Category Archives: Technology

Conference Rooms Transforming With The Cloud

Conference Rooms Transforming With The Cloud

Cloud Meeting Place

Cloud-based video conferencing services provide organizations with the benefits of effective video conferencing technology without the CAPEX investment of infrastructure or hardware, or the costs of staff required to manage it all. In effect, these modern solutions make video conferencing accessible to everyone, from everywhere, spanning desktop computers, dedicated conference venues, and mobile devices. They also encourage use through simple, user-friendly platforms that embolden even the most tech-shy employee.

Video Conferencing Benefits for Business

video-conferencing

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

No matter the changes technology effects in business, good communication remains a cornerstone of successful companies, and high-end video conferencing tools help foster open and direct information exchange. Aside from secondary benefits such as reduced travel expenses and improved work/life balance, the increase of productivity through better communication has a direct impact on business development and success. Implementing cloud-based video conferencing tools offers more than cost savings and outsourced technical expertise, but further provide a single process for managing calls across multiple sites. The best solutions can also be relied upon to provide smooth and glitch-free video for distraction-free communication, and typically provide interoperability through transcoding, a complicated process that translates different video conferencing protocols into uniform formats. Finally, expert cloud-based managed services take care of security concerns, protecting both data and communication through high-level encryption.

Advancing Video Conferencing

RingCentral, a leading provider of enterprise cloud communication and collaboration applications, recently launched their own cloud-based video conferencing offering as a response to intricate, pricey, and confusing on-premise room video conferencing systems currently in use. In discussions with CloudTweaks, RingCentral notes, “The room video conferencing market presents an enormous opportunity for disruption. The legacy on-premise room systems are complex and expensive, which explains why this market to date has seen less than 10% penetration, according to Frost & Sullivan.

kira-makagonRingCentral Rooms, the ‘any room’ video conferencing solution, is an innovative cloud-based software application that brings high definition video solutions to businesses at much-reduced costs. We’re told, “RingCentral Rooms is a user-friendly, manageable alternative through SaaS-based licensing and the support of off-the-shelf hardware. As a result, we will see an increasing number of enterprises shifting away from legacy systems to reap the productivity and workflow benefits of our latest addition of cloud-based software.” Compatible with off-the-shelf room cameras, RingCentral Rooms is used with a simple visual iPad app, and, available in July, RingCentral Room Connector allows legacy room conferencing systems to connect with other RingCentral Rooms or ring RingCentral Meetings users via desktop or mobile devices. Asserts Kira Makagon, Executive Vice President of Innovation at RingCentral, “RingCentral Rooms is completely redefining room video conferencing with a cloud software application. We’re extending our impact beyond mobiles and desktops, and now taking our solution into conference rooms. There’s no longer the need for expensive legacy conference systems as cloud applications open up new opportunities to bring video conferencing into the corporate mainstream.”

The Global Market

Earlier this year, RingCentral Global Office launched a single global Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution designed for multinational enterprises. Already more than 170 global organizations use this solution to connect their separated workforces and by July the service will be available to a total of 24 countries. Says David Sipes, Chief Revenue Officer of RingCentral, “While the cloud is transforming business communications, the journey to the cloud requires thoughtful change management for enterprise customers.” Promoting quality business communication in modern and flexible systems, RingCentral supports mobile workforces through open, scalable, cloud-based communications, and their state-of-the-art cloud technology integrations assure better business communication without the need for costly IT overhauls.

By Jennifer Klostermann

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

(Updated: Originally Published Feb 9th, 2015) We have decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite cloud performance monitoring services. In this day and age it is extremely important to stay on top of critical issues as they arise. These services will accompany you in monitoring your data and safeguarding critical applications and websites in real-time. This list is in no particular order of preference. When selecting a new service, please do your own due diligence during the selection process.

CopperEgg

copperegg

Copperegg has been in business since 2010 and has made a good name for themselves securing clients such as: Juniper Networks, REAL Networks and SEGA. Some of their features include the ability to monitor server CPU Processes, receive real-time alerts as well as collect, analyze, and alert on any metric.

DataDog

datadog

DataDog is a startup based out of New York which has recently secured $31 Million in series C funding. They are quickly making a name for themselves and have a truly impressive client list with the likes of: Adobe, Salesforce, HP, Facebook and many others.

