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Cloud Storage

How Well Could Cloud Storage Perform for Your Business?

Globally, cloud computing is being embraced by businesses at a rapid pace. Cloud computing uses a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data instead of a local server. The growth in the cloud computing vertical has gained traction because it provides on-demand computer system resources – such as data storage and computing power – without the bother of active maintenance and management by the user.

In addition to cloud drives, data analytics helps businesses become more effective by allowing them to store, interpret and process big data to help understand the needs of their customers. Businesses that use data analytics don’t have to resort to guesswork, because data patterns can systematically be analyzed to plan effective business strategies.

Why would your business consider cloud storage?

Data analysis helps businesses because it allows them to recognize patterns in a set and predict what to expect in the future. Referred to as data mining, it helps businesses discover patterns in data sets, allowing them to understand trends in a better way. But employees are unable to reap all the benefits of data analysis and big data due to lack of quick and reliable access to this information.

According to Gartner, around 85% of Fortune 500 companies are unable to leverage big data analytics due to lack of accessibility to data, resulting in missed opportunities to improve the customer experience.

But with cloud storage in place, employees can access company data remotely from wherever they want. It helps employees to serve their customers better, ultimately resulting in improved profit margins.

Apart from increasing accessibility and utility, cloud-powered big data analysis also allows your business to export all of your IT needs – such as hosting and maintaining servers – to the cloud service provider. Instead of investing in servers and other IT infrastructure, you can hire more staff and improve your product. In this way, cloud storage helps create a more competitive playing field for small companies.

TechnologyAdvice has published a comprehensive study – “Data Analytics in Cloud Computing” – which covers this important topic in detail. It’s well worth the time to read in its entirety.

What are the best ways to track performances?

TechnologyAdvice’s study covers four best uses of data analytics, provided verbatim:

Social Media – A popular use for cloud data analytics is compounding and interpreting social media activity. Before cloud drives became practical, it was difficult processing activity across various social media sites, especially if the data was stored on different servers. Cloud drives allow for the simultaneous examination of social media site data so results can be quickly quantified and time and attention allocated accordingly.

Tracking Products Long thought of as one of the kings of efficiency and forethought, it is no surprise Amazon.com uses data analytics on cloud drives to track products across their series warehouses and ship items anywhere as needed, regardless of items proximity to customers. Alongside Amazon’s use of cloud drives and remote analysis, they are also a leader in big data analysis services thanks to their Redshift initiative. Redshift gives smaller organizations many of the same analysis tools and storage capabilities as Amazon and acts as an information warehouse, preventing smaller businesses from having to spend money on extensive hardware.

Tracking Preference – Over the last decade or so, Netflix has received a lot of attention for its DVD deliver service and the collection of movies hosted on their website. One of the highlights of their website is its movie recommendations, which tracks the movies users watch and recommends others they might enjoy, providing a service to clients while supporting the use of their product. All user information is remotely stored on cloud drives so users’ preferences do not change from computer to computer.

Because Netflix retained all their users’ preferences and tastes in movies and television, they were able to create a television show that statistically appealed to a large portion of their audience based on their demonstrated taste. Thus in 2013, Netflix’s House of Cards became the most successful internet-television series ever, all thanks to their data analysis and information stored on clouds.

Keeping Records – Cloud analytics allows for the simultaneous recording and processing of data regardless of proximity to local servers. Companies can track the sales of an item from all their branches or franchises across the United States and adjust their production and shipments as necessary. If a product does not sell well, they do not need to wait for inventory reports from area stores and can instead remotely manage inventories from data automatically uploaded to cloud drives. The data stored to clouds helps make business run more efficiently and gives companies a better understanding of their customers’ behavior.

Cloud computing doesn’t have to be risky

Security concerns were common in cloud computing’s early days. However, ongoing improvements in security technology and protocols have earned user confidence. Today’s measures – combined with exercising proper due diligence – can provide the necessary data security. Here are some matters to consider in evaluating a cloud storage solution.

  • An excellent reputation for physical and network security.
  • Make sure that the cloud storage service offers multiple redundancies, as well as redundancy across several geographic locations to permit disaster recovery.
  • Learn how long it takes to delete a file across the redundant servers, and if it will ever be deleted from the cloud storage banks.

Also, mobile security is a concern, especially for those who don’t take adequate precautions to protect their digital content. With the trend toward bring your own device (BYOD) picking up, it is essential to keep your content safe. Our blog post – “What You Need to Know Before Your Company Adopts BYOD” – covers BYOD security best practices in detail.

Standard encryption cannot protect your data from internal theft, loss of devices or insecure personal devices that are used for business purposes. A cloud-based content security solution applicable for use on multiple types of devices is your best protection in case of theft or loss.

That is where DocuServe’s cloud-based content security solution comes into the picture. It is a document-centric cloud-based content security solution that can be used to secure a wide range of data, including:

  • Sales documents and marketing material
  • Internal training manuals and videos
  • Retail and wholesale pricing sheets
  • On-site and off-site inventory information
  • HR data and other internal documents
  • Executive-level communications

DocuServe provides automatic encryption of your documents and other rich media files. Your files and data stay in the cloud and not on the recipient’s device, making mobile security much safer for your business.

Contact us to learn more about what we can offer.

 

 


Predicative analytics, cloud services, human resource management software, improve employee engagement, HR automation,

Cloud Based HR Software – What You Need to Know

Innovations in technologies have helped businesses improve performance in many areas. Be it the marketing field, learning and development sector, or human resource management vertical, you now have software for every function that can help enhance the performance of your employees. Couple this with the rise of cloud services, and you get a potent combination that can take your organization to the next level. No matter your location, cloud computing has opened many opportunities for businesses in all verticals.

