Two Reasons For Customer Service to Embrace (And One to Fear) the Open Data Initiative By Paul Selby

ODI

Source: Microsoft.com

Despite living in a highly technical world, one of the greatest challenges companies face is collecting and maintaining customer data–demographics, products, usage, etc.–and then utilizing that data to craft experiences beneficial to customers. Granted, there are some exceptions out there, but generally speaking despite all the intel available on customers from in-store and online purchases as well as interactions with customer service, companies lack the ability or will to use this wealth of data to created personalized, low-friction experiences for customers. If most companies themselves aren’t doing this with the data they are collecting, this is most certainly not happening across companies, where that interaction history at one company can be used by another for greater insights.

This could all change thanks to a new effort revealed in an article titled “Why The New Open Data Initiative By Microsoft, Adobe And SAP Could Revolutionize Customer Experience” a few weeks ago. Not only were some titans of technology with competing products and services coming together in the Open Data Initiative (ODI) to address these problems, but they were also inviting other companies to participate and benefit. Described as enabling “a seamless flow of customer data–everything from behavioral and transactional to financial and operational data comes together with one data model, making it possible for the first time to have a comprehensive, real-time view of customers across all touchpoints, ” ODI proposes to radically change the dynamic for customers and business. It has the potential to completely change the customer experience, offering both great opportunities as well as concerns.

Complete customer information

The biggest boon to customers who have opted-in (assuming there is an opt-in) and the companies that participate in ODI will be that one location alone will always possess the customer’s data. Customers will have one place to maintain their information–contact information, billing details, etc.–across the multiple companies they interact with (and have adopted ODI), and companies will benefit from not requiring customers to keep this updated in their own systems.

There’s more to it than simply knowing a customer’s contact details, though. Combining information across companies offers the ability to have greater insights into customers product ownership and usage (again, assuming they opt-in for this), making new experiences possible. Take a customer’s use of technology, for example. Knowing that a customer has a particular type of computer and printer (purchased separately from different companies), incompatibilities between the two products can be readily identified (and more quickly resolved) should the customer encounter issues.

One-stop GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law regarding privacy and data protection for all European Union (EU) citizens. It is a complex regulation–not just the statutes within it, but the fact that it applies to EU citizens both living in the EU and abroad, making compliance challenging. And though it was deliberated for four years and companies had two years to prepare, still many were not ready in May 2018 as it went into effect nor are they compliant today.

GDPR grants customers a few key rights, of which ODI could potentially simplify both for the customer and participating companies:

  • Access to their data
  • Data erasure
  • Processing restrictions
  • Data portability (which is the core value proposition of ODI)
  • Rights related to automated decision making and profiling

The other key rights around objection to data use and rectification might be possible through ODI as well, but likely would be something taken up directly by customers with individual companies.

How ODI will take GDPR into account and how it might deliver it aren’t currently known. Depending on how it supports GDPR compliance for member companies, many of the challenges to companies still lacking GDPR compliance or concerned about maintaining compliance could be eliminated. In addition, it would provide a common framework for GDPR compliance even to non-EU citizens around the world.

Target for attack

It used to be hackers targeted banks and online retail businesses, seeking to steal personal and financial information. Criminals could use details themselves for fraudulent purchases, to open new lines of credit, for identity theft schemes, or sell the data to others with the same purposes in mind.

Times have changed. Now, hackers pursue any data at any source. One report states that there were 1,293 data breaches in 2017 across a multitude of companies and industries, putting more than 174 million people at risk (a whopping 45% increase over 2016). This trend has only continued in 2018. Just recently, Facebook reported a data breach affecting 30 million of its users. In that case, personal details were obtained, and for about half of those users, recent searches and locations were also accessed.

Now imagine having all customer information across many different companies being available from a single repository. This would be an overwhelming temptation for hackers. Similar to the Facebook hack, should criminals breach the system, they would have access to not only personal information and financial details but also behavioral data. A veritable treasure trove, ODI will require significant protection to ensure the safety of customer data.

Two steps forward

The Open Data Initiative offers an interesting future. It has the potential of creating the next generation in commerce and customer service. But at what cost?

