The latest cloud computing trends in 2019

It’s 2019, and the Cloud is everywhere—from the apps we use every day to the infrastructure of global tech giants.

According to researchers at Gartner, revenue generated from public cloud services is projected to grow 17.5 percent in 2019. This amounts to a total of $214.3 billion, up from $182.4 billion in 2018.

More than a third of organizations surveyed by Gartner saw cloud investments as a top three investment priority. With this kind of growth, tech organizations are racing to get onboard with cloud-only software and platforms. Here are some of the trends to look out for this year:

Hybrid Cloud, Multi-Cloud and Mergers

IBM announced its purchase of Red Hat last October, calling it the “most significant tech acquisition of 2018.” This combined Red Hat’s extensive network of open-source clouds with IBM’s Hybrid Cloud team.

Mergers like these are likely to become a trend this year, as companies see the vast benefit of using multiple clouds across all sectors of their organization. Furthermore, this system will dominate in the future, as businesses find public clouds inadequate to meet every one of their requirements.

As a more flexible and functional solution, many organizations will shift to a network of multiple private, public and hybrid clouds in the coming years.

Serverless Cloud

Serverless computing is a young market in technology, but it will continue growing in 2019. Serverless computing isn’t actually “serverless.” Instead, it is a cloud-computing model in which the cloud provider itself runs the server on a dynamic, as-used basis (FaaS).

Rather than buying server space, developers can simply use a back-end cloud service to code, only paying for the server space they actually use.

As this relatively new technology develops, we can expect to see more companies providing and expanding their “serverless” offerings.

Artificial Intelligence

Although cloud technologies are growing exponentially, artificial intelligence (AI) could prove an even greater economic driving force. This is because according to Accenture, the impact of AI could double economic growth rates by 2035 in developed countries. 

Around 80 percent of large companies have adopted some form of AI, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Amazon, Twilio and Nvidia, to name a few, are thus, incorporating AI with cloud computing, next-gen GPUs and the Internet of Things (IoT). This has led to the developing of applications with “smart assistants,” and voice-to-text technologies.

Such a combination of AI and the cloud provides an extremely powerful and unconstrained computing network.

Security

Digital transformation is already underway, with Gartner also projecting that 83 percent of all workloads will shift to the cloud by 2020. However, this movement presents issues of cybersecurity.

Many businesses have not properly secured their cloud-stored data. For example, marketing and data aggregation firm Exactis left around 340 million records exposed on its cloud servers. This was uncovered in a data breach last year.

Mitigating factors

The implementation of the General Data Practice Regulations (GDPR) makes this even trickier. The GDPR affects cloud security, and IT companies will likely struggle to comply with these new laws while protecting sensitive information.

Cloud computing services are progressing exponentially, as are their new developments. As a result, 2019 will surely be filled with businesses pouring investment into enterprise solutions. This while expanding, securing and implementing cloud technologies to their fullest extent.

Bridget is a freelance writer and editor, and the founder of Lost Bridge Blog, where she writes about traveling as a Millennial woman on a budget. When not writing, you can find her traveling, drinking inhuman amounts of caffeine and scrolling through the latest tech & political news.
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Open Banking – too exposed?

As a human race, we are constantly striving for easier ways of doing things: simpler, faster and more practical. Thanks to better tech, you can now interact with people globally and instantly with the click of a few buttons.

Likewise, you can also physically move quickly due to advances in transportation technology. When it comes to the age-old practice banking – the same is now happening.

Provided you have the necessities, a passport, residential address and a mobile phone, you can now open a bank account within minutes. This is brought about by a Fintech offering better known as Open Banking.

Open banking is the use of open APIs that enable third-party developers to build applications and services around the financial institution.

Wikipedia

It is ultimately about giving you a better, secure and flawless service experience with the opportunity to gain access to excellent financial products.

Online security expert and Chairwoman of Zortrex, Susan Brown reflects on the advent of the new offering:

“Just over a year ago when Open Banking came into the limelight for the Fintech world. CMA9 (the nine largest banks within the UK), were effectively mandated to make their banking platform accessible for third party companies.”