For example, there is customer relationship management software that helps businesses develop a strong bond with their customers. There’s also a learning management system that has changed the landscape of learning and development. Our August blog post covered how a learning management service can benefit your business, which goes into detail regarding this topic.

Add to this list a learning content management system that helps the learning and development teams manage the content that your workforce needs to use – as discussed in our July 2017 blog post, Introducing the Digital Age of Enterprise Learning. And, finally, there is human resource (HR) management software that helps your organization save money, improve employee engagement and improve your organization’s overall performance.

Cloud-based human resource management – the economical approach

Predicative analytics, cloud services, human resource management software, improve employee engagement, HR automation, HR employees have a lot to handle. For example, they spend a good amount of time in onboarding activities. According to Laurel Deppen, reporting for TechRepublic, automating the process can save your organization around 50 percent over traditional methods. With strategic software in place, you can increase employee engagement, retain them over the long term, and improve their productivity and performance.

HR employees perform crucial functions in every organization. But, if they continually spend time in non-productive administrative activities, they can’t effectively add value to your organization. HR software automates many of these processes, which gives your HR staff enough time to focus on strategic initiatives.

Electronic signatures can also benefit your organization in many ways besides being easy on the budget. For example, organizations invest time in distributing, signing and tracking important documents. Switching to e-signature software can save up to 40 work hours per month – as well as reduce the cost of paper, printing and postage, not to mention the environmental impact.

Similarly, a cloud-based HR solution can save money in time-off management. Keeping track of employees’ time-off on a spreadsheet is a time-consuming job and requires careful attention, as well. According to BambooHR, an average employee takes up to three days of unreported paid time off every year due to poor tracking system of the organization. With automated time-off tracking, it is easy for the organizations to track employee absence. This costs businesses around 6 percent of annual payroll. It improves the performance of your employees, and the result is that your customers remain happy with you.

Improving employee engagement

Predicative analytics, cloud services, human resource management software, improve employee engagement, HR automation, According to Scott Wallask, Editorial Director for TechTarget, cloud-based HR has the potential to improve employee engagement. Wallask focuses on apps such as YouEarnedIt, a SaaS-based platform that measures employee engagement on such factors as what they consider to be their most valuable skills – which combine with real-time data to improve the culture of the organization.

YouEarnedIt is based on the fact that employees are mainly concerned about four core areas: daily work purpose, connections with managers and colleagues, appreciation of individual contributions and team efforts, and their influence on co-workers and communities.

Based on the real-time feedback on these core issues of the employees, members can give points to their colleagues for bringing about positive changes and being good leaders. Among other rewards, the points collected by the awardees can be used to buy gift cards or to spend time with their team. The level of an employee’s happiness and engagement can be deduced not by the amount of time they spend with colleagues, and if they buy gift cards.

Help with predictive analytics, turnover risks and meeting diversity goals

With the core systems now firmly settled in the cloud, HR leaders can expect a surge of innovations in their vertical. As Sarah Fister Gale writes in her article for Workforce, “The agility of the cloud means technology teams can deliver new features and interactions quickly and seamlessly. Cloud-based HR systems also mean vendors can implement new iterations faster and with a lot less hassle.”

While actual predictive analytics for workforce management is still in the future, some data analytics capabilities are now offered by several vendors. Predictive analytics has the potential to offer a wide range of insights to organizations – such as training advice for career development, meeting diversity goals and turnover risks.

Vendors take advantage of the huge number of databases that are stored in the public cloud to improve the systems. The public cloud is home to masses of workforce data critical for creating valuable algorithms which is what is used by the computers to analyze the data. You need to train the algorithms on large data sets to decipher the relevant information.

Because these algorithms can tap more data sets, they can offer more targeted insights. For example, predictive analysis can very effectively be used to retain the most talented employees. A single system can review employees’ overtime log sheets, their LinkedIn behavior and their spending on travel to determine stressed-out employees who are likely to quit. This data can then be used by the HR department to find incentives to retain them.

You need strong vendor partnerships to understand training algorithms – one that understands the technology and methods of delivering actionable information. DocuServe provides cloud-based content distribution and protection solutions for organizations of every size. Contact us to learn what we can offer.


Cryptography in the cloud

Cryptography in the Cloud – What You Need to Know

Cloud technology has rapidly been adopted by organizations of all sizes – from Fortune 500 corporations to plucky start-ups. And no wonder. By eliminating, or greatly reducing, the need to store applications on in-house servers, the start-up can successfully compete on the Fortune 500 corporations’ playing field. However, the risk of data theft or compromise in the cloud environment always looms near – which is why an increasing number of organizations are also implementing cryptography protocols to provide essential data security.

 

Cloud technology, cryptography, and security

 

cloud cryptography securityVarious approaches are used to extend cryptography to cloud data. One approach is to encrypt the data before uploading it to the cloud. This method is advantageous because the data is encrypted before it leaves the company environment, and the data can only be decrypted by authorized staff members who have access to the decryption keys.

Other cloud storage services can encrypt data when they receive it, which ensures the data they store and transmit is protected by encryption by default. While some cloud providers offer encryption natively, others allow “bring your own” encryption. Though the data encryption occurs in the cloud provider’s environment, customers must maintain the control keys that keep their data secure.

