Category Archives: Technology

AWS Lambda – Future Of Amazon’s Event-Based Computing Service

AWS Lambda – Future Of Amazon’s Event-Based Computing Service

AWS Lambda – Amazon’s Event-Based Computing Service

Announced in November of 2014, Amazon Lambda has gone from a developer buzzword to a heavyweight in the persistently innovative cloud computing industry. Used by organizations like Major League Baseball and live-streaming service Periscope, Lambda is all about creating efficiency, focusing your cloud computing efforts, and reducing dependence on consistent processes that can bog down your application’s performance. But how has the Lambda service grown since its announcement in November of 2014? Where is it going in 2016 and beyond? Let’s take a look.


Amazon Lambda was revealed on November 13th, 2014 at Amazon’s re:Invent Press Conference. Originally received as just another weapon in the impressive arsenal of Amazon Web Services, Lambda grabbed headlines as a service that could push it beyond competitor offerings such as Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine.

vogelsDescribed by Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels as “an event-driven computing service for dynamic applications”, it essentially allows event-based communication between your app and the cloud without depending on a server to handle the heavy lifting. Amazon Lambda launched supporting only one programming language, limiting its user-base at first. In terms of pricing, Lambda also broke the traditional Amazon mould, charging instead by compute time and the number of requests. It did incorporate a free tier, allowing one million requests monthly and up to 3.2 million seconds of compute time per month depending on your application.


Amazon Lambda has grown significantly, both in perception and functionality, since its launch, growing from supporting just node.js to supporting both Java and Python. Some of the biggest names in cloud computing have yet to catch up to Amazon Lambda, making developers less inclined to move to competing services like Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine.

While Lambda has taken Amazon Web Services to new heights, it has done so while actually reducing costs for some developers. One specific case, cited in Business Insider, claimed that one developer had saved over 80% of their previous cloud computing costs using Amazon Lambda. This was done by replacing largely idle servers with Lambda code that spoke with their Amazon S3 databases, replacing persistent EC2 servers with a simple code request that would run on a designated schedule.

As mentioned previously, two major applications are using Amazon Lambda to handle their cloud computing needs. Major League Baseball currently uses Amazon Lambda, in conjunction with other Amazon Web Services suites, to power its impressive StatCast technology. Using Lambda, Major League Baseball is able to analyze real time events during baseball games and provide this information to broadcasters and fans.

Baseball - Data - Comic

This includes computing running speeds, home run distances, pitch speeds and breaks, and the speed of fielders throws. Lambda is just part of a massive system that incorporates computing power, ball-tracking radar systems, and high tech setups at all 30 major league ball diamonds in the United States and Canada. Secondly, Periscope. Periscope is a live streaming application and platform that optimizes Amazon Lambda to scan, identify, and remove adult content from its platform automatically.

The Future Of Lambda

Amazon Lambda has the potential to become the crown jewel of Amazon Web Services. One key way is the addition of additional programming languages. While Amazon Lambda supports node.js, Java, and Python, it’s only when Lambda embraces remaining languages like C#, C++, and Ruby On Rails that it can begin to completely dominate the cloud computing realm. Of course, awareness is also key. In addition to AWS certification, developers need to grasp the potential of event-based computing.

Another area of focus for Amazon Lambda is a broadening of scope. As of right now there are some types of apps that are not optimized for Amazon Lambda. These include apps that incorporate large databases, and industries that require heightened security against downtime. While Amazon Lambda is reliable, its primary focus is on flexibility, efficiency, and quick compute times.

When it comes to developers and their individual projects, Amazon Lambda can be useful for applications of all sizes. Its event-based computing means you can create applications that are leaner and more efficient. The fact it piggybacks off Amazon’s robust and powerful Amazon Web Services means your application can benefit from hardware autonomy, nearly infinite scalability, and increased mobility in releasing new updates. Amazon Lambda may have grown up in the shadow of Amazon Web Services, but it has quickly emerged to become a go to tool for developers who depend on the cloud to power their applications.

