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House Goes Orwellian in Response to Recent Hacks

  • Cloud
  • Events
  • Security
  • What's New?

Three perspectives on the PCNA and CISA, which many believe are simply ways to broaden the powers of the government to collect digital information and advance a 1984-ish, Orwellian agenda.

  • PCNA Passes
  • TechCrunch – They had no choice, folks
  • ACLU/Wyden – “Cybersecurity” bills just sneaky ways to expand spying
  • EFF – Not buying the propaganda
  • Prioritizing Security AND Privacy

PCNA Passes

On April 22, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Protecting Cyber Networks Act. In fact, Democrats and Republicans supported the bill, which passed by an incredible margin due to bipartisan support: 307-116. The stated intention of the bill is to get pesky laws out of the way, facilitating transfer of security details between American businesses. In turn, the idea goes, we can reduce vulnerabilities and prevent breaches – such as the ones perpetrated against Sony, Anthem, global banks, and the US State Department.

The bills are backed by President Obama and some professional organizations, a few of which are IT-specific. Here are some perspectives.

TechCrunch – They had no choice, folks

“Privacy advocates have criticized information-sharing bills as surveillance bills by another name,” explained TechCrunch. “They worry that sharing cyber threat information with the government will give surveillance agencies even more access to citizens’ personal information.”

Those who really think the bill is just absolutely great and not a horrible threat to personal freedom say that an amendment was tacked to the bill so that individual rights are better protected – in other words, it pays better attention to the issue of data privacy than does the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).

The Protecting Cyber Networks Act removes certain data related to individual users on both ends, both within the business and within the government system collecting the information. Advocates also say that the legislation is better designed to prevent government abuse. The National Security Agency ostensibly won’t see the information, for instance.

While the PCNA takes privacy into better account than CISA does, TechCrunch cited critics who believe it’s still going to mean that the government is getting a green light to be a peeping Tom in the window of our digital lives. Those opponents argue that it will be easy for the federal government to misuse the data. CISA didn’t get to the floor of the Senate for a vote in 2014 because privacy was the fundamental concern.

Now, everyone is filled with fright about hacking – and for good reason. In the last year, Sony Pictures was viciously attacked; the White House and State Department were both hacked; and almost 80 million users’ information was stolen from the nation’s second-largest health insurer, Anthem.

“In the past, Congress overlooked the issue of cybersecurity because it faced no public pressure to address it,” argued TechCrunch. “But after these high-profile hacks, it has backed itself into a corner where it has no option but to pass legislation that will address them.”

Were they really backed into a corner, though? Let’s look at a couple of other perspectives.

ACLU/Wyden – “Cybersecurity” bills just sneaky ways to expand spying

No one in Washington or anywhere could really disagree that data security is a serious threat that must be handled immediately. However, as the ACLU sees it, simply stating that a bill is intended to help with security as a publicity stunt isn’t the same thing as passing a security bill. While national leadership could focus on truly improving security, according to the ACLU, this bill is a bait-and-switch that runs roughshod over personal privacy rules, possibly sending huge amounts of personal data to federal agencies – such as the NSA.

Remember the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, the bill that’s even worse than the PCNA? That bill passed out of the Senate Intelligence Committee in flying colors as well, 14-1.  Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (remember, these people are technically allowed to go against the party line) cast the only vote against the bill.

“I am concerned that the bill the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported today lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of American consumers,” commented Wyden, “and that it will have a limited impact on U.S. cybersecurity.”

The basic message shared by Wyden and the ACLU is that there is no reason for us to have to give up our privacy in the name of security.

EFF – Not buying the propaganda

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, like the ACLU, is fundamentally dedicated to protecting the civil liberties of the individual user. The organization banded together with more than four dozen like-minded groups that submitted letters to Congress in opposition to the two bills.

As indicated in the letter signed by the EFF, CISA and the PCNA are spying bills, not security bills; and the former legislation is particularly troubling.