Even if some cloud services are not offering encryption capabilities, they should use encrypted connections such as SSL or HTTPS to make sure that the data is protected in transit. A complete platform for cloud security and encryption should provide robust access controls and key management capabilities.

 

How cryptography keeps your data secure

Cryptography expert Ralph Spencer Poore explained in an interview with Bank Info Security that because it is not possible to physically control the storage of information in the cloud, the best way to ensure data protection both in motion and at rest is to store it cryptographically, with users maintaining control of the cryptographic keys.

Poore discussed the unique challenges that need to be addressed before selecting a cloud provider. For example, cryptographic implementations can have jurisdictional limitations and potential liability issues because the cloud has the potential of being international, and cryptographic technology by most nations is considered to be a restrictive category. This is of greater importance since the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect on May 25 of this year.

There are two types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric. Described in basic terms, symmetric encryption uses a single key that needs to be shared among the people who need to receive the message, while asymmetrical encryption uses a public key and a private key to encrypt and decrypt messages when communicating. Symmetric encryption is an old technique, while asymmetric encryption is relatively new.

Cryptography and key management

learn how key management in cloud cryptography worksKey management is the management of cryptographic keys in a cryptosystem, which includes the generation, use, storage, destruction and replacement of keys. Key management includes cryptographic protocol design, key servers, user procedure, and other relevant protocols. It concerns keys at the user level, either between the users or systems.

As an increasing number of businesses move their sensitive data to the IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and cloud services provider environment, strong encryption key management has become more essential than ever before. There exist key management solutions for traditional cloud services and SaaS, as well as for public cloud services.

Businesses are now spending billions of dollars on SaaS offerings around the world. Several SaaS providers offer encryption to their powerful applications, but keeping your sensitive data secure is ultimately your responsibility, and you can do it with key management in compliance with data security and privacy mandates. Data separation from keys is a must for many compliance mandates and is also recommended by the Cloud Security Alliance among best security practices.

Keeping your company’s data secure in the clouds need not be a daunting task. DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us for secure, cloud-based content distribution and protection.


LMS tools, learning management service, learning management system, employee training, train tools, corporate training tools

How a Learning Management Service Can Benefit Your Business

Businesses all over the world are adopting ways to deliver effective learning programs to their employees to help increase user engagement, productivity and retention. Looking after the learning and training needs of your employees is central to the success of every organization. Companies these days want to create a robust platform for corporate training that can deliver effective corporate training programs to a wider audience. And that is where a learning management system (LMS) fits the bill.

A learning management system can offer many benefits to organizations of all sizes. But first, let’s define what an LMS is all about.

What is an LMS?

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An LMS is an enterprise-wide application that enhances the flow of information to managers. As described by Asha Pandey, CMD and Chief Learning Strategist at EI Design, it can manage, track, regulate, monitor and deliver learning programs to a wide audience. In addition to delivering fully automated online training, an LMS can support hybrid training models like blended learning and the flipped classroom approach. Also, an LMS solution can deliver training content, assignments and tests to employees, track their progress, manage recordkeeping and offer support on a continuous basis.

Benefits of adopting an LMS

The online revolution has altered our lives in many ways. The way we communicate, shop, and even learn and train have changed for the better. eLearning is an effective way of delivering course material in a classroom or training room environment. eLearning software solutions allow organizations to deliver corporate training programs and courses online, or other platforms.

How an LMS improves learning

  • It keeps track of learning – Employee development and meeting all the compliance norms are the two key factors that concern every organization. With an LMS in place, you don’t have to worry about these factors, as it tracks who has taken the training and how well they performed.
  • It reminds you about retraining – Learning and training should be a continuous process if you want your employees to remain up-to-date on all developments. An LMS can keep you informed on the last training taken by your employees, and the upcoming retraining schedule.
  • It provides real-time reporting – An LMS can track the progress of your employees accurately and provide comprehensive reports in real time.
  • It offers on-demand learning – With an LMS in place, your employees have around-the-clock access to training materials. They also have the option of revisiting the courses if they want to review the material.
  • It allows anytime, anywhere learning – mLearning – or mobile learning – is a growing trend, with organizations now delivering training courses on such mobile devices as smartphones and tablets.

How an LMS benefits your organization

  • Helps improve your employees’ performance – With an LMS in place, you can access eLearning courses on demand. It keeps your employees current on all recent developments and compliance norms, which helps improve their overall performance.
  • It speeds the process of compliance training – Bringing new hires up to speed faster is another advantage. Even for established employees, an LMS helps get everyone on board simultaneously when organizational changes occur, or new compliance regulations are established.
  • It reduces cost – As organizing and conducting face-to-face training is costly, an LMS helps reduce your overall training cost.
  • It helps multiple site deployment – You can conduct training at different locations without concerns about training consistency and uniformity. The same message is delivered across all locations, and everyone has access to the same material.
  • Everyone gets a chance to attend the training – Employees have the flexibility to schedule their training to their convenience – either completing the session at once, or as they have time, depending upon their workflow.
  • It can align with your organization’s learning needs – An LMS is a powerful corporate training tool that takes into consideration your organization’s learning needs. You can train your employees for new initiatives easily, consistently and effectively, and measure the impact of learning.  

What to look for in an LMS

When you buy LMS software for your organization, you need to make sure that it offers features that keep your employees engaged. If the LMS you purchase lacks compelling functionalities, it will be difficult to generate user engagement.

lms, software, lms tools, corporate training

Software Advice conducted a survey of full-time employees to learn which popular LMS features they would like to use the most. A summary of the findings were reported by Brian Westfall, Senior Content Analyst for Software Advice.

