Category Archives: Technology

Four FinTech Trends To Look Out For

Four FinTech Trends To Look Out For

FinTech Trends

The fintech industry witnessed an enormous growth in 2015. Around $7.6 billion were invested in fintech companies last year, a substantial increase from the $4.7 billion in 2014. There is no doubt that this momentum will continue this year. The growth of capital being invested in fintech companies illustrates how technology and the web are changing the very nature of financial services and how money is being handled.

Below are four fintech trends to be on the look out for:

Trend 1: The Impact of Millennials

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, is the largest generation in American history and is shaping the fintech industry as we know it. According the Millennial Disruption Index, banking show that 68% of respondents say they see the way one accesses their money will change in the next five years, while nearly half are counting on tech start-ups to overhaul the way banks work. They believe that innovation to banking will not come from within, but from outside. Millennials are looking towards fintech start-ups to disrupt the banking industry.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

These companies are sitting up and taking notice. Many of these fintech startups emerging on the scene are relying on millennials for their success and are leveraging technologies popular among young adults, such as mobile apps and social media. Since 2010, startups in the digital banking sector have attracted more than $10 billion. Many of these hottest fintech startups geared towards this demographic are mobile-app only – to include Acorn (an investment platform), Robinhood (analyzes stock information), and Earnest (offers merit-based loans). There is no question that it is an exciting time to be a financial start-up.

Trend 2: The Role of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation goes well beyond providing simple technological solutions; it requires a deep understanding and analysis of an organization’s culture and business model. More importantly, going digital requires customer first thinking. Banks are facing a new reality where the ever changing consumer preferences and rapidly evolving financial technologies are dictating how business should be conducted. If properly implemented, digitization is one way for banks to remain relevant in an increasing competitive and fast-changing industry.

According to a study on digitization by A.T. Kearney, there are three areas that separates digital banking leaders from the rest of the pack: they understand the importance of mobile in a digital strategy, they are developing models that are more agile, and they have handled the need for internal cultural shifts. A number of fintech players are paving the way when it comes to digital banking. Instead of focusing solely on financial services and products, these companies are offering enhanced user experiences by leveraging technology and design.

Trend 3: InsureTech

There has been a massive outpouring of innovation and investment spread throughout the financial sector – from mobile banking to business lending. However, there is one glaring area ripe for innovation and that’s insurance. The insurance industry, one of the largest in terms of revenue, is a bit tricky to break into as it is heavily regulated. Nonetheless, it presents a huge opportunity for financial disruption.

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There have been a few players that have attempted to take a crack at the insurance market, such as Lemonade, Oscar, and Metromile. Lemonade wants to offer insurance via a peer-to-peer platform, effectively acting as a middleman. Oscar aims to revolutionize health insurance and improve the customer experience through technology, data, and design. Metromile, on the other hand, sells pay-per-mile car insurance. These organizations offer an accessible user interface as well as consumer-friendly business models.

In essence, blockchain is a public record of every bitcoin transaction that has ever happened and it is believed that blockchain technology will significantly alter the financial services infrastructure. Earlier this year, NASDAQ claimed it documented a private security transaction that was successful via its ledger platform Linq. This apparently was the first real use case of blockchain technology.

Last year was considered as the year of the blockchain app; this year will usher in further innovation and rapidly evolving technology. One company that is capitalizing on the growing interest in blockchain technology is San Francisco-based Blockstack.io. Their platform offers four functions: 1) asset insurance to represent real-world assets; 2) a private ledge that is optimized for high transaction volume; 3) transaction management allowing users to describe transaction flows between parties; and 4) multi-signature wallet security. Blockstack.io is just one in a new wave of blockchain-first tech firms looking to partner with various financial institutions to utilize blockchain technology.

Joya-ScarlataBy Joya Scarlata

Joya is a senior analyst at InterraIT, a San Jose-based technology solutions and services company, working in the areas of market research and marketing. She loves tracking current technology and marketing trends.

You can follow her on twitter at @jetsetterjoya.