We have only touched on a few of the opportunities and potential downfalls this new program could offer. Though it would seem to put more control into the hands of the customer, it will definitely require further discussion and review to gauge customers’ understanding and interest–after all, what businesses are most interested in is gaining access to personal and behavioral details across multiple interactions and companies, and customers will want to see the benefits and know their information is well-protected before they share.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2P6UNbr

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Two Reasons For Customer Service to Embrace (And One to Fear) the Open Data Initiative By Paul Selby

ODI

Source: Microsoft.com

Despite living in a highly technical world, one of the greatest challenges companies face is collecting and maintaining customer data–demographics, products, usage, etc.–and then utilizing that data to craft experiences beneficial to customers. Granted, there are some exceptions out there, but generally speaking despite all the intel available on customers from in-store and online purchases as well as interactions with customer service, companies lack the ability or will to use this wealth of data to created personalized, low-friction experiences for customers. If most companies themselves aren’t doing this with the data they are collecting, this is most certainly not happening across companies, where that interaction history at one company can be used by another for greater insights.

This could all change thanks to a new effort revealed in an article titled “Why The New Open Data Initiative By Microsoft, Adobe And SAP Could Revolutionize Customer Experience” a few weeks ago. Not only were some titans of technology with competing products and services coming together in the Open Data Initiative (ODI) to address these problems, but they were also inviting other companies to participate and benefit. Described as enabling “a seamless flow of customer data–everything from behavioral and transactional to financial and operational data comes together with one data model, making it possible for the first time to have a comprehensive, real-time view of customers across all touchpoints, ” ODI proposes to radically change the dynamic for customers and business. It has the potential to completely change the customer experience, offering both great opportunities as well as concerns.

Complete customer information

The biggest boon to customers who have opted-in (assuming there is an opt-in) and the companies that participate in ODI will be that one location alone will always possess the customer’s data. Customers will have one place to maintain their information–contact information, billing details, etc.–across the multiple companies they interact with (and have adopted ODI), and companies will benefit from not requiring customers to keep this updated in their own systems.

There’s more to it than simply knowing a customer’s contact details, though. Combining information across companies offers the ability to have greater insights into customers product ownership and usage (again, assuming they opt-in for this), making new experiences possible. Take a customer’s use of technology, for example. Knowing that a customer has a particular type of computer and printer (purchased separately from different companies), incompatibilities between the two products can be readily identified (and more quickly resolved) should the customer encounter issues.

One-stop GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law regarding privacy and data protection for all European Union (EU) citizens. It is a complex regulation–not just the statutes within it, but the fact that it applies to EU citizens both living in the EU and abroad, making compliance challenging. And though it was deliberated for four years and companies had two years to prepare, still many were not ready in May 2018 as it went into effect nor are they compliant today.

GDPR grants customers a few key rights, of which ODI could potentially simplify both for the customer and participating companies:

  • Access to their data
  • Data erasure
  • Processing restrictions
  • Data portability (which is the core value proposition of ODI)
  • Rights related to automated decision making and profiling

The other key rights around objection to data use and rectification might be possible through ODI as well, but likely would be something taken up directly by customers with individual companies.

How ODI will take GDPR into account and how it might deliver it aren’t currently known. Depending on how it supports GDPR compliance for member companies, many of the challenges to companies still lacking GDPR compliance or concerned about maintaining compliance could be eliminated. In addition, it would provide a common framework for GDPR compliance even to non-EU citizens around the world.

Target for attack

It used to be hackers targeted banks and online retail businesses, seeking to steal personal and financial information. Criminals could use details themselves for fraudulent purchases, to open new lines of credit, for identity theft schemes, or sell the data to others with the same purposes in mind.

Times have changed. Now, hackers pursue any data at any source. One report states that there were 1,293 data breaches in 2017 across a multitude of companies and industries, putting more than 174 million people at risk (a whopping 45% increase over 2016). This trend has only continued in 2018. Just recently, Facebook reported a data breach affecting 30 million of its users. In that case, personal details were obtained, and for about half of those users, recent searches and locations were also accessed.