Keynote

KeynoteSystems

Keynote has been around since 1995 and have an impressive client list with the likes of: Akamai, AT&T, BBC, IBM, SAP and many others… Keynote solutions test from the user perspective, delivering high-volume traffic on demand and accurately modeling interaction, arrival patterns, and geographic diversity.

Kaseya

Kaseya-Traverse

Kaseya Traverse has been in business since 2000 and is a cloud and service level management platform, with proactive monitoring and powerful root-cause analytics for all aspects of the IT environment – applications, databases, network infrastructure, cloud services, servers, data center equipment and VoIP. They have several case studies with a large client list including: Staples, University of Kentucky and Virginia Tech.

Soasta

soasta

Soasta was founded in 2006. They provide seamless integration of test design, monitoring, and reporting of high quality Web applications and services. Their client list includes: Hallmark, Microsoft and Nordstom among many others.

UptimeSoftware

uptime-software

Up.time began in 2002 and provides deep server monitors that monitor the performance of critical applications, databases, Web servers, network devices, and critical system-level services. You can choose from any of up.time’s built-in server monitors, application monitors and quickly define your own custom probes. Their impressive client list includes: Cisco, NASA, Sony, Ford and many other high profile brands.

Solar Winds

SolarWinds
SolarWinds has been in business since 1999. There services can monitor all the infrastructure in your datacenter using WMI, SNMP, CIM, JMX & VMware® API protocols. Their client list includes a high number of Governmental agencies most notably: NSA, U.S Army, Department of Homeland Security and many others.

Monitis

Monitis

Monitis has been in business since 2006 and their client list includes the likes of: AVIS, Survey Monkey, Stanford University and the University of Cambridge. They offer a Universal Cloud Monitoring Framework, Monitis can sync to other Cloud computing providers such as Rackspace, GoGrid, Softlayer, and many more. Their Universal Cloud Monitoring Framework will automate monitoring in highly dynamic cloud environments.

Opsview

opsview

Opsview has been in business since 2002. Opsview provides advanced auto-discovery and integrated GUI with quick straightforward configuration. Some of their clientele includes: Active Networks, Cornell University and MIT. 

Apica

Apica

Apica was formed in 2005. Apica offers companies and developers, cloud-based load testing and web performance monitoring tools to test applications for maximum capacity, daily performance, improved load times, and protection from peak loads. Analyze online performance and pinpoint bottlenecks quickly and effectively.  Their partners include: Rackspace, Rightscale, AWS and many others.

LoadStorm

LoadStorm

Loadstorm has been in business offering SaaS products since 1999. Their Load testing service allows web developers to know how their applications respond under heavy volumes of HTTP traffic. LoadStorm puts massive cloud resources in the hands of web developers to enable them to improve the performance of their web applications. Create your own test plans, and generate up to 50,000 concurrent users in realistic scenarios.

CloudHarmony

CloudHarmony

CloudHarmony are relatively new in comparison to their counterparts. They formed in 2009 and have been developing some very useful tools. You may use their extensive and continuously updated benchmarks to view and compare performance metrics from various cloud providers and services. One of our favorite areas is the useful Cloud Square provider directory.

Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch
Part of the highly cost efficient Amazon Web Services (AWS) group, CloudWatch is a fairly basic, though very dynamic, tool that collects, monitors and tracks customizable data metrics. The Dashboards are interactive, allowing you to manually change categorizations and matrices through a very accessible API.

Oracle Cloud

Oracle Cloud
Oracle Cloud utilizes a complex interchange of software to provide insights on actual, and applicable, data flow. It is a tool that is flexible and can provide massive insight with any set of data. Oracle offers “experts in every industry” and is truly well rounded, reaching 110 million households and extracting data from 1,500 partners.

SevOne

SevOne
SevOne boasts ‘user friendliness’ with the ability to view metric, flow, and log data, all in a single dashboard. With alliances like Cisco and Dell, SevOne is far reaching, utilizing Networks, 4GLte, and the “Hybrid Cloud” to standardize cloud infrastructure and alleviate visibility gap risk. In 2013, SevOne received a $150 million investment from Bain Capital, and in both 2015 and 2016, received various awards for business promise and software success.

By Glenn Blake

Cross-Site Scripting – Why Is It A Serious Security Threat For Big Data Applications?

