Posts tagged think

You Think Private Clouds Are More Stable And Agile Than Public? Think Again

You can’t really blame your IT staff for inflicting a private cloud—actually just a corporate data center with a fancy new name—on you. In some ways, their jobs depend upon it. Self-preservation is a powerful incentive.

Of course, your CIO’s job is only truly threatened by the public cloud if she chooses to fight it, or mindlessly continues to believe she can build a better cloud than Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. For 99.999% of enterprises, building your own cloud or data center may be a comforting way to stick with old habits, but it’s generally going to be the wrong decision. 

While there are certainly workloads that will perform better or need to be secured within the four walls of your firewall, the reality is that most infrastructure belongs in the cloud.

No, You Can’t

It’s a convenient fiction that public cloud is unreliable compared to private IT. But let’s be clear: it’s fiction, not fact.

Here’s the reality on public cloud up-time: last year Amazon Web Services managed 99.9974% uptime despite hefty growth and unparalleled pressure on its infrastructure. Google was even better at 99.999% uptime. (Microsoft Azure performed a bit worse, though still quite well, according to the Cloud Harmony data.)

This is better than most enterprises can boast and, as AWS is demonstrating, the public cloud providers keep getting better at uptime.

In other words, public cloud costs considerably less than data center resources (even if dressed up as “private cloud”)—a huge advantage, by Actuate executive Bernard Golden’s estimation:

Source: Bernard Golden

But it also performs better. And, most important of all, public cloud computing offers dramatic improvements in convenience and flexibility. 

Sure, there are companies like Uber and Facebook that may be able to run infrastructure more efficiently than AWS or Microsoft, but these are the exceptions, not the rule, as Golden goes on to note.

Cloudy Forecast For IT Jobs?

None of which need threaten IT professionals. After all, “cloud” doesn’t translate into “unemployment.” Instead, it translates into “leverage.”

Take AccuWeather, for example, which discovered that the public cloud gave it the opportunity to highly leverage the relatively small IT staff it had. As Christopher Patti, vice president of Technology at AccuWeather, told

We don’t have a gigantic staff. In the past it took a serious amount of time to provision equipment. Now my development staff can go to the Web and click a few buttons and have a full environment deployed worldwide. The whole concept of the company has changed. We don’t have this locked-in, capital expenditure artificial boundary around us anymore.

Oh, and by the way, this steady state of headcount was able to manage a dramatic increase in scale: 2 million server calls hitting its services to more than 4 billion requests a day within five years. 

Persistently Retro

None of which is stopping CIOs from believing that the private cloud remains relevant to their futures, despite investing much more heavily in public cloud last year, as RightScale’s State of the Cloud survey shows.

For example, adoption of OpenStack private clouds barely limped to a 1% gain (from 12% to 13%). And while 33% of respondents claimed to be using VMware’s vSphere for their private cloud deployments in 2015, that’s a mere 2% gain from 2014 (31%). 

RightScale isn’t ready to write off the private cloud, though its defense is actually an indictment:

The slowing of adoption in private cloud is likely caused by the much talked about complexities of standing up and deploying a private cloud environment. However, interest levels remain strong, so this could lead to a reacceleration of growth over the next year.

Source: Gartner

It is precisely those complexities that call into question the very purpose of private cloud computing. Gartner finds that 95% of private clouds are failing. When asked how IT executives’ private cloud initiatives were going, a mere 5% could claim that “nothing is going wrong.”

That’s pretty terrible.

It’s not surprising, though. Way back in 2008 Redmonk analyst James Governor pointed out 15 ways to tell fake cloud from real cloud (Here’s just one: “If you own all the hardware… it’s not a cloud”). Those remain true today. 

Public Cloud And Iteration

This is merely a sign of the private-cloud times, because private cloud, like private data centers before it, requires an enterprise to buy into fixed hardware resources when its actual needs are highly elastic. 