Startups Changing the Face of Africa

Startups Changing the Face of Africa

Africa Startup Growth

Disrupt Africa’s recently-released African Tech Startups Funding Report found that 29.6% of African startup investment went to fintech startups last year, totaling more than $55 million. But though this category seems to be dominating the startup market, and for good reason, the African continent is turning out a variety of innovative startups developed by pioneering entrepreneurs and backed by shrewd investors. And while many African banks find themselves on the back foot with an industry ripe for disruption, a few banking giants including Barclays, Citi, and Chase Bank have embarked on collaborative schemes rather than fighting the winning trend.

Fintech Startups in Africa

fintech-growth

Although a global trend towards fintech startups has been seen in recent years, Africa’s reasons for increased fintech funding are particularly evident. Approximately 80% of the continent’s population doesn’t have access to formal financial services, and fintech startups are quickly moving in to fill this void. Moreover, Africans have already demonstrated their willingness to adopt original methods of transaction; consider M-Pesa’s vast success with transactions reaching $656 million in 2014, and predicted to double over the next four years. Says Akinola Jones, co-founder of fintech startup Aella Credit, “The current operating expenses of the large banks are way too high and fintech companies provide a more specialized approach to tackling financial inclusion. Africa is 100 years behind in terms of its citizens having access to credit. Data analytics, identity verification, payment systems and mobile phone access will change that and spur growth on a sector by sector basis.

Tech Startups in Africa

A major provider of employment in Africa, technology is altering the face of Africa, and in 2015 African tech startups raised about $185 million in funding. Jumia, launched in Lagos, Nigeria in 2012, is an online marketplace serving 15 African countries, valued at slightly above $1 billion. Ghana’s Dropifi is an online tool helping businesses monitor and evaluate customer feedback and was named the best startup in the Global Startup Open Competition in the USA. meQasa, also out of Ghana, utilizes cloud tools to modernize real estate transactions with their innovative platform that cuts out the need for physical meetings, and SafeMotos is a Rwandan online motorbike calling app that provides access to and payment for motorbike transportation via smartphones.

The Challenges African Tech Startups Face

But just because the continent is ripe for innovation doesn’t mean the road is an easy one for startups. There is limited access to financing, with some reports suggesting an overwhelming 85% of small businesses are underfunded, and the weak infrastructure that motivates many of the startup ideas is both inspiration and obstacle. Confusing and ever-evolving political, regulatory, and trading laws are further barriers, just as globalization presents the catch 22 of opportunity and foreign competition. Next Einstein Fellow Axel Ngonga, originally from Cameroon, believes that a revolution in innovative thinking is necessary and questions how the development of products is catered to societal needs.

Boasting as much possibility as adversity, the African continent seems determined to succeed; business leaders and innovators, financiers and venture capitalists, are coming together in new and exciting endeavors, and initiatives such as the Innotribe Startup Challenge and MasterCard’s Start Path program are helping them map the road to victory.

 

By Jennifer Klostermann

Sources:

http://disrupt-africa.com/2016/03/why-african-fintech-startups-are-so-attractive-to-investors
http://disrupt-africa.com/2016/03/5-banks-backing-tech-startups-in-africa
http://venturesafrica.com/the-biggest-challenge-facing-new-businesses-in-africa-is-financing

Is Artificial Intelligence Really Dangerous?

Is Artificial Intelligence Really Dangerous?

Artificial Intelligence

When Tesla CEO, Elon Musk was asked about artificial intelligence, he said it was like ‘summoning a demon’ who shouldn’t be called unless you can control it. Yes, this is the founder of the same company whose cars are pushing new limits of technology every day.

When Stephen Hawking was asked this same question by BBC, he cautioned the public by saying that any further advancement to artificial intelligence could be a fatal mistake. In another interview, he mentioned that AI has the power to re-design itself and take off on its own whereas humans have slow biological evolution, and they wouldn’t be able to compete.