By Keith Holland

How IRM Makes Cloud-Based File Collaboration “Security-Aware”

How IRM Makes Cloud-Based File Collaboration “Security-Aware”

IRM Cloud-Based File Collaboration 

Data breaches and data loss due to insider threats, including malicious insiders stealing, manipulating or destroying data, are the fastest-growing risks that keep managers up at night, according to new research by Ernst & Young. How can we ensure that the right people in an organization have the right access to the right information at the right time? The answer may be to make the data itself the gatekeeper of who has permission to access it.

Information Rights Management (IRM) is an evolving technology designed to protect access to sensitive information at the file level. It does this by embedding encryption and user permissions directly into the file. This is different from most other security technologies designed to build protections around sensitive files, not within them.

History of IRM

IRM began as an extension to the traditional Microsoft DRM (Digital Rights Management) that protects files. But, due to its requirement for a plug in to be loaded to the desktop, adoption of DRM didn’t take off. IRM improves on this concept by allowing protections stay with a file, no matter where it goes or who attempts to access it — plug-in free.

With IRM, documents are secured throughout their entire lifecycle, whether at rest, in motion, or in use. Other security technologies tend to protect information at one stage or another. For example, perimeter security solutions such as identity and access management (IAM) protect files from access by unauthorized users. However, once a person is able to access the information, he can pretty much do whatever he wants with it. Email it to someone outside the company. Download it to a mobile device. Move a copy to a less secure storage space. Whatever he wants. What kind of file protection is that?


(Infographic via

And then there’s data loss prevention (also called data leakage protection), or DLP. This is another technology that is designed to keep sensitive data from going outside an organization’s protective environment. DLP commonly works by inspecting a file’s contents at ingress and egress points and looking for specific words or patterns that match pre-determined rules. For example, anything that looks like a Social Security number within the file content is flagged and the user is prevented from copying that file or sending it outside the company. DLP works best when looking for well-defined content (like Social Security or credit card numbers) but tends to fall short when an administrator is trying to identify other sensitive data, like intellectual property that might include graphic components, formulas or schematics.

Along with technologies like IAM and DLP, IRM is an important part of a defense-in-depth strategy to protect specific kinds of information. It’s not intended for every file an organization produces, but for high value information — especially if the information is to be shared outside the organization. For example, when two companies approach each other about a merger, they need to share highly confidential information with each other. With IRM embedded into the sensitive files, the companies can be assured that file usage is highly restricted and the usage can be revoked by the information owner at any time.

IRM: more important now than ever

IRM has been around for several years, but is more relevant than ever. For one thing, cyber thieves are specifically targeting high value information. It’s one of the reasons why so many corporate executives are being spear-phished. Organized criminals want access to very sensitive corporate financial information. There’s the recent case of hackers stealing financial reports from PR news services before those reports are officially released. Hackers sold the reports to financial traders who used the confidential insider information to enact trades and make a killing in the stock market.

Another reason why organizations need IRM to secure important files is the ever-increasing regulatory climate. Businesses and government agencies alike are under mandates from the likes of HIPAA, SOX, GGLBA, PCI DSS, FERPA and other acronym-laden regulations. Most of them require that access to information be highly restricted, and IRM is one means to achieve that mandate for the duration of a file’s lifespan.

A third reason to use IRM today is that workers are often the source of accidental data exposure. In a research study, Ponemon Institute unveiled that 60 percent of employees have often or frequently either used personal file sharing applications at work, sent unencrypted emails, failed to delete confidential documents as required, or accidently forwarded files to unauthorized individuals. Accidental and careless happen, but IRM can help combat human error by putting the right document controls in place.

Best-kept secret weapon

If IRM is such a great security measure, and the need is so apparent, why isn’t it used by more organizations? Well, it is actually is used by quite a lot of organizations, but because it’s a security measure, they just don’t talk about it. (It’s called “security by obscurity.”)


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Still, there have been occasional adoption obstacles. Some IRM products require the installation of software agents on end users’ desktops and other devices. This can be a deterrent for workers that have a locked-down desktop configuration and who cannot install software agents on their own. This has certainly been a barrier for many large corporations. The best way to ensure that IRM is widely adopted and used is to make it seamless to the users across the entire organization. No plug-ins, no extra work on the administration end.

