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Key Aspects of Web Application Firewalls that Should Never be Ignored

Interesting aspect of any technological development is it encompasses and influences all types of users including those who are qualified beneficiaries and also the people with criminal mindset. Internet technology can be an ideal example of this since it is also helping cyber criminals in addition to a vast population of website owners who are located across the globe.

Evolution of WAFs

Conventionally, firewalls offered sound protection against cyber attacks. However, as the technology developed, hackers gained access to state of the art hacking tools and amazing capabilities to penetrate legacy firewalls. Most of the modern cyber hacks are deceptive in terms of their initial appearance such as authentic registration requests and so forth.

Since these requests are perceived as normal, legacy firewalls allow further processing. Once inside, it is only a matter of a special request made by the cyber criminal to steal sensitive information from your site.

Web Application Firewalls evolved in response to the technological prowess gained by modern hackers. WAF is a specially developed defense to protect mission critical data by monitoring the network traffic to ward off suspicious intruders from gaining entry inside the sanctum sanctorum of your web venture.

Web Application Firewalls prevent this from happening by reducing unwarranted exposure of your applications to evil forces of cyber attacks such as DDoS, SQL injection, and many other types of malware attacks.

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Designed for greater security

Web Application Firewalls are far more superior to conventional firewalls because these are designed to provide protection to applications with an added security layer. Unlike standard firewalls WAFs need no rewriting of rules time and again and thus promise operational ease.

Every time a new threat or intrusion is identified, a Web Application Firewall can be updated with the relevant attack signature. This will make sure that WAF has learned the new patterns of traffic that need to be dealt with. WAF is built to operate more intelligently than its traditional version.

Advanced protection

Web Application Firewall works at a deeper level by securing applications rather than servers against cyber attacks. This guarantees greater customization of the defense measure according to the individual application that promises far better protection against spoofing attacks, data leaks and any other attack that may be designed to compromise data integrity. Traditionally, firewalls are meant to be one-size-fits-all solutions that leave hardly any room for customization.

The list of malicious attacks that can be effectively blocked by Web Application Firewall is highly impressive and includes the most feared varieties such as DDoS or cross site scripts. If you are running an ecommerce site, then WAFs can also protect your specific app resources including WordPress and other mission critical applications.

In addition to offer excellent customizability, WAFs are also extremely flexible in design thereby allowing users to make changes in settings which can be further automated for a swift response to block attacks of similar nature and profile from identical sources. As the WAF gets matured, the need for manual intervention is progressively minimized. Of course, you will always be in a control to decide what type of web traffic should be allowed or blocked in a WAF protected environment.

WAFs are also highly sought after for their ability to automatically protect applications from a wide array of threats providing a broad scope for customization empowered by robust rule sets. The layer 7 security of WAF environment comes with seamless guarantee to defend DDoS attacks.

Puts an end to data leakage

There is a plethora of methods being adopted by hackers to collect data by breaking into seemingly impregnable defenses. It is found that a minor issue of an error message may be a sign of devastating potential of a data hack. Every type of data leak can snowball into a full-blown disaster especially in case of an ecommerce infrastructure that is built to store critical information regarding online transactions.

WAF arrests the data leak by stringently scanning each and every visitor in terms of the requests made while accessing your web applications. Some of the reputed Web Application Firewalls are designed to use built-in data or records of credit card details or social security and other user credentials that are suspicious behavior signatures. This data can always be modified by WAF users by adding specific codes or information.

In conclusion

If you are running an ecommerce business or an application that is designed to collect personal details of users, then you owe it to your customers to provide them a secure environment that can guarantee seamless protection of their credentials. Failure to do so will not only jeopardize your business but can also shatter its reputation.

Every online business venture must adopt security of Web Application Firewall to make sure that integrity of the important data is never compromised. It certainly pays to acquire WAF protection than exposing your business as well as reputation to street smart hackers.

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Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Transform Urban Traffic Management

Big data, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence are some of the most talked about innovative technologies that are all set to reshape our future in more ways than one can dream of. AI or Artificial Intelligence refers to any type of intelligent activity, which is performed by mechanical devices rather than humans.