Bill Gates, too, expressed his concern about this topic during a Reddit Ask me Anything session. According to him, AI devices will be fine initially, but as they start learning more and more from us, and about us, they will get more powerful and intelligent than the humankind.

Do we even need Artificial Intelligence

Ever since the beginning of time, we humans have had a desire for technological advancements and innovation. Through our vivid imaginations, we have been able to develop technologies that previously seemed impossible were just a part of our science fiction fantasies. Virtual reality, space tourism, self-driving cars and the much talked about artificial intelligence. Some of the most talented innovators have blurred the lines between fantasy and fiction for us.

Artificial intelligence is now a very real prospect that companies are focusing on. Now, for those of you who are still new to this concept, Artificial intelligence is a field of science which focuses on how hardware and software components of a machine can exhibit intelligent behaviour. Instead of being fed information from the user himself, they learn over the course of time and become more intelligent. Currently, many companies are working on AI projects including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Minecraft. South Korea also has some high profile AI projects going on.

And these are just the companies that have made this official; there might also be companies that are secretly working on AI projects.

Why should humans be scared of Artificial Intelligence

If there is one thing we have learnt from every science fiction movie, then that is the fact that robots can become evil. If the robots learn to work autonomously, they can be an obvious threat to the people. It has been said that governments are developing AI robots for the military, but if these robots get control over major military weapons, it could be dangerous.

Another theory is that AI robots could take over all the standard jobs like watchmen, accountants, security guards, waiters and drivers. And this is already happening. Machinery has replaced industry workers in many verticals. Workers need monthly pay, bonuses, health insurance and what not but with robots, companies only have to pay one-time and then there are only the maintenance costs.

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(Image Source: Anton Watman / Shutterstock)

One more issue with AI is that machines might be able to create codes for themselves. If these machines really learn from the environment, and they become autonomous, then they can also write their own codes and perform work that they weren’t even meant to do in the first place. So, even an AI robot that was initially built to handle minute kitchen work can code itself to become a military robot. But, what happens when the computers can completely teach themselves to run without any humans?

Though the worst threat to AI applications are the humans itself. The main focus of developing AI might just be to ease our everyday activities but what happens when these AI applications get into the wrong hand? After all, at the end of the day, these are just robots, and they can be reprogrammed as well. So, a robot that was initially built by the military, to fight for the country could get into the hands of terrorists, and they could make that robot fight against the country. That AI robot, would not just be fighting, he would also know a lot of secrets of the military which could help it defeat the opposition.

Final Word

While there are a lot of assumptions about AI being dangerous, we have to remember that these are just assumptions and not facts. Humans have always been doubtful about new technologies; there was a time when we were also hesitant about cell phones. But, it’s been more than two decades and cell phones are still here. All in all, it’s about how we create Artificial Intelligence and how we keep it under check.

By Ritika Tiwari

Insider Threats and Sensitive Data in the Cloud

Insider Threats and Sensitive Data in the Cloud

The Age of Sensitive Data in the Cloud

A recent survey report conducted by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) revealed that cloud security had reached a tipping point: 64.9% of respondents (which included IT security professionals from enterprises across all industries and regions) believed that the cloud was as secure or more secure than their on-premises software. This is a watershed moment given that the single most influential item holding back cloud adoption has been the security concerns surrounding data stored in the cloud. However, in our latest Cloud Adoption & Risk Report, we found an alarming number of sensitive files that employees were storing in the cloud. This speaks both to the growing trust in the security capabilities of cloud service providers as well as potentially careless employees storing inappropriate data in the cloud.

According to a recent Gartner report, “through 2020, 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.” The statistics regarding sensitive data stored in the cloud backs up this assessment. Across industries, companies have a responsibility to protect sensitive data from being hacked or accidently exposed. However, in analyzing cloud usage, we discovered that 15.8% of all documents uploaded to cloud-based file sharing applications had sensitive information.

58.4% of the sensitive files were a MS Office file type. 18.8% were adobe pdfs, and the remaining 22.8% were a mixtures of files types ranging from CAD diagrams to Java source code. All told, 29.2% of all files containing sensitive data were Excel files, 16.7% were MS Word files, while another 10.1% were Power Point files.

