TechJournal South Header

Posts Tagged ‘cloud computing’

Look to the cloud for the future of IT (infographic)

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Ninety percent of mid-market IT managers surveyed by Evolve IP say cloud computing is the future model for IT.

“The survey data reflects what we see in our business every day,” said Guy Fardone, general manager and chief operating officer of Evolve IP. “Most businesses already have at least one hosted service running but in some organizations not everyone is in complete alignment regarding putting multiple services in the cloud. Executives want the cost and disaster avoidance benefits while security, privacy and compliance are typical initial concerns brought up by the managers responsible for implementation.”

The survey of more than 1,100 individuals involved with IT at mid-Market companies in North America revealed insight into cloud adoption trends as well as current cloud deployment. For a full synopsis and analysis of results, a complimentary white paper, “Cloud of Dreams – Adoption of the Cloud by North American Mid-Market Businesses,” can be downloaded at www.evolveip.net/Cloud-Survey.

Evolve IP created this infographic illustrating the survey results:

Companies plan hiring for new tech jobs, cloud, social, security

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

CareerBuilderAlthough companies are hiring more employees to keep up with demand for their products and services, they’re not looking at full scale expansion of their headcounts, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. Mobile, cloud, social media, data analytics and cyber security positions are all cited as among the hottest job prospects.

Robert Half Technology also reports that IT hiring is in session for more than one in three firms.Thirty-five percent of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed said they plan to hire new IT graduates in 2013, according to a recent poll by Robert Half Technology 

But not all CIOs polled give new graduates high marks when it comes to being ready for their first job. More than one in four respondents (26 percent) said entry-level professionals aren’t prepared to contribute right away. Among these executives, more than half (55 percent) said the reason is a lack of skills in areas such as communication and leadership.

Temporary hiring, which has been a mainstay for many companies during the economic downturn, will increase by 10 percent in the back half of 2013, the CareerBuilder survey suggests.

The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 14 to June 5, 2013, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

“Companies are adding more employees to keep pace with demand for their products and services, but they’re not rushing into a full-scale expansion of headcount in light of economic headwinds that still linger today,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.

Pace of permanent hiring stronger

“The projected surge in temporary hiring from July to December is evidence of both a growing confidence in the market and a recession-induced hesitation to immediately place more permanent hires on the books. However, the overall pace of permanent hiring is stronger today in various industries and geographies, and will continue on a path of gradual improvement for the remainder of the year.”

Economic Modeling Specialists (EMSI)1, a CareerBuilder company, found that temporary work accounted for 15 percent of all job growth nationally over the last four years, even though the industry makes up roughly two percent of the nation’s workforce.

The study conducted by Harris Interactive shows there will be a continued boost in temporary hiring activity as well as hiring for full-time and part-time positions, with 44 percent of employers planning on hiring fulltime employees, 25 percent part-time employees, and 31 percent temp or contract workers.

Many formerly fulltime employees moved to freelance, temporary and contract work when fulltime jobs were scarce but companies hired to fill specific short term needs.

This trend continues even as the economy improves.

Careerbuilder cites several hot ares for job-seekers, including: 

e following areas:

  • Jobs tied to mobile technology – 16 percent
  • Jobs tied to cloud technology – 15 percent
  • Jobs tied to social media – 13 percent
  • Jobs tied to managing and interpreting big data – 12 percent
  • Jobs tied to financial regulation – 10 percent
  • Jobs tied to health informatics – 10 percent
  • Jobs tied to cyber security – 9 percent

Small business hiring

The number of small businesses planning to hire over the next six months is trending up while the number for larger organizations declined slightly compared to last year. More than half (56 percent) of companies with more than 500 employees expect to add more employees by year end, down from 58 percent in 2012.

  • 50 or fewer employees – 24 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 21 percent in 2012
  • 250 or fewer employees – 34 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 31 percent in 2012
  • 500 or fewer employees – 37 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 34 percent in 2012

Cloud benefits exceeding expectations, report says

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

cloud computingCloud computing is exceeding expectations. According to The TechInsights Report 2013: Cloud Succeeds. Now What? commissioned by CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA), respondents indicate the cloud has moved beyond adolescence and is on the path to maturity in the enterprise.

Survey participants—IT decision makers that have implemented cloud services for at least one year—reported they are achieving better results, faster deployments and lower costs than expected as a result of cloud computing implementations.

Luth Research and Vanson Bourne conducted the survey on behalf of CA Technologies to learn how cloud computing is being used, problems or successes encountered, and how its use changed as IT teams gained more experience.

The report confirms that cloud computing is not only delivering on its major promises of saving money and speeding time-to-market, but also exceeding expectations.

This somewhat contradicts some other reports we’ve seen at the TechJournal that suggest some firms are having troubles implementing cloud solutions – often due to lack of in-house expertise.

Meeting or exceeding expectations

The vast majority of respondents reported their cloud implementations met or exceeded expectations across service models including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Experienced cloud users also shed light on the evolving nature of the cloud, and how their objectives and requirements for success change as they advance along the cloud adoption curve.

“Going in, we expected the results to be much more balanced between successes and challenges across a variety of deployments and service models,” said John Michelsen, chief technology officer, CA Technologies. “Surprisingly, survey respondents were pleased with their cloud computing initiatives, which validates that the cloud is not just a fad, and instead they are focusing on making the most of it to drive innovation, speed and performance.”

Though the overall study results were generally consistent across US and Europe, the length of experience and overall intended objectives for cloud differ. The US leads Europe in terms of years of experience, with 55 percent reporting three or more years of cloud use, compared to only 20 percent of European respondents.