IRM helps IT managers improve and enable the enforcement of corporate policies about document confidentiality, workflow, and email retention. For senior-level executives and CSOs, IRM helps reduce the risk of having key company information fall into the hands of the wrong people, whether by accident, thoughtlessness, or through intentional abuse. It’s time to let the secret out and add IRM as part of your organization’s overall security strategy.

By Daren Glenister

Demystifying The Marketing Cloud

Demystifying The Marketing Cloud

The Marketing Cloud

The marketing cloud, much discussed but seldom defined, is the backbone of digital marketing, evolving and advancing its current and future role in marketing as a whole. As the marketing cloud improves the speed and ease of marketing operations, streamlining and optimizing processes, so digital marketing teams are able to deliver results that can be measured, as well as actionable data integrated across the entire organization.


Though experiencing hyper-growth, the marketing cloud may not yet be ready for mass adoption as marketing technologies and channels experience the relevant and necessary development and refinement to properly integrate it.


The end goal is a streamlined and integrated cloud marketing function, but right now this arena is in a cycle of building, invention, disruption, and innovation, with little static or standardized marketing technology. Integration is a priority as organizations today value IT strategies that assimilate wholly into their business strategies and practices, which means financial systems, telephony, project management, and production all need to tie in with the digital marketing resources selected. Though the trend for business departments to enmesh and collaborate is growing, we’re still some way from a cohesive and amalgamated organizational solution, and this doesn’t even cover the need for partner and vendor integration.

Consumer Complications

The complexity consumers add to the marketing cloud landscape is also a significant factor to be considered. CRM, a function existing outside of marketing, is complete with its own technological solutions, and mobile typically operates as its own component, too, in which communicating with the consumer requires the integration of technology as well as CMO, CTO, and CIO input to ensure the right message is delivered at the right time. When you consider the various other departments such as customer service and HR that need to be added to the mix, you’re left with a convoluted jumble.


Aside from all of this complexity, privacy and security are two aspects consumers are more and more concerned with, and organizations need to ensure their digital marketing solutions target consumers correctly without making them feel ‘stalked’ or spied on. Add to privacy concerns the fear of data breach, and marketing strategies need to account carefully for secure and responsible use of the marketing cloud and databases. With ever increasing levels of trust, transparency, quality service, worthwhile experience, and value for money, consumers expect a great deal from the brands they use and are increasingly quick to move to competitors who are able to meet their expectations.

The marketing cloud is certainly key to satisfying industry and consumer demands, filling in current gaps, and developing the entire marketing industry, but we’re still at the beginning of this journey with much room for standardization and best practice conventions to develop and mature.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Learning To Code

As many readers may or may not know we cover a fair number of topics surrounding new technologies such as Big data, Cloud computing , IoT and one of the most critical areas at the moment – Information Security. The trends continue to dictate that there is a huge shortage of unfilled jobs in this area. Cybersecurity training is certainly not for everyone as perhaps you’re more innovative and entrepreneurial in nature. Perhaps you really want to go places and develop something that the world and venture capitalists have only dreamed of.  Do you enjoy IoT and connecting things? If so, take a look at the cheat sheet discovered at Pinterest to help give you a quick refresher of some of the hottest and most utilized programming languages used today.



Re-Defining Security – It’s More Than Just Compliance

Re-Defining Security – It’s More Than Just Compliance

Re-Defining Security

Risk management is messy. The internet has known vulnerabilities, and regulatory issues seem to change faster than you can say “Privacy Shield.”

So why can’t security and compliance teams see eye to eye?

Sixty-four percent of IT executives feel confident that compliance will protect their company against breaches, according to Vormetric’s 2016 Data Threat Report. Couple this assumption with Trustwave’s finding that 77 percent of IT professionals are pressured to take IT projects public without “sufficient security protections,” and you see the beginnings of a broken system.

Security and compliance are permanently entangled. Teams that don’t collaborate effectively risk losing both. Learning how compliance and security operate now, and why teams disagree, is the first step towards bringing groups together.

Reducing Overlap and Uniting Teams

Until recently, security and compliance teams have remained siloed. Compliance is traditionally a function of paperwork: sign here, initial there, make sure critical information is laid out and legally bound. Professionals in this field succeed by understanding and adhering to extensive legal frameworks.