A comprehensive global report commissioned by Accenture emphatically highlighted growth and talking points about the emerging industry in 2017.

N26 Bank
N26 Bank

This is all wonderful, innovative, and promotes transparency within the financial services market – but there is only one drawback Brown cites:

“Consumers really do not know what Open Banking means, there has been a lot published about the benefits that is to be had from Open Banking. At the same time consumers have become very aware of the negative aspects around sharing their data.”

Online scourge of hacks & breaches

Daily, you hear more and more about hacks, and data compromises. With the UK’s Lloyds Bank breach last year; the trust by its consumers to share their financial and personal information, some would say, is completely gone.

In addition, you go onto a site look review products and before you know it, you are bombarded with adverts on the products that you have been looking at elsewhere. This has led some consumers to abandon shopping carts and refrain from using online retailers.

If not adequately protected, the newly established Fintech system might suffer a similar data breaches.

Visa and Mastercard for one, are among the established firms threatened by Open (and Mobile) Banking. And so, they should be according to Brown.

“As consumers knowledge grows about their data and the security around their financial data has not been secure as shown with the Marriott hack.”

Naturally, these new systems pose a huge threat for banks as they become the digital gateway channel connection to the financial sector. This eliminates the direct relationship between consumers and banks.

This is not a bad thing as banks are overwhelmed and cannot always keep in touch with every client.

Added layer of protection

The solution for failing global acceptance would be for a new Fintech company to gain the trust of its new customers. They would naturally also be able to chip away at the market share of other expensive financial institutions.

What you as a consumer know and want is privacy and security. Currently, only banks can make this happen – but at a high cost.

With a new digital tokenisation system like Zortrex vault, you can concurrently let your consumers reap the awards on their transactions.

They can as a result, gain redeemable tokens for patronising your services. This can occur while both you and your partners offer them products globally.

“Don’t be a gateway for the challenger banks be in control of your omni channel for your consumers,” Brown advises

Read more about Zortrex’s solution to privacy here.

This blogpost contains excerpts from Susan Brown about Open Banking initially published on her LinkedIn page.  




Anonymous Surfing

You don’t have to be an online arsonist, hacker or international cyber-terrorist to hide your online identity. Likewise, concealing your PC’s web address or (better known as) your Internet Protocol address (IP address), making it unknown to the public, does not necessarily mean you are up to no good online.

Debunqed.com will, therefore,  build a case for why it is important at times to conceal your private online location with the use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).

A VPN is a connection method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like Wi-Fi Hotspots and the Internet. They are most often used by corporations to protect sensitive data but now also by the man on the street for the very same necessity.

Getting back to the importance of your IP address: it is probably something you rarely think about but is very crucial to your online lifestyle even as an individual. How so? You might still ask.

Well, without an IP address, you wouldn’t be able to get the current weather, check the latest news or view at videos (streaming) online for instance.

VPN-Protect-you

Click here or on the image to view a quick video

The uses of VPNs

Your IP is also used for basically every online service you partake in including very private things such as your internet/mobile banking or online trading activity.  Think of it as your physical address and how important it is when getting things delivered by post or using it when you need to make applications for loans, jobs etc.

“Without a public IP address, online service providers like Netflix, BBC or Amazon wouldn’t know where to send the information you asked for. They wouldn’t be able to get it to your computer.”

One can now imagine how naked you must feel if you have nothing to protect this address from the advent of a hack without adequate data encryption.  Also the just the haggling by overzealous online marketers, spam, malware, and even 419 scammers!

Now the argument for whether using VPNs is illegal is highly debatable for some of the valid reasons highlighted above. It should, however, be a given right  to be able to use it. And even though it is commonly used by cyber-thugs to mask their clandestine and often dark activities, it should not be outlawed altogether.

The case for VPN

The legitimacy of VPNs debate therefore, carries on into a grey area.

avg-secure-vpn-featuredWe will, however, investigate a few VPN providers that are ‘paid for services’ and even offered by established companies such as AVG (which primarily offers Antivirus protection).