“CISA would significantly increase the National Security Agency’s (NSA) access to personal information,” stated the EFF, “and authorize the federal government to use that information for a myriad of purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.”

Prioritizing Security AND Privacy

Security and privacy aren’t at odds.

At Superb Internet, we care deeply about meeting the compliance and security needs of our clients, as indicated by our various national and international certifications. However, we are also fundamentally dedicated to the privacy of our users – just take a look at how much they like us.

By Kent Roberts

Photo via Wikipedia

“Black Lives Matter” Pushes Forward the Body-Camera Cloud

  • Cloud
  • Events
  • What's New?

  • Oakland – Building the Body-Camera Cloud
  • Why Body Cameras?
  • Why Cloud Storage?
  • Everyday Compliance with Body Cameras
  • The Obvious Choice

Oakland – Building the Body-Camera Cloud

Oakland is one of the primary strongholds of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The civil rights project started in response to a pair of grand jury decisions in New York and Missouri to let police officers walk after two black police deaths were captured on video and distributed online. Most recently, 80 to 100 protesters shut down the northbound lanes of Interstate 80 as part of a coordinated, nationwide response to the death of Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American man shot by white police officer Michael Slager in South Carolina.

Now, many police officers are good people and aren’t out to get anyone. My cousin is a police officer in Colorado, for instance. I also have family serving in the Ohio State Highway Patrol. But clearly, accountability is needed.

One change that many believe could help improve accountability among police officers, as well as exonerate those unfairly accused of wrongdoing, is body cameras. In other words, we have technology that prohibits people from misleading us on either side, so why don’t we use it? Oakland is actually one of the cities at the forefront of the transition to body cameras for greater collection of evidence and monitoring of law enforcement.

The Oakland Police Department is currently testing out a cloud storage solution that can serve as an archives for the office so that the city isn’t buried under an avalanche of on-site video.

Why Body Cameras?

Body cameras have become more prevalent in 2015 as the Black Lives Matter efforts continue in response to news of additional, questionable black deaths. In December 2014, President Barack Obama requested funding from Congress for 50,000 body cameras to be used by police departments around the country.

According to Dave Burke, a police officer in Oakland, the city’s PD said that body cameras are helpful not just to gauge the behavior of officers but of people being arrested as well.

Former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said that the police department was awash in more than 2200 complaints of excessive force in 2009. In 2014, however, with more than 600 body cameras in operation, those complaints plummeted to 572. The statistics suggest that three out of every four incidents of reported police violence (74%) are being prevented by simply turning on cameras. Another stat is similarly compelling: before body cameras, the Oakland Police was involved with an average of eight shootings annually. Last year, that number was zero.

Why Cloud Storage?

Think about walking around all day with a camera capturing everything that you do. Now imagine everyone on your workforce having the same technology that feeds in their own shift-long perspectival shots. What we are talking about is a huge amount of data. In fact, 12 months of video from just one camera can be in the terabyte range (in other words, thousands of gigabytes).

Cloud storage could offer a cost-effective method to make it easy to stow away and easily retrieve videos as needed. However, public cloud typically doesn’t have the security mechanisms to meet the requirements of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division – which is necessary to allow police departments around the country to log onto the federal agency’s system.

Now, cloud providers are starting to step forward to meet this growing demand so that law enforcement offices around the country are able to prove their security.

Cloud systems can be extraordinarily helpful to police departments so that they have a robust way to immediately access distinct portions of their video libraries.

“It cuts down on time and also aids in investigations, crime trends and analytics,” explained the Oakland PD’s Burkel.

Everyday Compliance with Body Cameras

How about this scenario: A police officer goes to a hospital to collect information related to possible child abuse of a young boy. She talks to the boy, the physicians treating her, an official from the school, and the mother and father. The conversations range from classroom behavior to a potential pattern of abuse to IRS wage garnishment that’s removing funds directly from the father’s paycheck. Essentially, the officer is gathering as much information as she can so that the responsible parent can be arrested and face an airtight, evidence-rich effort from the prosecution.