We often come across such intelligent devices in our daily lives. Any machine that is capable of acting in response to human speech can be considered to exhibit Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is being leveraged to make machines perform actions based on the previous experience.

Applying AI in Traffic Management

Traffic management is one of the most successful implementations of this new and disruptive technology as exhibited by the City Brain project by Alibaba in China and Malaysia. Artificial Intelligence has huge potential of controlling several aspects of urban living and traffic is one of these.

Going from one place to another has become relatively simpler due to applications such as Google Maps that provide wealth of information including the shortest route and real time traffic conditions. Users are required to share their geographical location and the smart app will use huge volumes of data and offer information about the most optimum route to reach a particular destination.

Traffic woes have been impacting development in cities across Asia and Alibaba proposes to ease the same by harnessing the might of cloud computing through its cloud arm Alibaba Cloud. Armed with its huge success in Hangzhou city Alibaba is all set to deploy its cloud based traffic management system known as City Brain.

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Highlights of City Brain

City Brain has succeeded in improving reporting of issues related with violations of traffic rules up to ninety five percent precision while enhancing the traffic speed by fifteen percent as reported by the leading news agency Reuters. AI powered City Brain is designed to predict traffic movement and provide valuable information about traffic related events by integrating real time data from mapping apps, video coverage, traffic departments, and public transport systems.

This information is used to guide emergency vehicles including fire fighters, ambulances and enforcement vehicles so that these can reach destination much quicker and without any hassles. It is proposed that City Brain will be instrumental in planning roads in developing cities by leveraging its ability to study traffic patterns.
Implementation of City Brain in Kuala Lumpur is viewed as AliCloud’s maiden venture outside China. Alibaba is going to partner with the council of this major Malaysian city as well as Digital Economy Corporation which happens to be a government owned organization for business development.

Kuala Lumpur is an important business district of Malaysia and is poised to experience power of Cloud Computing as Alibaba’s smart traffic management system integrates hundreds of traffic cameras and traffic signals to mark the beginning of the ambitious drive to reshape the traffic monitoring system.

Impressive Performance

City Brain was introduced in Chinese city of Hangzhou that is fifth most traffic-congested cities in China, almost three years ago in order to alleviate traffic associated problems. AliCloud was accorded access and control over 104 traffic signals in the city to reduce traffic snarls through smart use of traffic monitoring data collected by a large number of cameras.

The entire exercise was initially limited to a single district and spanned over twelve months and the results were extremely encouraging. In addition to improvement of traffic speed, City Brain also offered real time information of accidents to help ambulance and emergency vehicles reach the location faster.

Encouraged by the success in Xiaoshan district, the City Brain project was instituted across entire Hangzhou for seamless as well as accurate monitoring and tracking of city’s traffic.

New Destination

Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur has been earmarked by Alibaba as the next stop for implementation of City Brain due to Malaysia’s progress in terms of digital transformation. This Asian country has immense potential for implementation of smart city projects through adoption of cloud computing.

City Brain will be instrumental in gathering enormous data with respect to traffic movement, transportation, and traffic patterns from a large spectrum of sources offered by city councils. This data can be leveraged to design future projects and can also be used by private companies.

Way Forward

Alibaba may think of sharing the data with private companies for price or can also offer the City Brain platform to accomplish projects to Malaysian businesses, developers, or academic institutions among others. Small enterprises can leverage Alibaba’s cloud computing resources in terms of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Tianchi is a good example of how Alibaba is collaborating with millions of developers from thousands of academic institutions spread across the globe.

Meanwhile, after completion of the first phase of City Brain’s deployment, across the central business district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian government proposes to spread the power of cloud computing all over Kuala Lumpur.

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Competition in Global Cloud Market Heats up with New Indian Data Center of Alibaba

Alibaba has been known to be the largest Chinese e-commerce organization for all these years. However, it is poised to present its new avatar in the form of cloud computing arm of the parent company. Alibaba Cloud has cleared decks for entering Indian cloud market, which is already dominated by its western counterparts.