The majority (79 percent) of European IT decision makers have implemented cloud computing for one to two (41 percent) or two to three (38 percent) years.

In terms of intended benefits, while cost savings continues to be a priority, increased speed of innovation rose to the top for more experienced organizations. When asked to name their top three objectives across IaaS, PaaS and SaaS deployments, Europeans most often selected “reduced total costs,” while US respondents noted “increased speed of innovation” and “superior IT performance/scalability/resiliency.”

In fact, cost reduction did not even make the list of the top three objectives in the US. One cloud provider told the TechJournal that often costs go up with cloud use because companies use it more than they expected to.

“As enterprises advance in their adoption of cloud, the desired outcomes evolve, as well,” said Michelsen. “Cost is often considered an early benefit – or even a required result – in order for IT teams to justify moving in the direction of the cloud. Once they show that cloud computing improves the bottom line, they can shift their focus to innovation and other objectives, such as increased performance and enhanced security.”

Additional notable results include:

  • Larger organizations are leading the way:
    • They have been in the cloud longer (93 percent that report using cloud for four or more years have revenues of $1 billion or more), and;
    • They are more likely to be using all three types of cloud services (79 percent of those using IaaS, PaaS and SaaS together in their organizations have revenues of $1 billion or more).
  • Security remains a contradiction:
    • Nearly all respondents (98 percent) agree that the cloud met or exceeded their expectations for security across IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
    • Nearly one-third indicated “security has been less of an issue than originally thought” when asked to share their primary reasons for success with cloud computing.
    • Yet, security was cited as the number one reason that an application is not moved into the cloud by nearly half of respondents (46 percent).
  • Cloud spending plans increase at a faster rate for IT decision makers with more experience:
    • Companies using cloud computing for four or more years are almost six times more likely (34 percent compared to 6 percent) to report that they are increasing cloud spending by more than 30 percent in 2013.
    • US respondents plan to increase spending on cloud at a higher rate than their European counterparts, with 48 percent planning to increase spending up to 30 percent, and 17 percent more than 30 percent; versus 42 percent and 4 percent for European respondents, respectively.
    • Overall cloud spending is expected to stay about the same or increase for the majority of respondents (95 percent across US and Europe).
  • Experienced cloud users recognize the need for IT management to ensure future success:
    • Respondents that have been using cloud computing for longer, or have used multiple types of cloud, identified the following IT management capabilities as critical to their success:
      • End-to-end service automation,
      • Service-level management across both cloud and non-cloud environments, and,
      • The ability to switch between cloud service providers.

Middleware market growth slows for vendors without cloud options

Monday, May 20th, 2013

IdcThe business process management (BPM) and middleware market grew 3.6% year over year to $18.8 billion in 2012 with growth underperforming compared with that of the previous two years.

New research from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the slow growth in 2012 was only partially caused by poor macroeconomic conditions – the failure of large vendors to deliver products that met the growing appetite for public cloud significantly contributed to their growth problems.

cloud computing“A large factor in slow growth across BPM and middleware was the failure of large vendors to deliver PaaS offerings that met the growing appetite for cloud-based automation,” said Maureen Fleming, Vice President of IDC’s BPM and Middleware research programs. “Cloud was the single biggest factor separating market share gainers from share losers.”

Other key findings from this research include:

  • Among the four tiers of growth, the top tier grew 58.7% to $992.4 million in aggregate revenue in 2012. Of that, 80% of revenue came from public platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings. While only accounting for 5.3% of the total market, this tier generated more net-new revenue than the three additional tiers combined.
  • The slowest-growing tier accounted for $12.7 billion – 67.5% of the market – and collectively generated negative net-new revenue in 2012. About 8% of revenue was attributed to cloud. This tier was represented by the largest BPM and middleware vendors.
  • 2012 also signaled growing demand for newer, higher-performance messaging centered in the Internet of Things and for mobile and partner integration via APIs, requiring API management.

The study, Worldwide Business Process Management and Middleware Vendor Shares (IDC #240986) examines the business process management and middleware market for the period from 2008 to 2012. Worldwide market size is provided for 2012, with trends from 2008. Revenue and market share of the leading vendors are provided for 2012 as well as details about the impact of cloud offerings on growth.

Nike has most socially devoted fans on top ten list

Friday, May 17th, 2013
Nike sneakers

Nike Olympic inspired sneakers.

Nike is the U.S. brand to beat for Socially Devoted fans, dominating Socialbakers top ten U.S. list with four different Nike handles in Q1 2013.

Socialbakers, the global leader in social media measurement and analytics, monitors the most responsive brands on social media each quarter.

While @JetBlueAirways, representing airlines, and @NokiaCareUS, for telecom, take the #2 and #4 spots, respectively, they are surrounded by brands in banking, sporting goods, food, cloud computing and, a Q1 favorite, tax prep.

On Facebook, the most Socially Devoted U.S. brands in Q1 2013 were uniformly telecoms and airlines, industries where online customer service has become critically important to their business.

“Twitter enables a certain open conversation, and allows brands to address their customers’ needs immediately and directly.

More brands using social, Twitter

Twitter birdMore and more brands are appreciating the value of utilizing social media, and Twitter in particular, to relate to their customers and address their concerns.  These companies should be celebrated,” says Jan Rezab , CEO of Socialbakers.

Interestingly, @NikeSupport can also be found at #4 on the Worldwide list of Socially Devoted Twitter Brands, which is otherwise all telecom and airline.

