Author Archives: Santosh Sahoo

How Big Data Is Influencing Political Campaigns for Election in India?

With the general elections around the corner, political parties are all ready to exploit the big data and data analytics to woo the voters and tilt the results in their favor. Big data was first used in the US presidential elections in 2012 by the erstwhile president Barack Obama. BJP used in a lesser scale in the earlier 2014 elections.

Mr. Narendra Modi led BJP’s clean sweep in the 2014 general elections is attributed to several reasons and one of the factors was the use of social media and data analytics on a major scale. They drafted messages that had its influence on the people.

Analytics In Politics

The world is waiting keenly for the upcoming elections in India. The question is same everywhere “Who will win the 2019 general elections? The Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi has created an exclusive “Data Analytics Department” earlier in the year with Praveen Chakravarthy as its Chairperson to get data on the voter behavior, the swing, seat sharing etc. Big data analytics will help the political parties understand the voters better and on how they can capitalize it to influence the voters and voting pattern.

The party can get data on how each booth had voted. Imagine the data they can gather if they go deep into analytics right from the first time India voted way back in 1952. The INC is taking keen interest and initiatives to connect all its party workers on a common digital platform.

Important decisions can be taken based on this information- who is the right candidate, what party to form an alliance with, how to persuade the voters, and what must their stand be?

big-data-analyticsRead More:- Rahul Gandhi Banks Deeply On Big Data Analytics To Counter BJP In 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

How The Political Parties Can Benefit From Big Data:

1. There are several citizens who do not vote. The political parties aim to get them as well as get the young first-time voters to come out to vote. They can succeed because of the assertive use of the social media and the digital engagement strategies.

2. Democracies have seen increased success due to the aggressive digital engagement strategies by various political parties. The parties use third-party services for data consolidation. Data comes in every form images, audios, videos, numbers, and more. Cleaning, processing, and converting to useful and sensible information is done. The party then uses the information to make decisions.

3. Political parties strive to learn about the voter mood and accordingly ask their campaign managers to create campaigns keeping the voter’s preferences in mind. They follow the methodologies that a business does to learn about the consumer behavior.

4. Big data can give an in-depth understanding the nagging issues faced by the people. It helps identify the problems which helps the political parties design campaigns aimed around it for instance unemployment, women and child safety, education, sanitation etc. Messages are built around it to reach out to the masses.

5. Data analytics also aid political parties to review the population structure of the states, the socio-economic conditions of rural and urban locations, track a constituency’s voting data, how each booth voted across the country, analyze the voting patterns in past elections and do resourceful polling booth management.

6. Media too have in the past adopted data analytics to forecast the winners early. This is often seen in the US presidential elections and the trend may be adopted in India also to predict the election result.

The era of debates and discussions by political pundits and relying on gut instincts is no longer valid. It is replaced by computing technology and big data. Almost all the political leaders are trusting the social media platforms and taking the digital path to lure the voters.

The younger leaders like Rahul Gandhi, K.T. Rama Rao, Akhilesh Yadav understand the power of digital technology. Prime minister Narendra Modi has a huge number of followers in platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They interact through their media managers with their followers creating specific messages that reach out to the targeted audience.

How Big Data Differs?

Big data helps the political party move away from the traditional approach of wooing voters. In the past, political parties were creating election manifestos sending one message to the entire country covering everyone regardless of age, sex, location. It was a general blanket call without understanding if the message was relevant, useful to the voter and many similar anomalies.

Using big data, political leaders and parties are able to give individualistic approach getting closer to target voters, engaging with them, discussing and talking about things that connect to their needs. Another advantage is, it enables the leaders to send only those messages to the people that interest them and not one common message to all which does not carry any importance to more than half of the audience. The big data analytics with its sophisticated technology and tools is helping the candidate get to know the voter on a personal level and address them directly.

A New Type Of Voters

Big data has also brought out a lot of unidentified “floating voters” those with an indifferent approach. Earlier it was impossible to identify them- people who did not vote. Now, with the machine-based computer learning, the political parties are motivating them to act, take a decision. This new class of voters can have a dominating influence in the end results.

Fighting elections using technology will ensure more active interaction from the youth. There are several million Indians that use the social media platforms who create data that can be useful for data analysis.

Today’s India is developing, modernizing and optimistic. They are adept to the new technologies, aware of the benefits of digitalization and are equipped with the new smartphones and other gadgets. The information they are contributing is being maximized by the political parties. It is helping the parties gain a deep insight into the voter’s needs and behavior which can change the outcome of any election. Predictive analytics is not about taking advantage of the technology. it is much more than that. It is about directing on how to strategize based on the public feelings.

Interesting Topics To Read:-

How Internet of Things will change Lok Sabha Elections in 2019?

 

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Google Plays a Significant Role in Empowerment of HTTPs Enabled Sites

Thanks to the exponential rise in number of cyber attacks over the recent past, there is a definite shift to greater website security by adopting multiple measures. Moving to HTTPs encryption is one of the most prominent security measures are being implemented by security conscious website owners.