  • Micro-learning engages more than half of employees – Because 58% of those surveyed said they would like to engage more with the training content if it was broken up into shorter lessons, micro-learning is a growing trend.
  • Gamification – In the survey, 35% of the employees said that real-life rewards based on the progress of learning would be the top gamification incentive for using their organization’s LMS. This is another trend that is quickly spreading. LMS systems have incorporated many video game-like functions, such as leaderboards, badges and point systems.
  • Social learning modules, such as discussion boards and content sharing – In the survey, 24% of respondents said that the discussion board – followed by content sharing (23%) – would be the social learning module that engages them the most with their company’s online learning tools. Another popular trend in online learning is the surge in social learning due to the rise of the social media in the last decade.
  • Mobile access – In the survey, employees were asked whether they would be more comfortable using corporate training software on their mobile devices. Almost half of them (48%) said they are more likely to use an LMS on their mobile devices, but surprisingly 39% of them said that mobile access would not make any difference to them.

If a learning management system is what you are looking for, DocuServe has solutions that will help you produce, manage and distribute your eLearning content without the need to hire an expensive in-house content development team. Our comprehensive LMS tool can take your learning and training standard to the next level. Contact us for all your eLearning needs, and increase the engagement of your team members.


PaaS Platform as a Service

What is PaaS – Platform as a Service

Cloud computing has recently experienced tremendous growth, and the upward trend is set to continue in the coming years. Businesses and organizations of every kind have been quick to adopt this practice of using a network of remote servers rather than a single server to store, manage and process data – opening an exciting world of possibilities for innovation and growth.

As Susan Ward notes in The Balance Small Business, cloud computing is especially advantageous for small businesses, as it gives them access to data and applications from anywhere at anytime from any mobile device, at a reasonable price – without having to purchase software. This greatly helps level the playing field, allowing small and mid-size businesses to compete with larger enterprises.

Cloud services consist of three main types: software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). As this blog has covered the first two in previous months, we focus this month on PaaS.

De-mystifying PaaS – what it is and what it features

• PaaS is a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run and manage applications without the complexity (and expense) of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app. PaaS can be delivered in three ways:

• Public cloud service from a provider, where the customer controls software deployment with minimal configuration options, and the provider provides the networks, servers, storage, operating system (OS), middleware (e.g., Java runtime, .NET runtime, integration, etc.), database and other services to host the customer’s application.

• Private service (software or appliance) behind a firewall.

• Software deployed on a public infrastructure as a service.

In addition, notes John Meegan of IBM, PaaS systems typically build in security and data-protection features, including resilience capabilities such as replication and backups. This can improve security and reduce the need for in-house security skills. Meegan continues:

“The provision of sophisticated, off-the-shelf capabilities as services enables the rapid creation and evolution of applications that address business requirements. This is especially important when considering mobile and web applications that include social and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.

“Business applications typically require integration and involve aggregation of data and services from multiple existing systems. PaaS systems usually feature prebuilt integration and aggregation components to speed and simplify necessary development work.”

Dan Juengst of Red Hat OpenShift discusses PaaS in the video “What is a Platform as a Service (PaaS)?”

The powerful benefits of PaaS

Meegan lists the broad benefits of PaaS:

  • Scalability, including rapid allocation and deallocation of resources with a pay-as-you-use model (noting that the use of individual resources can vary greatly over the life cycle of an application).
  • Reduced capital expenditure.
  • Reduced lead times with on-demand availability of resources.
  • Self-service with reduced administration costs.
  • Reduced skill requirements.
  • Support of team collaboration.
  • Ability to add new users quickly.

How PaaS works

PaaS does not replace all IT infrastructure needs; instead, you rely on the service provider for some vital services like Java development and application hosting. The service provider builds and then supplies a robust and conducive environment so that the user can install data sets and applications.

Several of the PaaS products help in the software development. PaaS platforms offer many facilities, such as compute and storage infrastructure, version management and text editing. They also offer compiling and testing services which help your team create new software efficiently and quickly.

Looking ahead to what’s next for PaaS

Upper Edge IT Shawn Stamp, Practice Director of UpperEdge – a Boston-based IT advisory company – anticipates PaaS to become more robust to the point where tech savvy users – as opposed to traditional programmers – will be able to develop/manage increasingly feature-rich custom applications.

“The addition of AI to PaaS offerings will help to enable this,” Stamp says.

A word of caution

You should carefully select the PaaS service provider after evaluating the downtime and lock-in risks. If there are frequent outages, it can affect your productivity. Provider lock-in is the other concern where it is difficult for the users to migrate many of the services and data from one PaaS product to another.

Another potential issue is the internal changes that a provider makes to the PaaS product. If the PaaS service provider decides to stops supporting some programing language or plans to use another set of development tools, it can become a problem for the user. You need to follow the PaaS provider’s service roadmap to know if or how it will affect your capabilities.

Prominent PaaS service providers

There are many PaaS service providers offering the tools required to build enterprise applications. Evaluate those that meet your organization’s technical requirements, then make a careful selection to prevent issues in such areas as language and service. 

Google App Engine – This is a cloud computing platform that helps you develop and host web applications in data centers managed by Google. It uses and supports such languages as Java, Python, Go and PHP.

Microsoft Azure – Supports application development in such languages as Note.js, PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, and .NET. It allows developers to use Visual Studio and software developer kits to develop and deploy applications.

Red Hat Open Shift –PaaS offering that can be used for creating open source applications using a variety of languages, components and databases. You can get on-demand access to Open Shift and build, deploy and manage scalable applications.

