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D Thomson | 14 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

Having conducted my entire career in the world of information technology, I (like the majority of my peers) am very used to and inspired by questions that begin with “could we..?”. The technology arena exists, is focused on and is inspired by the art of the possible. We never cease to amaze ourselves with what can be achieved over time as the principles of Moore’s Law deliver us more and more computing power and our imaginations are left to run riot.

30 years ago we marveled at the ability to hand-off complex business process to ERP systems, 20 years ago the internet took hold and we marveled at the prospect of accessing more information than was ever thought possible and 5 years ago the world of mobile communications got “smart” and manufacturers started to deliver powerful computing to the palm of our hands...

Now the “Internet of Things” has appeared and the prospect of “connecting everything” has us IT-types “Imagineering” again (love that word! – thanks Disney)....

Straners | 13 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

As we are all aware, information is expanding at a staggering rate. World data in 2010 was estimated at 1.2 zetabytes, expected to rise to 7.9ZB in 2015 and, in 2020, to 40ZB, with something like 30 billion connected devices in the next few years. Against that backdrop, there is really no way we have either the time or bandwidth (cost) to shift these large lumps of data around. Yet, potentially, they have enormous value to people who want to access them.

In this world of ‘Bigger Data’ – and what is rapidly becoming ‘Even Bigger Data’ – this presents a massive challenge for all of us: how do we supply Data as a Service, while still maintaining control?

Because the reality is that, in these data-driven times, everyone is going to have to consider themselves as a consumer and a provider of Data as a Service, and deal with all of the consequences this brings into play.

In the new world of mega-data, information that would once have been considered beyond...

Giampiero Nanni | 07 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

Smart cities are on the increase worldwide and, especially within Europe, there are many such initiatives being stimulated by the EC and national governments. Local administrators and policy makers are under great pressure to make their cities increasingly competitive, in order to attract businesses, talent and taxpayers – and to comply with sustainable policies, greenhouse gas emission targets and carbon footprint guidelines.

What will they look like? In the main, smart city deployments will be multi-faceted, carried out by a diverse ecosystem of providers in innovative domains, involving state-of-the-art technology, including critical and complex ICT implementations. These deployments can address different components and city systems, such as Intelligent Transportation, Connected Healthcare, Public Safety and Security, Emergency Services, Smart Grid and Smart Metering, Intelligent Buildings, etc.

At the same time, increasing ICT complexity, hyper-connectivity,...

D Thomson | 06 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

Identity management was never easy. The basic need for identity is that of ‘non-repudiation’ - assurance that a person is who they say they are - as used to authenticate and authorise individuals to use IT resources, or enable access to web sites and services.

Things such as a login names, pins and passwords are examples of mechanisms that allow us to establish digital ‘identity’ today. For computer users and system managers, the difficulty has always been keeping tabs on all the different login details, number-generating dongles, and swipe cards and so on. The domain of "identity management" (the umbrella term for tools that help manage multiple identities, across multiple systems) is focused on helping with these issues. 

So far so good, but I’m wondering if these ideas are thrown out f the window by the current trend - the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables a wide variety of devices and physical objects to connect to the Internet. 

For...

Sian John | 02 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

Based on discussions we are having across our customer base, we know that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing phenomenon. It’s not particularly new - after all, organisations have been monitoring the state of their buildings and equipment, and managing where things are in the supply chain, for many years now. What’s changing is the range and scale of physical objects that we’re starting to see connected, from air conditioning units to office doors. 

From our perspective of course, we are very interested in what this means in security terms. So, should organisations allow increasing numbers of devices and objects to connect to the Internet, or block all attempts to do so? From our perspective, the answer lies in being aware of the risks of doing so, and acting accordingly. 

As a starting point, we believe the challenges lie in misusing what is likely to mean a major new entry point to the organisation. We already have a major...

Straners | 19 Dec 2013 | 0 comments

Information is – slowly – moving outside the database. And it’s everywhere. Businesses want to get their hands on all the data that really matters, wherever it resides, because that is the strategy that will ensure they stay ahead of the game.

More and more, they are seeing both structured and unstructured data as their life blood, wherever, and in whatever format, that data presents itself. No matter whether it is ‘System centric’ (ie, it’s in the database) or ‘Information centric’ (it’s ‘out there’ somewhere), it has vast potential value, if it is harnessed and employed properly. Hence organisations are working to develop and deploy big data alongside their established business intelligence structure: that is where their future success lies.

The business opportunities that will assure their survival, growth and future well-being are locked within the flood of data that swirls around us. If they can relate details from across all of their digital information assets,...

Straners | 10 Dec 2013 | 0 comments

Few areas of IT seem to be gaining as much attention at the moment as cloud orchestration, as represented by OpenStack and CloudStack, VMWare and the like. The debates in the blogosphere and on social media could suggest nothing short of all-out war as different vendors and groups back one approach or another. 

To understand what's going on, it is best to start with the elephant in the room - Amazon, whose Elastic Compute Cloud(EC2) service (now part of its AWS portfolio) scared the socks off other vendors when it came to market - not least because it offered a fundamentally different approach to computing, compared to traditional, in-house systems. 

The Amazon model is based on the enormous power of virtualisation, which enables processing workloads to be allocated to computer hardware far more dynamically than was possible in the past. This is what gives EC2 its '...

D Thomson | 29 Nov 2013 | 1 comment

It is no secret to those who know me that I have become very interested in the coming together of IT (something that I know about) and Social Science (something that I don’t…. yet).

For those of you that are not familiar with the Social Sciences as a field of expertise, they comprise a number of disciplines (the well known ones being Psychology, Criminology, Politics and Sociology) and their goal is to try to make sense of how society is made, broken and repaired.

Why is this relevant to us in IT? Well, the Harvard Business School and many of the world’s leading technology movers and shakers are very concerned about a shortage of skills in the industry that span technology (“how do we create and manage data?”) with social science (“what does the data mean once we have it ?”).

The topic of Big Data, of course, is the driver of this concern about a skills gap. It’s all very well having access to a lot of data but...

Carey Nachenberg | 21 Nov 2013 | 0 comments

This blog will discuss a vision for ‘to-be state’ of enterprise security and targeted attack protection, and is the last part of this blog series.

In my last blog, I detailed the first step toward achieving our vision for enterprise security. To summarize, I proposed that we need to update our existing security products so they generate a steady flow of security-relevant telemetry (e.g., every login, failed or not, between every machine in the enterprise, metadata for every inbound email, every connection through the firewall, etc.) – even when that telemetry doesn’t appear directly related to an in-progress attack at the time it’s collected. This telemetry will be used in two...

Carey Nachenberg | 13 Nov 2013 | 0 comments

In my previous blog I talked about the as-is state of enterprise security. Now I’d like to paint a picture of a much better future state that I believe is achievable, and then I’ll tell you how we can make that state a reality.

First, in our ideal future state attackers don’t just go away, and let’s be honest, regardless of how advanced our defenses become, attackers will still find a way to penetrate them. So in our future state, we will not totally eliminate compromises – they will occur. However, we envision a future state where enterprises will either block the attacks outright, or discover them within minutes or hours of compromise, rather than the months or years it takes to detect many attacks today.  We further envision a future state where enterprises won’t need an expensive team of security experts or large numbers of proprietary integrations to achieve this level of protection. We envision a state where the...