Now imagine having all customer information across many different companies being available from a single repository. This would be an overwhelming temptation for hackers. Similar to the Facebook hack, should criminals breach the system, they would have access to not only personal information and financial details but also behavioral data. A veritable treasure trove, ODI will require significant protection to ensure the safety of customer data.

Two steps forward

The Open Data Initiative offers an interesting future. It has the potential of creating the next generation in commerce and customer service. But at what cost?

We have only touched on a few of the opportunities and potential downfalls this new program could offer. Though it would seem to put more control into the hands of the customer, it will definitely require further discussion and review to gauge customers’ understanding and interest–after all, what businesses are most interested in is gaining access to personal and behavioral details across multiple interactions and companies, and customers will want to see the benefits and know their information is well-protected before they share.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2P6UNbr

Two Reasons For Customer Service to Embrace (And One to Fear) the Open Data Initiative By Paul Selby

ODI

Source: Microsoft.com

Despite living in a highly technical world, one of the greatest challenges companies face is collecting and maintaining customer data–demographics, products, usage, etc.–and then utilizing that data to craft experiences beneficial to customers. Granted, there are some exceptions out there, but generally speaking despite all the intel available on customers from in-store and online purchases as well as interactions with customer service, companies lack the ability or will to use this wealth of data to created personalized, low-friction experiences for customers. If most companies themselves aren’t doing this with the data they are collecting, this is most certainly not happening across companies, where that interaction history at one company can be used by another for greater insights.

This could all change thanks to a new effort revealed in an article titled “Why The New Open Data Initiative By Microsoft, Adobe And SAP Could Revolutionize Customer Experience” a few weeks ago. Not only were some titans of technology with competing products and services coming together in the Open Data Initiative (ODI) to address these problems, but they were also inviting other companies to participate and benefit. Described as enabling “a seamless flow of customer data–everything from behavioral and transactional to financial and operational data comes together with one data model, making it possible for the first time to have a comprehensive, real-time view of customers across all touchpoints, ” ODI proposes to radically change the dynamic for customers and business. It has the potential to completely change the customer experience, offering both great opportunities as well as concerns.

Complete customer information

The biggest boon to customers who have opted-in (assuming there is an opt-in) and the companies that participate in ODI will be that one location alone will always possess the customer’s data. Customers will have one place to maintain their information–contact information, billing details, etc.–across the multiple companies they interact with (and have adopted ODI), and companies will benefit from not requiring customers to keep this updated in their own systems.

There’s more to it than simply knowing a customer’s contact details, though. Combining information across companies offers the ability to have greater insights into customers product ownership and usage (again, assuming they opt-in for this), making new experiences possible. Take a customer’s use of technology, for example. Knowing that a customer has a particular type of computer and printer (purchased separately from different companies), incompatibilities between the two products can be readily identified (and more quickly resolved) should the customer encounter issues.

One-stop GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law regarding privacy and data protection for all European Union (EU) citizens. It is a complex regulation–not just the statutes within it, but the fact that it applies to EU citizens both living in the EU and abroad, making compliance challenging. And though it was deliberated for four years and companies had two years to prepare, still many were not ready in May 2018 as it went into effect nor are they compliant today.

GDPR grants customers a few key rights, of which ODI could potentially simplify both for the customer and participating companies:

  • Access to their data
  • Data erasure
  • Processing restrictions
  • Data portability (which is the core value proposition of ODI)
  • Rights related to automated decision making and profiling

The other key rights around objection to data use and rectification might be possible through ODI as well, but likely would be something taken up directly by customers with individual companies.

How ODI will take GDPR into account and how it might deliver it aren’t currently known. Depending on how it supports GDPR compliance for member companies, many of the challenges to companies still lacking GDPR compliance or concerned about maintaining compliance could be eliminated. In addition, it would provide a common framework for GDPR compliance even to non-EU citizens around the world.

Target for attack

It used to be hackers targeted banks and online retail businesses, seeking to steal personal and financial information. Criminals could use details themselves for fraudulent purchases, to open new lines of credit, for identity theft schemes, or sell the data to others with the same purposes in mind.