AWS Compute Cloud (EC2) – Allows a developer to create, deploy, manage, and scale web applications and services that are developed with languages such as .NET, Ruby, Python, Go, Node.js, PHP, Docker, and Java on common servers like Apache, Nginx, etc.

Heroku Enterprises (Salesforce platform) – Support such languages as Java, Python, Ruby, Node.js, Cloture and Scala. It offers Unix-style container computing options that run processes in an isolated environment.

No matter which PaaS provider you choose, keeping your company’s data secure is always the first priority. DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.


laaS Infrastructure with DocuServe

What is IAAS – Infrastructure as a Service?

Whether your company is a conglomerate or start-up, chances are you are using cloud computing services in one form or another. From sending emails, editing documents, playing games online to watching TV and banking transactions, you are already using the cloud all the time. Cloud computing can take care of all your IT needs – such as servers, software, storage, databases, networking and analytics.

There are three main types of cloud services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Here is what each type does.

SAAS – A distribution model where a cloud service provider hosts all your applications and makes it available to you over the internet.

PAAS – The cloud service provider delivers the operating systems as well as other related services through the web, and you don’t have to bother about installation and downloads – or invest in IT infrastructure.

IAAS – The cloud service provider offers everything that you need for your IT infrastructure. From virtual machines, operating system, and networks to storage, support, and hardware, the provider will offer you everything, which can fulfil all your IT infrastructure needs –without investing money in buying hardware of your own.

All about IAAS

IaaS allows customers to use the IT infrastructure of the cloud service provider on a subscription basis. This model outsources all IT infrastructure needs to the provider, which typically has an on-premise data center that includes servers, networking hardware, virtual machines, operating systems and storage.  The service provider also offers a host of other services that include monitoring, security, billing, load balancing, log access and clustering, as well as storage facilities – such as backup, data recovery and replication.

IaaS users can access these services and resources via a wide area network (WAN) like the internet, and then use the IaaS provider’s services to install the rest of the applications. For example: as a customer, you need to log in to the IaaS platform and create virtual machines, install an operating system (OS), make storage buckets and backups. You can then use the cloud provider’s services to perform many functions, such as cost tracking, network traffic balancing, performance monitoring, disaster recovery management – and even solve application issues.

All cloud computing models work on the participation of the provider, and in most cases act as a third-party organization that sells IaaS. Two of the better-known independent IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As a customer, you can also opt for a private cloud, where you provide your infrastructure services.

Advantages of IAAS

Businesses opt for IaaS because it is an easy, fast and cost-effective option for which they don’t have to invest, support, or manage the infrastructure. In this model, a business subscribes its IT infrastructure needs from a cloud service provider. IaaS is best suited for businesses/ assignments that are new, short-term, or that entail unexpected changes.

IaaS subscribers typically pay only on a per-user basis. At times, IaaS providers bill based on the amount of virtual machine space you use. This convenient payment method turns out to be a better option for businesses that don’t want to invest big money in setting up their own IT infrastructure.

Also, cloud computing works well for several other reasons. It is reliable because it keeps your data safe, offers uninterrupted service and high speed, which increases overall productivity.

 

However, says Ian McClarty, CEO and President of PhoenixNAP Global IT Services,

PhoenixNAP Global IT Services“Infrastructure requires careful planning as well. Determine if a prebuilt  IaaS Solution is a good fit. This can save money and add expertise to your deployment without having to hire on your own.” 

 

Prominent IAAS Venors & Providers

There are several IaaS providers in the market, but selecting one that best serves your needs is a crucial question. Though most of the IaaS providers offer its clients virtual machines, it all comes down to the kind of management and specialized services they are ready to deliver.

For this reason, it is important to evaluate service providers on not just the basis of cloud services they offer, but also on the following factors: management functions, identity management, service level agreements (SLAs), customer support and monitoring tools.

Amazon AWS offers a range of compute and storage services, such as Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Glacier, and Simple Storage Services (S3). AWS offers a full range of services and integrated monitoring tools with a competitive pricing structure.

Since Google Compute Engine (GCE) is integrated with other Google services, it is best suited for high-performance computing, data warehousing, big data and analytics applications. GCE also offers a range of compute and storage services.

Windows Azure also offers a range of compute and storage services. It is an easy-to-use administration tool, more so if you are used to working on Microsoft platforms. It is not a Windows-only IaaS.

Rackspace Open Cloud also has an easy-to-use control panel and offers strong customer service apart from offering core cloud compute services.

HP Enterprise Converged Infrastructure is a viable solution for businesses that want to integrate their current IT infrastructure with a public, hybrid or private cloud.

IBM SmartCloud Enterprise offers a range of compute and storage services with a combination of software, management and security features for enterprise cloud administrators.

Tom’s IT Pro offers an informative in-depth look at the above IaaS providers. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There are many vendors in the market, some small and others offering niche services.

Again, carefully analyze your needs before selecting a cloud service provider. McClarty advises the following: “If a customized product is a better fit, start by testing some solutions with a smaller deployment before jumping in. By testing a proof of concept, you can get a direct feel for what cloud adoption for your entire

organization may be like. Working with engineers to review detailed architecture ahead of time can reduce costly mistakes and make sure your move goes smoothly. Additionally, if there are compliance requirements, these will need to be identified and considered.”

No matter which IaaS provider you choose, keeping your company’s data secure is always the first priority. DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.


Blockchain 101 with Docuserve

Blockchain 101: What You Need to Know About Blockchain

Have you heard about blockchain?