Knowing the basics

Before we discuss the most relevant benefits of HTTPs encryption, we need to have a clear understanding in terms of differences between HTTP and HTTPs. Trust is an important aspect for a sound online session such as simple browsing to a more complex and sensitive process of online payment transaction.

Encrypted sites are viewed as secure and trustworthy destinations by visitors and also by the most popular search engine Google. It is hardly surprising that Google prefers HTTPs sites while assigning page ranks leading to better SEO advantages.

Internet is the vast platform that facilitates information exchange by way of reception and transmission of digital information.

The application layer protocol HTTP only focuses on the final presentation of data without getting involved in the actual process of data transfer. Statelessness is one of the most striking attributes of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as HTTP for simplicity. It boosts the transmission speed and improves user experience since it has no role in remembering any historical data.

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HTTP is the most frequently used protocol for transmitting and accessing html pages as well as a plethora of other resources that can also be accessed through this protocol. HTTP has been supporting majority of websites that do not handle information of sensitive nature including payment data, user credentials, and health records of individuals just to name a few.

Before understanding the differences between HTTP and HTTPs, we need to bear in mind that except for the additional layer of security, both share same purpose as well as intent.

Secure HyperText Transfer or HTTPs protocol is specifically aimed at supporting transmission of web-transactions that are important as well as secured. The main aim of creating HTTPs protocol was to authorize transactions for security purpose by maintaining close resemblance to HTTP in terms of several basic protocols. HTTPs adds a security layer by leveraging Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for data migration.

Google assigns special status to HTTPs protocol because unlike HTTP, HTTPs operates in unison with SSL for secure transmission of data. Both protocols are not involved in actual process of data transmission. In essence, HTTPs provides greater security for transportation of sensitive data than HTTP.

Progress of HTTPs

During the initial stage, HTTPs was more appreciated for its ability to protect login credentials of users, payment transactions, and exchange of sensitive email communications.  However after few years use of HTTPs spread across a plethora of applications that demanded a secure environment for exchange of personal data or private online interactions between two remotely located individuals.

This has prompted Google to encourage use of HTTPs on its popular web browser Google Chrome. The results of Google’s attempts are clearly visible in the latest progress reports that show a whopping seventy percent of traffic across Android and Windows enabled devices for HTTPs sites, against just thirty percent traffic which is attributed to sites that use the traditional HTTP protocol.

That’s not all, top hundred sites that are visited most frequently, carry HTTPs tag to assure their visitors that they are browsing in a secure environment. There is a definite shift to adoption of HTTPs protocol for attracting more visitors as well as to make sure that hackers do not tamper with the data that is being exchanged.

Google’s contribution

On its part, Google is also making sure that implementation of HTTPs becomes a universal phenomenon so that common Internet users perceive the entire World Wide Web as a safe and secure place. By removing positive security highlights of Chrome, Google will make sure that its unmarked version is secure by default.

The effect of Google’s efforts in popularizing HTTPs is visible from July 2018. Google marks all websites that are not HTTPs compliant as ‘not secure’. It is not very difficult to understand ramifications of a ‘not secure’ sign that precedes your URL in the address bar. Majority of visitors and potential customers would feel that they are browsing an unsecure site and consequently would abandon their search.

If your website is engaged in collecting any type of user information, then it becomes your moral duty to reassure users that their information would only be used by authorized entity and for the intended purpose only. This is the exact reason why Google is now marking HTTPs enabled sites for better ranking positions than their not secure counterparts.

In conclusion

There are several benefits of making your site secure through use of HTTPs protocol in addition to higher page rankings. Encryption of data is essential for the process of securing it from hackers who will not be able to tamper with information during its exchange.

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Does Cloud Hosting Improve Security for Small Businesses?

Those in favor of cloud computing strongly argue that the cloud offers many benefits for businesses, large and small. However, skeptics argue that there are many data-security issues centering around cloud computing. They feel that such issues will be all the more critical for smaller companies which have to run on limited budgets and fewer resources. This belief however seems to have undergone changes as there are new reports which suggest that cloud computing is recommended for small businesses because it is boosting their security further.

How can small businesses benefit from security offered by cloud computing?

– Statistics reveal that small businesses which have adopted the cloud have witnessed a huge increase in their profits. They were able to get much higher returns on their investments. The truth is that smaller companies usually lack a very strong IT staff. This is why such security related duties typically fall on the owners. This makes it hard for the business owners to handle security concerns as they are already over burdened with regular administrative tasks. So, cloud computing offers businesses a great opportunity to outsource IT tasks to professionals in exchange for a nominal fee.

– Small business owners usually do not have access to high-end hardware; cloud vendors can offer them excellent maintenance for hardware and tech supports all the time through a scalable model. Nearly 78% of enterprises are expected to be turning to the cloud by the end of 2020. Data breaches are not likely to slow down because cyber criminals manage to find newer ways to access sensitive financial data all the time.

