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
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:
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 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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s not often that we readily endorse a product or company. However, when the nature of work they engage in is considered ground-breaking and has a positive impact on our lives – it most certainly warrants a mention.
The rationale for considering such tech-driven projects as highly significant is neither due to ‘gut feeling’. Nor that it is simply fascinating and therefore must be an excellent product. This project actually has a value proposition for you!
We are indeed well into the information age and while we have written extensively about data, its importance to marketers and its fragility when used and abused by unscrupulous third-parties for their financial gain.
The issue of data security is however, quite a serious issue. You just need to pay attention to the news to become even more aware.
Data breach incidents
In Europe, the where security is supposedly more advanced, we have seen the likes of renowned airline British Airways, being hacked. Several hundreds of thousands of customers’ personal data compromised.
These were followed by hacks on other major airlines such as Cathay Pacific. Aside from airlines, other business outfits have suffered a similar fate.
The perpetrators are getting a lot more brazen and very recently, a cable car, used as public transport in Moscow was hacked, leaving vulnerable passengers terrified and stuck high up in the air. And this probably to the amusement of the pranksters (hackers).
Can you imagine the chaos and commotion that would be caused if their control systems of driverless cars were to be hacked?
The digital intrusions get even more sophisticated.
This time, affecting the very wealthy: private yachts are now being hacked and taken into the pirate waters, all via uniquely coded signals, reading data from their antennas!
On the issue of data security, you often hear about extra protection but not just anti-virus and anti-phishing software. The more secure and heavily encrypted Blockchain technology is, however, making waves in the digital sphere.
It is mainly for the escalation of its once shining star by-product designed for discreet transacting – the Bitcoin.
Blockchain technology has also triggered several other technologies based on its digital cryptology technology to ensure that your information is kept safe from prying eyes while stored, used or transferred online.
Blockchain products such as cryptocurrencies, however, are not completely safe from hackers!
The company we chose to highlight uses a unique vault system and is called Zortrex. It has adopted one of such Blockchain technologies dubbed tokenization. It will be using it to ensure that highly sensitive data online is kept safe.
“Our tokenised solution would have protected their customers’ personal identification information (PII) details. Instead the hackers ran off with the date of birth; passport numbers; financial data etc,” says Susan Brown, Chairperson of Zortrex – relating to the British Airways incident.
Tokenization is the process of converting rights to real-world assets into a digital token on a blockchain.
Brown’s background in data privacy systems as well as her devoted passion for the protection of PII, financial and healthcare data led her to start up and chair Zortrex.
“Companies have disrespected your data for over 25 years, and if left unattended, there will be nothing left to protect,” Browns says.
Thanks to new laws like the European GDPR law which is now imposing the data protection, data breaches and abuse of customer data is now met with hefty financial penalties.
Companies now think twice about consent and how to use and share your data digitally. But is it enough? The simple answer is no.
The authorities just do not have the resources to investigate every complaint nor to actively enforce all data breaches – yet.
We have ingeniously invented systems that automatically align with financial messaging, payments and securing information. All of which require data.
“However, we should and need to go a step further to secure all the PII details with tokenisation so that in the event of a hack, the cookies and trackers will only be following a ‘useless’ token as there is no real identification on it,” Brown explains.
Zortrex would naturally like to tokenise all healthcare data so that vulnerable people living outside of major cities can also feel assured that their privacy is protected.
In a previous blog, we wrote about the new Internet of things (IoT). All those devices being built for it. They would all need their IP addresses and the serial numbers tokenised for instance.
The application of the all-powerful blockchain is not limited to use in the financial sector and will be applied via the supply chain to all industries that deal with data – especially the most sensitive ones.
An angel investor or any investor for that matter looking to get onto the next best thing since Amazon would therefore be unwise to pass up the opportunity to back the Zortrex venture given its scope.
Furthermore, regulations are currently being implemented primarily in the pharmaceutical sector.
A tokenised supply chain such as what Zortrex offers would be ideal for this new law which is planned to be implemented by 2023. A judiciary blockchain, for instance, would enable the police to “talk” to the prison service, who in turn, will communicate with the legal sector or public health institutions (NHS).
Forensic evidence would in such instances be tokenised and kept secure (away from tampering) during legal hearings. In another practical scenario, Smart Contracts(which are touted to replace lawyers) can spark off legal aid assistance.
You court cases will be heard quicker and be more efficient. Protection registers can also be protected with tokenisation rendering it more secure.
Blockchain technology offers quality assurance making sure that no shortcuts are taken. The smart contracts specifically, trigger any possible malfeasance.
This will enable the monitoring and tracking of any data sharing to third parties once it is tokenised. The third party apps would only gain access to the data once the trigger has been activated.