Chances are you must have heard about it, but probably haven’t given blockchain the kind of weight it deserves. But make no mistake, blockchain is a technological marvel that will have far-reaching effects on not just the financial services market, but on other industries and businesses, as well.

If you find Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fascinating enough to delve into and explore, you also need to know something about blockchain.

A blockchain is a distributed and shared database where the database storage devices are not all linked to a common processor. It is a list of growing records, called as blocks, which are connected and secured by cryptography. Every block is connected to the previous block and has a transaction data and timestamp.

Cryptography ensures the safety and security of a blockchain. Users are only able to edit the blockchain parts they own, and that is if they have the private keys which are mandatory to write to the file. Cryptography also makes sure that your copy of the distributed blockchain remains in sync with others.

Blockchain is intrinsically resistant to data modification. It is a public, open, distributed and shared ledger that can record transactions between parties in a certifiable, efficient and permanent way. Blockchain is used as a distributed ledger and is managed by a P2P (peer-to-peer) network jointly sticking to a protocol for authenticating new blocks. And, once data is recorded in any block, it cannot be changed. To change the data, all the subsequent blocks have to be altered, which is not an easy task and can happen only with majority collusion.

Blockchains by design are secure and represent a distributed or shared computing system with high levels of Byzantine-like fault tolerance. As a result, blockchain technology allows data management in a decentralized and an autonomous way. Therefore, blockchain is best suited for medical record keeping, recording of events and other record management activities like transaction processing, identity management, food traceability, voting or documenting provenance.

The Invention of Blockchain

As mentioned earlier, blockchains are designed to be secure databases. The concept of blockchain came into existence in 2008 by a person or group under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, and then introduced as the part of the digital Bitcoin currency for the first time in 2009. For all Bitcoin transactions, the blockchain acts as the public ledger. With the help of blockchain technology, Bitcoin became the first digital currency to solve the problem of double-spending, and that, too, without the use of a central server or an authoritative body.

What Are The Different Types of Blockchain?

Public blockchains – Public blockchains like Bitcoin are big distributed networks that work through a native token. Anyone can participate in this forum, and at any level. They have open source code, which is maintained by the community.

Permissioned blockchains – A permissioned blockchain like Ripple control roles that people can have in a network. They are big and distributed systems, and also use a native token. In permissioned blockchains, the core code may or may not be open source.

Private blockchains – These are smaller systems, and do not use a token. Membership in private blockchains is closely controlled. Consortiums prefer this type of blockchain where members are highly trustworthy, and confidential information can easily be traded without any problem.

All of these are blockchain types, and all of them use cryptography, which allows users on any given network to securely manage the ledger in a decentralized way.

The Importance of Blockchain

The internet is a decentralized forum, which we use to share most of our day-to-day information, but for financial transactions, we are forced to resort to a tried and tested system of a centralized financial institution, such as banks. Even the popular PayPal payment for online transactions only becomes effective once we integrate it with a credit card or a bank account.

With blockchain technology in place, people can transact and do business with each other directly without the involvement of a middleman. The blockchain technology helps remove the middleman as it performs these three vital roles:

  • Records all transactions
  • Establishes identities
  • Establishes contracts (typically a prerogative of the financial services sector)

Blockchain technology, if implemented, can have a far-reaching effect on the financial services sector, as it has huge market capitalization. Though it will cause an upheaval in the financial services market, the technology can considerably improve the efficiencies of the financial services business.

Not only will the financial services sector be able to benefit from blockchain technology – other industries also stand to gain tremendously. Other than Bitcoin, the technology can also be used to store all sorts of digital data, including computer code.

The piece of code can be programmed to perform a function when some parties key in their entries, which is nothing but getting into a contract. This code could also decipher external data feeds, anything that can be analyzed by the computer – such as news headlines, weather reports or stock prices – which could be used to create contracts that will automatically be filed as and when the conditions are met. These are referred to as smart contracts, and this can open an exciting number of opportunities.

One blockchain pioneer is Ternio. Based in Lewes, DE, Ternio provides blockchain for the programmatic digital advertising industry. Says Ternio co-founder Ian Kane:

“At Ternio, we use Blockchain to solve the many problems facing digital advertising such as domain fraud, bot traffic, lack of transparency and lengthy payment models. Ian Kane of Ternio_Blockchain CompanyThe issue is that incentives are not aligned, causing both advertisers and publishers to feel they are on the losing side of the deal. Blockchain is the solution to bring transparency to the supply chain because it inherently brings trust to a trustless environment.

“By reducing the number of bad players in the supply chain, it enables the good companies to thrive. Most important, publishers are able to collect a higher percentage of the total ad dollars entering the ecosystem and will do so at the time of impression delivery. Blockchain is still in its infancy, but the underlying technology is here to stay and all ad tech companies should be looking at how it can help to improve their business.”

How blockchain is different from Bitcoin

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are able to exist only because of blockchain technology. For example, Twitter is a social medium platform that is on the internet. The internet makes Twitter possible, but Twitter itself is not the internet.

How blockchain functions

Blockchain is comprised of blocks, each of which records some current transactions. These blocks permanently go into the blockchain, and new blocks are created as soon as old ones are completed.  All these blocks are linked to one another in a sequential and linear manner, and each block has a hash of the previous block. The blockchain contains all the information, from the last block to the first-ever block.

Once a transaction takes place, the information remains in the blockchain permanently. It cannot be copied or deleted, it can only be distributed. The technology is completely secure, as blocks can only be added with complex cryptography.

