Category Archives: Technology

Cloud Startups To Watch In 2016

Cloud Startups To Watch In 2016

Cloud Startups To Watch

China Equity Group spin-off Cocoon Networks’ has recently launched a new $715 million investment fund specifically for European startups, and with their track record in cloud computing and biotech investments, 2016 could be shaping up positively for cloud computing startups. The fund aims to invest in startups covering fintech, biotech, and more, “whose products and services show promise and potential for growth in the Chinese market.

Cocoon Networks is also introducing an incubator space in London. But China isn’t the only nation investing in cloud startups, and both entrepreneurs and consumers worldwide are looking for the next big thing.

startups-2016

Venture Capitalists Weigh In

2015 ended on a record high for venture capital investments as, according to KPMG and CB Insights, total deals topped $100 billion. Internet companies, tech, mobile, and consumer startups dominated the marketplace. This year, venture capitalist Ted Leonsis, one of the founders and partners of Revolution Growth, expects the virtual reality market to boom with training products for sports, education and the military. Aspect Ventures’ co-founder Theresia Gouw points to the improved sophistication of cyber criminals as an enormous opportunity for legitimate businesses this year, and Shasta Ventures’ Sean Flynn agrees that cyber security is a “really big opportunity”, especially as more and more employees are using their own devices at work. Ravi Belani, managing partner at Alchemist Accelerator and lecturing in entrepreneurship at Stanford University, supports predictions of a surge in IoT developments, saying, “All objects will become intelligent. Every device has the capability now because the price point of chips and sensors and security is becoming so low. And that’s hugely exciting.

Interesting Cloud Startups of 2015

In 2015, a few cloud startups caught analysts’ attention, including Velostrata, Ravello Systems, and DigitalOcean. Velostrata has focused on the incorporation of cloud by traditional businesses, recently releasing technology that helps streamline the move of data into and out of the cloud.

Ravello Systems, a cloud startup in the software as a service (SaaS) market provides SaaS-based offerings that enable organizations to rapidly create VMware instances in a public cloud through the leveraging of nested virtualizations, and according to Colm Keegan, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, their solutions are particularly interesting for IT businesses needing to quickly deploy temporary sets of cloud-based application services. With a specific focus on developers, DigitalOcean operates in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) arena, providing public cloud infrastructure at global scale, and Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Boston-based Constellation Research Inc., considers this organization one to follow in 2016.

More Startups to Watch in 2016

Another cloud startup to track is Nextbit with its cloud-based smartphone scheduled for release early this year. Nextbit’s smartphone’s claim to fame is unlimited cloud storage, with the idea that users’ data is always available, regardless of the device being used. Datadog, “crack for developers”, allows IT professionals and developers to monitor their apps and data across all of their cloud services at once. Says New Enterprise Associates’ Chetan Puttagunta, “It’s changing the way enterprises monitor their cloud infrastructure. The company has signed some of the biggest up-and-coming companies, such as Airbnb and Zendesk, as well as established enterprises like HP.” With further startups such as Highfive, EverString, Zoomdata, and PlanGrid using and fueling the cloud industry, 2016’s cloud landscape is off to a healthy start.

By Jennifer Klostermann

From Startup To Becoming Enterprise Grade

From Startup To Becoming Enterprise Grade

Becoming Enterprise Grade

How can an emerging business make a successful transition from selling to SMB customers that fueled their early growth to the enterprise customers that enable long-term profitability? What works with SMB customers often won’t get you a seat at the enterprise table. To make deep inroads into enterprise accounts, you have to adopt an enterprise-grade mindset in everything you do.

Want to Win Enterprise Customers? Adopt an Enterprise-Grade Culture

How can an emerging business make a successful shift from SMB markets to enterprise? That’s a question that didn’t come up very often back when I was managing worldwide channels, first for BEA, and then for Oracle after BEA was acquired. When you’re already embedded in the enterprise space, you don’t think much about the steps it took to get there.

But it’s a question smaller companies have to ask — and solve — if they want to gain entry into enterprise accounts, and retain them. The stakes are high. In the software arena alone, worldwide enterprise sales were tracking to have hit $338B (US) in 2015, according to Gartner. The question of how to win a share of that business became relevant to me personally three years ago when I became CEO and President of Aria Systems.