Cross-Site Scripting – Why Is It A Serious Security Threat For Big Data Applications?

Security Threat And Big Data Applications

IBM, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft – and the list goes on. All these leading IT enterprises have been affected by Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks in the past. Cross-Site Scripting ranks third in the list of top-10 web application vulnerabilities listed by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) – a worldwide non-profit community focused on improving the security of web applications.

What is Cross-Site Scripting?

dark-dataThe history of ‘Cross-Site Scripting’ vulnerability dates back to the middle of 90’s decade. It was Microsoft who first introduced the term to refer to a security flaw specific to ASP.NET environment that made dynamically generated HTML pages vulnerable to malicious scripting attacks.

Cross Site Scripting (XSS) can be defined as the process of inserting malicious code to a web environment to compromise the security of the system. It is a client-side attack where an attacker injects specifically coded scripts through a web browser program. The code appears to have originated from a trusted source and the browser executes the script – resulting in the attacker gaining access to the system. A host of scripting languages, including JavaScript, VBScript, Flash or HTML/CSS, can be used to launch XSS attacks on vulnerable web-based systems and applications.

How Cross-Site Scripting Relates to Big Data Projects?

Cross-Site Scripting is a web-based vulnerability that can affect all Big Data Projects that use web-based systems, tools or applications. As most of the data analytics and business intelligence applications are interactive web-based solutions (that accept and execute user inputs), there is always the possibility of cross-site scripting attacks if the inputs are executed without validation.

security-tips

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Web-based applications continue to fall prey to Cross-Site Scripting attacks as they are mostly interactive. That means, they need to accept inputs from the users and return the output based on the inputs received. This gives an attacker the opportunity to manipulate the inputs and insert malicious scripts or commands through normal input channels.

Cross-Site Scripting – Behind the Scene:

Cross-Site Scripting attacks mainly exploit authentication bugs in the application layer to insert scripts that are executable on the client side. Typically the attack vector is based on brute force to hijack legitimate user sessions. Such attacks bypass access control policies to help the attacker take the identity of a valid user. Cross-site scripting has the ability to elevate the hacker in gaining administrative control on the application server – thus compromising the security of the entire environment.

The risk of XSS is not limited to Big Data applications alone. All types of web-based solutions are vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks. By injecting malicious executable scripts into the application layer, a hacker can gain control of underlying databases, user credentials and other sensitive information that are maintained by the application. Information gathered from the initial attack can subsequently be utilized for conducting more sophisticated hacking attempts to compromise the security of the entire project.

How to Prevent Cross-Site Scripting Attacks?

Contextual Input Encoding (Escaping) Techniques:

Escaping techniques, if implemented correctly, can significantly alleviate the prospect of XSS attacks. It is a form of contextual input encoding where the web browser is informed to treat specific strings of code as plain text characters.

In case an attacker manages to insert an executable script as an input to the application, the browser would first validate the input before executing. If it matches with the specific strings that are supposed to be interpreted as plain text, it would terminate the session without executing the script.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript – all have their own set of escaping libraries. Instead of rolling out your own escaping codes, it is better to make use of a reputable escaping library.

Vulnerability Scanner:

Quite a few reputed anti-virus software manufacturers have come up with vulnerability scanner suites that can detect possible XSS attack areas. You should seriously consider getting one for your project. The scanner crawls the entire set-up, consolidates all the findings and lists down the weak areas which are susceptible to cross-site scripting attacks.

Penetration Testing:

Another effective measure to identify XSS vulnerability is penetration testing. Find out the possible gateways from where an attacker could gain entry to the application and try from your end to exploit those vulnerable areas. If you are successful in breaking into the system, then you need to investigate the issue further to find the root cause. Once the root cause gets identified, you can engage your developers to come up with a preventive measure.

Browser Security Features:

All major web browser programs have a built-in security feature – Response Header – that can be used to combat XSS attacks. You could make use of Content-Security-Policy header to specify how the browser would deal with script tags. You can enable execution of scripts from specific domains, while block this functionality for other domains. This technique is also known as whitelisting.

By Jack Danielson,

Jack is a tech enthusiast, geek and writer. He is particularly interested in the proliferation of Big Data tips ­ tricks around the web. He holds the position of consultant writer at Satellite Broadband ISP, a resource site to help people living in rural areas find high speed satellite Internet service providers in their area such as Wilblue Exede and HughesNet Gen4.