Blockchain databases are autonomously managed for sharing information between two parties. Since it is a P2P network that has a shared or distributed timestamping server, there is no need for an administrator. The person using the blockchain is the administrator.

There is no third party involvement in blockchain because the users validate each time one person pays to another for anything. The details of the transactions are recorded in the blocks publicly, which are later verified by other users. All the participating computers – referred to as nodes – share the database of the blockchain. Every node gets a blockchain copy, which means that you get public records of all the transaction that ever happened on the network.

Blockchain technology has the potential to improve our existing financial services sector, including banks. As this disruptive new technology stands ready to change the world, the decision-makers in financial services and other industries now face the challenge of developing a strategic approach to adaptation.


Information on Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency For Dummies: What is Cryptocurrency & How Does it Work?

There is tremendous interest in the cryptocurrency space right now, and equal parts confusion, uncertainty, and doubt. Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, ICOs. What do these even mean? This guide will be a brief overview of what cryptocurrency is and how it works.

Cryptocurrency is a general name referring to all the encrypted decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin. The underlying infrastructure that makes these cryptocurrencies what they are is called blockchain. At its simplest, a Blockchain is a shared database (ledger) that everyone can write to and access to verify transactions. It is extremely secure because the transactions are encrypted with 256-bit cryptographic keys. So instead of the record of every transaction that has occured on a server, all the information is kept in the decentralized ledger (the blockchain).

These ledgers are constantly checked against one another automatically to stay up to date with the master. The master is the longest most agreed-upon chain at any given time.

“Anyone (or any program) can check the ledger any time because the ledger is public. But, everything on the ledger is encrypted, so unless you have the key for the ledger slots you’re trying to look at, all you see is nonsense. This is how the system is able to be secure, but also public. Everything is encrypted using an algorithm that is, as of now, unhackable.” – Adam Kerpelman, founder and CEO of Juris – Human-Powered Dispute Resolution for Blockchain Smart Contracts, 

When a new coin comes out it usually releases a “white paper” which is like a sales pitch. Initial Coin Offers (ICO’s) are new coins used for crowdfunding. Cryptocurrency is legal and taxable in the US, but it isn’t legal tender and is treated as an investment property. With that said, due to its infancy and history so far, cryptocurrencies should be invested in and used with their historical volatility in mind.

Is Cryptocurrency Safe?

Says Scott Amyx, of Amyx Ventures, “Cryptocurrencies are inherently very safe but the vulnerability of cryptocurrencies lies not with the underlying technology but rather with people and institutions — hackers trick the user into divulging access to the exchange, typically your email address and a password (via phishing) or to the private key in your wallet. Specific to exchanges, the most common way is to hack into your email account and then request a password reset to the exchange.”

To mitigate this risk, Amyx recommends enabling  multi-factor authentication.

Cryptocurrency wallet_Crypto wallet

Where Do You Keep Cryptocurrency?

  • A third party exchange such as Upbit and OKEx
  • A first party wallet with a public key  which allows others to give you cryptocurrency and a private key (to open the wallet for withdrawal)
  • In the case of an exchange, investors can buy and store digital currency using their service.
  • For a wallet, you are responsible for keeping the private key safe so that no one can hack into your wallet.

Cybersecurity Degree Programs, Cybersecurity Masters Degree, Degree in Cyber Security, Online Security, Internet Security

Interested in Internet Security? Get a Cybersecurity Masters Degree!

Cybersecurity Degree Programs, Cybersecurity Masters Degree, Degree in Cyber Security, Online Security, Internet Security

No one can forget the infamous Sony Pictures security breach of 2014, where confidential information was released courtesy of computer hackers who called themselves the “Guardians of Peace.”

Cybersecurity attacks are becoming more frequent, and the demand for jobs is reaching a fever pitch. A new report out from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million openings last year.

Employment figures from the U.S. and India highlight the cybersecurity labor crisis.

In 2017, the U.S. employed nearly 780,000 people in cybersecurity positions, with approximately 350,000 current cybersecurity openings, according to CyberSeek, a project supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Most IT security jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer related field however many colleges are expanding to have cybersecurity master’s degree programs, and here are some of them…

 

American Military University Logo_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

American Military University (Charles Town, W.Va.) – The Master of Science in Cybersecurity Studies program takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to preventing and responding to large-scale cyber threats and cyber attacks. The first half of the online, two-year program provides a foundation in network security, information assurance, cyber crime and digital forensics. The second half focuses on the issues, policies, practices and perspectives of various sectors, critical infrastructures, agencies and disciplines, such as national security, intelligence, criminal justice and emergency management.

 

Carnegie Mellon University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh)—In 16 or 20 months, the Master of Science in Information Security enhances a technical education in computer systems and security with research/development opportunities and the option to take additional courses in areas complementary to security. Graduates may pursue doctoral degrees or positions as security experts equipped to manage the growing complexities associated with securing data, networks and systems. This graduate degree program meets the criteria for the NSF-funded CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program (SFS). U.S. citizens who are accepted may be eligible for a full scholarship and stipend from the federal government.

 

Fordham University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Program

Fordham University’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies (Bronx, N.Y.)—Fordham’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity program is a combination of weekend, online and hybrid courses is designed for completion in 12 months over three semesters. Students learn how to identify solutions to global cyber threats while mastering legal, ethical and policy issues using methods in computing and informational science, engineering and social science. Program highlights include small classes taught by academia and industry experts, intensive lab experience in a dedicated cybersecurity research lab, and networking opportunities and career support.