Adopting Early

Aria made its mark by pioneering a cloud-based billing platform that enables businesses of any size to maximize recurring revenue and grow customer lifetime value. We initially focused the business around targeting the SMB segment of the market; due largely to the early adoption for SaaS applications we centered on these buyers. Large enterprise companies were reticent to purchase cloud-based solutions, particularly mission critical applications from young “start-ups.”

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A few months after I became CEO we decided to make a very deliberate shift and focus Aria entirely on the enterprise market. My team and I concluded this was the right market to build all aspects of our company around; hiring DNA, product roadmap, infrastructure, security/compliance, marketing, support – the entire factory floor. A few conclusions that drove this decision: the quality of the revenue is much higher in this segment; the unit economics are much more compelling; and our assertion that the enterprise adoption would dramatically accelerate. More importantly from the get go, our product is architected with this enterprise use case in mind, so it was a natural to apply it to the need from which it was born.

The challenge was that we were a small company selling a mission critical technology to global enterprises, and there was no proven playbook on how to execute on this shift. So, we developed our own. In the past three years, we’ve completely transformed our business, and have successfully crossed the chasm. Today, global enterprise customers comprise 90% of our business, up from just 10% before we made the transition.

How did we pull it off? Shortly after we embarked, we realized that in order to earn our place at the table (and keep it) with larger companies, we had to become more like them in the way we operated as a company. We had to ingrain an enterprise-grade mindset into what we sold, how we sold it, and how we supported our customers for long-term success.

Here are 5 takeaways from our experience:

  • Ensure your offering really is enterprise worthy. You can’t just slap an “enterprise-grade” label on your website or power point slide with no substance behind it to back it up. Too many SaaS companies make that mistake. They pay dearly for it when they set certain expectations with their customers and come up far short. Enterprises are typically highly risk averse. They have to know your solution and your company is trustworthy — given many of the buyers are betting their careers on these critical decisions.

We invested a great deal of time and effort in fusing our cloud platform with the stringent levels of security, reliability and scalability enterprises require, aspects that we take pains to improve on an ongoing basis. But having an enterprise-grade product gets you only so far. In fact, it’s just the starting point.

  • Go all in. To make a successful push into large organizations requires a pervasive focus on serving the unique needs of enterprise customers. We recalibrated our business across the board. We started placing less emphasis on quick short-term hits. Instead, from the onset of the sales process — to the support network for long-term customers — our goal became one of customer cultivation, satisfaction and retention.
  • Take the long view. Many companies who start out pursuing SMBs usually target one type of user or a single department, and very often for short-term contracts. Generally speaking, their problems are relatively narrow in scope. Your product solves their immediate tactical needs and you move on to the next customer.

We discovered that this “won-and-done” approach doesn’t cut it with enterprise customers. Their challenges tend to be far more complex and ever changing to keep up with the dynamics of their own businesses. As a result, enterprise IT seeks solutions that can handle complexity and last for years, not just single product cycles, or target markets. Successful enterprise solutions are architected to ensure the flexibility needed to adapt to the continuous evolution of products and market trends.

  • Make the relationship your top priority. Correspondingly, to succeed with enterprise customers, you need to nurture relationships that will last years. Enterprises expect you to be as committed and steadfast as the partners they rely on. Large companies often grow and change in unpredictable ways over time. They need to know their solutions will keep pace and be supported no matter what and for however long it takes.

For us, it meant taking a longer-term approach to how we built our business relationships. As it takes certain skill sets to manage customer relationships, we began filling our ranks with talented individuals predisposed to taking the long view. We have staffed across the board with people willing to do whatever it takes to become trusted advisors for our enterprise clients. When a customer contract is signed it is often the drop-off point for the relationship, but this is exactly when it really needs to begin in earnest.

  • Embrace a collaborative approach. Enterprise infrastructure is often marked by an unruly mix of new and legacy systems, stemming from rapid growth, distributed locations, M&A activity and many other factors. Many emerging companies don’t have to contend with all or even most of these challenges. But you have to accommodate them.

We do that by fostering a spirit of collaboration with our enterprise customers. We don’t add to their infrastructure burden; we lessen it. Rather than co-opt existing ways of doing things, we peacefully co-exist with global software suppliers and implementation partners. We introduce pilot projects when it makes sense. We complement legacy systems wherever possible when the customer so chooses. To some enterprise customers change is not welcome, to others it’s encouraged. You need to have a playbook for both types of enterprise cultures; both continuity and innovative disruption.

