Warning, Smart Data Discovery Tools Could Make You (Look) Dumb

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• The current crop of data discovery and visualization tools is getting smarter, requiring less analytical expertise to shepherd the business user quickly from question to insight.

• However, without some tutelage and guidance, advancements such as guided discovery and recommended visualizations could ultimately lead to less informed business decisions.

Earlier this month, TIBCO updated cloud-borne business intelligence (BI) software, adding Recommendations to TIBCO Spotfire Cloud. The goal is to make it easier and faster for a broader swath of users to dive for valuable business insights within the dark waters of big data. With the addition of a built-in analytics intelligence wizard (TIBCO’s words), Spotfire Cloud with Recommendations will now automatically suggest visualizations based upon the data selected for analysis. That’s a good thing, right? Read more of this post

New and Exciting Times are Ahead in Browser-based Communications as IP Exchange and WebRTC Mature

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

• The Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) standards body is dedicated to establishing a common set of protocols for WebRTC applications on browsers, mobile platforms, and IoT devices.

• OTTs look to wholesale carrier IPX to add crucial Quality of Service (QoS) metrics to WebRTC tools, opening new possibilities for highly reliable and enterprise-grade solutions.

The Internet has introduced some pretty exciting life-changing things since its creation. Its relentless evolution continues to impact everything we do. WebRTC holds considerable promise to impact our lives further as browser-based voice, video and chat, becomes possible on any connected device. WebRTC already allows browser-to-browser video, with developer Bistri for example reporting strong traction and rapid growth in browser-instigated video calls. For wholesale carriers that have invested considerably in IPX, the attention to WebRTC applications from OTTs is causing everyone to sit up. This is because as WebRTC applications proliferate, the inherent QoS in IPX combined with imaginative new applications dreamed up by OTTs should drive both traffic and revenues onto IPX-enabled networks. The addition of mobility, including LTE, to the mix just makes the prospects that much more enticing, with video calls possible and the possibility for browsers to ‘talk to each other’ in the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility ecosystem. Read more of this post

UCaaS Market Dynamics in Asia-Pacific

ITCB-HarishTaoriSummary Bullets:

  • Cloud-based products and services are the most important priority for APAC enterprises, where they are currently investing or plan to invest in the next 12-24 months.
  • Service providers (SPs) with integration capabilities and the ability to federate across unified communications (UC) platforms may have a competitive edge with their UCaaS offerings.

Current Analysis’ 2014 Enterprise Investment Plans Survey highlighted that workloads such as e-mail/calendar, UC and productivity applications are the first to move to cloud. Furthermore, many enterprises appear open to using UC running on public cloud services – good news for major providers such as Microsoft, Google and AWS. A high proportion of enterprises already use some collaboration services such as audio and web conferencing; cloud-hosted contact center and video collaboration are among the most anticipated investments in the next 12 months. Read more of this post

Cloud Trends in 2015 Include Single-Source Cloud Stack Offerings

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • With enterprises consuming an increasing proportion of their IT resources through the cloud, the ability of a provider to offer multiple elements of the cloud stack is an immediate differentiator.
  • Top IaaS and PaaS providers are expanding outside of their comfort zones to deliver more complex, multilayered solutions that meet multiple needs within a customer organization.

The need to access next-generation data management, analytics, high-performance and scalable infrastructure, and application development and deployment technologies from a single source is driving interest in providers that can deliver the complete cloud stack. The IT department’s need to centralize management and security of new and traditional applications migrating to the cloud is prompting a keen interest in having access to both the IaaS and PaaS components of the cloud stack. Read more of this post

The Sony Hack: Harbinger of Things to Come?

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Although some forensics details point to North Korean government involvement in the Sony hack, it’s impossible to tell whether it was the government or another group mimicking the North Korean government.
  • The fallout from the hack suggests the start of a new era of cyber skirmishes between governments and groups, and private enterprises could become collateral damage in the escalating battles.

Following the ongoing story of the Sony hack has all the twists and turns of a good who-done-it novel. First, the FBI concluded that the North Korean government was responsible for it. More recently, bulletin board rumors, along with cybersecurity company Norse conducting its own research, concluded that it was not the work of North Korean hackers who infiltrated the Sony network, but rather a former Sony security employee who gave security credentials for Sony’s systems to the Guardians of Peace group that claimed responsibility for the hack. Read more of this post

Stop the Budgeting Madness

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • It’s almost a universal tradition that at the end of every year, there’s a scramble to spend departmental budgets to ensure that the funds will be available for the following year.
  • Returning thoughtfully planned, but eventually unspent funds shouldn’t be punished by reducing budget requests for the following year.