– Damages due to such unauthorized intrusions have huge impact on businesses and customers tend to lose their trust in businesses that have experienced data breaches in the past. The small business set-up is usually not built with security in mind, as compared to cloud technologies. A cloud hosting service provider’s entire infrastructure will be based upon securing customer trust and ensuring that sensitive data stays secure. This explains why the security is actually built into their system from scratch. Incidentally, there are even instances where the vendors will create environments to comply with regulations like HIPAA and PCI.

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– Since small businesses must work on limited IT budgets, they usually make use of their own hardware and networking equipments. The main cash flow is directed towards enhancing business growth and recruiting employees, thereby building a brand image. The cloud vendor will need high-end hardware for core competencies and the budgets are therefore spent on acquiring these. This means that small businesses which embrace the cloud will enjoy better access to high-end software and hardware, and also advanced security measures which are available in the cloud.

– When small businesses get caught up with too much work handling huge workloads, the maintenance of hardware and support services is relegated to the background. Employees responsible for updating security systems often get busy with other tasks. Moreover, a small business is likely to have outdated software which may create vulnerabilities within the infrastructure. If they choose to sign up for cloud computing, they would get technical assistance, software updates on time and hardware maintenance of the highest degree from the professionals. This directly improves their security arrangements. So, cloud hosting actually offers far advanced security measures for smaller businesses than they could have arranged on their own. As business owners do not have to worry about data security issues they can focus better on business development.

– Earlier, many cloud service providers had failed to deal with security concerns. But, things have changed today and most vendors have actually made their cloud security arrangements quite appealing for small enterprises. Small businesses have also realized the value of choosing cloud hosting for enjoying lower IT costs, less maintenance expenses and improved productivity. Cyber crimes have been growing by the day, but not simply because of an increased cloud adoption rate by enterprises. There have been instances of attacks for which the cloud cannot be blamed, like DDoS attacks, cross-site scripting attacks, SQL injection attacks etc.

– When you have shifted your data and operations to the cloud, your security concerns should ideally come down because of the access to latest cutting edge cloud technologies. It is therefore necessary for both customers and providers to understand that security must be flexible; it should be made more automatic than manual, eliminating chances of human errors.

When you move your data to the cloud, the primary risk is that you do not get to know who gets to access the cloud. This is why you need to have consistent control; the management of resources and identities within the public cloud has to be in sync with the resource and identity management within an enterprise. At the same time, if you can move identity management to a public cloud, you can also lower costs of these services. Your job is to assess the degree of confidentiality you need your data to have and then plan for securing that level of security.

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Uplift Your Business Prospects with Azure

Azure Cloud has grown phenomenally to the number one position and there are solid reasons that justify its leadership position. Any organization must explore how Azure Cloud can improve the bottom-line in terms of ROI and scalability before moving the apps to this versatile cloud infrastructure.

Simplified set-up

Every CIO looks forward to a smooth cloud journey and the cloud set-up is the first milestone of this voyage. By getting associated with Azure Cloud you have already ensured a fast and easy set-up that frees you from hassles of deployment and configuration apart from routine maintenance of the cloud infrastructure. The pre-configured templates can make sure that the initial set-up process is smoother than expected.

Why-Microsoft-Azure-is-the-most-desirable-for-Enterprises
Seamless Consistency

To further enhance the convenience and speed of cloud adoption across organizations, Azure provides technological harmony of Microsoft products backed by assured familiarity, flexibility of its wide spectrum of solutions such as SQL, Windows Server, Hyper-V, and Active Directory to name just a few. This is in addition to the assured security of data in a trusted Microsoft environment by adopting an integrated approach that blends cloud and onsite infrastructures. Absolute consistency of data management and migration of workloads is the highlight of Azure Cloud in workplaces that have been familiar with the Microsoft systems for a long time.

As there is no dearth of software professionals having demonstrable skills in Microsoft products, there is a considerable reduction in the learning curve as your organizations adopts Azure Cloud infrastructure. Your software teams can swiftly get in the groove and begin deployment. Since developer community is the important beneficiary of excellent adaptability of Azure Cloud, you will enjoy a great sense of willingness to work on development projects within Microsoft environment.

End to End Solution Provider

Azure Cloud has already been appreciated for the support it provides to development initiatives. However, the real litmus test of any cloud infrastructure is its ability to deliver capabilities of integrating the entire length of delivery pipeline.

It would be wrong to compare Azure with other providers only on the basis of data management capabilities. Therefore we must look at the support level to deliver a unified solution that covers the delivery pipeline as well.

Trust Azure Cloud to support the pipeline right from the stage of source control, testing, delivery and finally its ability to provide efficient delivery tools. As a policy, all future updates by Microsoft would be aimed at reinforcing the existing aspects of pipeline for a seamless availability of solutions under one single roof.

Efficiency under Demanding Conditions

Azure empowers an impressive gamut of applications that not only include Microsoft apps but also other apps such as SAP, IBM, Oracle, and RedHat to name a few. Azure Cloud can be entrenched in onsite applications for outstanding safety of your mission critical data.