Contrast that with security, a highly technical function that operates deep in the bowels of IT. Security teams continuously evolve their understanding of online environments, tuning and innovating protections against an unceasing torrent of malware.

Now that forms are being validated online through software like DocuSign and ShareFile, and confidential data travels across innumerable consumerized cloud services, compliance and security overlap in many ways and the two will soon merge.

Key Tips to Ensure Security and Compliance in 2016

Online documents have brought compliance online and put paperwork into the realm of IT. To work with this new reality, teams must be clear on a few key things, otherwise the finger pointing will continue:

  1. Compliance is not security. This is an assumption that IT shops make when they’re still purely on-premise (those using XaaS have their own set of issues, which I’ll explain later). Consumers continue to demand new features and levels of service from every company in every sector, whether it sells apples or augmented reality apps. Stubborn companies will require customers to use dated—but compliant—tools like FTP, while competitor businesses will already have bounded into the mobile cloud. Becoming compliant in new ways will cost a company time, but not moving ahead will cost it the whole business.
  2. Complicated security systems are not secure.Business users are more freely finding new apps and services they want to use to improve workflows. At the same time, IT is challenged with managing oversight and outdated solutions like FTP to ensure compliance.

Business users would rather send an email with company intellectual property than try to remember yet another login and password. IT faces a different kind of feature sprawl: teams lose management and oversight – security intelligent monitoring, network breach detection, firewalls, event correlation and other security tools. When IT focuses on the handful of essentials that everyone will use—such as enterprise key management and end-to-end data encryption—and prioritizes apps that end users will actually engage with, the entire company is safer.

Becoming compliant in new ways will cost a company time, but resisting an evolution will have a negative impact on the business.

  1. The cloud is only as secure and compliant as you make it. Major cloud providers attract the best minds in security, and that’s how it should be. Every cloud service has its weaknesses. What they are depends on the product or services a company provides. Custom integrations, while convenient, open up new backdoors that wouldn’t otherwise be there. From a security standpoint, companies must ensure that their providers maintain a centralized API as the only way for one service to digitally communicate with another, and aren’t littered with custom integrations.

A New Framework to Align Security and Compliance

There will always be new malware, and new regulations show no signs of stopping their forward march either.


Privacy is seen as a consumer rights issue in the US, but to Europeans, it is a fundamental right—and transnational agreements are getting ever more complicated because of it.

Last year, the European Court of Justice decided that Safe Harbor rules were not specific enough to protect citizen data from NSA mass surveillance and backdoors. Reborn as Privacy Shield, the new transatlantic agreement promises to add more stringent reviews and give US agencies like the FTC broader enforcement powers.

Does adding layers of legal directives and pulling in more agencies really guarantee data privacy across the pond? The verdict is out, but the unfolding drama of Privacy Shield should serve as a lesson to every organization wishing to keep its data both secure and compliant: align the security and compliance organizations and concentrate on forward innovation. 

While it may take time to establish, once alignment is achieved it will enable the teams to move forward with confidence and shift their focus back to the business. And that is a value proposition that everyone can appreciate.

kris lahiriBy Kris Lahiri

Kris is co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Egnyte, responsible for Egnyte’s security and compliance, as well as the core infrastructure, including storage and data center operations. Prior to Egnyte, Kris spent many years in the design and deployment of large-scale infrastructures for Fortune 100 customers of Valdero and KPMG Consulting. Kris has a B.Tech in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras, and an MS from the University of Cincinnati.


Microsoft Powers Up With Purchase Of Xamarin

Microsoft Powers Up With Purchase Of Xamarin

Microsoft’s Recent Acquisition 

To many tech commentators, the emerging cloud economy looked like it would be dominated by two familiar giants: Google and Amazon. Google recently announced that Spotify would be using its cloud architecture for its backend, while AWS continues to expand and draw players large and small into its vast orbit like a planet with an extraordinary gravitational pull. But recent acquisition news reminds us that there is another player in town with big resources and big ambitions: Microsoft.

The Redwood-based software stalwarts recently acquired Xamarin, the five year old cross-platform development software company run out of San Francisco. The terms of the deal were not disclosed but the New York Times reports that it’s in the region of US$300 million.