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset

Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business, while the technology and cybersecurity around it constantly evolves. This can lead businesses to finding themselves with a fragmented approach to cloud control and security, and this needs to be avoided through the implementation of a cohesive governance, risk and compliance (GRC) framework.

Cloud services are big business. In 2019, IDC predicts that worldwide spending on public cloud services will be $141 billion while last year, Amazon Web Services achieved net sales of $7.88 billion. Businesses get on board with cloud to perform better, to meet targets and objectives by being leaner, faster and more cost-effective.

Cloud helps businesses minimize the capital investment and maintenance costs of hardware and infrastructure. It supports rapid scaling up and down as needs dictate and brings elasticity to business operations, facilitating the addition and removal of user access more quickly and easily. Project deployment with cloud can be a more agile and faster affair. Efficient business operations are supported through improved access and information retrieval, while disaster recovery measures include robust backup and controls.

Being clear on risk

In the early days of cloud there were security concerns. It seemed to follow that assets residing ‘somewhere else’ were more at risk. Ownership and control of infrastructure gives a perception of security. However, the walls of a data center can be vulnerable to professional hackers, therefore it doesn’t automatically follow that infrastructure ownership provides greater security.

hacker-cloud

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Cloud is a service based delivery model typically involving an infrastructure provider, a platform provider and a software provider. While service procurement of an IT solution delivers some benefits it also comes with some of its own risks. These include shared technology issues, the risk of insufficient due diligence and service reliability. And of course, it cannot be immune to the threat of data breaches and other potential security issues or data loss.

Clarity on the division of labor between company and service provider is an essential first checkpoint of a robust cloud service model – what are you responsible for? What is the service provider? This covers situations that include incident handling and virus infection on storage. Who manages such situations, should they arise, depends on the chosen service model. And this needs to be completely clear and transparent – there is nothing more valuable to a business than its data; its protection can’t be only half understood, governance around all aspects is essential.

Secure cloud service provision

The right cloud architecture is a second critical consideration. Virtualization was the first phase of cloud adoption now, isolation of data is also an imperative. While we saw multi-tenant solutions adopted first, the call is now for multi-instance to guarantee separation of company data. This is important because some regulation requires proof of data segregation and it also provides greater flexibility with faster implementation of changes.

A cloud solution should also provide federated identity management so that the business has control over the access its users and devices have. As users move around in the organization the system needs to be resilient to managing segregation of duties.

For continuous security assurance, quarterly or monthly testing is not enough. Real-time dashboards are needed and should be a part of the service model.

Cloud service providers are now adopting industry standard GRC solutions that include segregation of duties, change management, continuous monitoring and reporting and analytics. For best practice secure cloud implementation, businesses should start with a robust GRC framework, assess cloud service providers meeting industry standards against that framework, and then ensure governance and control through service level agreements and continuous monitoring.

The GRC framework

compliance-cloud

For a single source of truth on regulatory compliance, security and control, the company’s GRC framework should apply across the complete cloud infrastructure and cover:

  • Continuous system controls monitoring – as business data and applications are mission critical
  • Penetration testing and audit management – conducted to a defined schedule
  • Incident response management – this is the norm with internally controlled assets and there should be no difference with cloud implementation. The process needs to detail response activities that kick-in immediately in the event of a security problem
  • Compliance controls testing – the specifics of this will depend upon the industry as particular requirements will apply in the likes of healthcare and finance
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity – this is about more than demonstrating disaster recovery on paper, the theory needs to be tested through disaster recovery operations
  • Onsite and offsite backup audits – on a regular basis.

In addition, a comprehensive GRC framework will also cover data encryption audits, forensics log management and reporting, elasticity and load tolerance testing, advanced cyberattack prevention measures and advanced cloud security analytics.

Resilience and control

Effective governance and control is integral to business success and growth. A risk-managed company is more resilient to market and situational change. The culture and practice of risk management and control has to come from the top down, permeating the organization’s entire operations. As well as defining and enforcing the policies for complete cloud implementation across all instances and cloud providers, the GRC framework should also serve as the template against which future providers can be evaluated.