In terms of its storage and compute quotient, Azure Cloud is second to none. It is hardly surprising that challenging workloads such as larger than 80000 input output operations per second, SQL server, and a host of data intensive operations can be smoothly handled by Azure Cloud.

Exclusive Support

Azure Cloud offers versatile support to a large array of devices, coding languages, operating systems, databases, and frameworks. This attribute of MS Azure can cover exclusive business objectives across a large spectrum of enterprises and industrial verticals. Needless to say, all reputed Azure service vendors, partners, and providers are committed to deliver enterprise grade technical assistance to users.

Amazing Speed Enhances Business Agility

One of the most sought after attributes of any business is the rapid pace of the application and Azure Cloud is built for great speeds across all major parameters of workload management such as scalability, deployment, and swiftness of operations. It is possible to also enhance speed of development cycles with help of Azure Cloud.

Since the development work is accelerated, there is a better scope for iteration while improving responsiveness of the organization. Instead of maintaining a status quo in terms of organizational performance, Azure Cloud helps businesses get agile for a faster growth.

Achieving Global Scale of Data Capabilities

There is hardly any purpose of exploiting capabilities of a private data center to scale globally. This is where Azure Cloud can make a great deal of difference. Dynamic adaptability of Azure infrastructure to the existing and future requirements of business in terms of performance metrics and resource consumption helps mitigate need to monitor operations. Your IT staff can thus focus more on development work.

Azure Cloud also helps improve user experience with no reliance on geo-location since Azure Cloud has a robust presence across all global regions including US, Canada, Europe, UK, Asia, Australia, China, and Africa to name a few.

Takeaway

Azure Cloud has a commanding global presence to enhance business agility and with assurance of supreme disaster recovery. Moreover, its flexible ability of tactically scaling resources improves cost efficiency.

Choose DRaaS or Cloud DR Solutions

Should You Choose DRaaS or Cloud DR Solutions?

Every business must always have a Disaster Recovery or DR plan in place in order to ensure business continuity when there are manmade or natural disasters that can affect their operations. In cloud based DR, there is no need to buy or maintain the backup servers and storage servers. You can sign up for cloud DR with reputed vendors and enjoy a pay-as-you-go model of payment. Businesses can pay for data storage for a longer term and only make payments for the servers they use during failovers and testing periods. So, costs are far lower and this type of disaster recovery is obviously more pocket-friendly for businesses. In cloud based DR, the services will offer machine snapshots of virtual or physical servers within the main data center. The client enterprises therefore simply pay for storing such snapshots or storing apps in suspended state. Besides cloud DR sites can be automated and made to go live in a matter of seconds. So, it can guarantee far better business continuity and nominal data loss. It is possible to trigger cloud based DR sites simply through normal laptops and mobiles having Internet connectivity.

So, depending on business disaster recovery needs there can be two kinds of cloud based DR solutions namely, DRaaS or Disaster Recovery as a service and Cloud DR. Some people tend to use both these interchangeably but that is not right. Businesses are now trying to make a distinction between the two to see which will benefit them the most. For a CIO of any company, it is most essential to ensure that the critical infrastructure and data are properly protected against outages and the business runs without disruptions of any kind. However, when a disaster strikes, even the sturdiest and most resilient infrastructure is liable to get disrupted and business may come to a standstill.

In today’s digital age, companies cannot afford to remain inaccessible even for a few minutes. So, it is absolutely essential to see how quickly your DR plans can help you restore operations. Every CIO will be looking for a fail-proof DR plan which has robust recovery time. It is here that cloud computing can make a huge difference. So, DR today moves from data centers in remote locations to the cloud which can guarantee higher speeds, efficiency and scalability. The cloud successfully protects businesses from the after effects of disasters and spares them of the troubles of managing DR solutions.

How is cloud DR and DRaaS different from one another?

Both DRaaS and cloud DR solutions will try to ensure immediate accessibility and recover ability of business data, and boost business continuity plans. In cloud DR, there will be routine backup and storage of workload data within a multi-tenant environment which can be recovered onto virtual servers when disasters happen. So, the main aim of cloud DR is to allow a business to maintain its backups securely and not worry about location, infrastructure and test procedures. When there is a disaster, the company can get back its data seamlessly. In case of DRaaS, this data availability gets a further boost because customizable failover is added to regular cloud backups and recovery solutions. So, the DRaaS solutions will allow businesses to spin up hot DR sites on either private or public clouds which emulate its production environment. This DR site is also easily accessible across the Internet and it lets business critical apps to stay up and running instantly. This advantage can be enjoyed without having to pay a lot of money for hardware.