As AWS data science chief Matt Wood told me, this is particularly thorny for Big Data projects, but his principles apply across the enterprise IT landscape:

Those that go out and buy expensive infrastructure find that the problem scope and domain shift really quickly. By the time they get around to answering the original question, the business has moved on. You need an environment that is flexible and allows you to quickly respond to changing big data requirements. Your resource mix is continually evolving—if you buy infrastructure it’s almost immediately irrelevant to your business because it’s frozen in time. It’s solving a problem you may not have or care about any more.

Which is just one more reason that more and more workloads will migrate to the public cloud. 

Enterprises can’t afford to lock themselves into yesterday’s hardware to solve tomorrow’s problems. They need to remain agile, and public cloud infrastructure enables such agility, even as it drives cost and reliability advantages.

So what are you waiting for?

Photo by George Thomas

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Sundar Pichai: Here’s How You Ought To Think About Google

Looked at one way, Google is an online advertising company with a lot of peripheral—and mostly not-very-profitable—side businesses in mobile devices and Internet service. Looked at another, it’s an ambitious-bordering-on-crackpot technological innovator that just happens to make its money from ads.

Google, of course, prefers the latter characterization. So it wasn’t any big surprise when Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of product, took the stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Monday to offer some insight into Google’s mindset and clues as to what lies ahead for the Android platform.

Pichai started with a quick outline of Google’s various techno-initiatives, including the Project Loon effort to spread the Internet to developing regions with balloons and lightweight airplanes, on-the-fly language translation and tools for things like mobile development, virtual reality and mobile payments. Android is merely one puzzle piece in Google’s master plan—assuming, of course, you believe that there really is a master plan.

To help you understand the way Google wants you to think about it, Pichai explained that the company is really made up of three things: an information platform, a computing platform and a “platform for connectivity.” That’s the rubric by which Google explains its varied and disparate initiatives.

Ultimately, of course, Google’s plan is to keep people using its services and to grow that user base in a variety of ways. Because, well, advertising.

Android, clearly, is the computing component. “We’ve built an open platform, which makes all this possible,” Pichai said, referring to the numerous incarnations of the software that operates a growing array of gadgets. Currently, Google’s software runs smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and fitness bands, televisions, car infotainment systems, and that’s just for starters. 

When interviewer Brad Stone, from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, asked Pichai what people might be buzzing about at next year’s conference, the Google executive cited everything from wearables to virtual reality devices. 

“I’m excited about newer categories like VR, [but] for me, the power of what you see is not just in devices,” he said. “These are computing devices connected to the cloud. When you look at things like machine learning [or] ‘AI’—in terms of the type of computing work that you’re doing, they make these experiences much more powerful.” 

He sees Google focusing on that over the next few years, to make competing experiences much more “seamless” and “intelligent for users.” Pichai didn’t talk specifics, but the oblique references suggest Android will become much smarter about learning what its users want and predicting what they’ll need, and making decisions for users across the gadgets it governs. 

“[Our] computing has been working on automating what people can do with their devices,” Pichai added. The company may already seem to be doing a little bit of everything, but Pichai suggests Google thinks its task is just beginning. “We’re at this exciting stage where we can do more.” 

Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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AdWords Spring Cleaning Coming: Detritus Be Gone, But You’ll Have to Think Before You Remove

Unused ads, ad groups and campaigns will be deleted and “remove” will be a permanent move across the board.

The post AdWords Spring Cleaning Coming: Detritus Be Gone, But You’ll Have to Think Before You Remove appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Why an SEO should think more like a publisher – Econsultancy (blog)

Econsultancy (blog)
Why an SEO should think more like a publisher
Econsultancy (blog)
The objective of an SEO is to efficiently get as many people as possible from a search engine to a web page. This is done by ranking that web page higher in the search engine rankings that other web pages. A good SEO who has mastery of the technology

View full post on SEO – Google News

Today’s Hackers Are Way More Sophisticated Than You Think

Guest author Lance Cottrell is the chief scientist at Ntrepid.

While the modern always-on, data-fueled environment spells opportunity for the enterprise, it also makes an attractive target for hackers. And the proliferation of such environments has turned hacking into a profession.