With a GRC framework on cloud, businesses can expect enhanced information security, compliance and risk management, the highest levels of reliability and operational control and continuous transparency and confidence. Business continuity will be robust with disaster recovery measures in place. Also, regulatory mandates will be complied with.

GRC on the cloud is a way of ensuring security risks are completely understood, and that management through manual processes and firefighting in the event of an incident are avoided. It is also a way of smoothly managing change when business decisions require it.

The right GRC approach will support informed decision-making and ongoing management, putting your business in a better position to reduce risk and to realize the benefits of cloud in enhancing business performance.

By Vidya Phalke, Chief Technology Officer at MetricStream

Cloud Access Management: Access Everywhere

Cloud Access Management: Access Everywhere

Cloud Access Management

As the utilization of cloud applications has become a standard of using in nearly every industry, there needs to be solutions available to help manage these applications. One way for admins to effectively manage their organization’s applications is to use an automated account management solution for both in house and cloud applications. This ensures ease of provisioning, making changes and de-provisioning user accounts, while also ensuring security by ensuring correct access rights.

While this ensures ease of use for account admins, what about for the end users? They also need a way to easily manage, and access, their cloud applications. Think about a user who has numerous applications they use on a daily basis. They need to open a new page for each application and then sign in. In today’s work environment, in virtually every industry, employees frequently access work applications outside of the company network. While this might not be so much an inconvenience in the office regularly, for those who are working on the go it can be extremely annoying. Solutions are available to allow users to easily manage and access their applications from any location.

shutterstock_433276825
(Image Source: Shutterstock)

How does it work?

A web-based single sign-on (SSO) solution is one method ends users can to easily handle cloud applications. Users can easily access a portal where all applications they can access are available. They simply provide a single set of credentials for authentication and can then access any of their applications by simply clicking on the icon. This allows them to easily access their applications from anywhere that they are working, whether inside or outside of the company’s network from one place.

This is extremely convenient for users who are using mobile devices. Think of an employee who is quickly trying to gain access on their smartphone or tablet. To open each application in a new tab and enter credentials is an extremely time consuming process. Many vendors offer the ability for users to download an app on their device and the app will prompt the user to enter a single set of credentials to get to the portal where they can access their applications. For users who are on the go and use tablets or smartphones this can be a tremendous help. They can access what they need, from anywhere, at any time, without having to be inconvenienced.

A cloud SSO solution is helpful in many different types of organizations. For example, in education, students complete a large majority of their work outside of the school’s network and often use many mobile devices. In the healthcare industry, clinicians will be going room to room visiting patients. Sometimes caregivers are logging into terminals, other times they may use a tablet and need to quickly access the applications and systems they need. For a sales associate for a large organization, they may be meeting customers at their office or other locations and need to access customer information. Many industries nowadays have employees who are not working from one single computer and need quick convenient access.

How Can This Actually Enhance Security?

security-threat

A major concern of every organization when implementing any type of solution is also security. While yes, they want their employees to be more productive and be able to more easily perform task and access resources they need, they don’t want this to interfere with the security of their network.

The first big concern people always have with SSO solutions is that they are nervous that it leaves the network unsecure, as users only use one set of credentials. Think, though, about the user who has several sets of complex credential for the multitude of applications that they need. Chances are that they write them down or save them in their phones to remember these passwords. It is actually more secure to have a single set of credentials that the user does not need to write down since they can easily remember them.

Customization

If security is a top priority, this type of solution can be customized to ensure additional levels of security measures. In some industries certain employees handle highly sensitive information so security is the utmost concern. For example, for an employee working in the financial department handling company or customer finances, it is very important to add additional security methods while it may not be as important to ensure security for applications that an intern uses. Depending on the level of security needed there can be different methods of authentication required.

cloud-security

For the user working in the financial department, the solution can be set up so that it can be required that they enter their credentials and then have to provide a second form of identification. This can be some a one time use PIN, access card or maybe a biometric method such as a fingerprint or face scan.

Cloud SSO solutions can also be customized to meet the needs of the many different groups and positions which many organizations have. For example, it is obvious that certain departments within the organization use different applications than others. The organization can easily add and delete applications for each group. They can also break down groups differently depending on their organizational needs. Different levels of employees within a department will probably need different access to systems and applications. The company can easily develop groups so that each employee only has the applications in their portal that they need.