Indian Cloud Computing Scenario

India has embraced cloud computing in a big way due to entry of giant cloud providers including Google, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon to name a few. It is hardly surprising that Alibaba Cloud has set its eyes on this large and lucrative market, which is second only to China in the Asian continent.

Indian enterprises have always been associated with futuristic vision and innovative approach when it comes to adoption of innovative technologies. Indian enterprises have experienced digital transformation, thanks to cloud computing providers that have empowered wide spectrum of industrial and commercial sectors.

Alibaba has chosen Mumbai as its first data center location due to the fact that it is the commercial capital of India and home to a huge number of organizations in terms of their head quarters. Alibaba proposes to help small enterprises and startups set their foot in the amazing world of cloud computing.

Reliance communications, a leading conglomerate with remarkable presence in digital sector, communications, retail, and media has offered to get associated with Alibaba through one of its subsidiaries, Global Cloud Exchange. The Indian data center of Alibaba has been designed to handle multiple aspects of cloud computing including content distribution, storage, compute power, big data, analytics, and networking to name a few.

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Advantage of Local Data Center Footprint

Millions of Indian enterprises will be able to leverage Alibaba Cloud’s expertise as these begin their voyage to the final destination of cloud adoption. These companies will also be able to seek valuable support through local cloud advisors that will be appointed by Alibaba to make sure that the clients are backed by of service planning and post sales service so that the cloud transition is free from hassles.

Alibaba Cloud has already been providing significant support to Indian clients and the announcement of new Mumbai data center comes only as a renewal of commitment to progress of Indian businesses. Indian enterprises are searching for a trusted cloud associate that will help them explore local as well as overseas business opportunities.

Presence of a locally operating data center will help Alibaba Cloud gain deeper insights into the specific needs of Indian organizations so that bespoke cloud solutions can be designed. On the other hand, all existing Indian customers of Alibaba Cloud will be able to get much better support with a data center on Indian soil.

Market Strategies for Larger Market Cap

The towering position of Amazon which commands more than one third of the global computing market that also includes some of the big names such as Google and Microsoft leaves hardly any space for a new entrant. There is a big gap between Amazon and its closest rival in terms of market share.

Cloud computing continues to be a strong focus area of the top companies. This clearly implies that a new entrant will have to do proper homework before entering the arena. One can clearly understand the level of emphasis on cloud products by the leading global organizations by observing their activities closely.

Amazon Web Services have recorded a massive forty two percent growth in their financial reports. Although, the growth rate appears to be retarded a bit, it can be attributed to the large sales volumes. Secondly the per second calculation of resource consumption has armed Amazon as well as Microsoft to rope in more clients that need such pricing model to address extremely volatile use of containers.

Microsoft has overtaken AWS in terms of YoY growth which is currently reported to be ninety percent over the previous fiscal. Google is also not to be left behind in the race and has disclosed impressive earnings that have grown by forty percent. In the recently announced partnership with Cisco, Google has revealed its strategy for gaining greater level of competitiveness.

Prior to its plans of setting up datacenter facilities in Middle East, Amazon Web Services have been successful in strengthening data center footprint in India. Microsoft and Google are also rapidly expanding their cloud computing facilities outside US in locations such as Africa, and in many more countries.

Takeaway

According to the recent observations by a lading US research firm that deals in science and technology, Alibaba is positioned to be a dominant global player along with AWS, Microsoft, and Google.

Global market for public cloud providers is in the consolidation phase with a dominant role being played by Amazon Web Services. Alibaba will have to leverage all its digital might for establishing itself in the fiercely competitive market segment of public cloud. Considering its past record of successful ventures, Alibaba is definitely a force to reckon with.

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AWS and Google face Challenge from Alibaba Cloud in EMEA Region

After commanding a huge market share on the home pitch and assuming the significant role of being access provider to the markets in China, Chinese technology major Alibaba has plans to build its presence across EMEA region.