Today’s serious hackers are no longer attention-seeking geeks trying to make a statement—instead, they’re calculated criminals focused on acquiring information in a data-laden marketplace.

What does this mean to the technology user? Hackers have a growing and constantly evolving arsenal of attack methods, putting everyone with a connection to the Internet at risk. Everyone has something that hackers are interested in, whether bank account information, personal identification or credentials into corporate email accounts.

Users need to evolve in step. Malware and antivirus tools alone are not the solution. Organizations need to embrace robust ways of dealing with security breaches that can minimize their impact. In practice, this means automating rapid recovery of the IT infrastructure to a known good state.

Defining Today’s Hacker

Today’s breed of hacker did not just appear. Instead, the skilled professionals behind the latest security threats are the result of long-term evolution. When most people think about hackers and security, they are clinging to an outdated vision.

Hackers are now part of a highly specialized and distributed criminal ecology. The most basic layer is filled with individuals focused on finding exploits in software. Instead of using the exploits, this professional often sells discoveries to a group specializing in packaging exploits and running them through botnets. Those individuals, in turn, rent their botnets to anyone who aims to gain unauthorized access to other computer systems.

See also: How To Build A Botnet In 15 Minutes

Bottom line, hacking is no longer about bragging rights. While less sophisticated hacktivists still exist, today’s new hackers are doing this for money—and so aren’t talking about their exploits.

It’s hard to tie an accurate dollar amount to the costs associated with hacking. However, the sophistication of today’s hacker is quite clear in the Ponemon Cost of Cyber Crime Study, which shows a 20 percent increase in successful attack rates year over year, even as organizations continue to invest in security tools.

How Do They Do It?

Part of hackers’ growing sophistication is a direct result of the vast number of attack methodologies at their disposal. They can pick and choose among denial of service attacks, viruses, worms, trojans, malicious code, phishing, malware, botnets and ransomware, any of which could play a key role in opening business data centers to intrusion.

Today’s hackers also benefit from giant scale. They often build huge botnets from compromised computers they can harness in order to hack other systems. Often, the goal of these attacks is to compromise the desktop or workstations that allow them to work from within the organization. These attacks are launched against anyone and everyone, using generally less sophisticated techniques and better-known vulnerabilities.

Many attacks are also precisely targeted against particular individuals with access to sensitive information—proprietary corporate secrets, for instance, details of negotiations or other information that could be valuable to competitors or investors willing to base trades on it. These hackers are like snipers with carefully crafted attack plans.

The danger here is that their attacks are highly unlikely to turn up in your typical malware or antivirus detection system. That’s because such threats are often tailored specifically for particular targets and rely on innovative techniques and zero-day vulnerabilities. As a result most detection systems won’t have a clue what to look for.

Finally, modern hacker attacks are persistent. Once a hacker gets into one person’s corporate email, they can gather enough information to social engineer everyone else in the company. Patience is a real factor in these attacks. Attackers do not just come in, poke around and leave. In most breaches, it turns out that the hacker has been inside the network for months.

How To Fight Back

There is no silver bullet capable of stopping today’s attacker. Given that attackers are very likely to be successful in compromising their targets, we need a new approach to security.

For a new approach to take root, people first need to let go of the notion that no hacker will target them or their company because they “don’t have anything worth stealing.” Today’s hackers consider a lot of things valuable, especially financial information. Hackers are looking for online banking, credit card numbers or access to any other financials they can possibly find.

More to the point, almost any Internet resource stolen at scale can be turned into something valuable. So everyone is at risk.

That means the only way to assure the security of our computer systems is to assume that they have or will be compromised. We need to design networks in such a way that it’s possible to revert them to a safe state. People have a mentality that when they are breached, they will simply clean it up. Instead, they need to think of themselves as always being in a breached state.

Bottom line, no business is ever entirely free of viruses. Occasionally, something is going to penetrate the browser. What separates winners from losers rests with the organization’s ability to make the consequences negligible. 

When countering targeted attacks, remaining anonymous can prove instrumental. If the hacker never recognizes the target, they will not pull the trigger.