If the officer is wearing a body camera, video must meet the parameters of numerous laws enacted at various levels of government.

“If that video is not properly stored, managed or disclosed,” argued Government Technology, “its value to the investigation can be compromised, which in turn can have devastating consequences for the people involved in the case.”

The Obvious Choice

Not everyone is gung ho about security cameras. Lynne Martinez, president of the ACLU branch in Lansing, Michigan, commented, “We must make sure these cameras don’t violate the rights of victims and are anxious to have a conversation about that.”

However, most people view body cameras as a necessary evil – and the decrease in force complaints at Oakland PD back up that perspective.

In terms of storage, cloud is the obvious choice – fast, accessible, and affordable – for the massive amount of data generated by body cameras. However, police departments must consider compliance with stringent security rules.

Just as cloud is the obvious choice for police video storage, we want to be your obvious choice for cloud. Our compliance audits and certifications are wide-ranging. Talk to us today about crafting a solution to meet your needs.

By Kent Roberts

Image via Wikipedia

Survey: Those Who Make Stuff are Using “Cloud Also”

  • Cloud
  • General
  • What's New?

When manufacturers transition their IT away from traditional mechanisms via “Cloud Also,” IDC argues they must focus on strategic collaboration.

  • Introduction
  • Cloud Prevalent on Various Continents
  • Highlights from the 2014 IDC CloudView Survey
  • Big Data’s Promise for the Industrial Internet’s Third Platform
  • The power of Strategic Collaboration

Introduction

Manufacturing businesses around the globe are busy – and not just making Charles Dickens action figures and apocalyptic snow globes. They are also changing their information technology models to treat cloud as a complementary option, as indicated by figures released by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

To collect the data, IDC surveyed 593 manufacturing companies from the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The majority of respondents (74%) were executives in the IT department, while the remainder (26%) held a line of business (LOB) position.

Cloud Prevalent on Various Continents

Already, two out of every five American manufacturers (41%) said they are using public cloud.

The advantages of cloud computing for manufacturers are significant, as line of business leaders and their IT organizations increasingly rely on cloud to flexibly deliver IT resources at the cost and speed the business requires,” explained the IDC press release on the survey (released April 2015). Although cloud can be incredibly beneficial, IDC additionally notes that the strategic plans of organizations related to the virtual machines must be in line with manufacturers’ objectives if this new trend is to achieve its potential.

Previous reports from IDC have revealed the worldwide interest in cloud among manufacturing businesses. Half of European manufacturers (50%) said that they have already deployed or are currently orchestrating deployments of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems running through public cloud. Meanwhile, almost the same number of Asia-Pacific participants (those from China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, etc.) are committed to some form of the technology – with 49% reporting that they have adopted or will adopt public or private cloud.

Rather than looking at a specific area of the world, this new report – the 2014 IDC CloudView Survey – assesses manufacturers across the globe.

Highlights from the 2014 IDC CloudView Survey

Here are some of the main takeaways:

  • Globally, two out of every three manufacturing companies use cloud hosting for at least three systems in public (66%) or private (68%) environments.
  • “Cloud Also” – the complementary approach that is effectively more hesitant than “Cloud First” (the policy professed, though still limping along, by the US federal government) – is the policy of choice: three in five (62%) said that their organization takes the “also” rather than the “first” approach for new systems, while that figure is slightly lower for replacement of current applications (57%).
  • The main way that manufacturers are using cloud computing is to fulfill IT functions. Just one in three (30-35%) manufacturers said that they were using it for engineering, sales, supply chain, or operations.
  • The proportion of IT spending that will move away from traditional IT and into cloud computing by 2016 is 27% on average.
  • Based on the trajectory of adoption, cloud is projected to become the go-to solution for any new systems that are needed based on growth (whether by the company itself or through acquisitions) through 2024.