The directive is to help the everyday consumer surf the web without ‘virtual’ salespeople bombarding them with offers based on personal information gathered in an ‘unsolicited’ manner.

Policies like the European-based GDPR law were put in place to protect consumers from the non-consensus use of their data. Even your Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can track your online activities via your IP and sell your browsing habits.

Some forward-thinking people and companies, however, have long been shielding themselves manually using VPNs.

One direct benefit for you as a consumer is the ability to access content (information, products, and services) from different servers. A good VPN service can enable you to obtain access to other geo-locational content despite being on a different continent.

Take the example of Netflix: if you use a VPN in Europe it enables you to have international access to content from the US by using a US-based server for access.

It is perfectly legal provided you are paying for the service. The burden falls on the provider of the service and not the end user if it came down to a legal “scrap”.

If you need to do these tasks frequently, you need a VPN:

  • To hide your IP address (to enable anonymity from marketers and hackers)
  • Change your IP address (to avoid identity theft)
  • Encrypt data transfers (private and financial data)
  • Mask your location (to access other services)
  • Access blocked websites

250x250A word of caution for the last reason, i.e when navigating websites blocked by governments with a VPN: Unless you are a high-profile journalist working on a case and backed by good legal aid – it’s not a wise thing to do.

Do some research if you are not sure because accessing such sites (and not necessarily just government sites) could land you in some hot water. Rather use a known privacy service like Tor to ensure full anonymity to gain access to restricted sites if you really must.


Top Virtual Private Network Protocols

VPN protocols and available security features are numerous. The most common (best) protocols are:

ExpressVPNthe acclaimed best offshore VPN for privacy and unblocking.

IPVanish great for P2P and Torrenting.

VyprVPNthe best choice for those looking for security.

NordVPNsecurity is its middle name.

TunnelBeardubbed the easiest VPN to use.

Windscribea VPN which gives you unlimited connections.

Hotspot Shieldan awesome solution for online browsing.

KeepSolid VPN Unlimitedthe jack of all trades of VPNs.

CyberGhostrich clients and ease of reconfiguring.

ZenMateuser-friendly VPN that caters to the newbies to VPN.

PureVPNtake advantage of easy to use apps and access to many servers.

Source: www.itproportal.com, PureVpn

Picking a VPN service can be a daunting task as there are now literally hundreds of them to choose from. Landing the right one means striking the right balance between services, ease of use and pricing.

Some providers offer free VPN services while some like AVG charges for their VPN service. Paid VPN providers, however, are preferred to the free service providers as they offer robust gateways, proven security, additional free software, and unmatched speed.

The key is to find the best VPN that meets your immediate needs while matching your budget.

Data (Gold) Mining

Let’s face it, if you really were going to quit Facebook, you would have a few years ago. Fact is, you should have asked the serious questions when the ‘free’ social media platform started turning over billions of dollars.

No free service can generate that amount money out of goodwill and thin air. So much that they could list on the stock exchange. So, we are not quite sure why everyone is acting amazed or why the knee-jerk #DeleteFacebook campaign is only now coming to light.

There really is no such thing as a free lunch. If you believe that all these online social platforms would keep it that way, then you are as naive as they are hoping you to be.

Think about it, the companies behind the platforms, actively recruit in pretty much tens and hundreds of cities globally.

And the simple fact of the matter is that in order for them to pay all their (global) staff of programmers, developers, executives, lawyers and other stakeholders. They need revenue.

What your data means

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and pretty much any social media platform that has over 100 million users, therefore, sit on a goldmine for advertisers.

The commodity, however, is not just what their users wish to own in the short term, or their purchasing power directly for that matter.

The commodity is simply you, the user. So, your preferences, habits and views along with their personal data are analysed via machine-learning systems to study behaviours and habits.

The data in turn, is used for constant revenue maximization or in some extreme cases: political, psychological and social manipulation!

