Category Archives: Technology

How To Secure Your Cloud Data In A Collaborative Setup

How To Secure Your Cloud Data In A Collaborative Setup

How To Secure Your Cloud Data

The recent revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been extensively spying on its citizens and key organizations overseas has sent a number of corporations in a tizzy and have made them question the way they conduct their business. A recent survey conducted by Redmond Magazine revealed that close to 40.5% of respondents felt the need to pull back on cloud based initiatives to protect their enterprises from espionage. Could this be a fleeting reaction arising out of panic or will we actually be seeing a drop in cloud based initiatives?

SharePoint experts believe that enterprises may eventually come to terms with the changing business climate and hence a move towards cloud collaboration cannot be impacted. However, they predict a future where enterprises will establish a hybrid set-up that will ensure easy handling of data over the cloud while being able to retain the more secure information on their local server. With Microsoft SharePoint, establishing such a hybrid setup becomes easy and simple. Here are some pointers to take care while handling your data in a collaborative cloud setup.

data-security

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Upgrade To The Latest SharePoint

The latest version of the collaboration software, SharePoint 2013 is built on the Vertipaq engine and is integrated with the Powerpivot technology that enables enterprises to collaborate on datasets that are much larger than what was possible previously. If your enterprise requires big data to be handled on the cloud, the latest 2013 edition of SharePoint ensures that the best infrastructure to handle data on the cloud is available with you. Besides this, by upgrading to the new version, you get improved user security and authentication methods that prevent illegal user access to the system. This article on Sharegate should help you with the migration process.

Understand Your Business Requirements To Pick An Authentication Topology

When setting up a hybrid collaboration system, it is important to understand where your master data should reside – is it on the cloud, or on your own server. If your business is particular about confidentiality of data and also if most employees are centrally located to be able to directly access your on-premise server, then it is recommended to pick a hybrid one-way inbound topology. Using this setup, users on SharePoint Online will be able to query the SharePoint server but the reverse shall not be possible. This way, most of the data is secure within the local server which may be offered or denied to a remote user. For alternate business requirements, you may either pick a one-way outbound topology or a bidirectional topology setup.

Securing Your Collaboration Data

Once you have decided on your authentication topology, it is important to ensure that the data being shared is secured from external hacks. This may not be important if you have all your data residing in the cloud. However, if you have decided to keep your data secure on your local server and grant restricted access to external users, it is critical that you create and deploy a security channel certificate. This ensures that the data stays encrypted during transfers as well as is only accessible from devices that are recognized and trusted.

In addition to this, it is also important to configure your security settings to prevent anonymous interception of data. This may be simply done while configuring your primary web application by setting the ‘Allow Anonymous’ option to ‘No’.

Configuring The User Access Rights

One of the biggest challenges while managing the security of a large system like SharePoint is handling the amount of unstructured data. To keep all your data secure, it is important to map the users and groups in an enterprise to the data that they have access to. To do this, it is recommended that your business analyses the access rights to each and every site collection and review the permissions. This process needs to be conducted periodically to ensure no access right is made available to any old or dormant user.

Protecting SharePoint With Firewalls

Enterprises that have SharePoint to host websites handling secure data need to actively protect its access with the help of firewalls. Doing so protects the website from third party SQL injections and other attempts to steal data.

Security is an extremely important element of running your business on the cloud. While the steps above may not make you completely immune to data theft, it does go a long way in ensuring your business stays well protected in a cloud based data collaboration environment.

By Anand Srinivasan

Anand writes for ERPGuru, a company that specializes in implementing and supporting NetSuite Canada. He is in the process of launching his own SaaS-based tool for marketers shortly.

Cloud Infographic: Big Data Variety

Cloud Infographic: Big Data Variety

Cloud Infographic: Big Data Variety

Case Study: Turn Big Data into Big Money

How one company earned $3.7 million from Big Data in 60 days. This study reveals how the careful application of “Big Data” in email marketing can lead to increases in revenue. One B2C company in a highly regulated industry was able to re-engage its highest-potential prospects via email campaigns after they fell just short of completing a form. See more at our research library.

Included courtesy of http://www.kapowsoftware.com is an excellent infographic outlining some of the key areas and possibilities of Big Data.

Big-Data-Intelligence

Infographic Source: http://www.kapowsoftware.com

Cloud Infographic – PRISM Is Only A Symptom

Cloud Infographic – PRISM Is Only A Symptom

Cloud Infographic – PRISM Is Only A Symptom

There has been an endless number of articles discussing PRISM, NSA and a whole slew of other related privacy issues. When will this all stop? I’m sure most people feel that it never will.

Included is an infographic provided by PerspecSys which illustrates some very interesting figures surrounding data protection.

PRISM-Infographic

Infographic Source: PerspecSys

While Not Completely Cloud – Can You Stretch Innovation Too Far?