Big Data’s Promise for the Industrial Internet’s Third Platform

“Manufacturers are in the midst of a digital transformation, in which 3rd Platform technologies are absolutely essential to the way they do business and in the products and services they provide to their customers,” said IDC manufacturing analyst Kimberly Knickle. “Consequently, a strategic approach to adopting cloud is absolutely essential.”

Manufacturers think that cloud will enhance their revenue by increasing the actionability of big data that they pull from sensors – what’s called the Internet of Things or, more specifically, the Industrial Internet. Information will feed in from the products, the manufacturing machines, and supply chain inventory. This data is worth more if it can be quickly and efficiently processed by numerous departments and even affiliates to gain a plethora of insights.

Manufacturers have become increasingly interested in private cloud so that they can build upon their existing networks and benefit from cloud agility without feeling they are making the data vulnerable. As time goes on, though, the IDC report suggests that companies will transition to public architectures with any nonsensitive systems. Eventually, they will increasingly take the cue of General Electric and go “all-in” with the public cloud, as the security (and perception of security) of public machines becomes more robust.

“Because of cloud’s tremendous value in making IT resources available to the business based on business terms,” remarked Knickle, “manufacturers must  ensure that the line of business and IT management work together in defining their requirements.”

The Power of Strategic Collaboration

Like virtually every other sector of the economy, manufacturing has realized the cloud should be considered in the development of any new IT system with “Cloud Also” strategies.

No matter what type of stuff your organization makes – whether it’s Charles Dickens action figures, apocalyptic snow globes, or anything else – cloud is best served through a provider that appreciates the power of strategic collaboration. At Superb Internet, we collaborate with our customers to meet their needs.

By Kent Roberts

Ripoff-as-a-Service: Robo-Cons From the Cloud

  • Cloud
  • General
  • What's New?

The low cost of the cloud attracts some riffraff. Telemarketing companies are signing up for “outbound interactive voice response” plans. In turn, we are entering the brave new world of ripoff-as-a-service (ROaaS).

  • Amy Calls Sean to Talk about Some Money
  • The Sad Truth about Amy
  • Enter Ripoff-as-a-Service (ROaaS)
  • Fighting Back – Also from the Cloud
  • Why Not Nicer-Things-as-a-Service (NTaaS)?

Amy Calls Sean to Talk about Some Money

When Sean Gallagher’s cell phone lit up one day with a number he’d never seen before, he assumed it was one of his children calling from a buddy’s phone. However, when he picked up, he realized that he was speaking with the newest Prince of Nigeria.

From the other end of the line, an eerie voice said, “‘This is Amy! … I’m a senior account representative for American Direct Services!‘”

When Gallagher asked Amy if she was a computer, she claimed that she was not. Plus, she had exciting news: she was calling to let him know that he was eligible to win $1 million… just for picking up his phone.

Gallagher was intrigued, especially since the company was local and had the word “American” in its name. Always having appreciated ladies who work at patriotic outfits, he asked her out to dinner. They lived happily ever after.

The Sad Truth about Amy

Unfortunately, that’s a lie. And so was the phone call. Amy was actually an outbound interactive voice response system probably running through the public cloud. According to Gallagher, American Direct Services is a scam organization that signs people up for fake contests and magazine subscriptions – information he derived from speaking with her manager, who also claimed to be human.

“Outbound IVR is the latest evolution of the robo-call,” Gallagher explains, “a telemarketing system that uses the technology of voice response systems we’ve used to navigate through the call queues of insurance agencies and banks and turns it around to make pitch calls.”

Typically, these services are run through voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) systems or otherwise conceal the actual line of the phone-spammer. More and more, we are chatting with computers on the phone, typically through customer support lines – although hopefully Amy gives each of us a call soon so we can have a chance at that million bucks.

AT&T patented Outbound IVR in 2006. It is now for sale from various cloud companies, including Nuance (Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Siri), CallFire, and PlumVoice. NaturallySpeaking is actually being used to write this piece, so welcome to the Matrix, everyone.