Xamarin is a startup that puts mobile first and prides itself on “native mobile development fast [that is] easy, and fun and to help C# developers build beautiful mobile apps and reach billions of devices.”


Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s VP of cloud and enterprise explained how the incorporation of Xamarin would “improve developers’ ability to build mobile applications across Apple Inc.’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows by making it easier to share code among the different operating systems.” The deal boils down to a strong play from Microsoft to bolster its development community to build apps that can run across all major platforms.

The acquisition is not entirely out of the blue. The two companies have a long standing partnership and have worked together on various cloud offerings such as Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite. The acquisition is the clearest sign yet that Microsoft is seeking to be a major cloud player and that it wants to extend beyond its own mobile offerings and onto more successful platforms such as Android and iOS.

The New York Times explains how it sees the move. “A.W.S., Google and Microsoft’s Azure business all rent access to globe-spanning cloud computing systems, each with millions of servers. All are trying to fill them with capabilities that developers can use to build products faster. The point is to get the corporate business into their clouds, and sell additional features once they are there.”

Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman was enthusiastic about the change. “This acquisition is a new beginning for Xamarin—the company and its products—and is an opportunity to help many, many more developers build great apps. Like many of you, I see Microsoft and Xamarin as a perfect fit.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made a number of smart moves during his short tenure at the head of the company and this looks to be another. During one of his first press briefings as CEO after just six weeks on the job, Nadella spoke of a mobile first, cloud first world, with Microsoft at the center of it all. The purchase of Xamarin is a chance to bring that reality one step closer.

By Jeremy Daniel

The Future IoT and Energy Collaborations

The Future IoT and Energy Collaborations

IoT and Energy Collaborations 

The Internet of Things (IoT) was a key topic at this year’s Cleantech Forum, which took place in San Francisco at the end of January, and it seems both entrepreneurs and investors are confident the sector has a bright and profitable future. Hand in hand with the keenly pursued energy storage discussions, Green Charge Networks’ CEO Vic Shao predicts, “2016 will be the year of deployment for storage.” The potential for IoT solutions to be utilized in the energy environment is creating new opportunities, encouraging efficiencies, boosting productivity, and promoting economic growth.

Balancing Gains with Costs

Joe Costello, CEO of Enlighted, which won North American Company of the Year and was named in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100, suggests IoT provides innovative business tools along with cost reduction and environmental benefits. Says Costello, “Our clients who use the sensor technology save 50 to 75% of their energy costs,” though he notes that the high capital costs associated with implementing sensor technology have stalled growth. “This type of technology does require a large amount of capital. Small companies would require around $10 million, and large companies $100 million to implement our system.”

Markets both Large and Small


The benefits of IoT crosses from small organizations to large, and IBM is one of the larger companies making IoT a priority for their business. “IoT is a major priority for IBM and is one of the new businesses that we have created as the company continues to innovate. IoT holds out the promise of more granular monitoring and optimization of process performance in just about any context – therefore, it will become integral to resource efficiency as one aspect of performance,” says Peter Williams, CTO of Big Green Innovations, IBM. And IBM isn’t only employing IoT in its business activities but is also utilizing the technology to improve the operations within its buildings, data centers, and manufacturing processes.

In less advanced tech economies such as Africa, the benefits of IoT are perhaps even greater, i.e. enabling the use of mobile power. M-KOPA Solar uses IoT for performance management and solar system metering and has connected over 300,000 East African homes to solar power. Says CEO Jesse Moore, “What’s exciting and perhaps unexpected is the fact that IoT is enabling low-income, off-grid customers to leapfrog straight to solar power.” Additional IoT benefits in this field include data collection and analysis, translated into improved customer service. States Moore, “Data coming back from our solar systems tells us when a customer’s rooftop panel is in the shade, so we can advise them to move it to a better location. To be able to remotely support customers in remote and rural parts of East Africa is a magical thing!

Latest Developments

With the bright prospects of the sector, we’re likely to see innovations and evolutions happening at a rapid pace. ARM Holdings, a major player in the IoT industry with estimated shipping of over 60 billion chips incorporating its cores, has just released a new, tiny core for IoT and Wearables.