Overall, worldwide, there has been an incredible increase in response rates on Twitter since Socialbakers began measuring (see graphic). Although the telecommunications, airline and finance industries tend to always score highly, the fashion and retail industries have been gaining traction too. It shows that companies now take Twitter seriously as a communication channel.

Here are the quarterly results:

Data security, compliance top concerns of cloud adopters

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

cloud computingA cloud security survey by NetQ commissioned through IDG Connect, revealing that while companies have become increasingly comfortable with the security of third-party cloud service providers, data security – particularly at the end user level – as well as concerns over meeting compliance requirements, remain top-of-mind among cloud adopters.

Fifty-one percent of IT executives surveyed believe that the cloud increases data security overall. However, almost 70 percent of respondents indicated that consumer cloud services pose a risk to sensitive data in their organizations and 45 percent are not fully confident that their cloud provider’s security processes and programs meet their data security requirements.

Additional findings found a mix of concern and confidence in cloud security:

  • Forty-five percent do not have full visibility and control of their cloud-based data when users sign up on their own.
  • Only 46 percent train end users on how they should securely access data in the cloud.
  • Forty-two percent of organizations are not fully confident that they demonstrate regulatory compliance concerning sensitive information/assets in the cloud.
  • Fifty-nine percent are very confident in their ability to control and manage access from mobile devices to cloud services.

“These survey findings demonstrate that IT executives are feeling more confident in the execution of their cloud security strategies and programs. However, this confidence may be at odds with the concerns security teams have while addressing an ever-increasing number of threats to corporate information,” said Geoff Webb , director, Solution Strategy at NetIQ.

“Data-centric security programs remain the most targeted and effective way to build security programs ready to embrace the complexities inherent in adopting cloud. Identifying sensitive data, applying appropriate layers of protection around that data, and tracking who is accessing it remain the best ways to respond to threats, meet regulatory requirements and minimize organizational risk.”

This survey was conducted on behalf of NetIQ by IDG Connect to understand perceptions about cloud security worldwide. Researchers interviewed IT executives at companies with 500 or more employees. Sixty-one percent of respondents occupied director-level or higher roles within their organization.

The overall number of respondents was split between those from North America(36 percent), EMEA (36 percent) and APAC (28 percent). Full survey results are available at http://cloudreadyzone.com/.

Home businesses present work-life challenges

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

CarboniteOwning a business is stressful, but running a business from home brings additional challenges, according to a new survey by Wakefield Research forCarbonite, Inc. (NASDAQ: CARB), a leading provider of cloud backup solutions.

The study found that while home-based small business owners are concerned about data loss and struggle to find a proper work/life balance, a majority (79 percent) aren’t taking full advantage of cloud-based business tools.

“Running a business out of your house usually means insufficient IT support and a blurry line distinguishing when you ‘go home for the day,’” said Pete Lamson , SVP Cloud Backup at Carbonite.

“Nearly half (45 percent) of home-based business owners feel it’s more stressful working for themselves, which is why solutions that are easy to use and set-it-and-forget-it are especially important for these small businesses.”

Take a look at this infographic on Home business trends: http://www.carbonite.com/docs/default-source/infographics/carb-igraph-working-from-home.pdf

Here at the TechJournal we’re intimately aware of the benefits and challenges of running a home business. We’ve spent whole days trying to solve IT problems, from PC glitches to security problems.

Work-life balance doesn’t exist under one roof

Small business owners working from home often find separating personal life from professional life a challenge, as they strive to manage everything from time constraints to data loss. Carbonite’s survey revealed that:

  • Fifty-six percent of home-based business owners will forgo personal commitments like happy hour, a child’s recital or workout to finish work projects. On average, home-based business owners skip five personal commitments per month.
  • To get work done, a majority (78 percent) say they have a place to “hide” to avoid distractions. The most common places are their bedroom (45 percent), yard (16 percent), basement (15 percent), bathroom (13 percent) or garage (12 percent).
  • Work often leads to arguments between a home-based business owner and their significant other. The top three reasons couples argue are: work cluttering other parts of the house (32 percent), working late takes away from family time (31 percent) and the inability to separate personal life from professional life (30 percent).
  • Forty-five percent of parents who work from home have experienced data loss because someone in their home used their work computer.

As longtime home office users, we forbid others to use our work equipment – even though they may complain about it. We have a dedicated home office shut away from the rest of the house, so we aren’t bothered by a lot of distractions.

White lies are as common as white rice

More than half (54 percent) of home-based business owners have missed a business opportunity or had to redo a project because of a lost or deleted file.

To cover up a technical glitch, 41 percent have told a “white lie” to someone they do business with, such as a colleague, client or vendor. The most common fibs include a computer or internet crash/malfunction (20 percent), blaming someone else (11 percent) and faking an illness, emergency or accident (9 percent).

Here comes the pitch. Carbonite has a dog in this hunt.

Opportunity Lost:  Most home-based businesses miss out on cloud’s advantages

cloud computingWhen asked, 46 percent of home-based business owners say they don’t use cloud-based tools at work. However, confusion about cloud services still exists, as the survey found that nearly all (94 percent) home-based business owners are indeed using cloud services.

Regardless of whether they realize they are using the cloud or not, 79 percent admit that they aren’t taking full advantage of the cloud in their business, which means they are missing out on the business benefits that 97 percent of admitted cloud users experience. These benefits include:

  • Saving time (70 percent);
  • Helping them run their business more smoothly (66 percent);
  • Allowing them to use technology previously unavailable to small businesses (52 percent);
  • Saving them money (47 percent); and
  • Making their business appear larger or more established than it is (31 percent).