Q4-2015-CARR-Sensitive-Data-in-Cloud-961

Of the 15.8% of documents that contained sensitive data, 48% were confidential files (including financial records, business plans, source code, trading algorithms, etc). 27% of documents containing sensitive were those that had Personally Identifiable Information (PII such as social security numbers, tax ID numbers, phone numbers, home addresses, etc). 15% of files containing sensitive data were one which are regulated by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), while a startling 10% contained data regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA-HITECH). One of the mandates of HIPAA is that if more than 500 individuals’ data gets hacked/leaked, the health care provider is required to inform the individuals as well as the press about the data loss. This can have far reaching impact both in terms of monetary fines as well as long term loss of trust and reputation.

One of the more alarming trends we uncovered was the naming convention of files that are being stored in the cloud. Cybercriminals are always looking for the types of data that can be sold in the darknet. The most valuable type of data is healthcare data, but anything from account credentials to credit numbers are common forms of data on sale in the darknet. It’s clear employees aren’t helping themselves or the organization they work for given the types of names uncovered for files stored in the cloud.

The average enterprise has 1,156 files with the word “password” in the file name. If these files gets breached, the hackers would essentially have the keys to the kingdom. A whopping 7,886 files stored in file sharing services contain the word “budget,” while 2,217 files contain the word “confidential.”

Q4-2015-CARR-Whats-in-a-Name-550

Internal and External Threats

Owing to the large amounts of sensitive data being stored in the cloud, the average organization experienced 19.6 cloud-related security cases each month. These may include anything from insider threats which may be accidental or malicious, privileged user threats, stolen credentials, or attempts to exfiltrate data using the cloud.

Sadly, nearly every company (89.6%) experiences at least one threat caused by an insider each month, which lends credence to the earlier Gartner quote regarding the role the organization itself will play in cloud security breaches. At the same time, 55.6% of organizations become victims of stolen login credentials each month. The average organization is hit by an unauthorized user attempting to exploit a compromised account a total of 5.1 times each month.

Detecting and preventing insider threats

If 95% of cloud security incidents are expected to be caused by an employee within an organization, then protecting data from within becomes one of the most important goals of the IT security team. However, the most difficult part of detecting insider threats is sifting through a sea of false positives to pinpoint an actual insider threat incident. As an analogy, credit card companies must detect suspicious credit card charges accurately or else the end user will be irritated by constantly having to verify their identity with the credit card company every time a “suspicious” transaction takes place. They’re mandated by their customer base to minimize false positives.

The solution that credit card companies have employed is called User Behavior Analytics (UBA), where they use machine learning to build a baseline for what is considered real credit card transactions. For example, they’ve realized that during the holiday seasons around Christmas time, both the amount and the frequency of credit card transactions increase for most individuals, so they use contextual clues to create the baseline normal behavior. The number of data points that is used is vast and can only be correlated using high performing computer algorithms. However, once this baseline has been established, they can accurately pick out fraudulent transactions, much like successfully finding the needle in a haystack.

Chasing false positive insider threats would be a major waste of resources, so IT security teams need to employ the same thing when attempting to detect and thwart insider threats. Every user’s cloud usage should be profiled and a baseline should be established that takes into account the location, device, time of the day, cloud service being used, and anything else visible to the security team in order to accomplish this.

You can find the full CSA report here.

By Sekhar Sarukkai

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 aspect of our lives in the coming years. Says W. Roy Schulte, vice president and analyst at Gartner, “Uses of the IoT that were previously impractical will increasingly become practical. The IoT is relevant in virtually every industry, although not in every application. There will be no purely ‘IoT applications.’ Rather, there will be many applications that leverage the IoT in some small or large aspect of their work. As a result, business analysts and developers of information-centric processes need to have the expertise and the tools to implement IoT aspects that play a role in their systems.