Cloud DR will boost an enterprise’s ability to configure its DR parameters flexibly for backing up data. It also allows for faster data recovery and lets a company break away from the complex traditional tape based DR solutions. But before one can adopt the DR on clouds the CIO must ensure that data is going to be shifted securely and that the users will be properly authenticated. So, when a disaster happens, there must be enough connectivity and bandwidth needed to redirect all users to the clouds. DRaaS, on the other hand, will provide comprehensive enterprise-level DR solutions without costs of ownership which is there in in-house plans. So, recurring costs like IT support costs, maintenance costs and energy costs will be maintained by the cloud vendor. DRaaS is easy on the pocket because it needs less operational resources and helps businesses save money on hardware and software licenses. Businesses using DRaaS will also not need to be concerned about backup servers as their vendor will offer state-of-the-art facilities backed by enterprise-level bandwidth and power. The cloud itself works like the DR site and businesses simply pay for facilities according to a utility pricing model. So, while DRaaS may seem slightly costlier to cloud DR, it is in the long run more affordable, scalable and robust compared to in-house DR set-ups. So, for businesses which have flexible tolerance levels for data loss or downtimes during disasters, cloud DR is perfect.

For interesting Topics :

What is a Cloud Disaster Recovery?

Right Backup System for Your Small Business

How to Choose the Right Backup System for Your Small Business

Even a casual look at news or reports concerned with cyber attacks is enough to underline significance of adopting cyber-security measures. Small businesses need to design a robust strategy for data backup for ensuring business continuity in the event of cyber attacks.

Significance of data loss prevention measures

Loss of revenues can be as high as twenty percent and more if your business falls prey to cyber attacks. In fact, four out of ten businesses are sure to suffer massive losses and the number of businesses that are hit by cyber attacks is reported to be 29 percent as per recent cyber-security survey.

Worse still, your business stands to lose hard earned customers as well. This also includes loss of business opportunities on account of a downtime or a data loss scenario.

Your small business can suffer heavily in terms of its reputation because in majority of cases, a public scrutiny is sure to follow a cyber attack or an event that have caused data breach. It is not just customer or revenue loss. Your business can also suffer on long term basis because of loss of loyal customers.

Business data needs to be protected not only from ransomware or other types of cyber attacks. Your mission critical business data can also be lost due to physical disasters. If your business is not well-equipped with measures that protect critical data, then a single cyber threat can destroy your venture in no time.

Key features of business backup

Backup is simply copies of data files in any device such as a computer that are stored in a storage device at different location. These copies of data can help you retain business continuity even after suffering a major data breach or cyber attack.

The simplest form of backup is a disc or thumb drive that holds limited amount of data. External drives can serve as tools to store and carry moderate volumes of data backup files. You need to use at least two types of storage formats for storing two copies of backup files. Third copy can be stored at a remote location such as cloud storage.

Hard drive for manual backup

External hard drives present a very convenient and affordable method of backing up important files. If your business relies on a small setup or if you are running a proprietary firm then an HDD can serve you well. Ideally you should allocate one HDD for every computer in the office.

Hard drive should provide enough room for present and future data storage needs. The important advantage of using external hard drive for backup is its affordability and security. Hard drives are immune to online hacking since these need to be physically accessed for any operation.

However, hard drives can be difficult to manage if your business in generating exponential volumes of data. It can be difficult to maintain multiple hard drives in such cases. If you are keeping hard drives in office premises, then these are equally subjected to threats of natural disasters. In order to access or upload data on hard drive, you must have a physical access. No remote data access is allowed in case of hard drive.

NAS devices for easy accessibility

This brings us to the next level of data backup devices, which are known as network attached storage devices that are perfect for medium sized businesses. NAS is suitable for network accessibility because it allows sharing and storage of business data across business network. Storage capacity of these devices can be increased by using storage expansion slots to add more and more hard drives to the system.

Whether you propose to design an onsite or an off-site backup system, NAS is a right backup platform that facilitates online syncing. Affordability is a key feature of network attached storage as you will not incur any ongoing costs. However, the upfront costs can be slightly higher in comparison with HDDs. These devices should be used by technically proficient users.

Cloud based backup solutions

Thanks to the advent of cloud technology, now even small businesses can leverage cloud backup solutions to gain extensive scalability and control in terms of data backup files. Cloud data backup allows real time and automated backup at scheduled time intervals.

The space for data storage is proportional to the plans and reputed service providers offer a wide array of cloud data backup plans to suit businesses of all sizes. The most salient feature of cloud data backup is elimination of upfront capital expenditure for purchasing storage equipment.

Since the data backup process is managed by expert staff at cloud data centers, you can reduce employee costs related with backup storage management. Cloud data backup offers seamless access from remote locations to free you and your field staff from the office environment. The backup can be performed from any internet enabled device from any location.

In conclusion

Data backup is an essential requirement for small as well as large enterprises. Ideally, an integrated solution consisting of cloud and NAS or external HDD should be considered for better data availability and greater accessibility.

For Interesting Topic :

How Important are File Backups Today?

Why a Collaborative Approach is Needed When It Comes To Cloud Computing

It is an established fact that the big daddies of cloud service supplies like Amazon, Google and Azure have completely taken over the market and have raced several miles ahead of their nearest competitors. Together, these three names control nearly 47 per cent of the public cloud share market. The bit players are hence forced to collaborate and diversify in order to survive as competing with the big names can prove to be an utterly futile exercise. They try to survive by offering specialized cloud services targeted at a specific market vertical and other such approaches.