Challenging the Behemoths

The decision to enter a fiercely competitive cloud market in EMEA region, which has been already dominated by major names such as Microsoft, AWS and Google was taken almost eighteen months ago by senior management of Alibaba Cloud. One can list a large number of features of Alibaba Cloud that bear close resemblance to cloud offerings of its western counterparts including AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure.

These include advanced capabilities of elastic computing, machine learning and other analytics, application services, and a vast multitude of database and storage services. These services range from fundamental model of Infrastructure as a service. Alibaba cloud computing division was incepted almost a decade ago.

In terms of its extensive coverage, Alibaba Cloud is covering entire China with 7 zones of availability with equal number in Hong Kong and Asia Pacific. Alibaba Cloud is also available for customers in US, Europe including Germany, France, and UK, and Dubai Thanks to dedicated local zones of availability in these regions. Alibaba Cloud has been able to support an impressive array of big internet companies in addition to providing ecommerce and tech services to a whopping five hundred million active customers.

With reference to Alibaba Cloud’s plans to enter Europe Middle East and Africa region, local teams have already been deployed in all location of EMEA region such as Dubai, UK, Germany and France.

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Proven Experience

Alibaba Cloud aims to disrupt major existing players in this region including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services. There are few key reasons for such a move on part of Alibaba Cloud and the most obvious objective is to fulfill a huge and ever growing requirement of cloud computing products by enterprise clients of this region. Europe is an exciting market for Alibaba Cloud due to its strategic position. Alibaba Cloud plans to build more and more innovative products through its Europe operations.

Alibaba Cloud has been engaged in delivering a large gamut of cloud services to the vast cloud markets in China and has thereby proved its credibility. Secondly, it has helped a great number of Chinese organizations set their footprint across Europe and Dubai by leveraging the availability zones including the one in Frankfurt.

Alibaba Cloud has already demonstrated its enormous capabilities by handling excruciatingly demanding workloads with ease. It has handled millions of transactions per second on occasions such as ‘Single’s Day’ which happens to be similar to ‘Black Friday’ in western countries. These performance capabilities qualify Alibaba Cloud to compete with major Public Cloud hosting service providers including AWS, Google, and Microsoft.

Advantage of Chinese Regulations

Moreover, Alibaba Cloud bears the distinction of operating its own infrastructure across several zones in China. Since Chinese law cannot permit any foreign cloud service provider to build own infrastructure there, Alibaba will always enjoy the benefit of being the largest service provider with own facilities.

Although, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft have a small presence in China, it is through third party operators as the law in China restricts them from building own infrastructure on Chinese soil. Hence it can be conclude that Alibaba is the only global cloud provider in true sense with its own facilities in China as well as outside.

Developers can easily adapt to Alibaba cloud if they are comfortable working with AWS or Google because of a large number of similarities in terms of APIs and cloud behavior that exists across all major cloud service providers. Users can easily shift to Alibaba Cloud without any hassles.

Proven Abilities Across Verticals

If you separate customers on the basis of their cloud objectives, then it is easy to understand the unique strengths of Alibaba in terms of ability to deliver vertical-specific cloud solutions. Alibaba has been spearheading growth of fintech and retail in China.

Another unique differentiator that needs to be considered while assessing Alibaba Cloud’s capabilities to disrupt major cloud players in EMEA region is Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning. You can leverage ET Brain to gain AI capabilities that can be implemented across specific verticals. ET Brain can be successfully applied in sectors including Industries, healthcare and smart urban living.

Whatever may be the case, Alibaba must clearly demonstrate some measureable and tangible results in European markets instead of just harping on its ability of scaling. If the statements by its C-level executives are to be believed, one can wait for another six months before Alibaba shares some exciting news on this front.

Takeaway

Alibaba is all set to disrupt leading providers of cloud services in markets outside China with its proven ability to manage large workloads and its unique capabilities of supporting verticals.

