There are so many testing techniques around the globe. A lot of companies keeping a very low budget for testing don’t bother for standard testing techniques measurable quantifiers and qualifiers. In fact, testing in their ecosystem is not a fundamental characteristic. Neither they have a strong customer base that demands this. Rather, their products also don’t fall in standard category and hence there is no resisting demand for a good testing technique. But generally, such products, vendors, and customers who don’t give high weightage to the adoption of good testing techniques lack quality. And this lack of quality impacts not only their working environment but also personal life. Such is the value of quality in life. And obviously, without the adoption of good testing techniques, you can’t bring quality in work and life. A benchmark is a must.
Any testing technique must have following qualifiers:
- Approved Technology:
Whatever technology you adopt, it must be an approved technology. At a personal level you can go for any kind of technology but when it comes to a professional front, it has to fulfill certain criterion. Especially in the production environment whatever product you launch or use, it must follow standard technology techniques.
- Wide Acceptance:
The technique you adopt must have a wider acceptance localy and globally. Well, if your product is totally local with no global market in sight, then also it must follow this factor. Because permanance is not consistent and constant in any organization. In need, you must be able to get trained manpower on the same technology.
- Global Presence:
The testing tehnologies you adopt must have a global presence for the same reason as in the previous point. Especially when you are planning to expand globally.
- Fulfill Requirements:
Obviously any technology, howsoever good, is useless if it doesn’t suffice your purpose.
- Availability of Support:
And finally, the external support must be available on the testing technologies you are working on.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Altaro’s Co-Founder and CEO, David Vella and Co-Founder and VP of WW Sales & Marketing, Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita, during their North American launch of the company and the general availability launch of its VM Backup version 7.
Q) Could you briefly introduce Altaro – the elevator pitch – the company, its technology and target customer(s)?
Altaro Software is a leading developer of Virtual Machine (VM) backup and recovery solutions, with their flagship product Altaro VM Backup, a high-performance backup solution specially developed for small and mid-market businesses. Specialized in backup for virtualized environments, Hyper-V and VMware, Altaro aims at delivering a fast, full-featured yet affordable backup solution and is equipped with an outstanding, personal support team, determined to help the clients succeed in protecting their environment.
Having a network of over 6,000 IT resellers worldwide, Altaro is heavily focused on building a global channel to deliver its solutions to SMBs worldwide.
Q) You recently launched Altaro into North America – what prompted this move?
While our headquarters are in Europe, from the outset, we’ve been very focused on selling our products to an international audience, in fact, we have over 30,000 customers using our software around the world, out of which 40% are based in North America. North America is one of our fastest growing markets, therefore it was a natural progression for us to focus on North America.
Q) And, you launched a new product: VM Backup version 7 – what is it and what’s new?
With the launch of Altaro VM Backup V7, Altaro introduced the best deduplication in the industry, Augmented Inline Deduplication™ of backups across VMs and boot from backup. For customers, this means much lower storage requirements and significantly lesser data to be transferred, with a resulting dramatic saving in bandwidth – resulting in storage savings of 63% to 96%. Moreover, with more VMs backed-up, customers enjoy a dramatic increase in storage costs.
Q) Competitors? Who are they and what differentiates VM Backup version 7 from their solutions?
Veeam is the most well-known player in the industry, however their solution is complicated and built for the Enterprise customer rather than the SMB, this means that it is much more difficult to use, much more expensive to purchase and includes many enterprise level features which the small and mid-market do not need to use or do not need to pay for. Altaro’s solution is built from the ground up for the SMB, which means that customers get an easy to use, affordable product which will allow them to be up and running quickly. Altaro’s deduplication technology is also up to 50% more effective than Veeam’s which means more cost savings on storage requirements.
Q) Anything else you wish to add?
We also recently rolled out a groundbreaking new Cloud Management Console for customers and partners to monitor and manage all their Altaro VM Backup installations from a single online console. More info at http://www.altaro.com/vm-backup/cloud-management-console.php
Q) Where can readers go to learn more?
A recent visit to BM Munjal University, Gurgaon (or Gurugram) was an eye-opening day. It was the second semifinals for the India Innovation Challenge 2016 on April 22. There were 24 student teams pitching their product to the panel of judges from IIM Bangalore. Also on the panel were various Industry Experts. There was a high level of enthusiasm among students showcasing their hardware prototype through and exhibit booth to all the evaluators and visitors. The same energy I could find on the face of Sanjay Srivastava, Director University Program, Texas Instruments India. In the lobby area near the auditorium, the student teams were presenting their product demo. What all it demonstrates is magnificent disruptive ideas coming from these budding scientists and innovators of India.
The winning team would get a funding of around INR3.5 Crores. This is a good amount to convert their team into a reality. The collaboration is DST-Texas Instruments India Inc. The contest is heading towards its final stages. More than 11000 students were participating from over 600 engineering colleges from across India in this contest. These 24 teams were from 22 engineering colleges. The first semifinal was on April 15, 2017 at IIM Bangalore (now Bengaluru). India Innovation Challenge is a good way to nurture innovation. Everyone could sense a stream of pathbreaking innovation with a focus to bring socio-economic change for India. Most of the entries are in close proximity with the Government’s vision of Swaach Bharat, Digital India, Smart Cities, etc. These solutions have the potential to address pressing problems across various sectors. This in turn promises to bring positive change to the lives of millions of people.
India Innovation Challenge
It was the 2nd semifinal of 7th Texas Instruments India Innovation Challenge Design Contest. Texas Instruments collaborates with IIM Bangalore and Department of Science & Technology (DST).
In fact, Texas Instruments takes India Innovation Challenge to greater heights after collaboration with IIM Bangalore and DST. It has become a benchmark.
I would call Digital Business Technology a mix of IT, Business, and Computer Science. Though earlier businesses were using computers for their business applications. But a lot of factors that have emerged and have become and integral part of the business are the key contributing factors of Digital Technology. The emergence of technologies like Cloud, Mobility, Analytics, etc. have become considerable factors in changing the whole paradigm of business. Earlier, we had a seat or desk concept where everything will happen. Especially the business transactions. Be it physical or on a computer. The person was able to perform only while on the seat. It used to hamper business while the same person responsible for such transactions is on leave or traveling. Such hiccups used to cause a delay in business transactions. The life was cool as there was no concept of analytics, real-time reports, dashboards, mobility, cloud, etc.
But now due to Digital Business Technology, the life has become quite dynamic and productive. Nothing stops the work even if a person is away from his or her desk. The concept of the desktop, laptop, and a fixed desk is not there anymore. A handy mobile device is capable of your all business needs. In fact, everything has become digital. Be it a business application, decision making, business transaction, advertising, marketing, sales, operations, and financial transactions. The virtual world has become a bare minimum necessity in this real world. Now, you can have a video conferencing while on the move. Similarly, you can approve vouchers, purchase orders, and other business documents with the help of workflow apps on your mobile device. The concept of office-less businesses is emerging fast. This is all due to Digital Business Technology. And the world, in fact, has become too small with this.
Overall, it is clear that no business in today’s world can survive without adopting Digital Business Technology. It is all global now.
It is important to understand relation concept in database. A database comprises of multiple tables. All tables are an integral part of the database. In fact, all these tables connect to each other with the help of some keys. It is the key that acts as a pointer in two tables thus establishing a relation. It is as simple as the relation concept in any database. Suppose you have a table EMPLOYEE MASTER and another table as EMPLOYEE ASSETS. Now Employee Master will have all the basic details of an employee. And you generate a key Employee Code. In the other table Employee Assets, you need not repeat this basic details of an employee. Just create records with the existing Employee Code which establishes a relation between the two tables. This relation becomes handy at the time of creating new records, reports, and dashboards.
To learn the relation concept in database further, let us think about the same two tables above. While entering Employee Assets of an employee who is already having some assets in his name, you need to add new assets in his or her name. While entering these details from the front end by an end user, you need to give a screen to enter the data. Now some information about this employee must reflect here like Employee name and existing assets, for instance. The former will come from the Employee Master while the latter will come from Employee Assets. It is the Employee Code in both the tables that make it possible.
Relation Concept in Database
Unless you have a common key that establishes a relation between the two tables, it will never be possible to fetch the correct information from the two tables. Meaning, if this relation is not correct, you will be showing wrong name agains an Employee Code. That is the relation concept in database.
Content is growing exponentially across the globe. Though regulatory compliance is not growing at the same pace but still paving its way for some stringent actions at enterprise and governance level. In fact, all industries, organizations, and governing agencies are raising a concern regarding information assets that need to be proper identification, retainment, security, sand safety in a systematic manner. This tremendous increase in data growth demands a sturdy, fast, smart, and cost-effective data storage solution. In addition, when it comes to governance, legal, and regulatory compliance, the need becomes more specific in terms of security, safety, and time-bound.
Thus arises the need of an archiving solution that can archive content without any compromise with security and protection for a longer period as per compliance needs. And in fact, the solution should be able to reduce the long-term cost of ownership. Whether your precious data resides on cloud or on-premise, it has to follow the compliance and regulatory needs. Industries are following regulatory requirements strictly. The stipulation of retaining certain types of content and securing for a specific period of time is taking place. For all this period you need to secure your data ensuring no alteration takes place. And in case there is any alteration, there has to be a foolproof audit trail mechanism in place.
Content is the key to any business
Industries like Health Care, Government, Legal, Financial, Pharmaceutical, Hospitality etc. have to protect their customer data as per regulatory requirements. And why only these industries, it is becoming aparantly necesary for any industry. It adds a lot to an industry’s reputation. An adverse news about data leakage from the database of an industry can bring its doom’s day at a fast pace. At some point of time it is important to learn that all the good things are taken for granted by the customer. But any adversities in regard to content especially the one concerning consumer directly can cause a big harm to a business.
Seagate has an advice for global business leaders and entrepreneurs. It is to sharpen their focus on data. Especially the data that is critical to the success of global business impact. The reason for this is quite simple. Total worldwide data will increase exponentially to almost 160+ ZB (ZettaBytes) by 2025. Which is simply 10 times the current day value. And the majority of this data will belong to enterprises. They would be creating and managing this humungous data on a regular basis. Thus the new study forecast 1 10-fold rise in the worldwide data by 2025.
In response to this, global data and storage leader Seagate advises global business leaders and entrepreneurs to enhance their concentration on the mega trends that are the driving factors of this voluminous data growth over the next decade. They must keep examining their business’ direction for the data in all aspects. like creation, collection, utilization, and management. The IDC white paper, Data Age 2025 predicts that the data creation will swell to almost to the size of 10-times of today. It would reach to a total of 163 zettabytes by 2025. Seagate is sponsoring the white paper.
It clearly spells out that the speed of conversion of analog data to digital is stupendous. And it fastly is replaced by a different era. This era focuses on the value of data. Not only that, it manages the creation, utilization, and complete life cycle of data that has become the nerve of business. This data relates to consumers, businesses, governments, and so on. There is a large amount of sharing and accessing of this data between multiple agencies and devices. Data Age predicts the primary creators of the bulk of the world’s data will shift from consumers to enterprises. By 2025, enterprises will be creating 60 percent of the world’s data. This will empower business leaders to embrace new and unique business opportunities. But it will need to make strategic choices about data collection, utilization, and location.
Global Business Leaders
Seagate CEO Steve Luczo says, “While we can see from this new research that the era of Big Data is upon us, the value of data is really not in the ‘known’, but in the ‘unknown’ where we are vastly underestimating the potentials today. What is really exciting are the analytics, the new businesses, the new thinking and new ecosystems from industries like robotics and machine-to-machine learning, and their profound social and economic impact on our society. The opportunity for today’s enterprises and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to capture the value of data is tremendous, and our global business leaders will be exploring these opportunities for decades to come.”
IDC SVP Dave Reinsel says, “From autonomous cars to intelligent personal assistants, data is the lifeblood of a rapidly growing digital existence – opening up opportunities previously unimagined by businesses. Technology innovation will be vitally important to evaluate and fully activate the intricacies of what’s contained within this large volume of data – and storage, in particular, will continue to grow in importance, as it provides the foundation from which so many of these emerging technologies will be served.”