Enter Ripoff-as-a-Service (ROaaS)

One of the biggest benefits of cloud computing is its affordability. That’s obviously not ideal when it comes to robo-con operations, who can now barrage you with phone calls night and day without needing their own equipment or call-center. Furthermore, a decision in a Washington federal court has given IVR companies immunity from lawsuits if they send through calls from scam artists.

Robo-thieves play a “catch me if you can” act, unconcerned with blacklisting or do-not-call measures since they can always switch to a different number. The most recent adaptation is to use the local area code. It’s simple with VoIP – just grab a bunch of local numbers and hide behind a phone switch running through a cloud virtual machine.

“By using cloud platforms to drive these calls,” Gallagher remarks, the budget-friendliness means that they don’t have to worry as much about their success rate. Their labor costs are incredibly low since they “only have to involve a human for the targets who are gullible enough to interact with the software-driven call for a few minutes of screening questions.”

Fighting Back – Also from the Cloud

Aaron Foss may not have won $1 million from Amy, but he did get $25,000 from the FTC. The FTC likes Foss because he crafted a solution to combat robo-calls, which have been a topic of concern for the agency for years.

Foss didn’t want all of his callers to have to step through hoops to speak with him. He just wanted everything that came through on his line to be non-annoying. The trick he used, which he deployed in 2013, was simple: screen everything against a blacklist of bad guys and a whitelist of good guys – well, neutral guys at least.

In 2014, his company Nomorobo shutdown more than 15 million bogus phone calls from artificially intelligent nimrods.

“He uses cloud computing services … to block Florida timeshare sellers and fake Microsoft support gurus from the 190,000 VOIP customers who use his free product,” reports Robert McMillan of Wired. In other words, the spammers are using the supercomputer processing speeds of cloud for ripoff-as-a-service, and Foss responded with his own version of nicer-things-as-a-service.

Why Not Nicer-Things-as-a-Service (NTaaS)?

As the story of Nomorobo reminds us, ripoff-as-a-service doesn’t have to set the tone of the cloud. The real-time agility of cloud computing enables anyone to fight fire with … water. Really, nothing drives robots crazy like water. It’s their kryptonite.

Do you have a nicer-things-as-a-service solution you want to introduce to the world – or any other ideas that don’t involve fraudulent million-dollar sweepstakes? Set up and create a Flex Cloud VM for free.

By Kent Roberts

Measuring the Snowden Effect: Edward Snowden’s Impact on Cloud

  • General

Internet

How substantially did Edward Snowden damage the cloud computing industry with his NSA leak? Forrester Research says the initial projections were inflated. Actually, Snowden is specifically concerned with popular Internet services – including one used by The New Yorker to deliver an interview with him in 2014.

  • The Snowden Effect
  • American Cloud Industry Still Strong
  • Bye-Bye to Facebook, Google, Dropbox?
  • Cloud with Security Expertise

The Snowden Effect

Since Edward Snowden has been in the news so much lately – with the best feature documentary prize for Citizenfour and his interview for the New Yorker Festival – industry analysts have been watching the cloud market closely. A massive fallout was expected following Snowden’s revelations about NSA’s Prism spying program, but a Forrester Research report argues that the long-term consequences will be less dramatic than originally imagined.

Neelie Kroes, who was the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda when the Snowden story broke in 2013, was one of the first people to publicly mention the potential downturn in the American cloud market (ComputerWeekly). If firms are concerned about surveillance, Kroes argued, they would likely turn away from cloud services offered by US-based companies. Apparently part of the “digital agenda” of the European Commission is to exploit potential weaknesses and grab market share.

However, obviously none of us wants somebody looking over our shoulder. How significant of a problem is the NSA to businesses worldwide? In an age when Chinese and Russian and North Korean hackers seem to be having their way with the infrastructures of healthcare companies, federal agencies, and movie studios, how much are companies willing to adjust their business strategies based on a threat of governmental snooping?

The short answer: Not much, because that threat is “overblown.”