Cloud Computing – The New Concept
Meanwhile, the major players continue to redefine the very concept of cloud computing by providing computing services that are cost-effective and allow clients to make a neat profit. However, in doing so, they are largely ignoring the need for niche-specific services. This is one gap that the smaller players have quickly identified and are keen to fulfill. It is evident from recent developments in the industry that the bit players are becoming more functional and agile. They are also developing an approach of integration with leading public cloud services. The introduction of tools like Azure Express Route and AWS Direct Connect has helped smaller Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) as they can easily scale into the public cloud when needed.

The multi-cloud concept has taken a new meaning for smaller providers. These are:

Hybrid cloud:
Clients can enjoy the ability to scale up from a private cloud environment into public cloud providers.

Network connectivity:
It helps in achieving connectivity into health and social care network (HSCN) and other proprietary network. This is a domain which the big players are incapable of handling directly.

Backup and disaster recovery:
Operators can deliver powerful solutions by making use of various data center operators and CSPs that are geographically diverse.

According to industry watchers, the name of the game for smaller players is collaboration and not competition.

With more and more smaller CSPs aiming at garnering knowledge that’s domain specific knowledge, the bigger players now have to explore the option of having to partner with smaller providers so that the gaps in their expertise related to certain domains and services are suitably closed.

The Risk Factors
A classic example of such collaboration can be seen in the health care sector. CSPs with good knowledge of the domain have gained here because they are focused on the end users. The domain experts work with the clinicians and not the technical staff members as the former are associated directly with adopting innovative cloud-based technologies as part of their service to patients.

CSPs must create a service that can satisfy the end user needs instead of trying to sell equipment as a service. They simply cannot do this without the help of domain experts. When they are capable of offering a comprehensive service that can meet all the needs of their clients such as performance, availability, and security as well as privacy, they will find their services being sought by other CSPs.

At the same time, there lies this slight element of reputation risk that small players might have to deal with while associating with major CSPs. It’s a case of putting all your eggs in one big basket. Experts are of the opinion that building a business that’s largely dependent on one large customer is high risk. It is important to build a wider and diversified customer portfolio. The risk is higher when smaller companies tie up with international major players. That’s why public cloud providers now prefer working with local CSPs.

How Security and Privacy is Impacted
A new regulation in the form of GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is expected to affect data controllers and processors in the European Union and also outside the EU. The smaller players complying with local rules will be able to play a key part as partners of bigger companies to demonstrate that they are following the GDPR rules effectively. Also, service providers demanding vertical domains shall be more than happy willing to partner with local companies that ease their compliance demands and provide them with the security and privacy controlling mechanisms needed as stated by the law.

To put the record straight, the bigger picture is that cloud service business is not as simple as some big CSPs would like us to believe. Local expertise and domain knowledge are often mentioned as the reasons for initiating a collaborative approach to service delivery. Companies, especially those having business collaborations internationally, must also factor in the impact that GDPR can have on the status and future of their business relationships.

Large CSPs will discover that it is tough to forge ahead by ignoring the smaller, local CSPs. The definition of cloud computing must take into account the collaboration aspects between the supplier and customer. The definition of cloud computing must expand to include this aspect.

For Interesting Topics :

How Secure is Cloud Hosting?

What Can I Do With A Cloud Server?

Bringing in Digital Transformation with Azure

Bringing in Digital Transformation with Azure

If your business must succeed in a technologically-fast moving world, it needs to adopt digital changes. So, business leaders will have to come up with new ways to connect technology and users. And, this is where Microsoft Azure, which is one of the best cloud platforms, has been able to make a name for itself. Azure has been helping organizations to embrace digital technologies is a much simpler and quicker manner. It is helping developers to create, deploy and operate applications in data centers that are geographically distributed throughout the globe. So, it offers a high degree of freedom to businesses to install apps wherever they wish to by making use of preferred tools.

So, with Microsoft Azure, businesses can experience cloud computing powers. They become more responsive, agile and they can also scale resources according to their business requirements. The best part is that they can pay using an automated pay-as-you-use system. So, you basically only have to pay for resources you will use and nothing extra.

The latest offering from Microsoft Azure called the Azure Stack has been successful in introducing hybrid features to businesses. They can therefore extend the Azure on their on-site environment and they will not have to compromise on their current investments in the process. Providers of Azure solutions which are powered by Microsoft ensure that their clients are able to shift their workloads seamlessly in the cloud. There are Microsoft-certified professionals who are capable of handling technicalities starting from workload assessments to the end stages.

Surveys undertaken by IDC recently reveal that nearly 2/3rds of the world CEOs have made digital transformation the main focus of their business. The reason behind this prioritization of digital transformation is because such businesses are turning out to be much more profitable than their competitors. Digital transformations cannot take place without the cloud. It is the cloud which lays the main foundation for this to happen. And, when you are looking for the right platform for your expanding business, you will find that Azure completely fits the bill.