PwC India is a leading global professional services organization operating in almost the countries across the globe. It announces the launch of the PwC Insights as a Service (PIAS). The service offering allows enterprises to embrace advanced analytics and data science capabilities in a crisp manner. The three winning factors are quick, flexible commercials, and lower TCO (total cost of ownership). Two unique features of PIAS are “all you need” and ready-to-deploy platform. The fully managed solution thus leverages PwC’s intellectual property in advanced analytics, big data, and IoT (Internet of Things). In addition, PwC has a cross-sector consulting expertise to deliver business results. As a matter of fact, PwX Insights empowers business users within an enterprise in a unique manner.
PwC Insights ensures to help all its users of all levels in a business ranging from C-suite executives to data scientists. The platform has an edge over other similar solutions for certain because of many reasons. Firstly, it comes preloaded with data automation and management tools. Secondly, it contains industry and domain-specific machine learning and cognitive algorithms. These reasons help enterprises to jumpstart the solution execution quickly thus improving business outcomes. In addition, it comprises of industry leading, multi-level data security and 24/7 support. The solution is available on Microsoft Azure. In fact, PwC plans to roll out 30 such solutions in the market over the next year. These solutions will be on a pay-as-you-go engagement basis.
Raman Bhushan, Partner, Advanced Analytics, and Data Science, PwC India says, “There is enough and more evidence to suggest that analytics-driven decision making drives better business outcomes and creates competitive advantage. With Insights as a Service, we are addressing our clients’ needs of building next-gen analytics capabilities, with minimal investments in technology and talent. PIAS helps our clients gain a competitive edge through insight-driven decision making that brings together PwC’s advanced analytics capabilities and technology consulting expertise along with Microsoft’s Azure platform.”
The beauty of PwC Insights is its ability to ingest any kind of data be it structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. In fact, this data could be coming from diverse sources. But the solution ensures to deliver impactful insights in the areas of customer value management, sales and distribution, demand forecasting, marketing mix, fraud detection and also incorporates IoT analytics solutions, among others. Further, it delivers personalized views to users in half the time of traditional models and provides robust data security.
Pawan Kumar S., Joint Leader, Technology Consulting, PwC India says, “PwC is constantly looking to move the needle in terms of delivering data-driven actionable insights that address our clients’ need to grow and optimize their business at an accelerated pace. The Insights as a Service is the latest in our lineup of advanced analytics solutions that not only draws on our deep industry and domain expertise and proven ability to deliver strategy through execution, it also combines the power of Machine Learning, Stream Analytics, and other new generation analytical capabilities.”
The Smart Cube brings something very innovative to help business in a big way. The product is Smart Fleet that we will be talking about a little later. It is a global analytics company delivering analytics and research services/solutions to large enterprises, financial institutions, and management consulting firms. In fact, so far, they have a credit of performing over 35,000 studies covering almost all industry segments, functions, and regions. They have a global team of over 600 analysts. Their teams become an extension of their clients’ in-house teams and thus deliver analytics and insights well within time.
The Smart Cube has its headquarters in the UK. Other offices include the USA, India, and Romania. The company owns ISO 27001:2013 certificate has regular audits by BSI for assurance on data protection and confidentiality. Now they launch Smart Fleet which is a golden weapon for fleet managers. The solution gives fleet managers better supplier options in a smart manner. The features like enhanced data visibility empower fleet managers to diversify supplier relationships and thus reduce TCO (total cost of ownership). In fact, it will transform the way they manage their fleets and engage their suppliers.
The problem arises when businesses use multiple fleet suppliers. And this is happening in most of the cases today. All these fleet suppliers provide different reporting data, in diverse formats. In addition, this reporting data has varying levels of accuracy that makes the situation more complex. Due to this, fleet managers use manual spreadsheets for their daily routine jobs. This, in turn, is the most unreliable and time-consuming method to maintain. Moreover, it offers inflexible reports and that too with a lot of limitations. And when, in such situations, there is a further pressure from senior executives for visually appealing timely reports, the whole system cracks.
This is when, for the first time, Smart Fleet presents a centralized analytics of a business’ vehicle fleet. That too in situations where the business has a number of suppliers. In fact, the system supports better decision-making with a comprehensive visualization, analysis, and reporting tools. The solution resides in the cloud thus having a flexibility of drawing together multiple data sources and providing a singular view in return. This gives fleet managers an improved visibility of key metrics. These include metrics like CO2 emissions and average fuel consumption (AFC).
Joe LaRosa, CPA, MBA, Global Fleet and Business Consultant says, “Fleet managers need a variety of information such as total cost of ownership, maintenance records, lease details, current driver details and CO2 emissions to make the most strategic and cost-effective decisions for their business,With the average firm using at least three suppliers, collecting, standardizing, cleansing and visualizing of data has become a full-time job. Smart Fleet eradicates these challenges, allowing fleet managers to work with as many suppliers as they choose, without worrying about how to consolidate reporting data.”
So if you are still facing the burden of maintaining spreadsheets or legacy systems, it is the right time to move to Smart Fleet. Because it is an agile solution that delivers relevant and up-to-date information. There is an automatic data cleansing process and error identification mechanism that ensure data accuracy. Also, it ensures providing comprehensive visualization and analysis tools. In fact, the industries using Smart Fleet confirm up to 80% reduction in time spent on data management. Thus allowing them to focus on value creation and driving better business performance.
Jeremy Weil, Chief Product Officer at The Smart Cube says, “To make the best commercial decisions for their business, fleet managers require holistic information on the overall fleet available to them. Smart Fleet uses the latest data visualization techniques and cloud-based technology to ensure all information is instantly and easily accessible.”
Data Age 2025 White Paper by Seagate Cheat Sheet brings out a number of conclusive and eye-opening facts. The key focus stays on the year 2025.
Overview of Data Age 2025:
- 20% of the data within the global datasphere will have the potential to be critical
- The average connected person will interact with a connected device 4,800 times a day
- More than 25% of data created in the global datasphere will be real-time and IoT real-time data will make up 95% of this
- Just over 20% of the data created in the global datasphere will be useful for analytics if tagged, yet only 15% of this data will actually be tagged and analyzed
- 90% of all data created in the global datasphere requires some level of security, but less than half will be secured
Data Continuity over Time:
- Of all data in the global datasphere, 20% has the potential to be critical to the continuity of our lives by 2025
- Compound Aggregate Growth Rate (CAGR) of data between 2015 and 2025
- All data will grow 30%
- Potentially critical data will grow 37%
- Critical data will grow 39%
- Hypercritical data will grow 54%
Interactions per Connected Person per Day:
- The average rate per capita of data-driven interactions per day will increase twentyfold in the next 10 years
True Mobile and Real-Time Data:
- By 2025, connected users are expected to number 75% of the world’s population
- Real-time data will increase at 150% the rate of overall data creation
Machine Learning and Data Tagging:
- By 2025, just over 20% of the data created in the global datasphere will be useful for analytics if tagged, yet only 15% of this data will actually be tagged and analyzed
Security as a Critical Foundation:
- In 2015, less than 30% of data was created by the enterprise while in 2025 this figure will be nearly 60%.
- The burden falls on enterprises to manage more than 97% of the global datasphere
- The percentage of data requiring security will near 90% by 2025
Seagate Technology Plc’s financial results for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2017 ending March 31, 2017, prove highly increasing demand in storage worldwide. And why should it not be? The fast evolving concepts like Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Cloud, Analytics etc. demand are taking shape into reality. And thereby it propels the storage requirements in an exponential manner. In that context, for the third quarter, the company reports revenue of $2.7 billion with a gross margin of 30.5% and net income of $194 million. In addition, diluted earnings per share are $0.65.
On a non-GAAP basis, that excludes the next impact of certain entities, Seagate Technology reports a gross margin of 31.4% with a net income of $329 and diluted earnings per share of $1.10. The company generates $426 million in cash flow from operations during the third quarter. It has paid cash dividends of $186 million and successfully raises $1.25 billion in investment grade debt. In addition, Cash, Cash equivalents, and short-term investments exceed $3 billion at the end of the quarter. Around 300 million ordinary shares were issued and outstanding as of the end of the quarter.
Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman and chief executive officer says, “The results of our financial performance this quarter reflect a stable demand environment, good operational execution, and momentum in the stabilization of our business model. With a market-leading and cost-efficient storage solution portfolio, Seagate is well positioned to support our existing and new customers in a world of accelerated data creation and increased storage needs driven by emerging technologies and new business models. We will continue to focus on future growth opportunities, generating profits and building lasting value for our shareholders.”
Overall, it is interesting to watch how Seagate Technology and similar trade companies are going to fulfill the exuberant storage needs worldwide. In addition, it is not only about the storage but also about the quality and consistency. In fact, it is a very versatile phase of technology.
Schneider Electric stands among the global frontrunners in energy management and automation. With an employee base of around 150,000 globally serving more than 100 countries, they are the pioneer in assisting them to streamline their energy and process in a much safer, reliable, sustainable, and efficient manner. their revenues for FY2016 were around Euro 25 billion. The organization has a wide expertise in managing from the simplest of switches to complex operational systems. With this, they help their customers improve their operations. In fact, they reshape industries, transform cities, and enrich lives. As they say, Life Is On.
Schneider Electric aims to make India’s first greenfield smart city in Naya Raipur. Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) zeroes down to Schneider Electric India on the basis of their global specialization in energy management and automation. This results into signing a contract between the two for the development of the first greenfield integrated smart city. Naya Raipur is the capital of Chattisgarh. In fact, Schneider Electric will execute this project along with their consortium partner IL&FS Technologies. As a matter of fact, this is a tripartite contract.
Rajat Kumar, IAS, Chief Executive Officer, Naya Raipur Development Authority, says, “It is a happy moment for us today as the Naya Raipur Smart City project takes off with the consortium and our partners. This is a unique project, one whose organic growth we shall pursue aggressively. The project shall be spread across verticals and integrate these diversified segments and I look to our dynamic team to make this real in a short span of time.”
Schneider Electric will be taking care of the development and execution of most critical activities in the project. Like Command & Control Center, transportation, surveillance, citizen applications, Smart Grid, Water Management, and overall Building Management. There would be more than 100,000 IO points for connected devices in the transportation system. This will include, edge control, various applications, analytics, and a number of services. The open, scalable, and interoperable technology design gives it an extra leverage for scalability and cost control. IL&FS will take care of e-Governance and Transportation.
As a matter of fact, Schneider Electric aims to complete their first fully integrated city with all features a smart city can have. This includes physical & social infrastructure, Governance & Legal framework, 24×7 quality water supply, smart metering, complete automation of utility bills, enhanced security mechanism, complete safety, citizen-centric mobile apps etc. In addition, there will be city portals to control the complete ecosystem.
Prakash Chandraker, Managing Director, and Vice President, Schneider Electric Infrastructure Limited, says, “We are delighted to be a key partner in delivering a world class integrated city with a focus on the safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity of citizens. We shall leverage advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, analytics, and cyber security technologies to make Naya Raipur a true smart city.” Overall, it is going to be a challenging project.
Who else would be the best person to talk about Cyber Security Best Practices than Carl Manion? Carl is a Managing Principal at Raytheon Foreground Security. He is responsible to provide advice and guidance to enterprises of all sizes. He guides the organizations to tangibly realize their corporate security visions and thus bring out the best practices. Carl is, in fact, a cyber security professional and veteran U.S. Army officer. He has more than 23 years of experience in cyber security services, cyber threat intelligence operations, and respective IT management fields. He masters in threat hunting and security information and event management (SIEM). As a matter of fact, Carl has extensive expertise in various fields of enterprise security technologies, incident response mechanism, and security operations managment.
In fact, the success story of Carl’s leadership experience does not stop here. Besides displaying his expertise in the U.S. Army, he has been working as cyber defense strategist with many Fortune 500 companies. Like, USAA, Texas Instruments, IBM, and Locheed Martin to name a few. He leads and manages security operations, programs, and projects at these enterprises. His organization, Raytheon, educates students from Khalifa University on cyber security best practices. Carl delivers a lecture to around 30 students from Computer Engineering department of Khalifa University of Science and Technology. This is under the banner of Cyber Acedemy. Raytheon launched this academy globally in the UAE last year.