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Alibaba Cloud Poised for a Global Leadership Position through Phenomenal Market Share Growth

Alibaba has been spearheading the cloud revolution across Asia and is now a major Cloud Service Provider due to the consistent growth of its business. There is no doubt that Amazon is the biggest provider of cloud services and the gap between AWS and the second largest CSP is considerably large. It would be therefore interesting to assess growth in the market share of Alibaba Cloud and other providers.

Extensive Reach of Alibaba Cloud

There is a substantial growth in the market share of Alibaba CSP division due to its formidable presence in China and a promising beginning in Asian markets that is set to expand in coming months. There is an encouraging trend of revenue growth from Alibaba CSP’s ecommerce ventures and a large array of cloud offerings.

This is reflected in the recent performance of Q1 that witnessed phenomenal growth of 101 percent year on year. Projections by cloud experts have been surpassed by vast margins as the cloud business of Alibaba continues to soar. In terms of quarterly performance, Alibaba has surpassed even AWS if growth over the last year is considered.

It can be safely concluded by looking at the overall performance of Alibaba Cloud, that it has already made a significant mark among Asian countries with a formidable market share at home in China. Cloud Service Provider arm of Alibaba is rapidly spreading across the globe and has secured fourth position as per Synergy report.

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Growth Stimulating Factors

There are some important factors which can be attributed to the phenomenal growth in market share of Alibaba that has placed it close to Google in the hierarchy of top five global cloud providers.

Alibaba has been able to control more than fifty percent share of China’s cloud market, which by itself is a great achievement if you consider the vastness of the Chinese cloud market.

In terms of new features and product offerings, Alibaba has enriched its CSP product range with an addition of more than three products in recently concluded quarter. Another factor that has proved to reinforce the market share is steadily growing association with enterprise customers including Cathay Pacific, China National Petroleum Corporation, and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation to name a few.

So far, Alibaba Cloud has been able to establish its footprint in 18 global location and countries with the recently opened data center facility at Indonesia. This is a major indicator of the growth prospects of Alibaba Cloud. Long term planning and consistent development of new products to empower different product categories such as ecommerce have been instrumental to the current market share of Alibaba Cloud.

Partnering with Telcos

Partnership of Alibaba Cloud with telcos has proved to boost growth of telecom sector with addition of innovative products that can address the growing demand for Internet of Things related technologies.

Telecom companies can leverage the robust cloud infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud to provide their services to millions of customers worldwide. Alibaba Cloud has already entered into partnerships with major telecom service providers to fulfill their demand for a scalable and agile cloud infrastructure.

Association between Alibaba Cloud and telcos has been able to lay a strong foundation for the growth of telecom sector across international markets. Telecom companies and Cloud Hosting Service Providers belong to different industry verticals. These different industries can gain by designing collaborative contracts for mutual advantages including a rapid digital transformation to address future demands.

Alibaba Cloud has been offering its open technology to telecom software companies for development of telecom products that would be relevant to a larger variety of clients from various industries via a SaaS model. It is much easier to integrate new technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence with help of state of the art cloud computing technology.

Alibaba Cloud is also engaged in helping vertical industries exploit new avenues by leveraging its impressive technology solutions to harness IoT and other advanced technologies for strengthening their current product portfolio.

Justifiable Optimism

Looking at the factors that are responsible to stimulate Alibaba Cloud’s growth, it would not be an exaggeration to expect a massive revenue growth which will exceed sixty percent in the next fiscal. This projection is also based on the strong foundation of current performance and past experience.

Alibaba Cloud has made its presence felt in number of industry verticals including digital infotainment, cloud services, technology sector, and logistics to name a few. It has gained remarkable experience of serving diverse industries at home as well as international markets.

In Conclusion

New and ambitious growth initiatives of Alibaba Cloud are sure to propel it ahead in the race to become one of the top three global cloud hosting service providers. Improvement of product portfolio, partnership with telcos, and expansion of data center footprint across major international locations are some of the factors, which help Alibaba sustain the leadership position in future as well.

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Alibaba Mulls a Colossal IoT Initiative to Connect Millions of Devices

With the announcement of a huge IoT initiative to establish a colossus of ten million connected devices within a span of 5 years, Alibaba has expressed its grand plan to become a global major in the IoT sector.