Times have changed. Now, hackers pursue any data at any source. One report states that there were 1,293 data breaches in 2017 across a multitude of companies and industries, putting more than 174 million people at risk (a whopping 45% increase over 2016). This trend has only continued in 2018. Just recently, Facebook reported a data breach affecting 30 million of its users. In that case, personal details were obtained, and for about half of those users, recent searches and locations were also accessed.

Now imagine having all customer information across many different companies being available from a single repository. This would be an overwhelming temptation for hackers. Similar to the Facebook hack, should criminals breach the system, they would have access to not only personal information and financial details but also behavioral data. A veritable treasure trove, ODI will require significant protection to ensure the safety of customer data.

Two steps forward

The Open Data Initiative offers an interesting future. It has the potential of creating the next generation in commerce and customer service. But at what cost?

We have only touched on a few of the opportunities and potential downfalls this new program could offer. Though it would seem to put more control into the hands of the customer, it will definitely require further discussion and review to gauge customers’ understanding and interest–after all, what businesses are most interested in is gaining access to personal and behavioral details across multiple interactions and companies, and customers will want to see the benefits and know their information is well-protected before they share.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2P6UNbr

The Speed of Cloud Management Acquisitions Tells Us 3 Things About the Cloud Market By Jay Chapel

There has been a rush of cloud management acquisitions lately, with VMware, Apptio, and Flexera making major acquisitions in the last three months alone (and more to follow). I thought it would be useful to compile a centralized list, so we can take a look at the trends in this market and why these acquisitions are accelerating.

The Multi-Faceted Cloud Management Industry

First, let’s be clear: the cloud management industry is broad and a bit ambiguous but as it matures industry analysts have begun to define specific categories. We found the below put together by Gartner in a recent blog:

ParkMyCloud fits into the “Cost Management and Resource Optimization” category, which in and of itself is broad, but in a nutshell these vendors help enterprises monitor, manage, govern and control cloud spend in a variety of ways. The other category we find intriguing is “Provisioning and Orchestration”. That’s where we feel a lot of the DevOps tools fit, and that is the go-to-market model we like to fashion ourselves after — technical user/buyer, self-service trials, SaaS, and freemium model.

Cloud Management Acquisitions, 2013-2018

So it should be no surprise that we have collected the following data points listed below – we would welcome your feedback on others we should add to this list.

Company Founded Year Category Raised Acquirer Acquisition Price
FittedCloud 2015 2018 CMP Apptio
Rightscale 2006 2018 CMP $62.1MM Flexera
OpsGenie 2012 2018 DevOps $10MM Atlassian $295MM
CloudHeath Technologies 2012 2018 CMP $88MM VMware $500MM
Relus Cloud 2013 2018 MSP Cloud Reach
VictorOps 2012 2018 DevOps $34MM Splunk $120MM
Codeship 2011 2018 DevOps $11.4MM CloudBees tbd
cmpute.io 2012 2017 CMP Cisco N/A
Botmetric 2014 2018 CMP $2MM Nutanix $50MM
Cloud Technology Partners 2009 2017 MSP $34MM HPE N/A
Cloudyn 2012 2017 CMP $20.5MM Microsoft ~$50MM-$70MM
CloudMgr 2011 2017 CMP $1.45MM Cloudability N/A
Cloudcruiser 2010 2017 CMP $19.8MM HPE N/A
Cloudamize 2012 2017 CMP $2MM Cloudreach N/A
Cliqr 2010 2016 CMP $38.4MM Cisco $260MM
ITapp 2012 2016 CMP ServiceNow N/A
Gravitant 2004 2015 CMP $40.3MM IBM N/A
ClusterK 2013 2015 CMP Seed Amazon $20MM-$50MM
Servicemesh 2008 2013 MSP $15MM CSC $295MM

In the last 45 days or so the cloud management platform (CMP) space has been hyperactive as VMware acquired CloudHealth, Apptio acquired Densify, and Flexera acquired Rightscale. Good news for all but we are most excited for CloudHealth given we are a commercial and technology partner with them.