Cloud single sign-on solutions allow employees to easily see which applications they have, and access them with a single click and one set of credentials. This improves efficiency and productivity while also keeping the organization happy by ensuring security.

By Dean Wiech

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability

What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of your control. But in order to effectively provide quality services with the focus on the customer, providers need to ensure availability from all perspectives, this is what we like to call real availability. Real availability captures the real user experience from end to end. This includes everything within our control (our infrastructure and network) and things out of our control (customer or third party providers).

It’s not enough to only consider the factors within our own infrastructure that might lead to more down time or further disruption. Even when achieving 100 percent uptime within your own network, you have to recognize the services being used by the customer are only as good as the weakest point in the process. A hardware failure on the customer side or an outage at the internet service provider are all factors that impact the overall availability of the services. And while you should do all you can to not be the weak link, from a customer’s point of view, a disruption is a disruption regardless of the source.

Looking Through the Eyes of the Customer

customers-eyes-tech

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By shifting your focus to see the situation as the customer sees it, and providing a real world view of their availability, cloud service providers should take the necessary steps to change the way the industry looks at and measures availability. To determine real availability for your customers, providers need to look at every incident that results in a customer disruption. In our experience, incidents in a customer’s network fall into one of the following four categories:

Service provider’s infrastructure This includes any and all disruptions that occur on the service provider’s end, within their infrastructure.

Software on a service providers’ platform – Additional software programs from the service provider that experiences a glitch or outage.

Third-party provider Includes third-party solutions such as a customer’s internet service provider or your chosen data center management or hosting services provider.

The customerWhen customers have internal network issues, authentication issues, or when they use the service providers’ offering in ways that impacts their own service.

Moving From Supplier to Partner is Good Business

Where you come in is helping your customers manage the situation when those disturbances occur, including identifying the source. By considering all points of the process when identifying factors that could lead to downtime, you are proactively partnering with your customers. This partnership and transparency is critical to your customer relationships and will dramatically improve the customer experience.

lose-customers-lrg

(Infographic Source: Kissmetrics)

By evolving your status from supplier to a partner dedicated to a customer’s success also makes good business sense. While many cloud providers focus on new customer/user acquisition, industry studies show it can cost 7x more than customer retention. Broadening a focus to the real availability and health of a cloud service can pay off for providers in the long run.

By Allan Leinwand

What’s Ahead For Predictive Analytics And Why It Matters For Businesses

What’s Ahead For Predictive Analytics And Why It Matters For Businesses

What’s Ahead For Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is the practice of looking for patterns within systematically compiled data in order to anticipate behaviors and trends that businesses can learn from and make actionable decisions with.

In many marketing and CRM circles, it’s a very popular buzz term receiving a lot of hype. Marketing and CRM professionals want a way to leverage big data to learn more about their customer base and how they can further engage with them.

Predictive analytics can also help marketing professionals build customer profiles and models to learn and aide in the decision making process. They can also use the information obtained from predictive analytics services to not only increase sales, but to also retain profitable consumers and have a better understanding of customers that aren’t a fit in the sales cycle.

Better understanding big data can help business owners  accomplish many objectives including:

  • Detecting customer buying patterns
  • Accurate customer targeting
  • Predicting customer behavior
  • Driving strategic decision making
  • Providing a deeper understanding of your customer base

Soliant Consulting has put together an infographic that provides a bit more information about this exciting field.

By Glenn Blake

Big Data Analytics – $50 Billion Dollar Market By 2019

Big Data Analytics – $50 Billion Dollar Market By 2019

Big Data Analytics Market

Big data analytics, the employment of advanced analytic techniques against enormous and diverse data sets, enables researchers, analysts, and business operators to more quickly make better decisions. Techniques include predictive analytics, text analytics, machine learning, data mining, stats, and natural language processing, and with the rapid advancement of big data analytics organizations can now tap previously unexploited data sources for significant insight. Says Jeremy Waite, Head of Digital Strategy at EMEA Salesforce Marketing Cloud, “In 2015 we learned that 90% of the world’s data had been created in the previous 12 months… The big data motto for 2016, therefore, needs to be ‘we must create more value from data than we capture’.”