One of the biggest advantages, as has been mentioned earlier, is that it offers hybrid features for businesses, both large and small. This is because most businesses are not keen to let go of their earlier technological systems or established processes. With Azure, you can easily integrate the new with the existing systems. It also offers multiple cloud-based solutions for the client enterprises. It comes up with custom enterprise settings which have a unique mix of public cloud, private cloud and hosted environments. So, the process of digital transition is smooth and your business gets to enjoy an edge over its rivals.

Azure helps businesses user in digital transformation because it offers them efficiency, agility and a high degree of scalability. So, with Azure, companies can easily respond to market changes and handle fast growth. The advantage of using Azure is that all these benefits are available at low costs. Cloud is the place where Big Data will get stored. So, Azure provides many services like Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Data Lake Analytics, and Cortana Analytics etc to enable your company to get an edge over the others in the IoT era. Azure also assists businesses in scaling up resources for developing projects related to the Internet of Things or IoT.

The best digital experience will involve betterment of customer experience, enhancement of operational processes and change in business models. Azure has been equipped to do all these three things for your business. Azure File Sync provides secure and centralized file sharing within the cloud. So, there is no need for any special configurations and code changes when businesses need to share files. There is also a new Azure networking service that is called Azure DDoS Protection. This helps businesses by protecting all accessible end points from DDoS attacks. Azure Cost Management and Azure Policy are two recent governance services which can help businesses optimize cloud expenses and cloud compliance. The Azure Cost is being made available to clients for free. Even update management will be made free of cost for Azure buyers. So, all new updates in Azure will streamline processes of configuring DR for servers and backups. The Azure Migrate service will help businesses identify and migrate their new virtual servers. Azure Data Box will offer secure ways to send big data sets to Azure.

Cloud computing has started to attract much attention these days and for good reasons too. However, most businesses have not yet moved to the public cloud; incidentally, nearly 80% businesses prefer the hybrid cloud model. This is because the hybrid cloud combines features of both on-premise infrastructure and public cloud. In this sense, Microsoft is the company to trust because it has the capability to offer a coherent experience both in public and on-premise cloud hosting services.

ddos-attack

Reasons to Make Your VPS Servers DDoS-Protected

Any online business can be affected because of the DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks. The risks are manifold when you have virtual private servers. So, it is very necessary to be aware of the risks of DDoS attacks for VPS servers and how you can adopt suitable measures to combat these problems. When a DDoS attack occurs, the site often goes offline. In short, no visitor is able to access your website at this time. The main reason for this inaccessibility is because the attacks cripple the server and the server is unable to respond to the huge volumes of requests. As a result, users cannot access any application running on such a site.

Risks for VPS servers in case of DDoS attacks:

Besides the inconvenience for customers that are not able to access the website, there are many other harmful consequences. DDoS threats can culminate into lethal cyber crimes. Activities like malware activation, virus attacks, network breaches, thefts etc can all take place because of these attacks.

One of the biggest threats is obviously the huge revenue losses on account of these attacks. When critical applications become unresponsive and the entire site slows down, the results can be disastrous for any business. Newstar.biz and Harris Interactive have undertaken studies to show that nearly 84% of businesses have been affected because of at least a single DDoS attack in the past one year. Incidentally, for most of these businesses, the revenue losses came at the time of peak season sales. During peak times, hourly revenue losses because of DDoS attacks can be colossal depending on how large the organization is.

Another reason why VPS servers must be DDoS protected is because of data breach threats. The DDoS attacks usually provide the perfect cover for many lucrative crimes. So, using these crisis situations, hackers can get access to your network; they can even steal sensitive data. So, the security arrangements undertaken by your host must be robust and fault-proof. The provider needs to carry out regular data backups which should be spread across remote servers in different geographical locations.

When there are frequent DDoS attacks on any website, the customers are likely to lose their trust and confidence. Your website and network must be available and accessible at all times to preserve customer trust. When the existing clients are satisfied, they rate your site well and this attracts new clients. When a DDoS attack occurs, the primary target is the critical infrastructure. This automatically affects network performance and causes dissatisfactions amongst buyers. They tend to navigate to other sites and this makes it very hard for the business to get new customers.

When there are frequent DDoS attacks the business reputation is affected. Brand image is the key to success of all businesses and loss of client trust will tarnish their credibility in the market. Whenever the reputation of a business is threatened, rebuilding customer trust takes a long time.

In the recent past, cyber crimes have grown more and more commonplace. The attackers demand ransoms by threatening businesses with such attacks. Usually the criminals send a message that they are planning to launch such an attack and demand a ransom by a specific deadline for stalling it. At times, they even carry out small-scale attacks just to prove that they can do it.

When the applications become unresponsive due to DDoS attacks, the customers start to call up your representatives to demand explanations. To handle these calls and queries, you will need to invest additional funds into creating active help desks. The web hosting services typically face the biggest threats from such attacks. The main reason for this is that every time there is such an attack on any of a hosting provider’s clients, the risks of an attack on the other clients becomes very high since they often share infrastructures in common.

