‘Powered by Intel Cloud Technology’ badges to those cloud service providers who take part in Intel’s Cloud Technology Program, a visible endorsement which could perhaps see more people sign up to cloud tech in the long run.

By Jennifer Livingstone

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Big Data Survey Infographic FINAL_001

Jaspersoft Big Data Survey Shows Rise in Commitment to Projects and Decline in Confusion

Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft Community Members Participate in Second Jaspersoft Big Data Survey

San Francisco, February 4, 2014Jaspersoft, the Intelligence Inside applications and business processes, today shared results from its Big Data Survey. Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft community members responded to the survey on enterprise use of Big Data in corporate decision-making — 60 percent of respondents were application developers.

The follow-up to Jaspersoft’s August 2012 survey, revealed a greater commitment to Big Data projects. While 42 percent reported still being in the process of experimenting or performing general research, 36 percent have a funded Big Data initiative compared to only 15 percent 14 months ago.

What we’re seeing from our community is a better understanding of Big Data and more willingness to commit to projects,” said Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft. “The survey suggests that experimental Big Data projects are on the rise while funded initiatives continue to increase as the tools and understanding of Big Data mature.”

Of the 56 percent of respondents with Big Data projects, 32 percent are in production or in development while 23 percent are in the planning stage. Of known deployments, 66 percent were on-premises with 34 percent were in the cloud.

The survey reveals that confusion and lack of business justification have decreased as reasons for not pursuing Big Data projects.

Top reasons for “No plans” with Big Data

1. Don’t understand Big Data: 27% — an 47% decrease from August 2012
2. No business justification: 20% — a 56% decrease since August 2012
3. Most data is structured and relational: 33% — a 19% decrease from August 2012
4. Doesn’t apply to my applications: 23% — remained the same as August 2012

Most Popular Data Sources

1. CRM: 40%
2. Financials: 38%
3. e-Commerce: 27%
4. Retail POS: 15%
5. Supply Chain Management: 14%
6. Human Capital Management: 12%
7. Product Lifecycle Management: 11%
8. Support Case Logic: 10%
9. Bug Tracking: 9%
10. Other: 7%

Most Popular Data Stores

1. Relational databases: 56%
2. MongoDB: 23%
3. Analytic databases: 14%
4. Hadoop HDFS: 12%
5. Hive: 4%

Top Big Data Use Cases

1. Customer Analytics (churn, segmentation, etc.): 48%
2. Customer Experience Analytics: 45%
3. Risk Analysis: 37%
4. Threat Analysis: 30%
5. Regulatory Compliance Analysis: 28%
6. Campaign Optimization: 26%
7. Location-based Targeting: 23%
8. Fraud Analysis: 22%
9. Brand Sentiment Analysis: 16%
10. Product Placement Optimization: 16%
11. Other: 9%
12. Drug Discovery: 1%

About the Respondents

The respondents were primarily application developers – 60 percent with 40 percent of the developers working in software, Internet and computer, or the electronics space, followed by financial services (9 percent), and government (8 percent).

About Jaspersoft

Jaspersoft empowers millions of people every day to make better decisions faster by bringing them timely, actionable data inside their apps and business processes. Its embeddable, cost-effective reporting and analytics platform allows anyone to quickly self serve to get the answers they need, while scaling architecturally and economically to reach everyone. Thanks to a community that is hundreds-of-thousands strong, Jaspersoft’s commercial open source software has been downloaded millions of times and is used to create the Intelligence Inside hundreds of thousands of apps and business processes. Jaspersoft is a privately held company with offices around the world. For more information visit and

The Verdict Is In: Legal Services Are (Finally) Moving To The Cloud

The Verdict Is In: Legal Services Are (Finally) Moving To The Cloud

Legal Services Are (Finally) Moving To The Cloud

For early adopters, it may seem ridiculous that moving to the cloud is still a topic of conversation and hesitation for some industries. According to IDC, cloud computing is poised to be a $798M industry in 2014, but there are business sectors that are only now picking up speed in utilizing the technology. The combination of security concerns and faith in traditional systems has resulted in the legal industry being as one of the slower sectors to adopt the cloud.

But at long last, it looks like that is changing: A recent report by LexisNexis revealed that 40 percent of attorneys used cloud-based tools in 2013, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Read on for why the legal professionals are finally coming around to the cloud – and how that shift is helping clients.