American Cloud Industry Still Strong

Now that two years have passed since the first reports on the Snowden leak appeared in The Guardian, the Forrester assessment found that the cloud market was not hit as hard as was predicted in 2013.

“It seems the international business was a lot more insulated from US spying compared to what was originally thought,” head analyst Edward Ferrara explained. “[T]he data suggests such concerns about Prism were overblown.”

The revelations about the Snowden Effect are just one piece of a report published by Forrester entitled the 2014 Business Technographics Global Infrastructure Survey. The whitepaper, which utilized the perspectives of more than 3000 IT and business executives in nine countries across five continents, found that one in four international companies (26%) lowered their budget for American cloud services since the leak occurred.

“This … needn’t be viewed as catastrophic for service providers,” offered ComputerWeekly, “as users weren’t sharing a great deal of data with them in the first place.”

Concurring with the ComputerWeekly description, the abstract of the report revealed that companies were choosing to add encryption to their services and processes rather than actually transferring data out of the country.

Bye-Bye to Facebook, Google, Dropbox?

Dropbox is popular. In other words, it’s trusted as a file-sharing service. Its growth rate has been truly staggering:

  • Reached 100 million users in November 2012
  • Doubled to 200 million users by November 2013
  • Achieved 300 million users by May 2014

Google? Its cloud email service Gmail reportedly had about 500 million active users in December 2013. Facebook puts both of them to shame, though, with 1.35 billion active users monthly (third quarter 2014).

All of those users should pull the plug, says Edward Snowden.  In a live discussion with investigative journalist Jane Mayer for the New Yorker Festival, he argued that the privacy protections for all three services were weak – a comment that came across as a bit bizarre and Orwellian for those watching on YouTube or Google Hangouts, on which a Google logo hovered above his head.

Snowden told an audience member during the question-and-answer session that it’s wise of Internet users to “search for encrypted communication services” since those methods of interaction “enforce your rights.” He said that users should avoid companies that have proven “hostile to privacy” – specifically naming Facebook, Google, and Dropbox. He recommended SpiderOak as a replacement for Dropbox because that service keeps files encrypted in all locations as well as in transit. In other words, Snowden seemed to be particularly concerned with the security mechanisms of particular firms rather than targeting a specific technology such as cloud computing.

In addition to changing Internet behavior, Snowden said that phone behavior should be adjusted as well. He posited that it was unwise for US citizens to send text messages that weren’t encrypted, and that solutions such as RedPhone and Silent Circle could be used to enhance mobile protection. Even with those apps in place, though, Snowden said that phones should all be considered dangerous by US users since service providers could be forced to give up your information through a subpoena.

Snowden did not initially intend for Russia to be his final destination. He was planning to go to Latin America, but a freeze on his passport waylaid him in Moscow.

Cloud with Security Expertise

“I appreciate the support that everyone’s given me,” Snowden said during his interview, “but it’s important to remember that I’m an ordinary guy.”

At Superb Internet, we believe every ordinary guy and every business deserves great support. We also understand Snowden’s security concerns.

We believe it’s critical to work with a cloud hosting company that isn’t just selling cloud servers but is investing in security (our datacenter is SSAE 16 audited, and our organization is certified to meet ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 27001) and offers a full range of hosting solutions.

By Kent Roberts

 

Reports: Cloud is an Emotional Roller Coaster

  • Cloud
  • Security
  • What's New?

Cloud computing is a mixed bag. I think we all know that. But a couple of reports released in the last 30 days demonstrate the ambivalence IT decision-makers feel toward the technology, by the numbers.

  • Vormetric/Ovum – Cloud Half-Full & Half-Empty
  • Hacking Safeguards are the #1 Concern
  • NTT Communications – Cloud Turbulent at Lunch
  • 2015 Cloud Trends
  • Strategic Use of Cloud

Vormetric/Ovum: Cloud Half-Full & Half-Empty

Okay, so on-premise hardware is where you keep the important stuff, and the cloud gets all the development data and other low-risk information, right? Wrong.