IoT Initiatives To Accelerate Auto Sector

There were more announcements in the recently concluded cloud conference by Alibaba including a plan to install its operating system for operating automotive infotainment platform in a whopping number of automobiles in PRC. Alibaba is also contemplating to boost its IoT program in automotive segment by focusing on its internet connected car.

The auto industry in China is poised for a smart IT evolution, thanks to the partnership of Alibaba with Ford Motor Company and SAIC Motors, among others. There are already half a million vehicles on roads with support of AliOS that drives infotainment abilities of these cars. In the next phase of its IoT initiative, Alibaba will be engaged in installation of its Operating System in almost all vehicles by the end of 2020. This will be supported by a robust association with NXP Semiconductors.

Driving Innovation in Agriculture

Alibaba aims to deliver innovative solutions to support agricultural production by providing recommendations derived from integration of visual analysis and crops. Agricultural sector also comprises of farm animals and therefore Alibaba Cloud plans to support IoT products to modernize breeding of farm animals. The agriculture sector has been able to save a whopping $32 million annually, thanks to IoT services offered by Alibaba Cloud.

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IoT in Support of Smart Urban Living

Within a span of just one year, Alibaba Cloud has been able to design smart city solutions by harnessing computing power. Administrators of municipal corporations can leverage these services to gain control over a variety of utilities including electricity, power, and cooking gas, to name a few.

It must be noted that the monitoring of utilities in terms of their functioning is performed to enable administrators of municipal corporations to get a real-time and in-depth view. This results in improved schedules of management for greater efficiency in resource optimization, and smooth functioning of mission critical services, backed by cost streamlining.

Data inputs of a large variety can be transmitted to Alibaba Cloud’s integrated platform to make sure that everything across the town is well-connected for superior management. It is encouraging to note that more and more cities across China are following the example of the first Chinese smart city of Wuxi. At least six cities out of ten are leveraging cloud computing to support efficient management of utilities.

IoT in Manufacturing Sector

Industries are experiencing wide ranging benefits by adopting Internet of Things across a large gamut of operations such as transport, production, quality control, and many more. In-depth analysis of data, which is delivered by sensors and other devices, can be exploited to improve performance and cost efficiency of manufacturing sector.

At Home and Connected

Cloud Link was the first major initiative by Alibaba that heralded a major presence of Alibaba cloud across millions of households in China. This followed development of innovative solutions for smarter homes through a robust partnership between Alibaba though its A. I. Lab, with a leading Taiwanese semi-conductor conglomerate, Media Tek.

Cloud platform of Alibaba facilitates home products and appliance producers to link their products through instant connectivity, efficient data analytics solutions, and seamless device management. Alibaba Cloud’s smart home program is boosting development of connected households across China.

Impact of IoT Initiative by Alibaba

Traditional industries need support of innovative technologies such as Big Data analysis and Internet of Things to meet growing challenges of modernization and disruptions caused by new technologies. Alibaba perceives this as a great opportunity to help existing players in these industries, instead of being a challenge to their existence. Alibaba Cloud is perfectly positioned to play a supportive role for development of conventional industries with its massive cloud infrastructure.

Since the inception of Alibaba Cloud’s IoT business arm, there have been hundreds of business units that are tasting the fruits of innovative technologies. This has supported the creation of IoT’s very own open source operating system, known as AliOS, that enjoys support from thousands of developers.

These developers are poised to build cutting-edge computing platforms by leveraging the vast benefits of Alibaba Cloud in the domains of artificial intelligence, security, cloud computing, and storage, to begin with.

In Conclusion

Alibaba cherishes a grand vision of a world which is built upon the robust foundation of intelligence and innovation and is seamlessly connected with the help of IoT solutions that are inherently transformative. IoT has the capability to empower decision making as well as strategy planning. With its massive presence across e-commerce, logistics, and finance, Alibaba is all set to build a whole new future that will drive development of always connected humans as well as devices.