More information and resources on how small businesses can take full advantage of the cloud, increase business productivity and streamline business operations, is available on Carbonite’s Small Business Hub at smallbiz.carbonite.com.

“Involuntary” IT managers derail small biz productivity

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

AMISmall businesses are losing more than $24 billion in productivity each year when nontechnical employees, referred to as involuntary IT managers (IITMs), are tasked with managing their companies’ IT solutions.

This loss is a direct result of IITMs taking time away from primary business activities, according to an AMI-Partners small-business study commissioned by Microsoft Corp.

 Although such small businesses spent $83 billion on IT and communications, paradoxically they lost $24 billion in productivity trying to manage their internal IT. The survey also found that small businesses’ IITMs think cloud-based solutions can help alleviate some of the burden of managing IT.

The Drawbacks of Having an IITM

On average, IITMs lose six hours per week (around 300 hours per year) of business productivity while managing IT, according to AMI-Partners.

The AMI-Partners white paper stated that while some IITMs are confident in their technical skills, most find their general work productivity suffers when their work time is diverted to managing IT issues. Key study findings include these:

  • Thirty percent of all surveyed IITMs feel that IT management is a nuisance.
  • Twenty-six percent indicated they do not feel qualified to manage IT.
  • Six in 10 IITMs want to simplify their company’s technology solutions to alleviate the difficulty of managing IT day-to-day.

The Involuntary IT Manager study also found that when IITMs work at small businesses with 15 or more employees, their firms lose even more productivity time than IITMs working at companies with fewer employees.

“Many small businesses don’t have the budget for formal IT support, so they rely on the company’s most tech-savvy individual to manage their technology,” said Andy Bose , founder, chairman and CEO at AMI-Partners.

“As our research shows, relying on an Involuntary IT Manager can have an adverse impact on small businesses’ productivity, which can negatively affect revenue and translates into a very high opportunity cost. These companies can potentially leverage cloud services to alleviate the need for day-to-day in-house IT support with positive impact on their business productivity.”

Small-Business Cloud Adoption

cloud computingAMI-Partners found that IITMs are showing an interest in leveraging the cloud during the next 12 months to manage their IT needs. Among the IITMs surveyed in the five countries, the following was learned:

  • Thirty-three percent (approximately one-third) are likely to shift more IT spending toward hosted or cloud solutions.
  • Thirty-six percent are interested in a productivity and collaboration suite.

Although IITMs older than 50 spent the most time managing IT, the study found they are also the most likely to devote their limited IT budgets to acquiring cloud solutions and purchasing online productivity suites. Among the top concerns for IITMs in deploying cloud solutions were these:

  • Security and privacy (66 percent)
  • Reliability (61 percent)
  • The ability to integrate with existing IT investments (53 percent)
  • Limited features (46 percent)

“The cloud when delivered right is a game-changer, providing small businesses with the IT solutions they need to solve their most challenging small-business technology concerns,” said Thomas Hansen , vice president of SMB Worldwide at Microsoft. “With Microsoft cloud solutions, the job of the Involuntary IT Manager gets a lot easier.”

The Involuntary IT Manager study takes a broad look at the prevalence of the IITM role in nine countries in North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, focusing specifically on the adverse business productivity impact of IITMs in small business in five countries: Australia, Brazil, Chile, India and the United States.

Surveying 538 IITMs across nationally representative samples of small businesses with 100 employees or less in the five countries, the AMI-Partners research study determined that approximately 3.8 million small businesses managed internal IT by IITMs.

Bar is higher for starups seeking first round financing, says Intel VC

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Mark Rostick

Mark Rostick

What is the amount of accomplishment venture capitalists need to see these days to finance a true Series A r0und of a startup? The bar is higher than it used to be, says Mark Rostick, director of East Coast investments for Intel Capital.

Intel Capital must be doing something right. It is number one of a list of the top 20 venture capital firms of 2012 based on how many private tech company exits each had.

Rostick is among more than two dozen venture capitalists and investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

With the availability of online tools, the ability to inexpensively write code to get something started, and the proliferation of accelerators such as Y Combinator, there has been “An explosion of startups that create a light or beta version of a product and get a few customers to buy it quickly,” Rostick says.

The bar has moved

The problem is, he adds, “That water tends to be very shallow, so what they’ve accomplished doesn’t tell you much about what their chances are. It’s so much easier to do all of that earlier, the bar has moved for what an investor needs to see.”

That, he notes, means that “Now it’s much harder to separate the wheat from the chaff and judge how much the company has de-risked by what it has done. There is an explosion of new companies you need to sift through. So we have to be more savvy about what the level of accomplishment for a Series A financing needs to be.”

It also means startup teams need to think about how they’re going to separate themselves from the pack, he says. “Have they thought through their road map? Do they know their next step? Do they know what the management team needs? There are ways to prove your game.

Hot tech sectors

Intel, Rostick says, sees several tech sectors it thinks are going to do well.

“There is a ton of upside in the Enterprise that people haven’t thought about much,” he says. “A lot of startups in the social and mobile world use the cloud, but Enterprises are still in the process of making that move. It’s a gigantic shift and we’ve made a lot of bets on that infrastructure.”

Intel is also spending a good deal of time looking at big databases and analytics. “How do we talk about this data? How do we visualize it? All of that is creating opportunities. And it’s starting to mature to the point where people are thinking its time to get some bets down.”

Always looking for local opportunities

He suggests, “Look at the M&A history in these areas. IBM is buying analytics companies. SAS is doing that. They’re looking at how to use cloud infrastructure to help their customers.”