Cyber Security Best Practices
Carl says, “When it comes to cybersecurity, skilled individuals are your greatest asset, and developing local cyber capacity is key for effective and long term cyber defense. Technology alone is not enough to defend against the highly advanced, well-resourced groups and individuals behind many of today’s cyber threats. It takes talented cyber threat analysts, security engineers and malware researchers who can think like your organization’s adversaries, understand the tools, techniques, and practices they use and develop the necessary counter measures.” That opens a new horizon for Cyber Security Best Practices.
Data archiving is a topic gaining increasing importance in the enterprise due to the critical business and IT implications it carries. Not long ago, it was a topic pushed to the back burner, and/or confused with backup. Today, savvy IT and business professionals know that the consequences of not understanding and employing the right archiving strategy can have disastrous consequences for an organization – today and into the future.
Today, I am speaking with Bill Gallagher, Director of Worldwide Sales, Alliance Storage Technologies on this important topic.
A: Due to the exponential growth of content and the increase in regulatory compliance and mandates across many industries, organizations are becoming increasingly concerned that certain types of information assets need to be properly retained and secured in an appropriate manner.
Worldwide data growth will continue to explode. According to a Northeastern University blog and infographic, “The total amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. That is set to rise steeply to 44 zettabytes by 2020.” This data growth explosion is driving the need for faster, smarter and more cost-effective data storage solutions. Moreover, when combined with increasing stringent and complicated internal governance, and external legal and regulatory compliance mandates, the need for long-term data preservation solutions has never been more critical.
Whether from increased regulatory oversight, corporate governance mandates, escalating storage costs or malicious acts such as hacking or ransomware, there is a growing trend to archive content to ensure it is stored on durable media that provides security and protection in an unaltered state for decades while reducing the long-term cost of ownership.
Q: Are there any specific industries that are feeling the pain more than others?
A: There a many industries that must strictly follow regulation which stipulate how certain types of content must be retained and secured for a specific period of time in an unaltered state. Some of the more obvious industries are Health Care, Government, Financial, Legal and Pharmaceutical. More specifically, in the United States the Healthcare industry’s HIPAA HITECH mandates require the protection of personal healthcare information, with stiff penalties for breaches, while Financial industry mandates such as the Security and Exchange Commission’s 17a-4 and 17a-3 rules specify the record types and the manner in which they must be retained. In Europe, the new GDPR mandates are being implemented with wide reaching implications on the long-term preservation and protection of data. In addition the corporate world is also highly regulated and requires that certain content be archived in accordance to the mandates.
Q: Many business organizations still view data backup and archiving synonymously, how do you separate the two?
A: Many firms think they are archiving their data, but they are actually performing backups. Backup is a way of taking an image of your data for the purpose of restoring data, preventing its loss in the event of a disaster. But backups are in general repetitively taking an image of the same data over and over and not taking into account versioning of files or the associated metadata related to the file at a point in time. Backups fall significantly short of meeting the requirements for permanence, authenticity and longevity. Finding and retrieving older documents is nearly impossible with just a backup solution.
Digital archiving is the long-term retention and management of historical, fixed-content digital assets. These assets contain data that is specifically retained to satisfy industry compliance regulations and corporate governance, in addition to providing litigation support and records management. Often used for legal discovery requests, an effective archive solution can mitigate risks and enable business success.
One of the fundamental principals separating backup from archiving is the requirement to store specific content unaltered for extended periods of time. If an organization is required to archiving content, it is most likely driven by a number of government regulations mandating varying lengths of record retention, ranging from 7 years to 100 years or even to “forever.” These records and images must be authentic and readily accessible.
An estimated 70–80% of all corporate data is static content. Just think of all of the backups you do on a systematic basis, and how much of the data in those backups never changes. Then think of the time and money you could save if you had a solution that let you back up only the data that requires short-term protection. You could then permanently archive your remaining fixed-content data to safe, secure media that is easily and readily accessed.
Q: Data is one of a business organization’s greatest assets, are you finding that IT is still wanting to keep all data onsite – even archived data – or are they moving it to a public cloud environment? What are the scenarios for it making sense to keep data onsite vs. moving it to the cloud?
A: In general, there is no one distinct answer to this question. Depending on Industry and regulatory mandates, customers are in different stages of cloud adoption. A driving factor is their view and requirements on maintaining control of their corporate data. Based on this, they are making decisions to embrace cloud storage, maintain on-premise control, or remain undecided.
For those organizations choosing to embrace cloud storage, they are increasingly realizing the value and benefits of leveraging low cost Cloud storage; however, when archiving to the cloud, there appears to be a preference to use a multi-tiered storage architecture which leverages a hybrid model allowing for permanent-unalterable onsite copies of last resort that are also simultaneously archived to the Cloud. This type of architecture can reduce cost and complexity while being secured using AES-256 bit Data Encryption with on-premise encryption key management to ensure sensitive content is not compromised. This architecture ensures user maintain control of their data assets on-premises and in the cloud.
Hybrid Storage, or more specifically Cloud Integrated Storage (CIS) solutions, combines the strengths of multiple technologies to provide a data archiving infrastructure that drives competitive and financial business advantages. Businesses and enterprises can now realize an archiving system specific to the needs of the organization according to capacity, scalability, performance, features, and budget.
Blending compliant archive storage technologies with the reliability, availability, and utility of the Cloud also requires a software management layer to transparently and seamlessly integrate all storage tiers into a single footprint that provides users with affordable choices for archiving data locally and on the Cloud with full access and management capability across the archiving ecosystem.
In order to leverage a Cloud or Hybrid Cloud archive architecture, any solution will need to provide a multi-facet set of features that address the contemporary requirements of data storage infrastructures such as compliance with industry regulations, disaster recovery, high-availability and the benefits of the Cloud.
Q: The data archive debate seems to be centered around disk and tape vs. cloud, but you are seeing resurgence in interest around optical technology – can you talk a bit about that?
A: Long term data retention, security and durability are major considerations when securing critical content in an unaltered state. For years organizations archived content to disk, tape and optical. Disk and tape offered an initial lower cost, higher capacity and IT familiarity which resulted in a higher degree of comfort and adoption. Optical technologies have been trusted by thousands of organizations for many years, and have had a large following, but its initial overall capacities, performance and cost in the past did not keep pace with these other technologies. Today optical has now taken a ‘quantum’ leap forward in terms of the capacity, performance and cost, now offering a 100 year life expectancy at $.04 per GB. With optical roadmaps leading to significantly improved capacity and performance at an even lower cost per GB, the economics plus incredible durability of Optical make it a superior solution for long-term data archiving.
For archiving, record authenticity is a key attribute of Optical storage media as organization are required to retain and secure content in a permanent-unaltered state. Tape and Disk are both magnetic-based solutions and are natively rewritable media types that employ a software/firmware WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) lock to prevent the drive from erasing and rewriting. This technique only emulates the native attributes of Optical WORM which uses physical phase-change technology that cannot be altered or rewritten, making it physically impossible to alter.
Media life of spinning disk and tape is much shorter than Optical and requires ongoing maintenance and generational upgrades. The newest generation of optical has a life expectancy of 100 years and provides data durability that is unprecedented in the storage marketplace. Optical is a non-magnetic media that much less sensitive to environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) and requires no proactive maintenance like tape. Records can sit untouched on Optical for decades without the need for any maintenance or power required and without fear of media deterioration.
Optical complies with industry regulations for record authenticity in a way that cannot be matched by either magnetic disk or tape technology. This is critical for many organizations and is one of the principle reasons Optical is chosen over tape and spinning disk for archival storage. This is why Optical has always been referred to as the “gold standard” for data archiving and is often noted as “the copy of last resort” by organizations that cannot afford to lose mission critical content.
Q: What advice would you give to an IT, business or channel partner working to set an archiving strategy?
When exploring archiving alternatives, it is imperative to consider all requirements for the retention of your critical business assets as well as the overall long term cost of such. Items to consider include:
- What industry, government or corporate mandates will impact what data must be retained and the cost/impact of non-compliance?
- Determine your risk tolerance over loss of control of your data. Do you wish to maintain a copy of last resort at all times under your control? Is this data critical to the continued success of your business?
- How will the data be secured to ensure protection from unauthorized access, exposure, or in the event of a disaster? What are my business continuity objectives for this data?
- With Archive data being retained for decades rather than years, what is the long-term cost of the solution? You must factor in decades of re-occurring cloud storage subscription cost, technology refreshes required with Disk and Tape, and the pain of frequent data migrations and related cost.
In selecting an archiving solution recognize they are not all created equal. For example, an archive solution that offers a multi-tier (disk, cloud, optical) storage archive will offer unprecedented long-term retention, security and data durability that will preserve content for 100+ years at a cost that competes with tape.
A recent survey of Ireland chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI) brings out stunning results. It says a majority of Ireland project managers fear a Brexit skills shortage. There is a serious shortfall in availability of skilled project managers according to industry leaders. Probably this is one of the major risks that is resulting out of Brexit. 60 percent of project management leaders participating in this survey say that there is a lack of enough experience in Irish project and program managers. And hence, the existing lot will not be able to fulfill the current need of project management professionals for the nation. In addition, more than 70 percent of the respondents in the survey say that the scenario is going to be further complex. The gap is increasing at a considerable pace and hence increase the risk in the shortage of Ireland project managers.
The concern is definitely serious when it comes from the horses’ mouth. As a matter of fact, there are certain more serious revelations in the survey regarding Ireland project managers. Because two in three respondents feel a rise in the need of the level of resources to complete projects in the coming year. There are more than 50,000 project management employees in Ireland as per latest estimation. These include sectors like finance, construction, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, IT, and public sector.
Ireland Project Managers
Niall Murphy, President, Ireland Chapter of PMI expresses grave concern regarding this wide gap in skills. Regarding Ireland Project Managers, he says, “Project management will be instrumental in navigating this uncharted territory that is Brexit, from managing a company’s future trading relationships with the British market to working with major financial institutions who are expected to relocate here.” He further adds, “Without a sufficient supply of skilled project managers nationwide, there is a concern that projects will not be effectively delivered. This shortage needs to be tackled, as it will ultimately affect the Irish economy as a whole,”
Definitely, the current scenario of Ireland Project Managers is taking a serious turn. It needs immediate attend to stop damage to projects.
There are ample benefits when you migrate to the cloud. Imagine a huge data center consuming a lot of power and engaging a lot of manpower. On the other hand, a one-time cloud migration would take away all these hassles away from you. But before you plan to migrate to the cloud, there are a lot of considerations to be taken care of. So far all your critical enterprise data was on-premise. The same is now going to reside on a server that is not under your control. You might have a service level agreement but you never know who all have access to that server where your business data resides now on the cloud. In that manner, cloud migration is a serious activity and your cloud partner must address to certain critical concerns.
Though till now all your enterprise data was in your own data center, but still there were many security concerns. And of course, you were taking care of that via firewalls, routers, switches, virtual private networks, AD server etc. Still, you can never claim to be 100% risk-free. But the moment you go for cloud migration, I feel, your risks increase. Or so it seems to be. In reality, it might be different. Cybersecurity protection is a major concern on the cloud. You might have to redefine business continuity plans. In the same manner, IT disaster recovery also will have a different paradigm now. How about taking Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service to protect against security threats and incidents? After all, business continuity is always a top priority irrespective of whether your business-critical data is on-premise, on the cloud, or undergoing cloud migration.
After all, IT disaster recovery and a strong cyber security mechanism need to complement each other in order to protect sensitive data. Hence, whenever you decide for cloud migration, your cloud partner must be able to address these issues first. Otherwise, it might be too late, later.
Automation in workplace. Is it a point of worry if it is happening in your organization? A recent report from PwC in this regard says around 40% of U.S. jobs would become obsolete by the early 2030s. And it is because of a high risk of automation. Downsizing is a favorite action point of any top person of a business enterprise. Because this is the best way to show your performance. Secondly, it also helps you to get your books from red to orange, if not green. I am sure, a lof of people are there who lost their job because of this reason in their organization. I know an organization in India, a leading education company, where a new CEO joins with a big bang three years back. He comes with a promise of bringing a revolution in the business. And obviously, the first thing he performs is downsizing.