Evolution-IoT

(Infographic Source: Lucas Blake)

The 5 Year View

By 2020, Gartner predicts that more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the internet of things, and analysts have disclosed a few more unexpected implications resulting from the Internet of Things. Until 2018, it’s predicted that 75% of IoT projects will take up to twice as long as planned, resulting in cost overruns. Unsurprisingly, more complicated and/or ambitious projects are likely to have greater scheduling overruns, and compromises made are liable to lead to weak performances, security risks and integration problems.

It’s also expected that by 2020 a black market exceeding $5 billion will exist selling fake sensors and video data. New security risks and privacy repercussions are occurring with the IoT solutions and the types of data they generate, and organizations are seeing a new kind of IT complexity which without adequate appreciation and comprehension could critically jeopardize organizations. “The IoT has enormous potential to collect continuous data about our environment,” states Ted Friedman, vice president and analyst at Gartner. “The integrity of this data will be important in making personal and business decisions… A black market for fake or corrupted sensor and video data will mean that data can be compromised or substituted with inaccurate or deliberately manipulated data. This scenario will spur the growth of privacy products and services, resulting in an extensive public discussion regarding the future of privacy, the means to protect individual privacy, and the role of technology and government in privacy protection.

Gartner also points to the expectation that 2020 will see an increase in IoT security costs to 20% of annual security budgets, a drastic increase from the 1% in 2015. Says Earl Perkins, research vice president at Gartner, “Major cybersecurity vendors and service providers are already delivering roadmaps and architecture of IoT security, in anticipation of market opportunity. Small startups delivering niche IoT security in areas such as network segmentation, device-to-device authentication and simple data encryption are offering first-generation products and services, including cloud-based solutions where applicable. Large security vendors have already begun acquiring some of these IoT startups to support their early roadmaps and fill niches in their portfolios.”

Noteworthy IoT Stats

  • According to Gartner, 20.8 billion connected things will be used globally by 2020.
  • This year, 5.5 million new things will be connected every day.
  • Gartner predicts IoT will support a 22% increase in total service spending this year, reaching $235 billion.
  • Regarding hardware spending, consumer applications will amount to $546 billion this year.
  • IoT use in the enterprise will reach $868 in 2016.

By Jennifer Klostermann

What Technology Can Displace The Password?

What Technology Can Displace The Password?

The Future Password

Many people shout that the password is dead or should be killed dead. The password could be killed, however, only when there is an alternative to the password. Let us think about what technology can displace the password.

Some people might say that multi-factor authentications or ID federations will do it. It is not easy, however, to conceive that the password can be displaced by multi-factor schemes for which one of the factors is a password or ID federations which require a reliable password as the master-password.

Some might say “Not using any password altogether is the way to kill the password dead”. Yes, I have to admit, the password could then be killed dead entirely, but it would be criminals rather than us that will be the beneficiaries of such password-free cyber space. In a world where we live without remembered passwords, i.e., where our identity is established without our volitional participation, we would be able to have a safe sleep only when we are alone in a firmly locked room. It would be a Utopia for criminals and a Dystopia for most of us.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Some might say “PIN can”. This observation would, however, only lead us to the entrance to Alice’s Wonderland. If a PIN that is a weak form of numbers-only password could displace the password, a puppy should be able to displace the dog, a kitten the cat, a cub the lion.

Many are saying “Biometrics can”. This observation would lead us to another entrance to Alice’s Wonderland. Biometric solutions used in cyber space need a password (fallback password) registered in case of false rejection. If “something” which has to rely on“the other thing” could displace “the other thing”, your foot should be able to displace your leg for walking. Alice’s Wonderland might receive it, but I have huge difficulties in imagining what it could look like in this 4D Space-Time universe.

There are a lot of people who take it for granted that the password can be displaced by the biometrics operated in cyberspace together with a fallback password. How could such a misconception happen?

Blind Spot in Our Mind

Let us imagine that we are watching two models of smart phones – Model A with Pincode and Model B with Pincode and Fingerprint Scan. Which of the two models do you think is securer?