“Your ‘payment’ on a social media platform is your consent to have your information used for marketing purposes – opting out of marketing would give you true free use of the service. But no profiteering company offers that privilege today – the best you can get is a month’s free trial.”

Knowing your likes, spending habits, music preferences, political views, personal information including location and working habits is enough for any company or institution to cater their goods and services.

They can position their offerings (sometimes subliminally) into spaces where you are likely to indulge in them.

Social media platforms, in this case, become the marketplace for them to ‘mine’ data to use.

Most famous social network sites worldwide as of January 2018, ranked by number of active users (in millions).

Most famous social network sites worldwide

Source: © Statista 2018

How the mining actually works

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Data mining is not a new idea and completely legal if presented transparently in the terms and conditions of any service. The terms get longer by the day (and smaller in print) that we don’t bother to read them.

Microsoft envisioned this a decade ago and changed the way its operating systems work (beginning with its Windows 8 series). It’s operating systems are now more of a social, interactive and information gathering system. Allegedly designed to “help you” organize things better.

This is fostered by a voice-activated app called Cortana – all under one Microsoft account.

Amazon has its own ways of data mining via your shopping habits and Alexa – is own voice-activated search and information-providing device.

Google (owned by a group called the Alphabet company) has the biggest stranglehold of the lot and must, therefore, be the most cautious when it comes to data privacy and security.

This applies especially with its partnership with Android, which makes it a requirement for you to use for all their devices (phones and tablets) to link up all your data.

This includes phone contacts, emails via Gmail, pictures via GoogleDrive, apps (music, movies and games) orders via the Google (Play)Store and social media via Google+.

You can even have your search fields stored and synced onto your devices – from your laptop to phone and tablet via Google.

You are now having to (almost mandatorily) give up your telephone number, location, and other preferences indirectly to unknown affiliated marketers and partners of the tech giants. They get first dibs on this data – and paying good money for it.

Read more about Affiliate Marketing here

What is required by regulation

The main violation by Facebook, therefore, might not even be non-consensus selling of data to marketers. Such things could be countered with a clause.

They may have strategically stuck one in while you were busy posting selfies and liking random videos of cats.

The real issue is the potential use of the data for political or advanced manipulation of data for fraudulent purpose. This can be facilitated by the use of artificial intelligence to influence you without your knowledge.

Read more about the uses of Artificial Intelligence here

Full data privacy, though not conceivable, and absolute freedom from advertising on social platforms is possible – but at a cost.

This was reiterated recently by the COO of Facebook who admittedly confirmed that opting out of having your data sold or used would mean you will have to pay to use Facebook in future.

They had just not put this in place but will now forcibly have to make it a clearly visible option.

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The fact of the matter is we are in an era of Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and AI – all which require data to analyse.

These platforms are, therefore, here to stay and still serve their specific functions well. More importantly, they’re also the livelihood for many small-to-medium-sized businesses.

Data mining is here to stay

Though many were reluctant at first, pretty much every company now has a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page to showcase and communicate with their clients via the newly termed phrase ‘social engagement’. This has turned out to become a strong branding and marketing tool for them.

And if you think you are out of it by leaving one platform, just remember this: Facebook owns WhatsApp & Instagram; Google owns YouTube; Microsoft owns LinkedIn and so on.

There is nowhere to hide if complete online privacy is important to you.

And let’s not forget your web-browser. Not many of us actively use ad-blockers unaware that even your browsing data is being scanned and processed always by external third-parties companies.

If you aren’t using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you should seriously consider it! Along with some good plug-ins to help secure your online browsing from all types of behind the scenes snooping and ransomware.

It will be interesting to see the outcome and verdict of the probe into the Facebook case.

Rest assured, many other heavily used platforms will be deleting and removing ties with data mining marketers. Especially ones that have had a similar agenda to what Cambridge Analytica was accused of conducting.

A change in verification of marketers, data storage and data security laws (such as the new GDPR law) were long overdue. Facebook will now be the scapegoat to enforce data security laws on social media.