Since every website environment is unique, a host cannot deploy a one-size-fits-all solution for protecting all its client sites against DDoS attacks. So, a solution that works well for a certain website may not work as well for another site. For virtual servers which have firewalls installed, these are meant to guard against such attacks. The firewalls typically have “allow” and “deny” protocols but attackers can gain entry through the same ports which users are granted access from. Some business owners may feel that DDoS attacks will never happen on their sites because their websites are not very popular. The truth is, the attacks are distributed in nature and they will not depend on your organization’s size.

Hackers are usually tempted to carry out DDoS attacks because of the money involved. They can demand ransoms by threatening to disrupt services. So, as a business owner, you must not accept revenue losses and loss of business credibility because of these attacks. The remedy therefore lies in getting a DDoS protected virtual private server. This DDoS-protected virtual server is housed in a server farm which is equipped to combat DDoS attacks. So, these need robust hardware firewalls and a high transfer limit. Using such VPS servers you should be able to successfully prevent protocol-based attacks, DDoS volumetric attacks, specific server or application attacks etc.

Colocation

Is Colocation a Smart Move for Businesses?

Businesses typically have their data centers located close by. As they start to expand and rely on Internet usage more and more, they realize that the threats to their valuable data are very high. There are some important factors which make colocation necessary. To understand what these driving factors for colocation are, one needs to understand how exactly businesses and individuals benefit from colocation.

Colocation basically refers to the capacity of housing your servers in the rack space belonging to someone else. So, when you sign up for colocation hosting, you get the chance to store critical equipments in scalable, secure and reliable rack spaces of third parties. This is useful because when there is unprecedented growth or unplanned changes taking place; duplicating an IT setting in a new infrastructure will be a huge challenge.

5 reasons to choose colocation hosting solutions:

1. Scalability is one of the most important driving forces for colocation hosting. When you choose colocation, you are bound to get scalable hosting solutions. This is not only incremental scaling where you can request for additional resources to help your business grow. It also refers to the ability to downgrade resources when the traffic is less and the needs have gone down. If you enjoy the power to release resources when you do not require them anymore, you can cut down on your IT costs. So, where infrastructure is concerned, being able to scale resources both up and down is very crucial. If you can do this successfully, you will find that you far better off than most others who have pulled all their eggs in one basket.

2. Another important factor to look into is homogeneity. Most businesses tend to assume that infrastructures are always homogenous. In short, every node is going to have the same memory, same CPU speed and networking capacity. But, the truth is, that data centers get new servers and equipments every day. The newer ones are likely to have higher clock speeds than the older ones. Since you may not know the actual capacity of these new entrants, you can actually end up wasting a lot of money on hardware cycles. So, the best way to avoid this problem is to ask the provider about the owner of the network, power and cooling systems. When you know these are being handled by experts, you can relax.

3. Businesses will usually pay bandwidth rates depending on how much bandwidth they will need. Colocation providers buy bandwidth in bulk to cater to multiple companies; so, they can offer bandwidth at reasonable rates. Besides, colocation facilities will typically have redundant hardware and power supplies to take care of sudden power outages. Maintaining such power supplies and backup generators can turn out to be a highly costly proposition for companies.

4. When you maintain a private data center, you will have to make sure that the facility is well guarded by security personnel, CCTV cameras and biometric access. The facility will also need redundant bandwidth, cooling, and power supplies to combat harsh weather conditions and sudden power failures. When you choose to get data center solutions, you will be able to enjoy uninterrupted power supplies and backup generators 24×7. Keeping a data center online 24×7 is not an easy task and businesses which choose to maintain a private data center will have to ensure this. So, it makes sense to choose colocation where the host will ensure these facilities to protect your critical applications and data.

5. While businesses should ideally invest more time on planning growth than on carrying out routine maintenance tasks, the truth is that they focus on maintaining the infrastructure mainly. They are committed 24×7 to handling system updates, database administration and server configurations. With colocation hosting, it is possible for businesses to give more time to planning their growth. Although companies may be experiencing growth, there are times when they do not have the necessary expertise or tools to capitalize on the latest technologies. With colocation they will get the chance to focus on strategies for development instead of thinking about infrastructural maintenance.

6. Businesses are also choosing colocation because of the growing importance being attached to regulatory compliance. Most businesses will have to comply with standards, audits and certifications. The data centers should accordingly be SSAE16 certified. They should be regularly tested with penetration testing methods. So, when make a move towards colocation, you can enjoy these benefits at no extra costs.

These reasons show why moving to a colocation provider is indeed a smart decision. More than the costs, it is the value businesses can get out of this decision. For any business, reliability and cost savings continue to be the key driving forces for all their business decisions. In this sense, colocation is definitely the best alternative.

For Interesting Topics :

What Is Colocation Data Center?

What Is A Colocation Facility?

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