The Big Data Progression

big-data-analytics-infographic-sm

(Infographic Source: Wipro)

Though the term ‘big data’ is relatively new, the concept is not, and even in the 1950s basic analytics were used to discover relevant trends and insights. As the computing environment has advanced, as well as access to new forms of data through sensors, monitors, IoT applications, and wearables, data analytics has taken on a more prominent role. A few years ago, analytics would have provided information for future decisions, but today businesses can use big data analytics to support immediate decision-making processes. Big data analytics in its most recent form allows organizations to work quickly and with agility, promising improved products and services along with reduced costs.

Essential Big Data Components

The benefits of big data are much lauded, but actually bringing these benefits into a business requires detailed planning and infrastructure provision. Cloud computing has reduced the entry requirements for effective use of big data analysis, but it’s still necessary to invest in features such as data collection and storage, and data analysis and output.

Collection & Storage

The array of collection devices is almost endless with innovators daily finding new means of gathering records, facts, numbers and statistics. Social media and customer feedback serve the essential role of personalizing data, while beacons, wearables, and IoT sensors capture endless bytes of seemingly meaningless data. In its raw form, this data can be overwhelming and incomprehensible, and often post-collection is simply stored safely away. Businesses with effective big data analysis tactics in place are careful not only to install necessary collection devices but implement storage systems that are accessible and supportive of the following phase.

Data Analysis & Output

Processing and analyzing data extracts insights through programming languages and platforms, including software from vendors such as Google, Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and IBM. Add to this, a host of startups have entered the market, often with simpler but more focused solutions. No matter the chosen tool, the data analysis process first requires that the data is cleaned and formatted. Following this, the analytic model is built, and finally, inferences are made. Once this analysis is complete, it’s important that the results are properly communicated to the relevant business departments and given the value they merit. Better a summary of recommendations with key substantiating figures for prompt action than a heap of restructured data easily ignored. Useful data output is as essential as each step which precedes it, and the effort put into making it attractive and easily understood shouldn’t be underestimated.

Big Data Trends

In 2014, big data analytics in the cloud was making waves; today it’s the norm. This year, analysts are predicting high growth rates, and the IDC expects the worldwide big data technology and services market to grow to $48.6 billion in 2019. The International Institute for Analytics believes that automated data curation and management will play a bigger role, with an ease in the analytics talent crunch, and analytical micro services facilitating embedded analytics. The IDC, however, believes this specific skills shortage will persist due to increased demand for such expertise, and Forrester echoes their expectation, suggesting the growth in degree programs launched globally will not be enough to meet the ‘huge demand.’ Today, big data analysis is promising more value to organizations, but the next few years will require a higher level of input and collaboration as businesses attempt to constructively engage with it.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
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Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

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Cloud Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

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Explosive Growth Of Data-Driven Marketing

Explosive Growth Of Data-Driven Marketing

Data-Driven Marketing There is an absolute endless amount of data that is being accumulated, dissected, analyzed with the important bits extracted and used for a number of purposes. With the amount of data in the world has already reached into multiple zettabytes annually. A Zettabyte is one million petabytes or one thousand exabytes. With data…

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

Understanding the “Insider Threat”  The revelations that last month’s Sony hack was likely caused by a disgruntled former employee have put a renewed spotlight on the insider threat. The insider threat first received attention after Edward Snowden began to release all sorts of confidential information regarding national security. While many called him a hero, what…

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Evolving Internet of Things  The Internet of Things, or IoT, a term devised in 1999 by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton, represents the connection of physical devices, systems and services via the internet, and Gartner and Lucas Blake’s new infographic (below) explores the evolution of the IoT industry, investigating its potential impact across just about every…

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Data Scientist Report The amount of data in our world has been exploding in recent years. Managing big data has become an integral part of many businesses, generating billions of dollars of competitive innovations, productivity and job growth. Forecasting where the big data industry is going has become vital to corporate strategy. Enter the Data…

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…

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…

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Federal Government Cloud Adoption No one has ever accused the U.S. government of being technologically savvy. Aging software, systems and processes, internal politics, restricted budgets and a cultural resistance to change have set the federal sector years behind its private sector counterparts. Data and information security concerns have also been a major contributing factor inhibiting the…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

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…

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Success for Today’s CMOs Being a CMO is an exhilarating experience – it’s a lot like running a triathlon and then following it with a base jump. Not only do you play an active role in building a company and brand, but the decisions you make have direct impact on the company’s business outcomes for…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

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

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

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…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…