The notion of adopting an enterprise-grade culture to steadily increase our global business now seems obvious to us. But it wasn’t when we started out. Our journey was long and hard. The lessons learned along the way surprised us more than we expected. But it’s a transformation I’m proud to have been a part of. And it’s one I highly recommend for any company that wants to excel with enterprise customers over the long haul.

By Tom Dibble

Big Data and Mobility – Visual Mobile Analytics For The Future

Big Data and Mobility – Visual Mobile Analytics For The Future

Big Data and Mobility 

The number of mobile users have increased tremendously in recent years and people are heavily relying on the smartphone and other mobile gadgets for their daily tasks too. Searching on the web is fast becoming an entire mobile activity. Enterprises are now counting on the mobility trends to make an impact and find a niche to affect their market positively and to the benefit of their bottomline.

Big data has spawned a huge market in recent times with IDC statistics revealing that the big data market is growing sporadically yet tremendously after 2015. Data is expected to grow at an exponential rate. Mobility will drive the incidence of multiple innovations to manage data too. IoT and automation are affecting our gadgets and the things we use. With smart mobility doing the rounds and about 5 billion people calling, texting, and tweeting worldwide, one can expect multiple trends to spring out from the scenario.

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(Infographic Source: Dell)

Handling Data

It is becoming very clear for data analysts that statistics and the burgeoning amount of data is going to be difficult to handle. Businesses are finding the storage of data to be quite cumbersome owing to the rate at which enterprises are churning out information and with strict retention policies in place; one can actually start to feel the pressure.

By Juned Ahmed

Juned is the co-founder of IndianAppDevelopers, leading Mobile Application Development Company. Juned manages and coordinates all marketing functions,  project management and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and insights from the field of mobile and web app technologies.

 

Fade To Black – SaaS Streaming Site Netflix Fights Proxy Users

Fade To Black – SaaS Streaming Site Netflix Fights Proxy Users

Netflix Fights Proxy Users

Video-streaming service provider Netflix Inc said subscribers will, in a few weeks, no longer be able to use proxies to watch content not available in their home country.

Subscribers often resort to proxies, or servers that facilitate access to content that is not locally available, to access Netflix’s popular shows such as “House of cards” and “Orange is the new black“.

“If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn’t be a reason for members to use proxies or unblockers,” Netflix vice president of content delivery architecture, David Fullagar, wrote in a blog.

The announcement comes just a week after Netflix went live in more than 130 countries, covering almost the entire globe except China.

Netflix said at the time that all of its shows would not be available immediately to subscribers in certain countries, but that it was working towards resolving that.

Article Source: Reuters 

Google’s Cloud Platform Supporting Startups

Google’s Cloud Platform Supporting Startups

Google Supporting Startups

Google’s Cloud Platform offers startups a range of benefits, including $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit for one year, targeted at those startups which meet specific criteria such as having annual revenues of less than $500,000 and being in an approved Accelerator, Incubator or VC fund. Designed to help startups build and scale on the Google Cloud Platform, the program reinforces the views of some top cloud investors who believe Google will be more active in the startup cloud sphere this year, and may even buy several cloud startups during 2016.

Investment in Cloud Startups

Salesforce’s $360 million acquisition of cloud software developer SteelBrick has been viewed by some investors as a sign of the changing times, suggesting a more active M&A market in the cloud software sphere. Jason Green, general partner of the venture capital firm Emergence Capital, has noted, “This is kind of like a canary in a coal mine deal. I think 2016 will be a very interesting year from an M&A perspective.

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Though the past 18 months have been particularly sluggish with regards to the purchasing of cloud software companies, Green believes this is due to the first wave of promising cloud software startups being snapped up very early on. In 2012, Microsoft purchased collaboration service Yammer for $1.2billion, and SAP paid $3.4 billion for HR cloud service SuccessFactors, and then in 2013 Salesforce acquired marketing service ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. Says Green, “We’re now starting to see this kind of second wave of companies emerge, and with the IPO markets and some of the late stage financing becoming a little more questionable, I think companies are going to become much more aggressive on the M&A front.