Another “big thing,” he says, “is the Internet of things.” If a company deploys a lot of equipment in factories or the field, trucks, a wireless network, meters, monitoring and managing them centrally makes a lot of sense,” Rostick explains.

It lets companies know what’s happening right now with the ability to fix or tune operations.

Online video and video analytics are two other areas Intel finds interesting.

Rostick asked us to note that Intel is “Always looking for local opportunities here in North Carolina.”

 

 

 

Many IT skill sets in greatest demand did not even exist a decade ago

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

ZinnovSilicon Valley continues to be an innovation hub, but Seattle, Dallas, Boston and Baltimore are also in the game, says the Zinnov “Talent Outlook 2013″ report. Skill sets in the highest demand did not even exist a decade ago: big data analytics, cloud computing experts, user experience designers and mobile app developers among them.

Key Findings

  • Organizations believe 25% of their current talent will become redundant in the next 3-5 years, while specialized skill sets in User Experience and Mobility see rising demand
  • Hiring for Innovation will primarily be in the United States
  • Tier II locations in the United States will be a key focus area for organizations looking to expand, while India and China will witness marginal growth

The Silicon Valley continues to be an innovation hub, with 80% of respondents to the Zinnov survey indicating that their organizations’ headcount will increase the highest in this region.

Respondents also said that 36% of their innovation, on average, would be driven in the Valley, with other US cities and states such as Seattle, Maryland, Dallas and Boston accounting for 18%. India ranked third as potential innovation region, with organizations revealing that 15% of innovation is expected out of the country, followed by EMEA at 10%.

cloud computingVamsee Tirukkala , managing principal, Zinnov, said, “Data scientists and user experience designers will witness very high demand, while mobile application developers and cloud computing experts will witness moderate to high demand. Significantly, all these skills were non-existent a decade ago. Organizations are also expected to increase their focus on soft skill development across levels and functions.”

Hot skill sets

Big DataOrganizations are seeking talent with skills in the areas of Engineering (50% of respondents indicated that it would be among the top 3 skills of the future), followed by Analytics skills (40%) such as Big Data, Predictive Modelling, HR Analytics, and Mobility (32%).

The biggest talent challenges that organizations face are in the areas of niche hiring and skill set assessment, with 50% of respondents suggesting that these would be key focus areas for HR in 2013.

While dedicated statistical teams within HR departments can reduce challenges around skill set assessment, large volume data analysis and workforce planning, over half the organizations do not have such resources and just 20% are focused on it for 2013.

Personal cloud use affects cloud decisions at work

Monday, February 11th, 2013

cloud computingThe 2013 State of the Cloud Report from CDW, found that more than half of organizations are migrating or planning to migrate specific applications or infrastructure to the cloud, and that personal use of cloud services is significantly influencing organizational decisions.

The report reveals that 73 percent of respondents believe that employees’ personal use of cloud applications and mobile devices has significantly influenced their organizations’ decisions to adopt cloud computing, with 68 percent stating that employee requests for cloud services have increased over the last two years.

In fact, two-thirds of the IT professionals surveyed said that their use of cloud applications and services in their non-work lives directly influences their cloud-related recommendations at work.

Cloud use on the rise

Cloud computing is on the rise within organizations, as 39 percent of organizations report that they are implementing or maintaining cloud solutions – up from 28 percent in 2011.

“Organizations’ adoption of cloud computing has steadily increased, which comes as no surprise given the growth of mobility and the consumerization of IT,” said Stephen Braat, general manager, cloud solutions at CDW.

“By aligning cloud services with critical applications and preferences of employees that use mobile devices, organizations can better capture business value that includes cost savings, increased efficiency, improved employee mobility, and an increased ability to create innovative new products and services.”

As cloud services continue to evolve, so do the decisions organizations face when migrating to the cloud. Although many respondents continued to cite security as a key factor to address in cloud adoption, other factors have emerged as well. Thirty-two percent of respondents cited cloud service performance, and 25 percent cited the technical integration of cloud applications and/or infrastructure with legacy systems.

Despite these challenges, CDW’s survey found a silver lining for organizations implementing or maintaining cloud services. Estimates of current-year savings from cloud adoption increased from 10 percent of current IT budgets in 2011 to 13 percent in 2012.

Benefits outweigh the risks

“Although the continued migration to cloud computing has presented new challenges, the benefits continue to outweigh the risks,” Braat said. “The fact that personal use of cloud computing among employees and IT professionals is influencing the rate of adoption within organizations speaks volumes about the emerging business case for cloud computing, and the need for solutions providers to take steps, as CDW has, to expand our portfolio of cloud services.”

The CDW 2013 State of the Cloud Report includes findings specific to each of the eight industries surveyed during August and September 2012: small businesses, medium businesses, large businesses, the Federal government, state and local governments, healthcare, higher education and K-12 public schools.

The survey sample includes at least 150 individuals from each industry who identified themselves as familiar with their organization’s use of, or plans for, cloud computing. The margin of error for the total sample is ±2.7 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error for each industry sample is ±7.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

For a copy of the complete CDW 2013 State of the Cloud Report, please visit http://www.cdw.com/stateofthecloud

Ten tips on avoiding identity theft

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Identity Theft posterIt may be the thing of Hollywood movies, but identity theft is a very real problem in the United States. With this week’s opening of the movie, “Identity Thief,” the story focuses on a man ( Jason Bateman ) hit hard by identity theft when a woman (Melissa McCarthy ) racks up credit card charges in his name.