But even after three years, the company is still in red. Because the CEO has not been able to do anything other than his first and world’s most favorite action. On the other hand, advances in technology, computer modeling, robotics, etc. are all becoming a threat to blue and white-collar jobs. Even if you are not a victim this time, you might be in the list next time. Is there a growing threat among an organization’s white-collar and blue-collar segments? Does automation in workplace create a fear factor in any employee’s mind that his/her job would get a severe impact in the future because of this?
Automation in Workplace
Is it important to remove an employee from his job for the sake of automation? Yes, I think. As far as removing from the job and not from the organization, it is fine. Obviously, you didn’t recruit donkeys in your organization. And if this is the way of paying for the loyalty of a good employee, in my opinion, it is wrong. Automation in workplace should not come with a fear to your organization.
Podcasting is a Business or Bust? This is an important point of discussion. Especially, in today’s scenario when the whole world is going digital. Whatever business you are into, it depends on how you leverage it to your benefit. Why has podcast an edge over a videocast? There are many reasons. Firstly, the size of data. A video is manifold in size in comparison to a podcast. Secondly, you need a simple platform for streaming. Thirdly, you need lesser preparation because it is only about voice. And finally, it is easier to stream at the user end and hence less cumbrersome. If you are not using podcasting as a business platform currently, sooner you will need to. But you have to ensure to create a profitable business approach to it.
I think, these days, every industry need to podcast. Because every industry has a set of audience and prospects. It might become a strong weapon for your business to attract new leads. And obviously, new leads are always welcome in any business in order to significantly grow your business. But you have to be careful about investment of time. If you are podcasting spending a lot of hours and are not able to reap any benefits out of it, then there is something seriously wrong in your methodology or approach. Most important part is to reach your audience, prospects, and listeners. If, despite your al good efforts, you are not able to, you need to reinvent or realign your process of podcasting.
Podcasting is a very important tool, in my opinion for all industries. Especially if you are into music, movies, education, automobile, health, hospitality, F&B, or for that sake, any other business. In fact, you just need to sit and think, who all would benefit if you pass on a little piece of information about your business, product, or service via podcasting. And then define process for it to implement it fast.
CIO roles are changing globally. It is expanding vertically and horizontally. A CIO is not to constrain himself merely within the four walls of Information and Technology Department. In fact, one who limits himself within that sees the exit from the organization sooner or later. A decade back a CIO having higher visibility outside these walls would be taken up as wasting time according to the top management perspective. But not now. In fact, in today’s scenario, the management assumes a CIO to be more interactive with the business head and department leaders. And those who don’t are having less interest in the business. That is how the top management and HR takes it. And obviously, why it should not be? How information technology is a different island than the business. Both have to exist on the same ground. That brings new CIO roles.
So various CIO roles that come to my mind in today’s changing paradigms are as below:
CAO: Chief Automation Officer. Automation is the key. Business can’t afford it technology ignores any mainstream process and doesn’t focus on automating it. In fact, unless all key business processes undergo automation, you can’t move towards sensible and meaningful analytics. Hence, Automation is the key role that a CIO has to carry along.
CDO: Chief Digital Officer. This, in my opinion, is the most demanding CIO role in the current scenario. If an organization is not digital, it is like a dead fish in the sea.
CKO: Chief Knowledge Officer. This is another CIO role that one has to take care of.
CDO: Chief Data Officer. When we talk about big data, Internet of Things, and Cloud, it indicates that data is flowing from various streams. A CIO has to own all these data streams to provide his organization a meaningful bouquet of information and analytical reports.
And if you notice any other important CIO role coming to your mind, please do participate via the comments section without fails.
Choosing a right business process management software for your enterprise is a very important decision to make but not before this. Before everything else, you must be very much clear that whether your organization needs one or not at this stage. It all depends on the maturity level of an organization to adopt a right kind of BPM software. A small mismatch might create a big fight between adoptability and adaptability. Firstly, let us understand what is a business process. A business process is nothing but a logical design of activities that regulates a provision of a product or service for an end user. This end user could be an external or an internal entity. For this, you create workflows. And to adhere to workflows there come project management and task management into the picture. A lot of things connect back and forth to streamline this.
Business Process is not that difficult to manage. You can do it even without a Business Process Management Software. But as the business expands, you strive for higher efficiency and productivity. For this, you need to perform certain important tasks. Firstly, you need to focus on automation of workflow. Secondly, you need to find out the bottlenecks. Thirdly, you need to regularly review your business processes. And finally, you need to remove these bottlenecks and renovate redundant procedures. To organize it all in an efficient manner, it is advisable to go for a good Business Process Management Software.
Business Process Management Software
Remember to evaluate exhaustively these software before purchasing one. You have to ensure that the final product is able to address the direct concerns and issues of your organization. In fact, your ultimate goal is to go for a business process management software that has certain capabilities. Firstly, it should optimize your business. Secondly, it should remove the complexities and anomalies in the business. Thirdly, it should focus on timely automation. And finally, it should have a dashboard to provide you relevant metrics and reports in order to ensure regular improvement.
Finteract is a platform to engage startups with finest of minds. Technology is changing fast. Commerce is changing its dimensions and meaning when it comes to the digital world. IT services are transforming to IT entrepreneurship. A lot more was happening during Spring Conference 2017 at Novotel, Vizag. Fintech Valley is a revolution in Andhra Pradesh. Fintech Valley launches Finteract. It aims to promote multi-disciplinary thinking in order to create greater expressiveness and meaning to the fintech culture. They call it as ‘Fintectonic’. There were two founders and a UI-UX strategist to inaugurate this series of conversation. The founders include Nitin Saluja, Founder, Chaayos and Dharmil Sheth, Founder PharmEasy. In addition, it was Priyanka Agrawal, famous design thinking UI-UX specialist from Fractal Ink.
The overall purpose of Finteract is to organize a specialist talk to share experience and learning. On the same lines, Fintech Valley aims to dynamically catalyze this thriving spirit to inculcate innovation. These things do not happen merely by raising funds or building infrastructure. It needs to build a culture and atmosphere that curates an environment for these ideas to grow.
During his Finteract session, Dharmil Sheth says, “People struggle to accept change. Resistance and opposition are a part of disruption. I foresee technology leading this disruption and changing policy in the industry.” Priyanka Agrawal recommends, “To
innovate, you must have a beginners mind. It is through only small insights and lateral thinking those innovative solutions can be born.” On similar thoughts, Nitin Saluja believes in simplicity. If you need operations to do wonders, then the think tank has to do their job with perfection.
Overall, Finteract was quite a meaningful interaction with entrepreneurs and experts. Probably, it is important for industry leaders to find right kind of experts that can become a catalyst for their business. After all, it is just a question of right kind of energy and synergy to create wonders.
Spring Conference 2017 at Fintech Valley Vizag witnesses overwhelming participation. There were many global companies participating in the event. In fact, it is Andhra Pradesh government’s project to develop Vizag as a national and global giant for fintech initiatives. Most of the participating companies came up with quite innovative projects. In all, there were 30 international delegations attending the event. And overall, there were not less than 150 startups competing in four Fintech challenges. Out of this around 40% participation was from across 15 countries. These global companies include those from Singapore, Switzerland, and Japan. March 9 was a historical day for Andhra Pradesh. It was the inauguration of Spring Conference 2017 at Novotel, Visakhapatnam. This marks the beginning of a new era in shape of Fintech Valley. In fact, this is just a start of a flagship initiative.
This initiative aims to bring together industry, academia, and investors to work together in an innovative manner to co-create and build the fintech ecosystem. As a matter of fact, this would be a unique platform where the financial experts and startup community will get a chance to share mind-space with a wide range of experts from various streams of the profession. In fact, anyone having disruptive ideas is most welcome to be a part of Fintech Valley. Though Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu was not able to attend the Spring Conference 2017 in person but he was there for an hour over video conference to talk about the vision and mission of Fintech Valley.
Spring Conference 2017
In addition, he will chair the Fintech Valley Forum. In fact, during his address, he was quite enthused. He says, “The Fintech Valley Spring Conference is our step in joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is a spectacular combination of technology and Internet of Things (IoT). In recent times, technology has started influencing our lives in a comprehensive manner. The demand for Fintech is growing each day. To meet this demand, we would need the support from Fintech and Cybersecurity companies. We also need the academic institutions to adapt curriculum that trains individuals to contribute to fintech sector. I extend my best wishes for the success of the initiative and hope it provides multiple opportunities to meet the futuristic requirements of our country and the global economy at large.”
Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to the AP Chief Minister, J. A. Chowdary states during his keynote address, “Indian IT 1.0 is facing difficulties. The next flight towards IT 2.0 will be backed by fintech. The tectonic shifts this will cause and entail is captured by the expression ‘fintectonics’. It is a fintech culture we are creating here – a culture of doing something for the betterment of the common man, a culture of creating an ecosystem by getting the right industry linkages and finding the right formula for the critical manpower.” In addition, other prominent personalities present on the dais at Spring Valley 2017 were Roy Teo, Director, Fintech & Innovation Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS); Utkarsh Palnitkar, Partner KPMG; George Inasu – COO, Fidelity Financial Services; Puneet Pushkarna, Chairman, TIE – Singapore and Joe Seunghyun Cho – Co-founder and Chairman, Marvelstone Group.
A Discussion with Bill Tolson, Vice President of Marketing, Archive360 (www.archive360.com)
In speaking with IT professionals, I constantly hear about the same dilemma – how can IT support its corporate client base in providing what feels like an endless supply of share drive capacity? In fact, I would challenge anyone to find an IT professional that isn’t faced with the continuous pleas from their corporate end users for more and yet more, storage. Today, I am talking with Bill Tolson of Archive360 regarding this topic.
J.K.: In speaking with Archive360’s client base, are you hearing that data storage continues to top IT professionals’ priority lists?
B.T.: Absolutely. Today’s end user – whether they are in a profit/non-profit business or government agency have become accustomed to saving everything – from documents to presentations, to emails and so on. And, I know I am guilty of it myself, I never delete a thing. I think almost anyone you speak with will admit that they have become a packrat of sorts, holding on to everything “just in case.”
Add to this, corporate, legal and regulations compliance professionals are facing and imposing increasingly stringent guidelines and policies regarding the retention of current, as well as aging low-touch inactive or “grey” files. These low-touch files could hold potential relevance in current or future legal proceedings, or are necessary to meet compliance regulations.
J.K.: So, IT professionals are finding themselves responsible for low-touch inactive files that are clogging file shares. And, it is the convergence of these problems that are forcing IT to purchase additional file share capacity, along with adding the management resources necessary to keep it running smoothly and backed-up.
B.T.: Agreed. The cost of purchasing enterprise storage can be very steep, with the cost to keep it operational just as expensive or even more so.
J.K.: I believe you have similar statistics, however in my experience and based on prevailing industry research, the yearly management cost of enterprise storage is about $3,200 per terabyte (TB), or about $.27/GB per month. For a medium sized organization, with 100 TBs of share drive capacity, that is a spend of $320,000 alone in overhead (including management, backups annual support agreements, etc…). That is on top of the cost of the storage itself which typically represents a thousands if not hundred of thousands of dollars investment. So, what do you view as the solution?
B.T.: What if, instead of purchasing new share drive capacity each year, you could automatically move low-touch and inactive files to a cloud-based file share drive extension, while still maintaining total and ultimate control? What if you could do this while still maintaining the ability to search for and access the files at anytime? What if you could ensure that same — or in some cases even increased — levels of protection, security and performance? What I am suggesting is that more and more savvy IT professionals are turning to the public cloud to support their HSM (hierarchal storage management) share drive strategy, as their lowest cost storage tier.
Extend Your Share Drive Capacity
J.K.: What do you view as the benefits of this combined on-premises and cloud HSM strategy?
B.T.: What we are seeing consistently in customer’s that have deployed this strategy is that it has enabled them to avoid being forced into purchasing high priced share drive storage for inactive data. IT still maintains high touch business critical files locally, while low touch files are moved automatically to inexpensive cloud storage. This represents huge savings and allows IT to redirect these resources to activities and technology investments that support revenue generation, and other core organizational goals. All, while keeping all share drive content available, secure and protected for business, legal and compliance purposes – at the absolute lowest price possible.