Google & Startup India

Aligning with ‘Startup India Stand Up India, Google has just announced a live contest to give away $100,000 of cloud credit to an Indian startup. Ranking third in the world for the most number of startups, after the US and the UK, India offers an ideal climate for Google’s Launchpad program which will assist early stage startups. Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director of Google South East Asia and India, stated, “With the Startup India Stand up India event, the Government of India has shown great foresight in providing a platform to the Startups in the country to engage industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs to come together and drive the spirit of entrepreneurship forward in the country.”

New Potential for Cloud Startups

(Click to see zoomed up version)

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(Image Source via Inc / From Startup To Unicorn)

Along with Google, big players such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft have been mentioned as potential cloud startup buyers in the coming year. Green notes that Google’s cloud solution is popular with startups and believes Google has become far more aggressive in the enterprise. Managing director of market research firm Stifel, Tom Roderick, echoes these predictions, suggesting that the majority of software acquisitions have been focused on private equity buyouts of old tech organizations rather than on fast-growth startups. Says Roderick, “It’s been too quiet for too long for strategic M&A. For the next six months, you’re going to see some activity in M&A that adjusts the way people think about it.”

By Jennifer Klostermann

Cloud Spectator Releases The 2016 Top Ten Cloud Vendor Benchmark Report

Cloud Spectator Releases The 2016 Top Ten Cloud Vendor Benchmark Report

Top Ten Cloud Vendor Benchmark Report

Report Uncovers A Staggering 350% Performance Difference Between The Top 10 Cloud Service Providers

BOSTON, MA. JANUARY 13, 2016Cloud Spectator, the industry leading IaaS cloud benchmarking agency, today released the Top Ten Cloud Vendor Benchmark 2016 Report, a price-performance analysis of the leading public IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) vendors in North America. This annual report is the most in-depth publicly available analysis of price-performance in the IaaS marketplace ever conducted, analyzing nearly four million data points collected on 17 qualifying IaaS providers.

The report benchmarks the top 10 providers based on price and price-performance to create a CloudSpecs Value Score™.

cloud-report

For most buyers, comparing the different performance levels and pricing structures of Cloud Service Providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure is challenging.” said Kenny Li, CEO of Cloud Spectator. “This report levels the playing field by providing an apples-to-apples comparison of the price performance value each provider offers, through the CloudSpecs Value Score™

Amongst the many findings, the report revealed a staggering 350% difference in performance between the top 10 Cloud Service Providers. This highlights the importance of conducting performance testing on prospective Providers before making a final purchase decision. Organizations must invest in infrastructure testing for their specific application requirements, or risk overspending on infrastructure.

The 17 CSP’s included in the study are: 1&1, AWS, Azure, CenturyLink,CloudSigma, Dimension Data, Google Cloud, Hostway, HP Helion, IBM Softlayer, Internap, Interoute, Peer1, PhoenixNAP, ProfitBricks, RackSpace and Ubiquity.

Detailed performance and price results as well as CloudSpecs Value Scores™ for block storage, vCPU and memory are included in this report for the top 10 providers.

About Cloud Spectator

Cloud Spectator is a cloud benchmarking and consulting agency focused on cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) performance. The company actively monitors several of the largest IaaS providers in the world, comparing performance and pricing to achieve transparency in the cloud market.

The company helps cloud providers understand their market position and helps business make intelligent decisions in selecting cloud providers and lowering total cost of ownership. The firm was founded in early 2011 and is located in Boston, MA.

Questions regarding the press release, report and testing methodology can be addressed to: Ken Balazs, 1-617-300-0711 kbalazs@cloudspectator.com

The Soft-Edged Cloud: A Security Challenge

The Soft-Edged Cloud: A Security Challenge

The Cloud Security Challenge

The use of the term “cloud” to describe global, offsite, computing and storage technology is apt for a number of reasons; not all of them good. The metaphor succeeds largely when people visualize their data hovering over their heads, no longer tied to a single location, and consequently easy to access from anywhere. But there are other parallels with actual meteorological clouds, specifically their soft, amorphous shape. This causes problems in perception and definition, which naturally lead to potential difficulties with security.