The Personal Solutions division of Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) is providing tips to avoid becoming a real-life victim.

More than 11.6 million adults were victims of identity theft in 2011, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Child identity theft is also a significant problem, which many people don’t realize. 2.5 percent of U.S. households with children under age 18 have at least one child whose personal information has been compromised by identity criminals.

At this time of year, Equifax is particularly focused on educating consumers about tax identity theft, a growing problem. In the federal fiscal year 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Identity Protection Specialized Unit received 448,809 cases, up nearly 80 percent over the previous year.

Ten tips for preventing identity theft include:

  • Keep birth certificates, Social Security cards and other personal documents in a lockbox in your home. Make sure they are put away when someone is working in your home or even if you have a roommate.
  • When disposing of documents, use a diagonal shredder, which makes documents harder to piece together than a traditional shredder does.
  • Don’t leave outgoing bills, government forms or tax forms in a mailbox. Take them directly to the post office. Have your mail held by the post office while on vacation.
  • Don’t put your driver’s license number on your personal checks. Consider writing just your first initial and last name instead of your full name.
  • Don’t toss credit card receipts in public places.
  • Install anti-virus software, anti-malware software and a firewall on your computer and keep them up to date. A tech-savvy identity thief can use a virus to get personal information from your computer without you even knowing.
  • Use unique passwords that are different for each website.
  • Don’t put your birthdate or other sensitive information on your social media accounts, even just the month and day. A thief can figure out the year you were born by looking at your posts.
  • You’re entitled to one free credit report each year, which you can obtain at www.annualcreditreport.com. Review your report for unfamiliar lines of credit, an account you didn’t open, errors in your personal information or Social Security number.
  • For added security, consider a credit monitoring and identity theft protection product for yourself such as Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan, or for your family, such as Equifax Complete™ Family Plan, which can help protect the identities of two adults and up to four minor children in one comprehensive plan.

Cloud adoption posing greater challenges than many anticipated

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

cloud computingThe benefits of cloud computing have been much touted, but many companies are finding higher than expected costs and challenges in implementing, operating and governing cloud use, says a survey from KPMG International.

The KPMG survey, The cloud takes shape, polled more than 650 business and IT leaders across 16 major global markets and found more than half of the organizations already working in the cloud. However, the survey found about one-third of respondents said the costs of moving to the cloud were higher than expected, and a similar number noted significant implementation challenges.

Rick Wright , KPMG’s Global Cloud Enablement Program leader, said it appears some companies are only focused on the technology aspects of cloud to the detriment of their core business goals.

“One of the most important lessons uncovered by this research is that business process redesign needs to be done in tandem with cloud adoption, if organizations hope to achieve the full potential of their cloud investments,” said Wright, a partner with KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm.

Process redesign necessary

KPMG“Simply put, executives have found that simultaneous process redesign is central to addressing the complexities that often arise in the implementation and operational phases of cloud adoption.”

According to KPMG’s analysis of the survey data, business executives are moving past cost savings as a final goal for operating in the Cloud. Wright explained that other long-term benefits can include more efficient overall processes, flexible operating models, and faster speed to market.

KPMG’s survey noted that two of the top three cloud objectives identified by more than 20 percent of business executives were to enhance new market entry and drive business process transformation.

Develop a more strategic approach

Although companies are finding Cloud to prove more than an IT cost reduction tool in the long run, a more strategic approach needs to be developed at the outset to realize the proper benefits, especially as organizations move more of their core and sensitive data and processes to the Cloud, according to the survey.

“When thoughtfully implemented, many providers could actually offer robust and resilient security measures and controls that could enhance overall security in the cloud,” said Greg Bell , a U.S. principal and services leader at KPMG LLP. “Functions that – until just recently – were considered too sensitive or complex for Cloud are now being put on the table.”

The report highlighted specific aspects of cloud implementation that can significantly impair or enable an organization’s ability to reap its rewards.  These include:

  • Security: Cloud adoption should improve, rather than weaken, security concerns. Nevertheless, more than one-quarter of the companies surveyed have found that security-related challenges can be extensive and are a prime example of where business executives and IT need to work together to create a cloud security strategy.
  • Regulation: In many cases, companies said that while regulation is not hindering cloud implementation, they are working proactively to address future legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Tax: Organizations are approaching the tax structure of Cloud deployment strategically and are even finding a cloud environment can make a significant difference to the company’s tax position and bottom line.

“We see time and again that the federal, state and international tax implications of various Cloud deployment approaches can significantly impact an initiative’s ultimate ROI,” says Steve Fortier , Cloud Enablement lead for Tax at KPMG. “Bringing the tax department into discussions early can help companies avoid missing out on cost-saving opportunities or inadvertently creating significant tax risks.”

“Considering a strategic approach is necessary to focus on core business goals while moving portions of the organization into a cloud environment, organizations should also look to leverage the opportunities for business transformation and change management that can occur as a result of a move into the cloud,” added Wright.

Strong demand for technology dampened by economic uncertainties

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

ComptiaStrong customer demand for innovative technology solutions such as cloud computing, big data and mobility are countered by concerns about economic uncertainties, pricing pressures and substitution effects in the IT Industry Outlook 2013released today by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the industry.

This is more evidence that the U.S. economy could probably recover more quickly and with more zest if the uncertainties caused by Congressional squabbling over the debt, taxes, and regulations did not cloud the picture.

Growth rate of 3 percent predicted

CompTIA’s consensus forecast projects a growth rate of 3 percent for the global IT industry in 2013, with upside potential of 5.2 percent. The U.S. forecast is slightly lower – 2.9 percent with upside potential of 4.9 percent.