What These Cloud Management Acquisitions Tell Us about The State of Public Cloud

So what does this tell us about the cloud management space, and in particular the cost management and optimization space? We have some opinions:

  1. Multi-cloud is truly here. The benefit of these cloud management tools is that they are agnostic and can help enterprises manage and optimize AWS, Azure and Google services alike.
  2. Companies like Cisco, HPE and VMware understand the importance of being in the public cloud game, each basically failed at competing against AWS et. al. head on, so they are now ensuring they have tools that help enterprises manage public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud services.
  3. The cost management portion of cloud management is always a “top 3” concern of CIOs and CTOs according to any cloud survey published, so cloud cost optimization is front in center in enterprise IT and ISVs must be able to address this concern.

Clearly, cloud management acquisitions will continue, and new solutions and companies will evolve as this market grows and matures. The cloud providers are launching new services at a rapid pace, and like any large scale utility there needs to be tools to help manage, govern, secure, and optimize these existing and new services.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2P7Xs4r

Myth-Busting the Top 5 Cloud ERP Myths of 2018 By Kevin Beasley

No matter what business you’re in, you will likely hear about the cloud almost daily. While cloud technology has been around for years, it’s evolving like never before, and while companies of all shapes and sizes are still learning to adapt to the technology, others may not even know why or how to leverage it.

Businesses today aren’t only responsible for managing IT professionals, but also for supporting business growth by driving innovation, reducing costs, and building a strategic advantage. Cloud technology can achieve all of these goals by lowering total costs and freeing up resources so that IT executives can focus on strategic business initiatives, rather than basic information storage. ERP solutions are a fundamental tool for ensuring business processes are streamlined, and cloud ERP has a number of other benefits –improving accessibility, reducing capital costs, increasing flexibility – the list goes on and on. However, despite the obvious benefits, there are still many companies who don’t utilize the technology. In today’s business climate, cloud computing is no longer a gimmick – it’s a necessity.

As a technology that’s rapidly advancing, it can be too easy for misconceptions to develop about the cloud. In fact, misinformation is often a top barrier for companies when considering cloud adoption. From total cost to security, here are the top five cloud ERP myths in 2018, busted.

1. Cloud ERP is Difficult to Manage

While many businesses want cloud technology, many are hesitant to invest in it. This is because many businesses believe they don’t have the resources to manage cloud technology since some current employees may lack the skillset or understanding necessary to use it and require re-training.

Actually, when it comes to the cloud, it takes fewer people to do more work. With a minimal learning curve on hardware and software issues, businesses will benefit from cloud technology without having to re-train or dedicate significant resources to manage it and also freeing up time to work on other projects.

2. Cloud ERP is Expensive

Cost is a common myth when it comes to cloud solutions. Many believe that the cost of upgrading an entire system to the cloud is more expensive than staying on-premise, while others believe that cloud is significantly less expensive. This is a tough myth to crack because either could technically be true. Depending on a number of factors such as the amount of applications and data stored, number of users, backup needs, and high availability, cloud ERP could initially cost more up-front. Or, in the vast majority of cases, it costs significantly less.

Subscription payments make it much more practical to utilize an ERP solution without having a large up-front cost, in addition to saving on any future upgrade to existing servers. Businesses also tend to lower IT costs with cloud ERP solutions because there are no hardware, software, or licensing fees, and updates are provided by the cloud provider.

3. Clouds Aren’t Secure

ERP solutions generate valuable business data, so it’s only natural that security comes as a top concern with the cloud. Organizations are generally cautious about giving up visibility and control, particularly in place of business-critical applications.

In reality, clouds are often more secure than on-premise data centers. With 24-hour, 365-day yearly protection from expert security teams, strict policies, periodic audits, and penetration testing for regulatory compliance and automatic hardware and software updates, businesses can be confident that data is protected.

Additionally, utilizing the cloud is a smart disaster recovery solution. No business is immune to disaster. Whether it’s a hurricane, fire, or flood, if your ERP is in the cloud, all information and applications are safe since the cloud always utilizes multiple data centers with geographic dispersity.

4. Moving From On-Premise to the Cloud is Complex

Until just a few years ago, cloud technologies weren’t as developed or refined, and many companies who were early adaptors had to figure out implementation on their own. Stemming from this time period where many cloud technologies were unproven, deployment horror stories emerged, giving cloud solutions a reputation for being burdensome.