From a Paper-Based World to a Virtual One

If you picture a traditional law firm, that image likely contains rows and rows of file cabinets. Customarily, legal documents have been housed in physical locations. The thought of taking these sensitive records to a virtual environment has been a major reason law firms resist taking the plunge to the cloud. But there is a level of risk in any storage format, as even physical documents could be stolen or damaged. As practice management software systems are proving, the cloud can be a highly secure place for the most important of documents to live.

Beyond the hurdle of security concerns, legal practitioners are often nervous about how cloud adoption will change the structure of the entire business. Where clients once had to pick up the phone and speak to their attorneys in order to get answers about their case, the cloud offers a way for them to be in more frequent contact – and have more transparency into day to day legal affairs. And where a law firm may have needed multiple personnel to handle administration tasks in the past, a cloud-based business requires far fewer general office staff. While these are all positive changes, it can take a while for an industry to make significant overhauls to procedures that have been relied upon for decades.

Despite treading with caution, however, the legal industry is picking up speed in its cloud adoption. In fact, the same report previously cited also found that there was a 10 percent increase in cloud use by attorneys in 2013 – and this number is likely to grow even more substantially in the coming year.

Changing the Legal Industry, One Attorney at a Time

Despite the hesitations of lifelong attorneys who are reluctant to change their tried and true practices or new attorneys hung up on certain anxieties around new technology, it’s undisputed that the industry at large is moving steadily toward widespread utilization of Web-based systems. One reason for this movement is a response to client needs. Even the most technologically skeptical of lawyers can see the advantages of giving clients options that help them better manage and understand their legal experiences.

So why do clients appreciate law firms with cloud capability? The answers are many. For starters, consumers now expect constant access to information and communication. They expect to be able to gather details on their cases when they want them, and to be able to get a response from their attorney within a reasonable – if not instant – frame of time. Clients want to be more deeply informed, and being able to access case alerts, documents, and attorney communication through a portal they can access at any time grants them this. This expectation gives attorneys who offer a cloud-based portal a competitive advantage.

Beyond the simple factor of accessibility, additional features that cloud computing offers are a big draw for both clients and law firms. Take billing, for example. Before these innovations, client invoices would be sent through the mail, and both parties were often not clear on the status of payments. By way of a Web-based billing lifecycle, law firms can now enter billable time as it occurs, clients can pay bills through an online portal from anywhere they choose and both sides of the equation don’t have to guess about what’s been paid and what’s still due.

Other features like secure document uploads, secure message portals and alerts about important dates serve to better apprise the client of important information. This eliminates the need for attorneys to spend time on administrative tasks and allows them to get back to practicing law. It’s no wonder the LexisNexis report cited previously found that 40 percent of attorneys feel that cloud-based tools will completely surpass premise-based solutions within the next three years.

Next up to Bat: More Mobility

With all these up-and-coming features available within Web-based systems, what’s next for the legal cloud? Well, as with most industries in 2014, mobile usage will continue to skyrocket. Customers and attorneys alike can expect to see more mobile apps become available, and more software accessibility through smartphones and tablets. The convenience of mobile devices is not lost on the legal crowd, and busy lawyers whose days are chock-full of meetings and court appearances will keep demanding faster and easier access to the system functions they consider most crucial. Clients who are concerned about the outcome of cases that could bear a significant impact on their lives will continue to call for more frequent case updates, more in-depth communications and more transparent insight into case status.

In other industries, the service and mobility advantages of the cloud are so obvious it’s hard to believe there is anyone out there still resisting. Finally the legal field is starting to embrace its power as well. It will be exciting to see where the cloud goes in the next few years, but one thing is for sure – among attorneys, it’s here to stay.

By Matt Spiegel

matt-spiegelMatt is the founder, vice president and general manager of My Case, a cloud-based legal practice management software. A lawyer himself, Spiegel founded the business in 2010 to address the number one complaint across all state bar associations: insufficient attorney/client communication. Prior to its acquisition by AppFolio in 2012, Matt was CEO of MyCase. He maintains a leadership role with the company and continues to advocate for better, more efficient legal services through the use of Web-based tools.