Furthermore, day 1 of the Mobile World Congress 2016 has proved to be about more than mobile phones, with Epson Moverio Smart Glasses offering augmented reality features and the ability to control drones, and Iofit smart shoes featuring built-in pressure sensors that could improve your golfing skills or make you a better weightlifter.

By Jennifer Klostermann

2016 Mobile Marketing Tips For Cloud Services

2016 Mobile Marketing Tips For Cloud Services

Mobile Marketing Tips

Mobile marketing is continually evolving and at such a fast pace, if you are not currently using mobile marketing in your advertising strategies, then you have already been left behind. Why? Because 70 percent of all Smartphone users consider SMS marketing to be the best way to grab their attention. And, 50% of buyers in the U.S. will make a direct purchase after they’ve received an SMS branded text, QR code, discount or coupon. So what does that mean for you? Well, it means if you are not using SMS as part of your marketing strategy, you are most definitely losing sales to your competitors who are.


Here are seven of the most popular mobile marketing techniques that have been wildly successful in 2016.

1. Social Shopping

Social shopping is the combining of the mobile, social and shopping experiences into one. You use your social media platforms to encourage just the right balance of browsing, socializing and buying. Facebook has been doing this for years by matching their targeted consumer data with sellers who offer goods and services that particular consumer might be interested in.

2. Wearable Technology Marketing


Wearable technology, also known as smart jewelry among other things, is growing more and more popular and affordable every day. Your job is to learn and understand how to use this technology to your advantage. For example, is your message glanceable? Can it be easily consumed in less than two seconds? Are the visual elements of your message easy to see when looking down or straight ahead at a wearable device? These are the types of questions that need to be answered, if you want your customers’ to respond positively to your mobile messages.

3. Mobile Loyalty

You should consider adding a mobile loyalty program to your mobile marketing strategy. This will help you create customized experiences for your customers while building your brand and your brand’s reputation. Customers are extremely devoted to their favorite loyalty clubs and a loyalty program will allow you to reward those repeat customers who will in turn continue to buy from you, which will dramatically increase your revenue with very little effort on your part.

4. Mobile Marketing Automation (MMA)

MMA is basically leveraging mobile behaviors and using them to encourage user engagement throughout the entire sales funnel. For example, if a customer doesn’t complete a purchase after beginning the process via your company’s mobile app, you can later send that customer a customized message based on the product or service they were interested in buying through the use of MMA. You could send a message telling your customer the product or service they were interested in is now on sale, back in stock or reference other items he or she might be interested in. These abandoned shopping cart notifications are great for increasing revenue and guiding your customer back into your sales funnel to complete a transaction.

5. Mobile Payments


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Providing a mobile payment option as part of your mobile marketing campaign will significantly boost your income. Allowing your customers to pay for the goods and services they want via a mobile wallet will have them buying more often because you are giving them a way to pay you via the tools they use most often, their mobile devices.

6. Integrated Lifestyle Apps

An integrated lifestyle app combines several apps with similar functions into one, which is then referred to as a “lifestyle app.” If your customers use your company’s app for one resource, it only stands to reason that they would love to access several of their other interests on the same app versus having to switch between several apps to do the same thing. For example, if your business sells baby food, wouldn’t you expect the parent of that baby to be interested in other baby related items, such as: baby carriers, baby toys, baby health, etc.? Yes, they would, and you are going to make it easier for them to access those items through the use of your integrated lifestyle app.

7. Vertical Video

Vertical videos are the next big thing. You have seen traditional video sales messages for years. However, by providing your customers the same video message they love, but in a different format is the best way to grab their attention. In fact, Snapchat has said that vertical video ads are watched to the end nine times more often than the same videos that were shot horizontally. And that is huge!

The Bottom Line

The mobile marketing trends for 2016 are still evolving, but these hot trends are helping many companies take their businesses to the next level. It’s time to get on board with a winning mobile marketing strategy that will take you through 2016 and beyond. Mobile marketing is here to stay and the sooner you get started, the sooner you will enjoy the increased revenue.

By Sophorn Chhay

Sophorn is a marketing specialist at Trumpia which provides SMS software with mass text messaging, smart targeting and automation.

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