ISC 2 - CCSPDavid Shearer, CEO of cyber, information, software and infrastructure security certification and education body (ISC)2, points out that the enthusiasm or pressure that companies feel to build their businesses quickly into the cloud can potentially lead to a fundamental weakness. “The easier it becomes to purchase cloud solutions,” he says, “the easier it is for organizations to get ahead of themselves. Business lines within a company can easily acquire cloud-based services, and the fast time to acquire and provision cloud services is extremely attractive. Any organization would be crazy not to take advantage of that.” Shearer points out, however, that when a company elects to leverage cloud solutions and services, management needs to be smart about it; and part of that includes proper and continuous security measures:

As recently as a few years ago, security was looked at as a hindrance; something that got in the way. In these situations, sometimes bad things needed to happen for people to pay attention. In the C-suite, if nothing else, CEOs and CxOs are losing their jobs for a perceived lack of due diligence and lack of strategy to protect a corporation’s intellectual property or personally identifiable information – and that gets people’s attention. Increasingly, what is needed is better communication between those actually responsible for making security work, and the C-suite.

In addition to the lack of clear comprehension of cloud in the executive office, there is also a similar disconnect throughout other levels of business.

Defining The Cloud

Adam Gordon is an author, subject matter expert and instructor at (ISC)2. He illustrates a significant challenge to cloud security being the definition of cloud itself. There’s a great interest in anything and everything cloud,” he says, “but the problem is, as individuals and as businesses, we don’t always understand what cloud means. As a result, there tends to be a gap, where consumption is a lead indicator and security is an afterthought.” It is ill-defined in many people’s minds, Gordon adds. “Many people look at it as a marketing slogan or a marketing solution, but they don’t really get it. As a result, I think one of the biggest issues that we face, as security professionals in the cloud, is the idea of how to create a common ground in terms of what it is we are talking about and how we will frame conversation around risk, liability, security, and things that go with that.”

Yet a third challenge to effective understanding of the cloud is the change of mindset needed, especially among managers and decision makers who spent their early years in the company of mainframes, dumb terminals and internal networks. For many, there is a pervasive, almost instinctive sense that data and computing systems are physically safer when they exist inside the actual walls of a company where they can be seen and touched. The notion of storing data on someone else’s computer somewhere in the world just does not feel right. The truth is that data is generally safer when transferred to the vaults of a cloud organization whose sole mandate is secure storage, but adherence to ideas from an earlier age is a very human attribute; one that never fully disappears.

Mobile Employees

Mobile security

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Finally, there is the relatively new phenomenon of mobile employees who see their smart devices as their office, and who expect to use them at home, at work, and in public spaces like coffee shops and transit terminals, accessing Wi-Fi connections with little thought as to security. This soft, boundary-less setting has a direct parallel to actual clouds. Where, after all, does work-related security begin and end, when the device being used shares storage space and connectivity with personal files and pursuits? Adam Gordon worries that enabling individuals to work productively in these non-traditional environments with equally non-traditional capabilities and platforms opens up a collection of unknowns in terms of security and the individualized approach to data.

The softness of the cloud reinforces the need for a new type of security specialist; someone with the experience and wisdom to stay on top of a fast changing environment, and with the skills to communicate the necessary directives to the executive as well as to the rest of the IT team. This is the reason behind the development of the CCSP designation. The cloud will only continue to grow in size and versatility. Successful usage must involve a sound and ongoing security strategy across all levels of operation.

For more on the CCSP certification from (ISC)2 please visit their website. Sponsored by (ISC)2.

By Steve Prentice

Security Survey: Enterprises Unequipped To Detect And Deal With Attacks

Security Survey: Enterprises Unequipped To Detect And Deal With Attacks

Security Survey: Many Enterprises Still Unequipped

Today’s information security teams are expected to mitigate risk in environments where employees are accessing critical and confidential data from anywhere, at any time. The network perimeter has expanded to include cloud services, mobile devices, and global forces that encompass partners and contractors, making it impossible to completely lock down the ecosystem and prevent all attacks. At the same time, preventative solutions are failing to cover the entire spectrum of attack vectors. As a result, security teams are investing in incident detection and response to detect and contain com- promise as soon as it occurs.

Survey Findings

Rapid7 conducted a survey regarding incident detection and response, in order to gain insight into today’s security teams, including strategic initiatives, current tools used, and challenges. The survey includes findings from hundreds of security professionals at organizations of varied sizes across the globe on their biggest security concerns and planned initiatives for 2016.

Punctuating the results were two key points: (1) 90% of organizations are worried about compromised credentials, though 60% say they cannot catch these types of attacks today; and (2) 62% of organizations are receiving more alerts than they can feasibly investigate.

infosec-infographic

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