A Reminder From Yahoo: Change (And Improve) Your Passwords

A Reminder From Yahoo: Change (And Improve) Your Passwords


On January 31, 2014, Yahoo announced that a major theft of mail account passwords had compromised an “ undisclosed number” of accounts. Writing from the Yahoo Tumblr blog, senior vice president in charge of Yahoo’s platforms and personalization products, Jay Rossiter, pointed out the attack was a result of a third-party database being compromised, and not from Yahoo’s own systems directly. In addition to explaining the steps Yahoo was taking to protect its members, Mr. Rossiter reiterated the importance of individuals adopting better password security habits as a general rule.

Such password thefts have become a regular occurrence, and often happen when thieves discover a weakness in the overall system – anything from a misplaced laptop to a weak password owned by a system administrator.

In January 2013, for example, a number of US banks suffered a cyber-attack known as a “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)“, in which zombie computers repeatedly and continually connected to the banks’ websites many times a second, making them inoperable to any other users. In the case of the bank attack, the technicians from security firm Incapsula [] were able to detect it and close it down before any damage was done. In tracking its source, they found that the DDoS instructions were relayed to a number of infected computers – the type that many millions of people use every day – through an innocent small business website located in England, and an overly simple password, “admin” was at the root of the problem. Click here to read the full CloudTweaks article.

With technology getting increasingly more sophisticated and instantaneous, it remains a permanent horserace between those who wish to use the Internet for business, entertainment and life, and those who wish to use it to create destruction, or to fuel crime. To the bad guys, everything is an opportunity. Consider online payments, for example. Most ordinary online consumers, when preparing to pay with their credit card, carefully check to ensure the presence of the “https://” marker at the beginning of a page’s address, which signifies sufficient encryption, and they then carefully type their credit card number into the panel reserved for just such a purpose.

Bad guys, however, see that credit card number window as something much more: it’s an open channel to a much bigger matrix. By entering a different set of code into that same space, they are able to convince the computers on the other side that they should be let in to distribute their payload. It’s known as an SQL injection. Where most people see a single-purpose form, they see a doorway. That is the difference, and it is something that must remain top of mind for all managers, not just those in IT. Passwords, much like bicycle locks, tend only to keep the good guys and amateur thieves away.

This doesn’t mean that average people are without resources, but it does mean that additional effort must be expended to make hacking more difficult, as thieves, by nature always seek the easiest route. One of the best ways to do this is to make passwords more difficult for them to guess. The most common password in use in offices across the country is still the word “password,” and the next most popular is “123456.”

People generally find it annoying to have to remember many dozens of passwords. They find it even more annoying to have to change them regularly, and even more annoying when the password requires complicated combinations of letters, words and punctuation. However, regular change, and complicated strings are essential. It makes no sense to use easily-guessed passwords such as your child’s name, or easily-deduced challenge/answer questions such as “what is your mother’s maiden name,” since these facts can be easily looked up online.

As a manager it is essential to encourage all staff – including system admins – to create passwords that are extremely difficult to crack, and which are not left lying around. This can be done through the use of password encryption software such as LastPass, ( or through specific software supplied by the IT department, or simply by encouraging people to use longer sentence strings that have meaning only to them.

Password security is a necessity. Most people would never leave their homes or cars unlocked when leaving for work in the morning, and they are unlikely to leave the door-key and alarm code under the doormat. Increased sophistication in the creation and maintenance of passwords is a small price to pay for increased security not only on a personal level, but on a global one as well.

By Steve Prentice

Online File Sharing And The Importance Of Security

Online File Sharing And The Importance Of Security

Online File Sharing

Do you have confidential business files stored on your work computer? Maybe it’s a spreadsheet for a report that must be delivered to management tomorrow. If you don’t work on it from home, you’ll be at the office all night. As a trusted member of your company, you are authorized to view this type of data. The question is once you put the data on your laptop and take it home, how secure is it?


Lost and Stolen Equipment

The Ponemon Institute conducted a survey of 329 organizations that had 86,000 laptops lost or stolen over a one-year period. While physically replacing a laptop is certainly expensive, Ponemon explained that the value of the lost hardware represented only a small portion of the estimated cost. Much more expensive was the value of intellectual property on these laptops and the fees associated with data breaches and statutory notification requirements. The average cost to replace the data on the laptop was $49,246.


After working in the IT industry for a number of years, I’ve heard many examples of spyware. Many times, this is a result of, “I let my child use my laptop for a little while, and now it’s infected.