Extend Your Share Drive Capacity
J.K.: Is there a particular cloud platform that view as an ideal solution for this scenario? And, what advice would you offer to those exploring it?
B.T.: We would recommend Microsoft Azure should be among the top contenders. As IT professionals explore leveraging the Microsoft cloud as their share drive capacity extension, we also highly recommend that they pair it with a migration and management solution that will enable them to create tailored policies, such as age and access based policies, for on-premises share drives that will automatically move files that meet their specific requirements, while still maintaining access to the files via their local departmental share drive. This capability offloads low-touch inactive files from the on-premises share drives, freeing up space for more active files – and putting an end to the annual share drive purchase.
J.K.: Virtually limitless elastic scalability, teamed with high performance, data protection, and security, and high availability, as well as many other enterprise-class capabilities – all at a dramatically lower cost – seems like a no-brainer to me.
Fintech Valley must be a dream project of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister personally. Whatever you say about this project in words is less than what is actually happening. The project has an amazing response not only from Indian companies but across the globe. Fintech, in fact, is the new buzzword in the state. And why state, the same should happen across the country. The project is in right hands. Chief Minister, Nara Chandra Babu Naidu is an agile and dynamic personality. Witnessing Fintech event in Vizag during 9-10 March was really amazing in all aspects. Not only in terms of the learning but the amazing work happening in this regard. The head of this project is none other than the chief minister himself. That itself says the seriousness and gravity behind the project. The two-day event was full of a high level of enthusiasm and collaborative effort.
With so much of disruption happening across the globe in business and technology, Fintech Valley in Vizag is the right answer to everything with one powerful shot. It aims to target great outcomes from the digital disruption in Fintech and innovation. It brings together the two with the right proportion of amalgamation thereby creating a solid bond. There is a right mix of public and private players. Not only this, there are many other remarkable factors. Firstly, it has the state of the art incubators and accelerators. Secondly, there are innovation labs. Thirdly, it includes mentorship and angel investors. And finally, it is the right place for anyone willing to break free from traditional processes. The self-sustaining global Fintech Ecosystem has higher goals than just access to Fintech and its innovators.
Fintech Valley Vizag
Right from the initiation Fintech Valley nurtures an oasis to take care of cyber security, block chain, digital awareness, and research. Nothing less than international standards. On one hand, it equips individuals and businesses with a unique set of opportunities. These opportunities will help to grow through enabling market access for startups to angel investors. While, on the other hand, it promises to provide world-class infrastructure, funding, human capital, research, and innovation. The vision statement by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu promises to create 5 lakh jobs in Andhra Pradesh by 2020. And all this will drive through technology-enabled services. In fact, The Fintech Valley is like a playground for start-ups and innovators looking to disrupt traditional business processes.
Andhra Pradesh ranks number one for ease of doing business. It imbibes a strong IT industry with a turnover of over INR 2,000 crore. On top of it, there is a strong support of a robust industrial base along with educational infrastructure which is constantly expanding. Fintech Valley in Vizag is the perfect destination in India for an unmatched global level business opportunities and goal setting.
The Digital Platform is the best way to reach masses in case of governance and administration. This is what the latest move by the governing party in the center signals. There are many things that BJP is doing in India which no other party could do so far. Definitely, if you have good intentions for the masses, you need to take serious steps towards that. And those steps need to be big in shape. Because smaller steps lead to smaller achievements for a smaller group. But when the group size reaches to billions, there have to be bigger moves. Obviously, digital is the key in today’s world. The people reading physical newspapers is shrinking. And the volume of online communities is increasing exponentially. Even in the remotest of locations, people have plasmas, smartphones, and they do online shopping too. The world is changing fast.
The Kerala state BJP unit comes out with a master plan. This plan focuses on citizen welfare schemes by means of digital media. It also intends to take up environmental issues on digital platforms so as to have larger participation and contribution. The digital platform helps you to connect faster and to much larger audiences. Evidently, BJP’s hold in southern cities is weaker. This might help them to strengthen their position in upcoming central elections in 2019. As per the master plan, there will be 1000 digital service centres across the state. The focus will be helping people in removing their doubts and sharing more knowledge about various welfare schemes like pension and insurance.
Kummanam Rajasekharan, BJP Kerala President says, “The mechanism will be implemented at the booth level. The state-level programme has already started and the plan is to implement the digital help-desk, titled Deendayal Helpline, across the state in the next one month.”
In addition, the digital centres will also provide a number of useful e-services to people. Of course, the digital platform has a great potential.
Information security frameworks questions are quite common across the globe. Technology and business keep raising concerns about the information security. The information security framework comes into picture for that purpose. It is entirely dependent on the business framework and security needs. Hence a common framework will never suffice all businesses in general. It has to have precisely as per the needs. For instance, the information security framework in banking would be quite different from any other business as far as transactions and customer information are concerned.
Here is a recent question on ITKE regarding the same. Would you give me guidelines on development steps and initial requirements of information security framework? The answer as per my knowledge goes like this. Information not only talks about digital information but the physical information too. Hence the three spectra that you need to take care of while creating your policies must include – all critical data in devices (databases, emails etc.), all information on paper/files/physical, and all key personnel in the organization having critical business information. Logically, there are two kinds of risks as far as information security is concerned. Firstly, there is an internal security risk that you need to mitigate. Secondly, there is an external set of risks.
Information Security Framework
Though the security needs might be same in both the cases on a broader level. But there has to be a different set of processes and procedures to tackle both. It is apparently true that the risks from the people inside are higher than outside. The reason for this is that there is a high level of data and information exposure to employees. Therefore, you have to handle rights and access quite wisely. In fact, there is another prominent concern in this regard. That is about sharing of passwords. There are many cases where a manager shares his or her password with subordinates just to shred off some of the responsibilities. Information Security Framework is definitely a serious concern. Also, there has to be a constant review policy for the same.
External auditing happen almost in all organization. It is probably a legal requirement under company act. But then is it possible to audit an external company auditing your organization. Obviously external auditors are the kings. They can ask and demand any information, data, and user rights. In case of physical information too, they can seek files and documents to any extent. Logically, when such audits happen, it is an audit of your practices, proedures, and policies. Basically, it is a check of what you say and what you do. These ideas came into my mind when i came across this question on ITKE. The title of the question is External IT company auditing security and policies.
The question is – We have an external IT company auditing our security and policies. What kind of access should we give them? Should we be worried about auditing the auditors? In the nutshell, is it possible to audit an external company auditing your organization? I think, in an organized scenario, it is very much possible. There is a written agreement between the two parties – auditor and auditee. Everything is being taken care in that agreement. There is no need to audit the auditors. But you just need to ensure that you record every requirement from them in black and white along with the reason for which it is required. In any case, when you give them admin user/password you always have audit trail for all your critical data and actions.
Is it possible to audit an external company
Moreover, as the maturity level increase, the auditors inform you the key areas they would be looking into. Also, in most of the cases, they list down the information they would be seeking. This information might include an access to your key business application. They might like to access the application with differnt role level to check if the authorizations and alerts are working correctly of there are any gaps.
Just now came across a question on ITKE seeking clarity on Cyber Security and its connection with Business Continuity. There is definitely a strong connection between the two. The question title was Aligning cyber security incident plans with BCM. The question is – How can I integrate cybersecurity practices into a BCM program? In my opinion Cybersecurity or for that sake any security in terms of data, transactions and critical manpower come under Business Continuity. No enterprise can afford to ignore it while creating policies in that regard.
In today’s era where most of the business transactions happen from multiple locations, the internet plays a major role. The moment your data is exposed to the external world, that is the moment it is out of your local area network and floats on wide area network, it is exposed to risk. You might be using encryption and secure connection but then there is always a chance of hacking the data by miscreants. You never know who are your enemies in this world of masks. Though even if you have an on-premise server and transactions are happening within the LAN but still there would be some ports talking to the external world for various reasons. Cyber Security is of prime concern and a small breach can impact business heavily.
As a matter of fact, a fraction of leakage can create a big risk for a business. For instance, it can be an email, a document about a business deal, a travel itinerary of a key position holder etc. Therefore you need to create a risk assessment charter. Segregate risks on the basis of their severity. the severity comes from the loss or damages a risk can cause to an organization. Higher the loss of damage, higher would be the severity. In fact, this loss or damage need not necessarily be in the form of money. It can be a bigger damage in terms of reputation. Hence, taking cyber security in your business continuity charter is essential.
Samsung in Spain announces I&G or Infill and Growth Project. The innovative projects collaborate two communication giants in India. The project by Samsung is for Reliance Jio Infocomm, India. The project aims to upgrade existing LTE mobile communication services across India with a stupendous increase in capacity as well as network coverage. As the need for this is increasing at a fast pace in the country, some strong steps need to be taken in this regard. In fact, the project aims to set a new benchmark for LTE services in India. This is to happen via wider coverage, deeper penetration of signals, and high speeds. The uniformity in experience is very important in telecom services. You can’t provide an excellent experience at one place and then it worsening at other locations.
The spectrum in 850, 1800, and 2300 MHz bands targets to enable flawless indoor and outdoor coverage even in highly populated areas. The Infill and Growth project, as its name suggests, will help Jio to expand in rural areas by extending its reach to more than 90 percent of the population. As a matter of fact, this is not the first time Samsung is working with Reliance on a large project. Earlier it provided the LTE core, base station, and various solutions for Reliance’s VoLTE services. They also provide huge deployment services for establishing the large network for Jio. In fact, the two companies earlier deployed the world’s largest greenfield LTE network in India.
Infill and Growth Project
Regarding Infill and Growth Project, Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics says, “As Jio’s end-to-end LTE solutions partner, it is a great pleasure for Samsung to contribute to Jio’s tremendous success.” He further adds, “The massive deployment of over a million cells across India is especially remarkable. We will strive to create new paradigms for LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G by closely cooperating with Jio as a unified workforce.”
Jyotindra Thacker, President of Reliance Jio Infocomm, while talking about Infill and Growth Project says, “I am excited to announce our new project with Samsung. We successfully achieved 100 million subscribers in 170 days, making us the fastest-growing company in the world, and the numbers continue to rapidly grow. It was possible because we introduced a truly effective LTE service, Pan-India. We are committed to bringing game-changing digital experiences to India with superior ecosystems, mobile content, all-IP networks and ongoing process innovations.”
We are talking about smart cities, smart nations, smart buildings, smart homes, smart transportation, and so on. With so much of connectivity increasing, we must also think about how to secure data in the world of IoT. Firstly, users have to come out of their habit of using default passwords. The phenomenon is so common that very less percent of users follow the rule. The rule is simple and the risk is high. Keeping your data safe, especially now in the era of IoT, is very important. The IoT age is wonderful but is equally unsafe in terms of data and security. These days, when devices and household equipment are having passwords, we must be highly alert in assigning the passwords. For hackers, it has become a simple challenge to crack a router and other devices in a fraction of seconds.
Leave aside the non-IT people but even the IT professionals at senior positions use default passwords. The same applies to IoT vendors whether they are device sellers or service providers. A password must be as complex as possible. Mostly the habit of using names, common nouns, and a small set of numbers prevails as a habit. These kind of passwords are quite easy to crack in no time. In fact, a password must be long and complex having a combination of numbers, symbols, and different letter case multiple times. This can definitely help you in keeping your data safe to a large extent. Learning how to secure data is important but more important is to understand the risk of not doing it.
How to Secure Data
IoT device manufacturers should follow this practice. In fact, forcing a user to set a password before using the device is a good practice. Also, while resetting a password there must be guidelines to ensure a strong and complex password. Such policies make it difficult for hackers to crack a device though if not impossible. With so many devices getting interconnected a strong password for each device is more important. A single device in the network with a weak password can call for a big trouble. How to secure data is not merely important for the device owner but for the complete ecosystem of large networks, they become part of.
Internet of Things is not merely a buzzword. In fact, a lot is happening in this area worldwide. But at the same time, there is another issue. The rising security concerns with the rise in IoT projects is creating a different set of threats for industry. As a matter of fact, there are many unanticipated risks that are yet not perceived by the technologists and risk experts. A recent article talks about this at length and it is important to understand it properly. Though Internet of Things is a revolution, it is causing certain safety concerns. Of course, any convenience comes with a pain. And we, importantly, need to address to it. There are certain alarming issues that consumers and manufacturers need to take care of in this regard.