A collaborative 2015 whitepaper by Vormetric and Ovum revealed that three in five American tech executives (60%) and more than half of IT directors worldwide (54%) keep private data (such as user details or trade secrets) on cloud VMs.

Although cloud seems to be widely trusted, it was at the top of the list for data vulnerability among the 800 executives polled for the report:

  • Cloud – 47%
  • Databases – 37%
  • File servers – 29%

“Cloud and big data concerns remain ‘genuine’ and ‘deep rooted’ according to the study,” explained James Bourne in Cloud Tech. “The numbers revealed worrying findings about why [organizations] were moving data into the cloud.”

He’s right, I guess: nearly one out of every two survey participants (46%) said they were shifting to the cloud to remain competitive in their industry.

Respondents were also asked what simple changes would make the cloud more attractive to them. The majority said they would invest more in the technology if it included:

  • Encryption managed by the client on-site – 55%
  • Encryption within the cloud itself – 52%
  • Acceptance of legal responsibility by the cloud company if hacked – 52%

Why are these companies so concerned? Well, simply put, they feel vulnerable. Two out of every five firms (40%) were either hacked or found to be noncompliant within the last 12 months.

Companies aren’t nearly as concerned with the thousands of North Korean cybersoldiers or international crime rings that take money straight from the till as they are with their own people. Almost all respondents (89%) reported at least some degree of risk from insiders.

Who is considered the most dangerous?

  • Users with elevated privileges – 55%
  • Providers of data services – 45%
  • Business associates – 43%

It’s good to know that our clients are more concerned with their own personnel than they are with us. That really is a weird vote of confidence.

Hacking Safeguards are the #1 Concern

Remembering that figure above about how many organizations had experienced a compliance failure or data breach in the last year (40%), it’s no surprise that hacking safeguards are the biggest concern of these decision-makers. Compliance is a lesser concern. After all, Vodafone, Target, and Sony had all passed compliance audits prior to their breaches.

The head analyst behind the report, Ovum’s Andrew Kellett, said that hope and fear surround the big data and cloud market. “This fear can lead to slow implementation of these platforms, which stymies innovation and growth,” he commented. “But there are steps enterprises can take and changes providers can make that will increase adoption.”

NTT Communications – Cloud Turbulent at Launch

In a second report, NTT Communications revealed that migration from legacy systems to the cloud were often rocky.

They also said that even though cloud is becoming a bigger slice of IT spending, executives commonly are unconvinced that the technology is meeting reasonable expectations based on the way services are marketed.

According to the study, enterprise computing environments are becoming progressively more sophisticated and more challenging to control.

“UK IT decision makers claim they have to support 250 applications on average, compared to 100 in the US … and 57 in Germany,” reported Bourne. “Globally, IT is having to deal with more than four clouds on average.”

2015 Cloud Trends

The whitepaper highlighted a few trends in the business cloud this year:

  • It’s unclear what types of software should go to cloud – respondents were (for the most part) evenly divided on the right environments for productivity suites, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management. However, the real answer apparently is that almost all should go eventually. Only one in ten applications (10%) will never be moved to cloud.
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is not yet widely accepted. However, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is used by nearly 50% of study participants.
  • The majority of respondents said that creating an easy-to-use bimodal infrastructure – essentially a hybrid of cloud and legacy systems, as promoted by Gartner analysts last year – is challenging. IT leaders say that there is little time left over for innovations and global fixes since keeping software running smoothly eats up so much of their schedules.

Strategic Use of Cloud

According to NTT strategic VP Len Padilla, cloud often doesn’t simplify the lives of IT executives as they had hoped.

“ICT decision makers harbour significant frustrations over cloud,” Padilla noted. “and there are no clear answers over which kinds of applications belong where.”

In other words, it’s easy for cloud to drive you crazy; but as described above, most companies are moving their apps there regardless.

The solution? Choose a full-spectrum hosting partner that provides transparent and expert consultation: Superb Internet.

By Kent Roberts