Industry growth projections dovetail with CompTIA’s quarterly IT Industry Business Confidence Index, which, with a reading of 56.8 on a 100-point scale, remains flat heading into 2013.

“The fiscal cliff turmoil certainly clouded the 2013 outlook,” said Tim Herbert , vice president, research, CompTIA. “Technology has never been more important, but persistent economic headwinds force many customer segments to remain conservative with their investments.”

IT services & software have the most upside

IT industry executives view the IT services and software segments as holding the most promise in 2013. Hardware sales – with many categories experiencing high unit growth, but downward pressure on prices – are expected to grow by just 1.8 percent.

“Reaching the upside of the forecast range will require macroeconomic stability, steady business confidence and healthy customers,” said Herbert. “There is good reason to believe the IT industry will hit the upside of growth projections, but there is still enough uncertainty to warrant caution.”

CompTIA sees 2013 as another transitional year, where incremental advances in a number of areas make their marks on the IT industry and the broader economy.

Macro Trends to Watch:

  • Progress along the innovation leaning curve pays dividends
  • Expectations Reset: The push for Faster, Larger, Easier and Safer
  • Open and transparent further dsplaces closed and hidden
  • The distributed economy deepens

Technology Trends to Watch:

  • Technology continues its transition from supporting tool to strategic driver
  • Mobility becomes a way of life … for employees and customers
  • Companies begin taking cloud computing for granted
  • The big data phenomenon will force companies to review data practices
  • Communication and collaboration get a boost from the cloud

IT Channel Trends to Watch:

  • Managed Services: Upping the Game
  • Navigating the New Channel Ecosystem
  • Specialization: Tackling Growing Markets
  • Convergence Creates Strange Bedfellows

2013 will be a big year for big data, Gazzang predicts

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Big DataBig data is in for a big year in 2013, says Gazzang, a Linux data security firm in its predictions covering emerging trends in big data, the cloud and open source technology adoption. But a serious big data security breach may also be in the cards.

Buoyed by increasing adoption of and trust in cloud technologies, big data will move out of the shadows and start to creep into the boardroom,” said Larry Warnock, CEO of Gazzang.

“While big data is already a conversation topic at most enterprises, it’s traditionally been relegated to IT and development projects. Next year, these organizations will start to see big data as a solution for driving better business intelligence, product innovation and customer service.”

Additional Gazzang predictions include:

  • The first significant big data company acquisitions will happen, signaling a shift in focus from proof-of-concept projects to high-business-value implementations/rollouts.
  • Vertical line of business applications on top of big data will start to explode, with some early examples already starting to emerge in retail, financial services and oil and gas.
  • What IBM does, others eventually follow. To that end, the industry will see more corporate policy established around cloud storage such as Dropbox – and more technical solutions developed to enforce these policies.
  • Product differentiation will focus less on infrastructure and more on application and service layers. As a result, more big brands will start open sourcing their architecture to encourage adoption and attract development talent, similar to what Netflix and Disney are already doing.
  • OpenStack is not overhyped as suggested by Gartner, but will succeed as an alternative to Amazon by providing security features such as default encryption and cloud entropy/randomization, and deliver solutions for companies that want on-premises cloud infrastructure.
  • A damaging big data breach will cause the market to question holes and vulnerabilities in NoSQL infrastructure.
  • As encryption and multi-factor authentication become more broadly adopted for cloud security, key management will become the new challenge. Solutions will need to provide strong policy enforcement and compliance capabilities, while maintaining high levels of flexibility and availability.
  • Audit and compliance mandates will be imposed on the “wild west” of big data projects. On a related note, we will see the first big rash of class-action lawsuits related to big data breaches, adding millions of dollars to the costs of these incidents.
  • Higher integration of structured and unstructured data will lead to greater insights for organizations and drive even greater adoption of big data.

New technologies empowering employees, but pose challenges

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

cloudCloud computing, mobility, social tools and other technologies that put more power in the hands of individual users pose new challenges for organizations seeking to secure data, devices and networks, new research released today by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the information technology (IT) industry, reveals.

The majority of companies in CompTIA’s 10th Annual Information Security Trends study attribute human error as a contributing cause of security breaches, just as they have in the previous nine years of the study. What’s changing, however, is that the human element is no longer confined to malware, phishing and viruses.

Mobile malware becoming more prevalent

Cloud computing options force end users to consider how data is handled outside of their organization. Unauthorized mobile applications and mobile malware strains are becoming more prevalent. Social networking is a growing factor affecting organizational security.

“As users gain more responsibility for their own technology, the human element becomes more and more important,” said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA.

“But many organizations are not sure what to do about it,” Robinson continued. “The way they’ve thought about security in the past is to purchase a firewall or antivirus software or other product. But there’s not a product that can help with end-user awareness. It really requires a commitment to training and education.”

Security a high priority the next two years

lockFour out of five companies expect to keep security as a high priority over the next two years, with large companies more likely to do so than their small and medium counterparts.

“Spending on security products shows no signs of abating, but a comprehensive security solution also must focus on the end users,” Robinson said. “It boils down to policies, processes and people;   making every user aware of their responsibilities for security.”

Along with growing concern over increasingly sophisticated and targeted cyber-attacks, changes in IT operations have also prompted new security approaches. For example, 51 percent of firms said that their move to cloud solutions or new mobility strategies was responsible for the implementation of new security tactics.

In dealing with these changes, 41 percent of organizations report a need to help their security staff close moderate or significant gaps in security expertise, with the deficit most pronounced in areas such as cloud security, mobile security and data loss prevention.