  • when you hear that Model A is protected by Pincode while Model B is protected by both Pincode and Fingerprints
  • when you hear that Model A can be unlocked by Pincode while Model B can be unlocked by both

Pincode and Fingerprints

  •  when you hear that Model A can be attacked only by Pincode while Model B can be attacked by both Pincode and Fingerprints

Is your observation the same for all the 3 situations?

Eye-Opening Experience

Now let us imagine that there are two houses – (1) with one entrance and (2) with two entrances placed in parallel. Which house is safer against burglars? Every one of us will agree that the answer is plainly (1). Nobody would dare to allege that (2) is safer because it is protected by two entrances. Similarly, the login by a Pincode/password alone is securer than the login by a biometric sensor backed up by a fallback Pincode/password.

Debates over Backdoor between Apple vs FBI

It appears that something crucial is overlooked in the heated debates about the backdoor on smartphones, which is the focus point of the recent events with Apple and the FBI that have drawn a lot of attention worldwide.

data-security

I would like to point out that there already exists a backdoor on many of the latest smartphones, namely, a fingerprint scanner or a set of camera and software for capturing faces, irises and other body features which are easily collected from the unyielding, sleeping, unconscious and dead people.

As the technologies of sensing biometric features advance, so do the technologies of copying and replaying them. None of body temperature, movement, pulse and brainwave can be exceptions. Biometrics could be great technologies for forensic and physical security, but far from valid for identity assurance in cyber space.

Suggestions

As analysed above, the authentication by biometrics in cyber space comes with poorer security than Pincode/password-only authentication in most cases. A false sense of security is often worse than the lack of security. I would like to put forward the suggestions below.

  • The vendors of those smart devices, who are conscious of privacy and security of consumers, could tell the consumers not to turn on the biometric functions.
  • Consumers, who are concerned about their privacy and security, could refrain from activating the biometric backdoors.
  • The deployment of biometric solutions could instead be recommended where consumers can accept “below-one” factor authentication in return for better convenience as the case may be.

By Hitoshi Kokumai

(Visit Hitoshi’s LinkedIn profile for more information and continued discussion on this subject. You can also visit CloudTweaks for future updates from Hitoshi)

The Internet of Things And The Knowledge Revolution

The Internet of Things And The Knowledge Revolution

The Knowledge Revolution

Think about a few things in your life right now. It really doesn’t matter what they are, as long as you interact with them daily. They could be your phone, your shoes, your watch, your car, your refrigerator, your garage door opener…you get the idea. What do all of these things have in common (besides you, of course)? Well, at the moment, they may not have much of anything in common, but within the next decade, you can expect every last one of them to have Wi-Fi connections to the Internet.

The Internet of Things is an interesting concept because, on one level, it’s still largely theoretical, but on another it’s already a network that you use every single day. The strict definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) right now is, per the Oxford English Dictionary, “A proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.

As much as it’s still a “proposed” development, though, we’re seeing a lot more than proposals in the IoT. As just one example, are you one of the millions of people around the world using fitness trackers to check their daily activity and caloric output? Fitbits, heart rate monitors, and other activity and fitness tracking devices were arguably some of the first “things” in the Internet of Things to come into widespread use.

Fitbit

Just a few years ago, if you wanted to shed a few pounds, you might go on a diet or start running a few miles a week. Now you can download an app to track your intake and track calories out with your fitness tracking device. And, because everything is connected, you can get all of the data you need in one place. Instead of counting calories and guessing at how much you need to run, swim, bike, or lift, you have all of the information you need in your pocket at any time, and your activities get logged automatically.

Data, Information, and Knowledge

So how is your Fitbit going to drive a knowledge revolution? Well, when you connect your fitness tracker to your diet app, the two can work together to automatically tell you how much and what you need to eat to stay on track with your goals. They do this by recording data and parsing it into information that you or I can understand. Then, when that information is put in the context of a fitness plan, you have a lot more knowledge about your current fitness level, your goals, and your progress than you had before, all without doing any research on your own.