Over a 50 billion IoT devices will be talking to each other by the year 2020. This figure comes from a whitepaper by Cisco. In fact, consumers and industries are already feeling the necessity of connecting devices. This necessity arises to bring a big amount of comfort factor in our daily lives. Smart homes, smart cities, smart transport, and smart buildings bring in a lot of devices sharing information with each other in a fraction of a second. This information thus enables you to take timely decisions and actions. Smartphone companies are already releasing new generation devices having inbuilt IoT applications.
Rising Security Concerns
But while these devices tend to increase convenience, they also imbibe with some serious security risks. The uptrend in rising security concerns is alarming, in fact. More devices on the internet mean more liberty to hackers to put their hands on. It is the sensitive data lying on or traveling through IoT devices that are at stake. As a matter of fact, weak infrastructure and insufficient security in these devices is an open invitation to hackers. As we all know that hacking an IoT device is easier than a computer or phone. That is why there is a tremendous increase in IoT botnets. In fact, a vast level of connectivity of these devices invites for more lucrative hacking tasks. Because it opens a plethora of systems inviting them for this challenge. In fact, rising security concerns demands an immediate focus from security experts.
IDC’s report FutureScape: Dawn of the DX Economy and the Digital Native Enterprise talks majorly about few things that are going to change the world in a big way. These are IoT, Digital Transformation, AI, Big Data, Analytics, and Cognitive technologies. In fact, most of these create the base of the IT Industry Predictions from IDC. The evolution of the third platform is on the rise. It comprises of the cloud, mobility, big data/analytics, AI, and social technologies. As a matter of fact, any enterprise committing for digital transformation will have to adopt the third platform. The size and velocity of adoption will depend on the size and urge of the enterprise respectively.
Following are the IT industry predictions from IDC:
Information-based products and services will control more than half of the Global 2000 businesses by 2020. Such companies will have to bank on their ability to build a digitally-enhanced product, services, and experiences.
Third Platform technologies and services will involve more than 75 percent of IT spending by 2019.
67 percent of enterprise spending in IT infrastructure and software will focus on the cloud.
The extent of experimenting by consumer-facing global companies with Artificial Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) will increase to 30 percent by 2017.
The AR/VR is bound to reach mass adoption levels by 2021. Over a billion users will be accessing apps, content, and data via AR/VR.
Industry Collaborative Clouds (ICCs) will reach to a phenomenal figure of 450 by 2018. In fact, by 2020, more than 80 percent of the Global 500 companies will be supplying digital services using ICCs.
More than 70 percent of the Global 500 companies will build organized digital transformation teams by the end of 2017.
The performance of any enterprise will have an additional factor i.e. its digital transformation initiatives.
One-third of health, life sciences, and consumer product businesses will start developing products and services integrating third platform technologies with the human body.
IT Industry Predictions
These IT Industry Predictions are going to be true looking at the current trends and expectations on the global front. In fact, the time is not that far.
IDC says IoT and AI together can deliver wonders to IoT and IIoT projects that IoT alone can’t. Probably it seems to be a fact that IoT needs AI capabilities. The conclusion arrives on the basis of research by them in this area. It predicts that by 2019, all initiatives pertaining to IoT (Internet of Things) and 40 percent of efforts in the field of digital transformation will require the support of cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. The market intelligence and advisory enterprise International Data Corporation (IDC) reports it in their IT industry predictions for 2017 and beyond. What it means is that IoT and AI will have to work together in all IoT initiatives to be effective in this spectrum of innovation.
Big Data is a major contributor to the flood of data. In addition, IDC believes, IoT devices and digital transformation projects will add a plethora of data to it. Therefore, it is advisable to AI technologies to filter valuable data. This itself proves IoT needs AI capabilities to a large extent in order to deliver better results. Even the developer communities are favoring to include cognitive or AI in their applications. In fact, by 2018, this will increase to 75 percent. As a matter of fact, the time is not far when prominent cloud players like Amazon, Google, and IBM start providing standard AI platforms to their customers.
IoT Needs AI Capabilities
The comprehensive report from IDC FutureScape: Dawn of the DX Economy and the Digital Native Enterprise carries all such conclusions. Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC says, “We are at an inflection point as digital transformation efforts shift from ’project’ or ’initiative’ status to strategic business imperative.” He further adds, “Every (growing) enterprise, regardless of age or industry, must become ’digital native’ in the way its executives and employees think, what they produce, and how they operate. At the same time, 3rd Platform technology adoption and digital transformation are happening much faster than most expected and early competitive advantages will go to those enterprises that can keep pace with the emerging DX economy.”
There are many other factors to provide ample number of evidence that prove IoT needs AI capabilities to deliver the best.
IIoT Initiatives or Industrial Internet of Things infrastructure initiatives can happen in various areas. The spending and initiatives will vary from industry to industry. In fact, it will be different even within the same industry segment. For instance, a car manufacturing company will have a larger set of needs in comparison to its vendor supplying components. As a matter of fact, most of the enterprises have already been taking ample IIoT initiatives and provisions in their budgets for such spendings. A survey in this regard shows some remarkable results. The findings from the survey suggest that Telecom, manufacturing, construction, high-tech and similar enterprises must actively deploy IoT solutions at a faster pace.
When we talk about IIoT initiatives, we must align them well with the IT infrastructure budget. As a matter of fact, every industry segment has to keep its customers and end users in mind while taking such initiatives. For instance, existing networking elements have already started losing their sanctity in this regard. There is a high demand for newer networking devices that must address the needs of IoT projects. Secondly, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Wi-Fi would be fitting almost in all IIoT or IoT projects. These two will be the most economical and highly effective connecting tools.
But the requirement changes for long-range wide-area networks (LoRaWAN) and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). Probably in these cases, vendors will have to think beyond BLE and wi-fi. The vendor selection will depend on their capabilities in providing solutions for data analytics and pattern recognition. The Demand for edge servers and cloud-based services will increase tremendously. Security will remain a concern, as usual. But then it has to be taken care of in a significant manner.
Sathya Atreyam, research manager, mobile and IoT infrastructure, IDC says, “Given the strong uptake in IoT-based technology solutions, enterprise IT buyers are looking for vendors who can add IoT capabilities to the current networking and edge IT infrastructure.” He adds further, “Further, the success of IoT initiatives will also depend on how IT buyers can effectively leverage newer frameworks of low power connectivity mechanisms, network virtualization, data analytics at the edge, and cloud-based platforms.”
I think a lot of IoT initiatives will become an integral part of various IIoT Initiatives subsequently to provide benefit to enterprise and consumers in a single shot.
Internet of Things or IoT Infrastructure Spending is increasing. And the speed at which it is increasing is tremendous, we must admit. IT infrastructure spending that does not align with this will not suffice meaningful purposes for businesses. In fact, Enterprise IT heads have to start thinking in this direction sooner or else they will fall apart from the mainstream of business. And soon they will become an obsolete entity for their organization. And, as a matter of fact, the same will happen to the IT infrastructure spendings having no capacity for IoT alignments.
This means, your IT infrastructure budget must have a provision for IoT Infrastructure spending. Whether it is a service organization or a manufacturing business, all need such provisions. This emphasis comes from a recent research from International Data Corporation (IDC).
On the same lines, an IoT IT Infrastructure survey shows similar trends. It concludes that IoT data management, improved business offerings, and IoT networking components are the key focus areas to embark your IoT initiatives. These will, in turn, lead to the success of an enterprise. The study considers existing and future IT plans including IoT infrastructure spending. It says end users engagement and knowledge of IoT needs will play a major role in deploying IoT strategy. In fact, vendors also need to play a crucial role in educating and influencing enterprises for IoT initiatives.
IoT Infrastructure Spending
Natalya Yezhkova, research director, storage, at the market intelligence and advisory firm says, “The survey revealed that IoT will have a significant impact on end-users’ decisions and strategies related to IT infrastructure across all three major technology domains: networking, software, and storage.” She further adds, “Increase in budgets, broader adoption of public cloud, and open source solutions are the most anticipated results of IoT initiatives.”
Overall, it is a crucial phase of the end user industries and IoT firms. They need to collaborate in a significant manner to gain fruitful results from IoT Infrastructure spending.
Is NFC IoT. Somebody asks this question on Quora and the question lands in my mailbox because of my subscription on few keywords. I have done few pilots on NFC and hence feel confident in answering queries on NFC. IoT is again my favorite topic. A lot is happening in discussions and perhaps in actions when we talk about IoT. But as of now, this all seems to be superficial. If it is not able to solve existing issues then it can’t talk about the solutions of future. NFC i.e. Near Field Technology is not IoT i.e. Internet of Things. NFC can help in creating IoT. And when we say IoT it is nothing but smart cities, smart homes, smart buildings, smart nation, and so on. IoT is all about real-time communication between various devices. Though it is much beyond merely enabling devices to talk to each other.
Is NFC IoT?
As a matter of fact, the question Is NFC IoT is good for clarity point of view. One is technology, and the other is the solution. NFC is a technology that makes an active device, say a smartphone, talk to a passive device, say a tag. Now, IoT is all about connected devices. So if you are able to make your home devices as active or passive devices so that they can communicate to each other, you can achieve IoT to a larger extent. It is useless if devices talk to each other and do nothing beyond that. It is useful only if they are able to pass useful information and create alerts in case of any deviation. Can NFC make it happen? Then the answer is ‘Yes’. So can NFC help in building IoT? The answer is again ‘Yes’.
Is NFC IoT? The answer is ‘No’. NFC is a technology using which we can build IoT. In fact, NFC can make IoT happen with the help of devices.
How can I start to learn BI? This question is quite vague in many aspects. Firstly, it doesn’t tell if the person is from technology field or some other field. Secondly, it doesn’t reflect the age and experience of the person asking this question. Because, it will make a lot of difference if the person is having technology background or not. It also makes a big difference if the person is totally a fresher or having some experience. In fact, this question itself leads to a tree structure having multiple branches and sub-branches. And unless you get to know the answer to those queries properly you can’t answer to this question How can I start to Learn BI?
Still, I feel, if the person has this query, it is important to answer it. And if I have to answer to this question, I would go this way. I think it is better to understand where you stand in technology right now before answering this question. There are two scenarios. Firstly, if you belong to technology, start at home. Understand your business needs and discuss with what kind of dashboards would they like to have in place to make quicker and better business decisions. In case, a BI tool is already in place in your organization, study it properly and how it is benefiting your business.
How can I start to learn BI?
Secondly, if you are not from technology, then get into technology first and see what all technology does for business. Because, when you understand how a core business application like an ERP functions only then you can understand the gravity of any BI tool or BI outcomes for a business. There could be many more scenarios, in fact. If you are having the same query How can I start to learn BI? And your scenario is different, you can directly post your scenario in the comments section. I would be more than happy to reply to your any such kind of queries.
– Name and title of person(s) answering questions
Bob Spurzem, Director of Product Marketing, Archive360
– Archive360 recently announced your Archive2Anywhere Digital Safe edition. Could you tell me a bit about the solution? And, are you finding there are a lot of customers on this platform looking to move away from it, and if so, why?
Digital Safe is a hosted email archiving platform that successfully targets the financial services market that is regulated by the SEC and FINRA. Beginning in the 2000 era, the SEC issues new rules that required all of its Broker-Dealers members to keep a copy of all electronic communication, including email and instant messaging. Digital Safe (under the Autonomy Zantaz company name) was one of the first companies in this new market. The other was Iron Mountain. Remember, that in 2010, Autonomy acquired the Iron Mountain electronic archiving assets, so in effect Autonomy possessed both Digital Safe and Iron Mountain hosted email archiving assets, totaling 100’s of PBs of email compliance records.
Fast forward to 2016/2017, the email compliance records comprised of Digital Safe and Iron Mountain are under the ownership of HPE and are being sold under the single Digital Safe brand name.
The technology used in the solution dates back to 2000 and is aging. Customer report frustration with discovery performance, support, and overall cost. And in general terms, customers are looking for new options for storing the email records that the SEC requires them to preserve.