See also: The Virtual Path To Freezing Malware

Organizations also need the ability to isolate browser activity in addition to conducting a rapid reset to a known good state. Security optimized virtualization is key for both of these. Running the browser in a properly designed and configured virtual machine ensures that any compromise is contained, and the browser virtual machine can be rolled back to a saved clean state without impacting the user’s working documents.

The trick is to destroy any possible trace of infection without losing important work or documents. It’s possible to preserve key documents and other material and to restore them to the virtual machine after reset, taking great care to ensure that doing so doesn’t also create an avenue for the malware to survive as well. 

Diverse resiliency is key. For example, good deep backups help neutralize the effectiveness of ransomware.

The trend towards walled garden architectures with a requirement for signed binaries and enforced sandboxing may help, but itwill simultaneously reduce the flexibility and openness of our computers. It is unlikely that they will ever be completely reliable, and software will continue to have vulnerabilities so additional layers of protection will be needed for many years to come.

Simply put, as hackers grow in sophistication, so too should our responses..

Photo by Johan Viirok

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Why SEO is much easier than you think – The Globe and Mail

Business 2 Community
Why SEO is much easier than you think
The Globe and Mail
Search-engine optimization (SEO) has gone through a series of evolutions over the years. Older tactics, which focused on keyword-based optimization and black-hat practices, have become obsolete, and modern strategies, which focus on user experience, …
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Econsultancy (blog) -Fourth Source -SME Insider
all 8 news articles »

View full post on SEO – Google News

Why SEO Is Much Easier Than You Think – Entrepreneur

Why SEO Is Much Easier Than You Think
Search-engine optimization (SEO) has gone through a series of evolutions over the years. Older tactics, which focused on keyword-based optimization and black-hat practices, have become obsolete, and modern strategies, which focus on user experience, …

and more »

View full post on SEO – Google News

Think Small: Solve Your Mobile SEM Problem With “Micro Leads”

The time has come for brands to have a mobile paid search strategy in place. Columnist Susan Waldes suggests that businesses begin with tiny steps.

The post Think Small: Solve Your Mobile SEM Problem With “Micro Leads” appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Browsing In Privacy Mode Isn’t As Secure As You Think

Your browser’s incognito mode might not be a secure as you think. A researcher has come up with a proof of concept for Super Cookies, a type of data retention that could turn one of your browser’s biggest security features into its biggest privacy hazard.

See also: The Real Lesson From Recent Cyberattacks: Let’s Break Up The NSA

Cookies are messages between a web server and web browser that get exchanged when a user requests an Internet site. Then, when the user returns to the same site, the website will recognize the user from the cookie it has stored. Essentially, cookies allow websites to fingerprint users and keep tabs on them—when they’re not in incognito mode. Presumably, the difference in incognito mode is that cookies are never exchanged.

Now Sam Greenhalgh, a technology and software consultant, has developed a proof of concept for HSTS Super Cookies, which can fingerprint users even in incognito mode. In order to show he has this capability, his site sets a tracking ID for each visitor. Visit the site as many times as you like in as many browsers and browser settings as you want; you’re still vulnerable to Super Cookies if the tracking ID remains the same.

HSTS stands for HTTP Strict Transport Security, a security protocol that ensures users only interact with a website via a secure HTTPS connection. For a more detailed explanation, check out Ars Technica’s thorough description.

Greenhalgh noted that he is aware of only one browser version that is invulnerable to HSTS Super Cookies: the latest version of Firefox, 34.0.5. Internet Explorer isn’t vulnerable for a different reason—it doesn’t support HSTS security in the first place.

Photo by Jeramey Jannene

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3 SEO Trends to Watch in 2015! – Customer Think

3 SEO Trends to Watch in 2015!
Customer Think
We saw a lot of changes in SEO in 2014, and it looks like this isn`t going to change in 2015. So what SEO trends do we have to look forward to in the next year? 2014 was a big year for SEO, with a greater importance placed on supplying useful and

View full post on SEO – Google News

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