This problem frequently occurs when someone borrows your laptop and accidentally goes to a compromised site that is infected with spyware or maybe a virus. As a result, the laptop can become unstable and has to be rebuilt. According to, 53% of all computer users have had some kind of experience with malware infection. Important files should not become a victim of this catastrophe.

Is Encryption The Answer?

Some businesses see encryption as a way to store confidential business data and protect files. This secures data so that only individuals with the proper software and decryption key can access the information. While this may sound like a great solution, encryption can be difficult to work with in a collaborative professional environment.

Proper decryption tools must be installed on computers in order to decrypt and access the data. Additionally, it becomes very difficult to share files externally as even after the encrypted data has been transmitted; the remote company must have the appropriate decryption tools in order to access the file. This can take time and ultimately slow down your file sharing process.

Online File Sharing – Secure & Accessible Data

Online file sharing is a great option for protecting cloud-based files. Since files can only be accessed with a secure login, approved users are the only ones that can access them. Since the files are stored in the cloud, any viruses that affect your hard drive do not affect your securely stored files.

Online file sharing can provide secure data that is independent of hardware failures, loss, spyware, or other mishaps that can happen to business users on a daily basis. Online file sharing can allow your company to easily share your data between employees while providing the security you need to protect your company’s most important asset; it’s data.

By Charles Mount / CEO of

(Infographic Source:

Coke’s Internal Data Breach – Lessons Learned

Coke’s Internal Data Breach – Lessons Learned

Coke’s Internal Data Breach

Last Friday, Coke announced that sensitive information belonging to roughly 70,000 current and former North American employees was compromised because the data hadn’t been encrypted on company laptops (despite their company encryption policy.)1 The data breach occurred after a former worker stole several company laptops that locally stored employee information, such as social security and driver’s license numbers.

We’ve heard a lot about security breaches lately (Target and Neiman Marcus come to mind), but cases like Coke’s – a major breach of workers’ personal information – happen more than we realize. How can large and small companies alike learn from Coke’s recent internal breach? And what steps can we take to avoid ever experiencing an internal security breach ourselves?

The answer lies in the cloud. Simply put, cloud-stored data offers a highly secure alternative to locally-stored data. When sensitive information is no longer stored on devices that are regularly available to employees and the occasional passersby, the chances of that data being compromised drastically decreases. Cloud-stored data, generally speaking, can be accessed via remote devices over encrypted connections and do not require downloading to a local device. Local devices can enable data encryption, of course, and that certainly lowers theft and data breach risks, but by avoiding housing data locally altogether, consistent and thorough security can truly be maintained.

Another example of the perils of locally-stored data comes to mind right about now. One of the largest settlements for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) occurred when an Alaska Department of Health and Social Services employee left a portable hard drive containing the personal health information of thousands of patients in their car. It wasn’t long before the employee realized that the hard drive had been stolen. This security breach cost DHSS $1.7 million, and could have been entirely avoided if DHSS had stored its sensitive data off-premise and in the cloud.

Internal Security Measures

It may feel counterintuitive to move sensitive data farther away from you, in an effort to increase your internal security measures. But the fact is cloud hosting providers have extensive experience developing powerful safeguards and monitoring systems such as firewalls, intrusion protection systems, file integrity monitoring systems, encryption algorithms and virtual private networks. Given their decades of experience in managing large datacenters, cloud providers are well accustomed to properly disposing hard drives and backup devices. (In fact, secure data deconstruction has long been a crucial and appealing feature of cloud service providers.) Vulnerability scans serve as another crucial security asset offered by cloud providers, and allow organizations to detect disabled firewalls or any other potential security holes.

From vulnerability scans, to proper data destruction, to a central and secure ‘home’ for sensitive, internal data, cloud providers truly offer the utmost in security and can serve as trusted advisors for mitigating internal data breaches. Rather than joining the growing list of organizations, like Coke, who’ve had to overcome internal security breaches, lets all look to the cloud to maintain consistent and thorough security, both inside and out.

By Scott Walters, Director of Security at INetU


Scott is the Director of Security for hybrid-cloud hosting provider INetU and has been instrumental in shaping the Company’s client services department, which provides customer onboarding and lifecycle support. Under his tenure as director of client services, Walters expanded the department to meet customer needs as the company introduced new cloud products, enhanced service levels for enterprise customers and most recently released the robust INetU Security Suite.

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