While Not Completely Cloud – Can You Stretch Innovation Too Far?

While Not Completely Cloud – Can You Stretch Innovation Too Far?

First let me begin by backpedalling. I am a huge Kickstarter and Indiegogo supporter. I believe in the push away from traditional innovation to this newer innovation model. My initial premise is that in fact you have to be careful about the concept of spreading innovation to thin.

There was a time, not that long ago when innovation came from large companies. The market moved slowly but, as many great business books explain if you didn’t watch the trends you would eventually fall out of market leadership and in many cases never rise again. There were of course small companies that burst onto the scene becoming large companies as well. It was a market that was stable to a degree with only the birth and death of some players marking change. It was stable as well in that there was the broad ability to hone and refine core and specific skills working for one of the small startups or for a larger company.

cloud-innovation

Today you can take that great idea and instead of learning the craft, you can now post it on Kickstarter and get your idea funded. This is intriguing in the broadest sense, spreading innovation out beyond the artificial barriers that were created in the past. But I still have to ask that question that bugs me, can you stretch innovation too far?

First of course you have to buy into a concept, that innovation is finite. If you had asked me two or three years ago, I probably would have said yes it is. But I am beginning to wonder about that. I’ve seen 10 different watches on the two funding sites in the past 12 months. Each of them has unique and interesting features that weren’t available on or with watches in the past.

Back of course to my concept – can innovation be spread too thin, and my initial answer is no it cannot be. But there are other considerations.

Second thing to consider is the what of innovation. What you are innovating can limit the market. There are saturated markets to consider. I would figure after nearly 20 years of cellular phones that the case market would be pretty saturated. That in fact would be wrong, there are a growing number of cases on both funding sites. In fact it is a pretty consistent category month over month. I’ve seen a number of different USB charging solutions pop up recently as well. I would have assumed that USB charging was an area where innovation had been well, beyond saturated. However, in the end I have found net new charging solutions that were frankly quite impressive.

Back to the concept one more time, can what you are innovating in the end be in a saturated market? I would go with No again here, as the two examples show innovation can exceed even in a saturated market if your idea is good. But there are other considerations.

The third and last thing to consider is the market (Total Addressable Market (TAM)) for the product. There have been a number of projects on Kickstarter that have exceeded their funding goals by a significant amount. There are a number of projects that have run afoul of both legal rules (patent and other issues including name infringement) and financial issues (funding acquired but just not allowing for significant change in the manufacturing process). You can search for data on TAM and how to calculate it fairly quickly on the internet.

In the end, innovation is a pretty deep pool. In fact I am happy to say that I would have been wrong in the past believing that the amount of innovation could be limited. It seems to be an ever expanding pool with lots of interesting new products popping up all the time.  I would however love to hear from the readers of this piece – what do you think?

By Scott Andersen

Scott works as a software architect and has been involved in IT projects over the past 17 years. Before that, Scott was a public school teacher in Bloomington Indiana.

Cloud Accounting – The Back Office Promise

Cloud Accounting – The Back Office Promise

Cloud Accounting – The Back Office Promise

financialforce-accounting

The promise of platform as a service is very simple: Bring your code, and cloud vendor will handle everything else for you. Users build their applications with the vendor’s tools, APIs and supported programming languages. Platform as a service model of cloud computing increases programmers’ productivity, reduces development costs, and enables quick release of software. One of the leading platform as a service offers is the Salesforce Platform where development is performed using salesforce.com’s web interface and a proprietary development language called Apex. The biggest benefit of the Salesforce Platform is time savings for developers, because they can easily use existing common objects, forms and workflows. Many developers use the Salesforce Platform to offer their own software as a service applications.

The end-users can explore the aforementioned applications on the Salesforce AppExchange. It is a cloud computing marketplace launched in 2005 by Salesforce. You can develop and market your applications built on the Salesforce Platform or access thousands of free and paid applications built by others. Now there are many types of applications that integrate well with Salesforce CRM, among them are back office applications. FinancialForce.com offers back office applications such as accounting, billing, and professional services automation (PSA). Their applications are native on the Salesforce Platform, with a unified user interface and single sign-on. FinancialForce.com applications are rated very highly by users on the Salesforce AppExchange.

FinancialForce Accounting is cloud accounting application that is embedded with Salesforce CRM and allows organizations to align sales, services and finance on a single cloud platform. It has a very simple design, but can support the needs of the smallest virtual organizations to the most complex multinational corporations. FinancialForce Billing’s main aim is to leverage information stored in Salesforce CRM to automatically generate invoices. The invoice entries can be exported to your ERP system of choice. FinancialForce Professional Services Automation (PSA) enables organizations to manage people, customers, projects and financials in one integrated application. It also has benefits of native integration with Salesforce CRM and the scalability and flexibility of cloud platform.