This is far from the truth today, and cloud technology is much simpler. Additionally, enterprises no longer have to go it alone. There are many dedicated professional services teams who help enterprises implement the technology. Many also offer cloud training for IT staff.

5. Clouds Will Replace Jobs

Many worry about automation replacing human workers. While cloud computing automates certain tasks, many predict it could actually increase the number of workers in the field. With lower costs and greater ease of use, the growth of cloud computing will enable job growth associated with cloud environments and applications and free up worker’s time since they do not have to manage infrastructure that the cloud provider is doing. Job titles and descriptions may change, but the need for human resources to manage cloud projects remains.

Cloud computing is one of the most transformative technologies to hit the enterprise industry in a very long time. As the majority of businesses have invested at least somewhat in cloud technology, those who have yet to implement it will soon find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. While many myths around the specifics of cloud technology exist, one truth remains – cloud computing will continue to dominate and accelerate successful enterprise digital transformation.

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How to Protect Your Company From Getting Hacked By Peter Daisyme

tookapic / Pixabay

The overwhelming tide of cyberattacks continues to rise. Even well-funded IT departments are having trouble keeping up with the threats. According to most major reports, hackers are now able to spend more than 200 days snooping about a network unnoticed, allowing them ample time to access all of the information they need.

There are many reasons for the growing number of cyberattacks. Static defense systems like firewalls are becoming easy for competent hackers to circumvent because of the increasing complexity of networks. At the same time, the expensive defense efforts of organizations are quickly thwarted by their bring your own device (BYOD) policies, which enable a whole host of unsecured employee devices to access formerly secure networks.

There’s a Target Painted on Everyone’s Back

There’s no doubt the number and diversity of attacks have exploded. According to a 2018 Symantec report, there was a 600 percent increase in attacks on IoT devices from 2016 to 2017, and cybersecurity defense mechanisms revealed 8,500 percent more unauthorized cryptocurrency mining programs.

It’s true that cryptocurrency mining programs are seen as just a nuisance when compared to the complete loss of availability or confidentiality that ransomware and banking trojans respectively cause. In fact, Bob Rutherford, CEO and founder of Hedge, points out that law enforcement units have gotten better at tracking the digital currency when crimes occur: “Because this (cashing out) requires bank account numbers and other personally identifiable information, no matter how many times a criminal transfers money between online wallets, he or she will still be associated with the illegal activity.” Still, no matter how easy or complex the cleanup, any data breach is costly, and preventive measures are well worth the effort.

Who Has The Biggest Target On Their Back?

Banks are some of the most tempting targets for hackers, given all of the sensitive information they house. To decrease exposure, financial institutions are considering every possible avenue when it comes to preventing their worst fears as well as what actions to take if a hacker is successful.

And while the headlines are reserved for major data breaches affecting the largest corporations, many other hacks occur with very little fanfare. Unfortunately, when small businesses are compromised, most of them end up closing their doors for good. That’s right — 60 percent of small businesses that experience a cybersecurity breach will go out of business in as little as six months. When you add up the fines, litigation, potential ransom, and loss of consumer trust, the costs are just too much to bear.

You might think your data is worth little on the dark web, but hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses. Small business owners are more likely to pay a ransom so they can get on with their work. Most typically lack the sophisticated defenses of larger organizations. Small businesses can also be a foot in the door if they do business with bigger companies. Meaning an attack is both easier to pull off and more profitable for a hacker.

Defense to Is the Best Offense to Protect Your Company From Getting Hacked

You certainly don’t want to become a statistic, but cybersecurity is a complex field that you might not fully understand. To ensure your business isn’t the next victim, creating a robust defense should be a major priority.

  1. From the boardroom to the mailroom, get universal buy-in.

It really does take a village. Train your employees on how to recognize phishing emails and other attempted exploits they may be exposed to — knowledge is the best defense. Employees who compromise security rarely have malicious intentions; rather, employee ignorance is the most significant threat.