The impact of these deficiencies is felt in several ways, including being unaware of where the company is exposed (44 percent of responding firms); loss of business as a result of security issues with customer data (39 percent); and costs incurred for training the current workforce (38 percent).

A net 49 percent of companies say they intend to hire security specialists, including those that also plan on training current staff.

Executives have a strong preference for security professionals with industry certifications. A full 84 percent said they experienced a positive return on investment in security certifications, with certified staff viewed as more valuable because of their proven expertise and ability to perform at a high level than non-certified staff.

Corporations looking to the cloud to lower IT costs, replace legacy systems

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

cloudForty-four percent of U.S. executives aim to tackle current IT challenges through leveraging cloud solutions, and they are planning to invest more in cloud computing in the future.

That is the finding of an IDC survey commissioned by T-Systems. Corporations expect cloud computing to deliver lower IT costs (26 percent) and to enable them to replace legacy systems (21 percent) and adopt new applications more flexibly (14 percent).

“As the U.S. cloud services market continues to mature, enterprises find that overall business impact and productivity gains from the cloud are as significant as achieving cost reductions,” said David Tapper, IDC VP Outsourcing and Offshore Services Market Research.

Cloud computing is seen as most likely to deliver solutions for Customer Relationship Management (31 percent), productivity tools like email, collaboration or Office packages (28 percent), online stores, and Enterprise Relationship Management (26 percent each).

Reservations about security

Corporations continue to have reservations about security, but they are no longer the decisive criterion against cloud. The concept of security now extends to issues such as how cloud computing will impact compliance requirements or data availability. That is prompting corporations to consider the right cloud type and cloud service needed.

Enterprises see an opportunity in the private cloud for providers to fulfill their security requirements and agree on service level agreements. 40 percent of U.S. respondents have implemented a private cloud strategy while only 13 percent are relying on public cloud and 16 percent on hybrid cloud solutions.

In the course of adopting cloud computing, enterprises are increasingly considering new service providers, and they are also considering providers whose services they have not previously used. In ERP more than half are considering providers with whom they have had no previous experience.”

CEOs make the decision

“CEOs,” Tapper said, “are ranked as most significant in the decision-making process on using clouds. The result is that buyers are viewing cloud as strategic in achieving critical business objectives for which CIOs and IT vendors must ensure that their cloud solutions help achieve these objectives and associated business benefits.”

“The survey results validate that one of the greatest needs in deploying cloud-based solutions is to find the right partner who can assist with the question of cloud readiness and bring forward a clear plan on how to migrate to the cloud,” said T-Systems North America Managing Director Heike Auerbach.

“T-Systems has been migrating and managing complex applications to the cloud for more than seven years – longer than any other IT service provider. It was gratifying for us to see that customers profoundly value an experienced partner as they make the journey to the cloud.”

For the cloud survey commissioned by T-Systems, IDC asked CIOs and other top IT managers of 104 U.S. corporations in the summer of 2012 how they now rated cloud computing. IDC conducted the same interviews in the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Brazil.

 

What do most people think about cloud computing? (infographic)

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

cloudWhat do people really think about cloud computing? Many people outside of tech even know what the term really means. Many others misunderstand it.

Many people are using cloud computing via Amazon’s music store, Google music, online storage services and more, yet nearly a third still think the cloud is “a thing of the future.”

Here’s an infographic from Citrix showing that people are struggling with the concept.

cloud infographic

Green data center market to exceed $45B by 2016

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The combination of rising energy costs, increasing demand for computing power, environmental concerns, and economic pressure has made the green data center a focal point for the transformation of the IT industry as a whole.

According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the worldwide market for green data centers will grow from $17.1 billion in 2012 to $45.4 billion by 2016 – at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 28 percent.

“There is no single technology or design model that makes a data center green,” says research director Eric Woods.

“In fact, the green data center is connected to the broader transformation that data centers are undergoing—a transformation that encompasses technical innovation, operational improvements, new design principles, changes to the relationship between IT and business, and changes in the data center supply chain.”

Two powerful trends shaping the evolution of data centers

In particular, two powerful trends in IT are shaping the evolution of data centers, Woods adds: virtualization and cloud computing.

Virtualization, the innovation with the greatest impact on the shape of the modern data center, is also recognized as one of the most effective steps toward improving energy efficiency in the data center. In itself, however, virtualization may not lead to reduced energy costs.

To gain the maximum benefits from virtualization, other components of the data center infrastructure will need to be optimized to support more dynamic and higher-density computing environments. Cloud computing, meanwhile, has many efficiency advantages, but new metrics and new levels of transparency are required if its impact on the environment is to be adequately assessed, the report finds.

The report, “Green Data Centers”, explores global green data center trends with regional forecasts for market size and opportunities through 2016. The report examines the impacts of global economic and political factors on regional data center growth, along with newly adopted developments in power and cooling infrastructure, servers, storage, and data center infrastructure management software tools across the industry.

Schools and colleges are turning to the cloud for convenience and IT cost-cutting (infographic)

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

cloudOne place where cloud computing applications are getting a foothold is in education.

The benefits  - access to applications anywhere and on any device and lower IT costs – appeal to many colleges and school districts.

But while IBM, Microsoft, Adobe are offering cloud based products to the education market, there is plenty of room for growth. Only about a third of higher education institutions and just over a quarter of K-12 districts were in the cloud as of May last year.

Here’s an infographic on cloud use by schools:

Going to the Cloud
From: OnlineColleges.net