One of the most wasteful practices that I recall from my corporate years was the rush spending that always occurred at the end of the year to ‘ensure’ our budget requests for the next year weren’t cut. It was the biggest and silliest non-secret that I had ever run into at the time, but the truth was always there: if you don’t use it, you lose it AND next year’s budget will be reduced. Everybody knew that this practice went on, year after year, because (for whatever reason) there was this basic presumption that if you could return money at the end of the year, then you just wouldn’t need it the following year. This was true of capital budgets, supply budgets, and perhaps most difficult of all, maintenance budgets. As a manager, I always worked towards a truthful representation of the financial needs of my department at budget time, but I was amazed to learn that it was just a given that you HAD to pad it out to cover unforeseen problems as well as ensure that there was room for some discretionary spending throughout the year. Read more of this post

Don’t Assume Your EMM Solution Includes All the Mobile Security Your Enterprise Needs

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Not all enterprise mobility management solutions provide a full set of security controls that also include anti-malware programs.
  • Enterprises looking to secure employee and corporate-owned smartphones and tablets should mandate the use of strong anti-malware programs as part of their in-depth defense strategy.

Unless you’re using an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution from an anti-malware provider such as Symantec, McAfee or Sophos, your smartphones – corporate or employee-owned – aren’t completely defended against the latest threats designed specifically for smartphones. Many EMM vendors focus their security efforts on controls such as authentication, certificate-based access control, separating out personal from corporate data in containers, remote/selective wipe and securing devices and/or apps using VPNs. But, with the exponential rise of malware focused especially on Android smartphones and tablets, is that really enough? New findings from security researchers at Palo Alto Networks and others suggest it isn’t. Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 researchers recently discovered a backdoor placed deliberately by Chinese manufacturer Coolpad, one of the largest China-based smartphone manufacturers. The company estimates that 24 Android models produced by Coolpad, and potentially 10 million devices, have the backdoor, nicknamed ‘CoolReaper,’ installed. The company’s researchers also believe that Coolpad modified the Android OS running in those devices so that it’s harder for anti-virus programs installed on the devices to detect the backdoor. Read more of this post

Humans: Both the Problem and the Solution

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • Increasing automation in the data center can be one of the best ways to reduce errors in a dynamic production environment.
  • Automation can also be a source for problems of a much greater scale because of the number of processes that can affected by errors within a large and complex environment.

It’s highly unlikely that American sociologist Robert Merton was thinking about cloud computing when he proposed his “Law of Unintended Consequences” in 1936, but it seems particularly apt in light of Microsoft’s revelations regarding the major Azure cloud storage outage of November 2014. Just this week, Microsoft released its root cause analysis that pointed to simple human error as the cause of the 11-hour storage outage that also took down any associated VMs, some of which took more than a day to get back online. Now I’m not here to pile on Microsoft; its response in fixing such a massive system crash can’t really be faulted. What does interest me is how vulnerable our complex and automated systems can still be after years of automation designed to remove human error from the equation. Read more of this post

End-of-Year Insights on Enterprise Mobility

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Services for enterprise mobility did not change greatly in scope in 2014, but operators and service providers are seeing some new trends in customer requirements and buying habits; many are adjusting their portfolios or positioning.
  • A number of different issues rose to the top of the list as trends in 2014: the slow consolidation of enterprise mobility and M2M ecosystems, new positioning for enterprise mobility in SP portfolios, new definitions of EMM, MEAP evolution, and new patterns in buying habits.

Slow Consolidation of M2M/IoT and Enterprise Mobility Ecosystems: While the companies providing service delivery, application enablement, security, and device management for M2M deployments remain distinct from those providing EMM, there are beginning to be some common elements. Some carriers even talk about managing connected devices under the same pane of glass as smartphones and tablets, and enterprise equipment vendors and EMM platform developers that play in enterprise mobility are expanding their product scope to encompass M2M and IoT. Read more of this post

Marking HTTP Sites as Insecure: The Emperor’s New Clothes Indeed!

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Users don’t have a way for readily knowing when a site should be protected using SSL/TLS or not, and Google engineers are proposing yet another indicator.
  • A better use of their time would be in working with existing standards efforts – or starting a new one – that let site owners indicate when a site should be protected.

Google is using its size in the web arena to affect changes in how users view the relative “security” of websites. I put security in scare quotes because that word has a dubious meaning at best and more likely doesn’t mean what the company intends. The short story is that Google wants a way to indicate to end users that a page which is not properly protected using TLS – the current, improved version of SSL – is not secure. Read more of this post

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