FinancialForce.com applications break down the walls between the front and back office to help teams better service customers at every touch point while effectively managing a company’s finance and productivity. A connected front and back office in the cloud can be the key to superior customer service, more repeat sales and faster cash collections. All the data are stored on one system and only one record exists for all accounts.  There are no departmental silos—everyone from sales to accounting know the real-tie status of each customer.

You can find out more about their solutions at the next Dreamforce where FinancialForce.com will lead the Back Office theme. It is the company’s vision and promise to unlock back office information and put it in the hands of customer facing employees to strengthen customer relationships.

By Darko Androcec

Post Sponsored By FinancialForce.com

PayScale – Evolving Over The Years To Offer More Than Just Salary Reports

PayScale – Evolving Over The Years To Offer More Than Just Salary Reports

PayScale –Evolving Over The Years To Offer More Than Just Salary Reportspayscale

Last Thursday was a great day, not only for carving pumpkins and trick or treating, but for talking with Tim Low, VP of Marketing at PayScale about salaries, big data collection and the evolution of PayScale’s services.

PayScale, founded in 2002 out of Seattle, Washington, began as a company which offered consumers accurate salary reports, as well as resources to better understand those reports. It’s common to wonder if you are getting paid what you are worth and ten years ago it was difficult to find resources that gave you an accurate answer. Yes, one could look up job specific average salaries, but various elements were not taken into account. Therefore, reports generally offered broad, nation-wide averages. PayScale, however, stepped it up a notch to develop reports unique to the individual. The daily updated consumer salary reports, which are still widely popular today, are based on multiple factors including job field, years of service, developed skills, level of education, and location. The results also offer the consumer an idea of where their salary stands compared to others in the same field with similar skills and education. Low says that these elements combined add to the “consumer experience,” which has been the company’s central focus from day one.

Low says that as the years passed, the team realized that they wanted to broaden out across other facets of the field; just as consumers are interested in job pay so are businesses interested in knowing whether or not they compensating appropriately. Now, PayScale offers even more resources than ever, not solely to consumers, but also to businesses in need of the same data rich salary profiles. PayScale now works to “add value to other businesses,” says Low, with an easy to use, compensation focused, cloud-based SaaS. This added business to business (B2B) SaaS has boosted PayScale immensely, especially in the past year. In this time, the company has increased their client base by nearly 30%, bringing the number of companies using PayScale to over 3000. Obviously, as their client base increases substantially, so does their returns and last year their income grew by a whopping 43%.

Further utilizing these data sets isn’t an unusual concept, now a days, either, says Low. More and more companies, such as LinkedIn, are linking this information to business value and more will continue to do so as it is needed.

You’ll notice when you go to the PayScale website that they offer copious numbers of resources, as well. These resources include pay strategies, college salary reports and information about compensation for both consumers and businesses. The company posts articles regarding compensation regularly for those interested in what they are worth and why, as well as articles geared towards trends and various market research.

For more information about PayScale visit their website

By Glenn Blake

CloudTweaks Comics
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…

The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

The Staggering Size And Potential Of The Internet of Things Here’s a quick statistic that will blow your mind and give you a glimpse into the future. When you break that down, it translates to 127 new devices online every second. In only a decade from now, every single vehicle on earth will be connected…

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring One of the hottest topics in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the Internet of Things (IOT). According to the report of International Telecommunication Union (2012), “the Internet of things can be perceived as a vision with technological and societal implications. It is considered as a…

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

What Is The Internet of Things? “We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.”  – Scott Cook The Internet of Things (IOT) and Smart Systems are based on the notions of Sensors, Connectivity, People and Processes. We are creating a new world to view and measure anything around us through…

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors A recent BI Intelligence report claimed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is on its way to becoming the largest device market in the world. Quite naturally, such exponential growth of the IoT market has prompted a number of high-profile corporate investors and smart money VCs to bet highly…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Big Data Predictions By 2023 Everything we do online from social networking to e-commerce purchases, chatting, and even simple browsing yields tons of data that certain organizations collect and poll together with other partner organizations. The results are massive volumes of data, hence the name “Big Data”. This includes personal and behavioral profiles that are stored, managed, and…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Do Small Businesses Need Cloud Storage Service?

Do Small Businesses Need Cloud Storage Service?

Cloud Storage Services Not using cloud storage for your business yet? Cloud storage provides small businesses like yours with several advantages. Start using one now and look forward to the following benefits: Easy back-up of files According to Practicalecommerce, it provides small businesses with a way to back up their documents and files. No need…

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud One of the least considered benefits of cloud computing in the average small or mid-sized business manager’s mind is the aspect of disaster recovery. Part of the reason for this is that so few small and mid-size businesses have ever contemplated the impact of a major disaster on their IT…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

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…

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…

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,…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

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…

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

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

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