It is this customer demand that we (Archive360) are starting to see. Starting in late 2016, financial service companies approached us about migrating the email archive data currently in Digital Safe to a new hosted email archive platform.
– In addition to Digital Safe, what other platforms are customers looking at to leverage for their legacy email archives?
The market for financial services email compliance archiving is a highly specialized market that is served by HPE Digital Safe. Other platforms that also address this market are Mimecast, Proofpoint, and Smarsh.
– What role are regulatory compliance and eDiscovery playing in the increase of enterprises seeking to migrate their email out of legacy archives?
As a factor causing customers to migrate legacy archives, performance dominates. Legacy email archiving platforms such as Digital Safe were designed over 17 years ago, and generally, lack the performance and functionality customer expect from new platforms. Digital Safe is further challenged by multiple changes in ownership in recent years, which complicates product development and support.
– Other factors in play?
Cost is a major factor. Recent advances in storage technology have greatly reduced the potential cost of hosted email archiving. New “cold” storage solutions from AWS and MS Azure, for example, cost as little as $0.01 – 0.02 per GB per month – 10x-20x cheaper that current solutions.
– Cloud vs. on-premises?
Cloud archiving is preferred over on-premises archiving for email compliance archiving and this is true for Digital Safe, which has always been a hosted solution.
– What advice would you offer to an IT, compliance or legal professional evaluating potential long-term solutions?
If you are currently a Digital Safe customer, new migration technology makes it possible to migrate legacy email archives currently hosted in Digital Safe to new archiving platforms. New archiving platforms benefit from advanced technology that offers improved discovery and reduced total cost. As always we recommend you evaluate any new platform carefully.
Though there are a number of project management methodologies, not all fit into Agile Project Management Methodologies. While you adopt the Agile approach, it is important to understand how to start, conduct and finish a project in that prospect. The top most priority, as per first principle is to satisfy the customer through an early and continuous delivery of valuabe software. As I always recommend, a software is useless if it does not cater to business needs. The sole purpose of a software is to enhance business process thereby saving time, money, and manpower. It should always aim to add value to business.
When we discuss Agile Project Management, let us look at Principle number two. It says we should welcome changing requirements howsoever late they come during ddevelopment. Remember that if a change is adding a big value to customer, go for it. It talks about a non-rigid approach. Principle number three mentions about delivery. It says you must deliver working software frequently. This iteration can vay between a fortnight to a month. The shorter the timescal, the better it is. But remember, there has to be substantial value in the piece you are delivering. It should not be just for the sake of it.
Agile Project Management Methodologies
The next principle in agile project management talks about collaboration. It says business key users and developers have to go hand in hand throughout the project development phase. In fact, I would add quality to this from the latter end and management from the former end. The next principle talks about space. You need to provide space to your team members. Only then you will get what you intend to.
This is a beautifully curated article. I would recommend every one who has interest in project management must read it. In fact, it will provide great insights for agile project management methodologies. In fact, the article is quite simple to read and adopt.
PMO Advisory is a PMI (Project Management Institute) global education provider i.e. PMI® R.E.P. It provides training in various streams. These include Project Management in Portfolio (PfMP®), Program (PgMP®), Project (PMP® and CAPM®), Risk (PMI-RMP®), Agile (PMI-ACP®, SCRUM®), Project Management Office (PMO) and Organizational Change Management (OCM). The new on-site training and coaching program aims to enhance an enterprise’s capabilities through a unique combination. This unique combination training includes best practice frameworks of Portfolio, Program, and Project Management. This way, PMO Advisory will be able to empower these organizations to overcome those challenges.
PMO Advisory names it as Triple Play Professional Training. In fact, this unique combination of Portfolio, Program, and Project Management is a wonderful fusion of management frameworks. There was no single platform so far offering this unique combination. This, in fact, will overcome many gaps in project management training. The fusion of management frameworks from three different streams couples with a custom training program. Furthermore, this will transform and accelerate organizations in an optimal and efficient manner.
Prof. Te Wu, Founder and CEO of PMO Advisory says, “We are able to bring executives and governance to Project Management and Projects into alignment with organizational strategies.” Te Wu continues, “we can align and bridge the gaps between an organization’s Strategy, Projects, and Operations, alleviate dysfunctional team dynamics like poor communication, team in-fighting, and misdirection – all onsite through a blending of high-powered training and coaching with consulting insights.”
Te Wu adds further, “We can help organizations confronting these issues: too many projects and programs, poorly aligned projects with strategy, project inefficiencies and cost overrun, inadequate methodology, mismatched organization culture versus project culture, taking on disproportionate amount of risk, and poor discipline with project, program, and portfolio management. Through a combination of training, facilitated workshop, coaching, and providing common and best practices from consulting, we are in a unique position make significant improvements quickly.”
You can get further details of this unique training from PMO Advisory here.
It will be interesting to understand the functioning of Intellicta Platform. This is a new platform from TechDemocracy. Before that you may like to read the previous post on Intellicta release. Ken Pfeil who is a former CISO and currently Chief Architect, TechDemocracy says, “Even in large organizations, I found it particularly challenging to obtain a holistic view of the risk posture, because I was limited to piecemeal assessments coming from the tools I was using to protect the enterprise. That approach not only lacks objectivity, it fails to show the gaps that exist in protection. We’ve created a platform that breaks down those limitations and puts companies on a path to intelligent risk assurance.”
Therefore, it becomes important to learn how Intellicta Platform works. As we know, it is an open platform. In fact, it is easily customizable to align with an enterprise’s specific business requirements. It integrates whatever leading enterprise-class IT security technologies in use. The integration, in fact, is quite simple And thereafter, it immediately starts assessing the realistic effectiveness of these technologies. As a matter of fact, the emphasis is also on finding out the gaps and the quantification of risks. As and when an enterprise adds new security and risk tools in the organization to cater to their needs, they need to add it in Intellicta Platform. The platform will immediately assess and confirm if the new tools are capable delivering the outcomes to mitigate the cyber risks. In fact, it gives a comprehensive dashboard to see an overall cyber risk posture.
Intellicta Platform Is a Universal Framework
Intellicta Platform is a universal framework that takes care of your complete regulatory needs and security standards. These include NIST, ISO, HIPAA, IRA, SOX, and so on. In turn, it creares a comprehensive risk assurance progam. In addition, it keeps mapping and monitoring industry best practices. As a result, it finds out the gaps, if any, in regard to cyber risk and compliance.
Intellicta Platform, being an open architecture, is easy to integrate and support. The Risk Assurance Center that resides in the platform continuously monitors an enterprise’s unique technology ecosystem. The center keeps aggregating this data from the hardware and security tools. It then coorelates and analyzes this data to measure across regulatory requirements. It also keeps measuring enterprise’s own security and governance rules.
In the context of Intellicta Platfrom, Martin Kuppinger, founder and principal analyst, KuppingerCole says, “The cybersecurity risks organizations face are forcing them to invest significantly in cybersecurity technology, but what is missing is a platform to evaluate their overall preparedness and governed situational awareness.” KuppingerCole is an international and independent analyst organization headquartered in Europe. Marting further adds, “TechDemocracy is creating a highly ambitious and innovative software category. Its underlying conceptual framework will be a welcome addition to the marketplace, especially for larger enterprises with the need to correlate existing compliance and risk information into a flexible, unified and powerful risk assurance model.”
TechDemocracy launches Intellicta that is the first ever platform offering businesses a new paradigm in the assessment of Compliance, Security, Risk, and Governance Tools. In fact, it is first ever tool that provides this four-dimensional assessment in a complete manner. TechDemocracy LLC is a global frontrunner in providing cyber risk assurance solutions. Intellicta platform will help enterprises’ board of directions and C-suite teams fill the knowledge gaps across the four important functions. These four pillars are compliance, security, risk, and governance. The platform complies with all standards to create a framework of a globally universal level. In fact, it builds a risk assurance center that analyzes comprehensively the gray areas of existing cyber risk. Not only this, it also provides respective compliance solutions thereby offering a complete dashboard of enterprise risk spectrum.
Enterprises, in the current scenario, are facing a number of hiccups implementing a complete risk assurance program. This is because of the limitations of such platforms available in the market. In addition, another significant reason is the complexities in their cyber security and compliance assessment solutions. In fact, none of the tools available so far comply to a universal set of industry standards. This, in turn, causes limitations to create uniformity and objectivity in regard to situational awareness. It also becomes unable to consider all current and future business needs. Intellicta, as a matter of fact, will cover all such gaps thereby providing a holistic solution.
Srikiran Patibandla, CEO, TechDemocracy says, “Our DNA is rooted in cyber advisory and managed services, and particularly in identity and access management. Building on that core, we made an investment to fill a gap that we see worldwide—the need for a management platform that enables senior executives to evaluate, measure and governs the overall risk and compliance situation of the enterprise.”
Intellicta Platform Cyber Security Solution
Intellicta provides a real-time situational awareness information in a single dashboard. This dashboard covers all possible cyber risks across the business. In fact, it also quantifies risk score and financial exposure. Hence, it is capable enough to provide not only the risks but also their value in terms of money, time, and reputation to the business.
Gautam Dev, global managing principal, TechDemocracy says, “CISOs have been working hand in hand with other business functions to implement cybersecurity solutions, but for those accountable to boards of directors for governance — CROs, CIOs, CEOs and CFOs — what has been missing until now is a way to evaluate their performances collectively against the business objectives and to create one common picture of their risk situation.” He further adds, “Intellicta enables senior decision makers to assess and clearly communicate where the enterprise stands versus industry best practices and standards, pinpoint inefficiencies, prioritize risk investments and continually track progress.”
If I think of 5 great IoT initiatives of 2016, the top ones that come to my mind are below. There would, definitely, be more to mention. The IoT initiatives, logically, fall into two categories, in my opinion. Firstly, there are end consumer or home segment IoT drives. The second category belongs to Industrial IoT initiatives. Both are equally important in our life. In fact, both intend to make smart cities. And as we all know, smart cities comprise of smart homes, smart industries, smart offices, smart hospitals, smart roads, smart infrastructure, and so on. All this leads to smart governance and hence smart cities. A collection of smart cities builds a smart nation.
5 Great IoT initiatives
Let us list below the 5 great IoT initiatives of 2016:
- Google Home: With its release in November 2016, probably Google has come out with one of the most wonderful innovations. If you remember Amazon Echo, Google Home is simliar to this. But in a way it is much beyond what Amazon Echo does. This tool will empower you to easily use your IoT smart home devices.
- Xively ProductLauncher: Xively ProductLauncher evolves in September 2016 by LogMeIn. In fact, it is an IoT interactive design tool. It creates a new horizom of IoT projects modelling. As a matter of fact, it is a tool that is going to help many upcoming ioT projects and launches. There is a huge cost saving for industries while using Xively ProductLauncher.
- Android Things: This is a new IoT operating system from Google. Though it is a makeover of Brillo, but it has a lot of innovative capabilities.
- Amazon Dash: Amazon Dash came into existence in May 2016. This is a smart button that is completely and easily programmable. It will help developer communities to easily control connected devices.
- Cisco Industrial Network Director: As the name suggests it is an IIoT product. In fact, it provides a full visibility of any industrial network howsoever large it may be.
Hope these 5 great IoT initiatives of 2016 help in transforming the world in a meaningful manner. I feel they will in one way or the other. Would like to know reader’s views on the same in comments section.
A project manager is nothing but a facilitator to his teams. Agree? If a project manager doesn’t care for his teams, the same will apply vice versa. The teams also wouldn’t care about the project and project manager. Let us look at 5 Project Management Lessons from Luxe Amenities that you get aboard Emirates. Remember that what you give, you get in return. Interestingly, if you treat each project as an overseas flight, you need to treat your teams as passengers aboard. You, as a project manager, has to ensure that passengers aboard don’t carry a jet lag, lack of space, and improper teammates. All this may cause traveler a great amount of discomfort. And the straight impact will fall on project thereby causing disruptions and risks. Let your teams not worry about any of such issues while working on a project. Make your project as enjoyable as possible.
One of the important 5 project management lessons is to Personalize every teammate’s project journey. You let them know your demands and guidelines and then don’t restrict them to drive the project in their own way. The deliverables have to come in time. Which way, let it be their call.