 

George Washington University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

George Washington University (Washington, D.C.)—The Master of Science in Cybersecurity in Computer Science program was created to respond to the large and fast-growing need for technical cybersecurity experts nationally and internationally. Students acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills in cybersecurity and get a firm grounding in requisite core knowledge in computer science, as well as the ability to take courses in related disciplines. GWU also offers the Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Policy and Compliance (online).

 

Indiana University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

Indiana University (Bloomington, Ind.)—The Master of Science in Secure Computing offers an interdisciplinary focus that combines coursework in mathematics, protocol analysis, and system and network security, with business and economics, social engineering, human-computer interaction, and other disciplines. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity Risk Management program will bring together cybersecurity courses from law, business and computer science. The degree offers integrated coursework from the School of Informatics and Computing, the IU Maurer School of Law, and the IU Kelley School of Business.

 

Northeastern University_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

Northeastern University (Boston)—The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program enables students to gain the broad knowledge needed to make strategic decisions to combat information security threats, including identity theft, computer malware, electronic fraud and cyber attacks. The program explores key issues in information security and how technology can help resolve them. It combines an understanding of IT with relevant knowledge from law, the social sciences, criminology and management.

 

University of Southern California_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

The University of Southern California (Los Angeles)—USC Viterbi’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program focuses on the fundamentals of developing, engineering and operating secure information systems. Curriculum fosters understanding in developing a security policy and how policy drives technology decisions. Students solve challenges and problems of secure operating systems, secure applications, secure networking, use of cryptography and key management. This program is also available online to professional engineers through the Distance Education Network.

 

University of South Florida_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

The University of South Florida (Tampa, Fla.)—The Master of Science in Cybersecurity interdisciplinary program has four concentrations. The Cyber Intelligence concentration prepares graduates for entry-level or advanced positions as cyber intelligence or threat intelligence analysts. The Digital Forensics concentration helps students gain the skills needed to investigate computer, cyber and electronic crimes; analyze networks that have been attacked or used for illicit purposes; and properly identify, collect, secure and present digital evidence. The Information Assurance concentration provides a core foundation of knowledge and applied expertise in information security controls, the regulatory environment, and information risk management and incident response. The Computer Security Fundamentals concentration provides a core foundation of technical knowledge necessary to design and build secure computing systems, detect unauthorized use, and protect systems, resources and data that they store or access. All courses are fully online.

 

University of Washington_Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs

The University of Washington (Bothell, Wash.)—The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering prepares students to protect cyber systems with the necessary technical and leadership skills. Students gain expertise and confidence in making difficult security trade-offs and carrying out essential changes to keep and maintain secure systems. They gain hands-on experience in a myriad of research areas, such as penetration testing, emerging technologies, vulnerability analysis, network security, human-computer interaction, wireless security and cryptography. The degree is designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Enrollment is either part-time or full-time, with courses meeting in the evening two or three times a week. Most students complete the program in just over two years.

 


What is SAAS

What is SAAS? How Can SAAS Improve Your Business? Is SAAS Safe?

What is SAAS?

SASS stands for Software as a Service. It is a category of cloud computing. Like all cloud computing categories, with SAAS your information is not stored on a traditional digital hard drive, but digitally over offsite servers. SAAS is unique from other forms of cloud computing because it is a system where you are essentially renting software monthly.

Instead of buying a license for the software and spending the money lump sum you pay on an ongoing basis and the software is updated for you automagically and in most cases support for software is included as well,” said Nadeem Azhar, the owner of PC.Solutions.Net.

How does SAAS benefit businesses?

For some companies the initial cost of software is a barrier to entry. As are the demands of additional staff and infrastructure needed to run a traditional server. SAAS allows such companies to obtain software easily, without costly onsite infrastructure, and with a time saving easy install.

SaaS benefits companies in several ways, said Steven Benson, the founder of Badger Maps. “First, SaaS software tends to be a lot cheaper than it was in the past. You’re usually paying for it on a monthly basis, so you pay exactly for what you need. It also tends to be very easy to deploy compared to old-school software because you don’t need to spin up servers. When I worked at IBM, the customer would need to run servers and integrate the software with a bunch of other devices just to use it. This was a far more complicated process. But with SaaS, the service 
is delivered through the browser and is much easier to try out for the 
customer to see if it’s a good fit. Free trials were very complicated to do 
in the past, but now you can just set up someone’s account in a few 
minutes, and help them make a better buying decision.”

Is SAAS Secure?

Yes, SAAS is considered by technology experts to be more secure than traditional data methods.

Many of today’s SAAS companies run on the most trusted and secured
infrastructure in the world. There are procedures in place to make sure SAAS systems remain secure and safe.

“Standard practices need to be followed when designing a SAAS infrastructure,” said Azhar. “Any and every connection should be encrypted, information while at rest should be encrypted and of course the platform should be hosted at a data center that already has security certifications specific to the industry the software serves.”

What are the SAAS trends for the future?

SAAS continues to be a growing field. As people use more and devices, the need for cloud based systems has grown. So has the interest SAAS systems from investors.

“…Private equity money has become more and more interested in the SaaS space and that is a trend I believe will continue,” said Benson.  “I think over the next 5 to 10 years more private equity will flow into the space to helpcapitalize it better, and provide cash resources for growth.”

Learn more about SAAS and other secure cloud services with DocoServe

DocuServe is a cloud based digital protection service that can keep your business’s documents safe and secure. We also offer training for corporations through our service EServe, so your corporation can be update in the latest cooperate technology trends and services.


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