Like other pioneers and visionaries, Brown’s futuristic hope that every child being born will have their name, date of birth, blood type data being tokenised, might seem farfetched. However, given the nature and rise of data breaches it is evidently necessary.
Zortrex wants to use their technology to put the hackers out of business!
Tokenisation cannot be mathematically reversed and thus it will least it will stop the hackers for a while.
For such high ambitions, the creators of Zortrex’s software have adequately ensured that the technology used is fully scalable. One stumbling block many Blockchain projects now face is what is referred to as scalability – which in tech terms, is the ability of a network or software to grow and manage increased demand.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum specifically – which is used to build a lot of Distributed Applications, however, have massive scalability issues.
The growth in demand for DApps is crippling those systems. They need to investigate the incorporation of alternative technologies, upgrade or split their platforms to cope with such high demand.
Someone must take the first step in securing this data forever. You should be able to purchase what you want without being harassed by trackers and cookies.
The need for tokenisation is endless and further, down the line, celebrities and government official’s PII can be secured by it to protect them from damaging schemes, ‘bad press’ and scandals.
In a previous blog, we “prophesized” that data is the new commodity – like gold or oil. However, the actual value with that data will lie in its privacy, the ability to store it securely and unlock it only with legal permission by its rightful owner.
One often hears the phrase “technology is your friend” To what extent the friendliness/support is, in being a most effective “companion” to assist you to cope with your daily activities or business plans depends on how you embrace it.
Life can be chaotic. Which so much to do it is easy to frequently miss appointments; have to wait till you get to a PC to respond to emails or fail to remember contacts details. The worst is having to ask people often for their contact details/ business cards.
If that’s the case, you are getting it all wrong and definitely need this friend!
Electronic mail has not entirely replaced postal services; however, in the coming years, all indications are that it will.
The need for emails
Emails are on a progressive, disruptive path to eliminate postal services. It will, over and above its current instant delivery capability, also facilitate and encourage the acceptance of digitally signed documents.
A digital signature is an electronic, encrypted, stamp of authentication on online information such as e-mail messages, macros, or electronic documents. It confirms that the information originated from the signer and has not been altered, rendering it legally binding.
Most financial companies and legal institutions in most developed countries already accept digitally signed documents.
Naturally, you need special software to digitally sign a document to attach as a PDF to an email. Such an action authorises approval by yourself without having to pick up a pen to append a signature or having to be physically present.
We can now easily get in touch with our contacts: be it in the office or lounging around a park, watching your children play; even on board/at the underground train station.
For those needing an essential CRM tool to just help with email contacts and plug into an existing sales app, you can do so with a useful add-on like Outlook Customer Manager.
There are indeed other advantages to assist with decluttering emails. To alleviate the frustration of unimportant mails getting in the way of the ones you need to access frequently, a clutter service offered by Office 365.
Additionally, to avoid retaining important attachments, and clogging up space on your mailbox, you can with a click, save large file attachments to your cloud storage.
With all that relevance of emails, it is critical that you source the best one – even if it costs a bit more than the (free) webmail services provided by Outlook (Hotmail), Gmail and Yahoo.
Naturally, with a paid service, you should be almost freed from the scourge of spam and malicious items like phishing and viruses embedded in documents. In some cases, they are screened even before landing in your mailbox.
You can, for instance, use In-Place Hold(also known as Litigation Hold) to place user mailboxes ‘on hold’ and preserve mailbox items permanently.
This feature is especially crucial for those in the financial and legal sectors – requiring emails and its contents to be preserved for a minimum of 7 years typically.
Security is the central factor that has kept the postal service in business. Well at least for now.
Here is a checklist when shopping around for a good email solution:
• A decent sized mailbox – with archiving ability – 50GB is the new standard size (don’t get short-changed!).
• Should sync emails, calendar and contacts onto multiple devices – and it must always work!
• SMTP is now the standard and preferred Email Protocol so if you are still on POP3 or even IMAP – run away!
• Customizable domain (a .com or .net or any other you have bought), with the option to add more domains plus few email aliases. (info@ …sales@ etc).
• Sync to an active directory – to keep user profiles and allow for ease of single sign-on or extra security features like two-factor authentication(This prevents unauthorised people from accessing your emails by pairing to your phone via an SMS code).
• The mailbox (since you are storing contact details or using it along with a CRM or ERP solution) should be GDPR-compatible.
• Finally, it should provide the ability to add features in future, like extra archiving space, advanced threat protection and enterprise voicemail (phone to email) capability. These are signs of a good email solution/offer.
Preparing yourself to use the solution can be free if you have the time. Most software suppliers like Microsoft (via Office 365) for example, have support sites with primary training material and “how-tos” on their websites.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
We 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.
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
A 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:
ExpressVPN – the acclaimed best offshore VPN for privacy and unblocking.
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.