5 Project Management Lessons from Emirates
5 project management lessons that you can adopt from Emirates are:
- Privacy: Retain every team member’s privacy. In fact, don’t barge into their privacy zones. Interestingly, the more you let them fly free, the more heights you attain in your project collaboratively.
- Sleep: Give them some rest time while calling them for long work hours. Definitely, no project works 9 to 5. There are moments and instances that call for extended hours. Provide them a comfort and space where they can have a nap to work afresh.
- Warmth: Keep your project alive with warmth. Don’t let it go cold and unresponsive. Let each person’s energy work in the same direction to achieve your results faster.
- Entertainment: If you are creating moments of anxiety and unrest for them, you are also responsible for creating moments of entertainment.
- Stress: Keep them stress-free throughout. In fact, bring some lighter moments in between. Share with each other about your families, friends, and life.
I am sure, these 5 project management lessons will help you in your project journeys. In fact, do share your experience. Even if you agree or not. As a matter of fact, I would love to listen from project managers from various parts of the world.
Deloitte Malta plans to go all digital. Hence it is taking Digital Strategy and Transformation as its top priority. In fact, this begins with the launch of Deloitte Digital. This is a one of the brand of repute that belongs to the organization wide network. This network also has member firms as its integral part. The aim is to focus on business transformation and technology implementation thus building world-class capabilities of a digital agency.
Malcolm Booker, Deloitte Malta CEO, says, “Digital is enabling business transformation at an unprecedented rate. It is impacting business models and redefining the way companies interact and engage with clients, while also becoming an intrinsic and essential part of their service offering. There is no doubt that those companies that do not leverage digital to their advantage will ultimately lose out to competitors who do.”
He further adds, “We envisage major opportunities for Deloitte Digital in Malta and beyond, as clients look to us for guidance on how to counter the disruptive forces that are challenging their business. This belief led us to acquire the Alert Group, in order to be able to hit the ground running when it comes to offering a top-notch digital service offering.”
Furthermore, he elaborates, “We are now fully committed to building upon the considerable experience of the existing digital team in providing the necessary investment and resources for a fully-fledged digital agency worthy of the Deloitte Digital brand.”
Deloitte Malta Goes Digital
Claudine Cassar, the founder of Alert Group and Deloitte Malta Digital and Technology Leader says, “With the digital revolution, industries are facing many new challenges and opportunities. The launch of Deloitte Digital will combine our digital and creative skills with the industry expertise we have built up over the years. The Digital team will be offering a comprehensive range of services for organisations who want to make effective use of the internet and advanced technologies in order to grow their business.”
She further adds, “The Deloitte brand is well known in the region and has an excellent reputation. This, combined with our digital expertise has helped us make inroads in the Gulf, where there is massive business potential. It certainly is not easy to receive a digital accreditation from Deloitte and it was really a very proud moment for us when we did. A whole new world of opportunities has opened for us.”
Walmart is the biggest retailer and employer in the world. It has more than 20,000 stores in around 30 countries. With the fast changing trends in technology and businesses, and to cope up with its business requirements, it is transforming hugely. The company is in the process of creating the biggest private cloud in the world. It aims to process more than 2.5 petabytes of data every hour. Surprising? Yes, of course. What a huge setup it is going to be. It seems ‘biggest’ is synonym with Walmart in all aspects of business and technology. Now, when a business plans to churn out so much of information, there has to be a team deciding what is the intake of data to churn out so huge information every hour.
Definitely, real-time analytics, intelligent dashboards, and timely alerts will be on the top of agenda. Walmart is creating its Data Café. It is going to be a state-of-the-art analytics hub within its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. There are more than 200 streams of internal and external data. It includes 40 petabytes of latest transactional data. In fact, modelling, structuring, and visualization will be taking place in a rapid manner. As a matter of fact, all teams are welcome to throw any problem that they are facing in business. Any such problem goes to the analytics experts in Walmart’s Data Café. The expert team works on the solution in a faster manner that is visible on the centre’s touch screen they call as “smart boards”.
Walmart Data Cafe
Senior Statistical Analyst Naveen Peddamail, Walmart says, “If you can’t get insights until you’ve analyzed your sales for a week or a month, then you’ve lost sales within that time.” He further adds, “If you can cut down that time from two or three weeks to 20 or 30 minutes, then that saves a lot of money for Walmart and stopped us losing sales. That’s the real value of what we have built with the data café.”
It is really going to be quite exciting, challenging, and collaborating atmosphere at data Café in Walmart helping business take a new leap.
CenturyLink Inc. is collaborating with Cloudera Inc. for a new Big Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS). While CenturyLink is a global communications expert, it seems to be a perfect combination with Cloudera. Cloudera, as we know, has a stronghold on Apache Hadoop analytics systems. As happens in other BDaaS initiatives, the two aim to empower enterprises with Big Data Analytics to have an edge in the global markets. It will create competitive business advantages without big investments. Because with BDaaS businesses will not require recruiting data scientists and developers on their rolls. The expertise will come along with this service as a complete package.
In a way, BDaaS saves a big investment on infrastructures like servers, storage, backup devices, and data center. In addition, it also takes off your burden of hiring high-value positions like Data Scientists and developers. Furthermore, the whole thing comes as a complete service. It thus saves a lot in your capital investment and operational cost. Rather, the talent that comes along with BDaaS brings an expertise of consulting, training, and education to the organization availing it. In fact, it also saves a lot of time for initial setup and deployment. It is now a question of just configuration and post-deployment support.
In this context of the release of BDaaS, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly says, “Cloudera and CenturyLink’s innovations with Big Data analytics can drive true business transformation at a time when many companies are finding it hard to harness the power of increasing volumes of data. He adds further, “Companies that break down their information silos are finding themselves better positioned to capture new market share and deliver superior customer service.”
BDaaS Big Data-as-a-Service Is a Big Revolution
Similarly, CenturyLink says, “CenturyLink BDaaS is enhanced by adding data and advanced analytics consulting services supported by a deep bench of Cloudera-certified data scientists and Cloudera Hadoop solution administrators, developers and architects.” It goes further saying, “The solution, bolstered by CenturyLink’s global high-speed network connectivity, provides storage, processing, and management components deployed on CenturyLink Cloud Bare Metal servers. The bare metal private cloud environments, which allow customers to achieve faster time-to-market, improved data protection, and rapid public cloud scalability at a lower cost, have been certified by Cloudera as an architecture that meets its rigorous criteria for ensuring optimal performance and efficiency.”
In addition, James Curtis, Research Analyst, CenturyLink says, “With numerous vendors offering components for Big Data solutions today, a key to achieving success for customers is services and support. Providers that offer data and analytics consulting, deployment support and customized infrastructure and application solutions, should be able to deliver enhanced strategic value for customers.”
In the nutshell, BDaaS is going to revolutionize the business in an entirely new spectrum thus shifting the focus on fast adaptability and usage.
Big Data Analytics In The Retail Industry can help any online retail business to a great extent. Online retail stores must understand customer behavior in various parameters. The same understanding is equally important for the prospects that are not yet their customers. Though walk-in is important but more important is conversion. A high walk-in or check-in with low sales means the business is able to attract visitors from outside but once they enter the site, they don’t find it lucrative enough for purchase. The reasons could be many. One needs to understand it deeply so as to take appropriate measures.
The best moments of sales for retailers are holidays. These holiday periods compensate the down periods during the year when there are no sales. In fact, holidays help a lot in boosting the sales and profits. That is why holidays are quite crucial for retail business. It helps them in capitalizing on the season to its fullest. And even if during these periods if they fail to capitalize, it creates a lot of other failing factors. Interestingly, on the other hand, if there is a boom in sales during this period, it covers up their risks and losses. That is the reason for retailers to find all kind of pointers to boost their sales. Big Data Analytics in the retail industry become quite handy in that aspect. Right?
Big Data Analytics in the Retail Industry
In fact, Big Data Analytics in the retail industry not only helps them in increasing their sales but also to find out a large number of interesting and realistic points. It caters to their different purposes, in fact. As a matter of fact, these analytics solutions can also give great insights on success and failure. For this, you need to have the right set of tools, strategies, and manpower to draw full benefits of Big Data Analytics in the retail industry. Only then you can have a cakewalk on the success path.
Transformation is a tough task. In fact, it never happens overnight. It takes a lot of learning, understanding, willingness, desire, determination, and discipline to transform in life. Creating a Transformational Project Manager is a tougher job, as a matter of fact. Rather, it does not happen on its own. You need a spark to transform. And that spark might come from anything. It could be a person, instance, or an inner voice. Or, a combination of all the three. You can’t create a transformational project manager further in your team or peers if you are not the one yourself. That is like bringing a change by 360 degrees. Usually, you will not find project managers even having an urge to become a transformational project manager. There might be sharp, smart, and accurate project managers, though. But even they don’t fall in this category. It is a different class altogether.
Well, If you feel to be in the category of transformational project managers, let us play a quiz as below. If you answer yes, add 1 point to your score. Similarly, if you answer no to a question, then subtract two points from your score. Your overall score might be negative. Don’t worry about that. Be realistic and accept the reality on the face of it. Only thing is that in that case, you will have to work really hard to get into this category. So, here we go:
Transformational Project Manager Check List
- Are you a change seeker?
- Do you keep a close watch on your policies and procedures?
- Do you raise a voice for making a change in your policies and procedures?
- Do you maintain revisions to these policies and procedures?
- Are you a changemaker?
- Did you observe any major change in your working style in last quarter?
- Did this change ease your and your teammate’s comfort level?
- Are you able to bring change in your teammates working style?
Be honest in your replies. Because only then you will be able to assess if you are a real transformational project manager.
Greece’s Theotokos Foundation Turns to Metalogix and Orthology for Microsoft Office 365 Operations ManagementBackup and Recovery, Data protection, Disaster Recovery, Metalogix, microsoft office 365, Office 365, SharePoint, Virtualization
Non-profit to Next Leverage Metalogix for SharePoint Cloud.
The Theotokos Foundation has deployed Metalogix’s Essentials for Office 365, in order to regain control and streamline the ongoing management of its client services and internal operations content. In doing so, the non-profit can better focus on its core business goal of serving more than 300 learning and developmentally disabled clients and their families in Greece.
Recently, the Theotokos Foundation identified the need to clean up and regain control of its vast store of data spread across various applications. Its goal was to enhance productivity and collaboration. The first step was to find and migrate all of its data – from emails to online calendars, to all other client and internal operations data into Microsoft Office 365. It turned to its trusted advisor Orthology for the best solution from both a features and functionality standpoint, as well as pricing. Orthology recommended Metalogix right away. And, after a thorough review and testing (free trial), the Theotokos Foundation agreed it exceeded expectations, and offered far better capabilities, was less complicated to use and delivered a much higher ROI than any of its competitors.
It first leveraged Metalogix Essentials to find and then accurately migrate its content into Office 365. Once this was complete, its next goals were to streamline management of the environment, as well as ensure data protection and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities. Again, it turned to Metalogix Essentials. With the solution, Theotokos automated the provisioning and management of its Office 365 users and licenses (currently 200 licenses). It now also uses Essentials to simplify day-to-day administrative tasks. And, Essentials gives them complete backup and granular restore capabilities for Office 365 data – protecting against everything from an accidental deletion to a serious disaster event.
Greece’s Theotokos Foundation Turns to Metalogix and Orthology
“Metalogix Essentials provided just what we needed to protect our vital information, in an easy to deploy and manage package,” said George Koumarianos, IT Manager, Theotokos Foundation. “Moreover, right away we could see that it was much more flexible than any other solution we evaluated. With Metalogix Essentials in place, the Theotokos Foundation now enjoys complete peace of mind that our data is highly available, reliably protected and ready for fast and simplified recovery if needed.”
Now, having completed its Microsoft Office 365 initiative it is planning for its upcoming SharePoint cloud project. And with Metalogix having exceeded expectations, Theotokos plans to turn to them again. “Once our users have been trained on SharePoint, we will also use Metalogix to optimize and protect our SharePoint data in the cloud,” said Koumarianos. “Metalogix has more than proven itself across our Office 365 environment, and we will without hesitation deploy it to support our SharePoint environment as well.”
A Theotokos Foundation case study can be read here, should you wish to learn more.