Now, imagine taking this example to a whole new level. As more and more of our devices and “things” are connected, they share more and more data, translate it into information that we can understand, and deliver it to us in contexts that create more knowledge than we’ve ever had access to before. With knowledge about our fitness and diet needs, the energy efficiency of our homes and cars, and much, much more, we will not be constrained by our natural memories or the time it takes to research these topics.

Instead, we can use the knowledge that’s being pushed to our fingertips on our phones, laptops, tablets, and smart watches to work faster, exercise more effectively, and enjoy more time with our friends and family.

By Ronald Van Loon

Article originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.  

Containers as a Service – The Ins and Outs

Containers as a Service – The Ins and Outs

Containers as a Service

Containers as a Service (CaaS), not to be confused with Content as a Service (CaaS), Communication as a Service (CaaS), or Cloud as a Service (CaaS), is a form of container-based virtualization wherein container engines and the core compute resources are delivered to users as a service from a cloud provider. Containers as a Service allows users to upload, organize, scale, run, manage, and stop containers through a provider’s API calls or web portal interface, and as with most cloud service providers, they pay only for the resources they use (load balancing, compute instances, scheduling capabilities, etc.).

Goodbye, SaaS?

Falling somewhere in between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), Containers as a Service is typically positioned as a subset of IaaS, and some industry specialists believe it signals the end of Software as a Service (SaaS). One drawback of SaaS is the contracts negotiated early on which are predictably multi-year and user count based, oftentimes negating the ‘pay as you use’ benefit of SaaS. Further muddying the finance waters, SaaS expenses are accounted as operating expenses, affecting EBITDA, while on-premise software is considered a capital expense. Another difficulty enterprises are facing with SaaS is that they often find themselves with restricted access to their own data as vendors meter access based on user counts and API purchases, forcing companies to pay for scaled access to their data.

Docker Containers

docker

The new generation of Docker-powered containers are easy to learn, and with the ability to separate an application, microservices, and their configuration from the principal Linux operating system, Docker containers are very appealing. Three of the major could providers, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft provide Constrainers as a Service allowing any Docker container to run on their platforms, and Docker Inc. recently released Docker Datacenter, a subscription-based platform and support service enabling companies to run Docker-based Containers as a Service for building, deploying, and managing containerized applications and infrastructure.

Could a CaaS Evolution Mend SaaS?

With a little innovation, Containers as a Service could evolve into Containers as a Service for Independent Software Vendors, offering a world wherein organizations rent applications or purchase software and then run it either in the public or private cloud, as best suits their needs. While software would automatically be maintained by vendors, companies would control their data, as well as vendor access. This new model could ensure software customers have the best of both SaaS and on-premise solutions including complete visibility, full data ownership, tightly controlled security, and flexibility. Already a few startups including Sapho, tray.io, Replicated, and Infradash are offering their own innovative angles.

Notes analyst Janakiram MSV, “Containers as a Service is becoming the new Platform as a Service. With the interest in containers and microservices skyrocketing among developers, cloud providers are capitalizing on the opportunity through hosted container management services.” Thanks to programs such as the Open Container Initiative, an industry trend towards conforming to container standards is developing, suggesting future users will have access to the greatest choice and flexibility to best suit their needs.

By Jennifer Klostermann

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Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

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…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

Checklist For Startups  There are many people who aspire to do great things in this world and see new technologies such as Cloud computing and Internet of Things as a tremendous offering to help bridge and showcase their ideas. The Time Is Now This is a perfect time for highly ambitious startups to make some…

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

Cloud Infographic – The Future (IoT)

The Future (IoT) By the year 2020, it is being predicted that 40 to 80 billion connected devices will be in use. The Internet of Things or IoT will transform your business and home in many truly unbelievable ways. The types of products and services that we can expect to see in the next decade…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

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…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

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…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…

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…

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data The modern enterprise is digital. It relies on accurate and timely data to support the information and process needs of its workforce and its customers. However, data suffers from a likability crisis. It’s as essential to us as oxygen, but because we don’t see it, we take it for granted.…