Consider the Ponemon Institute’s “2016 Cost of Insider Threats” study. The results indicated that, for 191 security breaches caused by malicious employees or criminals, there were 568 that stemmed from employee or contractor negligence. This is evidence that you should involve your entire company, starting at the top. If you arm your employees with the knowledge they need to recognize a red flag. This will help your team to be able to better fight off potential attacks easier.

  1. Shore up partner networks.

Your partners have a wealth of information about your company. Some information could be used against you if it got into the wrong hands. If a business you partner with is hacked, it’s likely that your data could be compromised as well.

CyberGRX founder and CEO Fred Kneip points to an attack earlier this year in which cybercriminals stole more than 5 million credit and debit card numbers from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor customers. He notes that the breach “shows how the parent company bears the reputational impact of breaches at its subsidiaries just like a company does when its vendors are breached.” Before partnering with a company or signing up to work with a vendor, make sure they take cybersecurity as seriously as you do. Ask what processes and security precautions they have in place. And if you’re not satisfied, don’t be afraid to demand more from their efforts or walk away.

  1. Batten down the ID hatches.

It’s far easier to prevent cyberattacks than it is to clean up the mess after hackers have struck. Your investment will deliver the best ROI if you center your strategy around protecting identity. One particularly effective measure is requiring multifactor authentication, not just for administrators but for all users.

Multifactor authentication has proven to thwart many bad actors attempting to steal login credentials. It also relatively easy to implement. It’s as simple as requiring users to provide more than one piece of identification to access a system. For instance, systems with multifactor authentication typically ask for a combination of something the system’s user knows — like a password or PIN — and something the user has — like an ID card or a code sent to his or her phone.

Cybersecurity threats aren’t going anywhere. As attacks increase in quantity, breaches are increasing in severity. This creates a loss in consumer trust, companies can face heavy fines from governments and regulatory bodies. Ultimately, a failure to prioritize cybersecurity will turn today’s business leaders into tomorrow’s headlines. Don’t become the cautionary tales for those who rely on luck to protect their data.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2CS4ULn

3 Ways To Use Google Cloud Cron for Automation By Chris Parlette

Pettycon / Pixabay

If you use DevOps processes, automation and orchestration are king — which is why the Google Cloud cron service can be a great tool for managing your Google Compute Engine instances via Google App Engine code. This kind of automation can often involve multiple Google Cloud services, which is great for learning about them or running scheduled tasks that might need to touch multiple instances. Here are a few ideas on how to use the Google Cloud cron service:

1. Automated Snapshots

Since Google Compute Engine lets you take incremental snapshots of the attached disks, you can use the Google App Engine cron to take these snapshots on a daily or weekly basis. This lets you go back in time on any of your compute instances if you mess something up or have some systems fail. If you use Google’s Pub/Sub service, you can have the snapshots take place on all instances that are subscribed to that topic.

As a bonus, you can use a similar idea to manage old snapshots and deleting things you don’t need anymore. For example, schedule a Google Cloud cron to clean up snapshots three months after a server is decommissioned, or to migrate those snapshots to long-term storage.

2. Autoscaling a Kubernetes Cluster

With Google on the forefront of Kubernetes development, many GCP users make heavy use of GKE, the managed Kubernetes service. In order to save some money and make sure your containers aren’t running when they aren’t needed, you could set up a cron job to run at 5:00 p.m. each weekday to scale down your Kubernetes cluster to a size of 0. For maximum cost savings, you can just leave it off until you need it, then manually spin up the cluster, or you could use a second cron to spin you clusters up at 8:00 a.m. so it’s ready for the day.

3. Send Weekly Reports

Is your boss hounding you for updates? Does your team need to know the status of the service? Is your finance group wondering how your GCP costs are trending for this week? Automate these reports using the Google Cloud cron service! You can gather the info needed and post these reports to a Pub/Sub topic, send them out directly, or display it on your internal dashboard or charting tool for mass consumption. These reports can be for various metrics or services, including Google Compute, Cloud SQL, or your billing information for your various projects.

Other Google Cloud Cron Ideas? Think Outside The Box!

Got any other ideas or existing uses to use the Google Cloud cron service to automate your Google Cloud environment? Let us know how you’re using it and why it helps you manage your cloud infrastructure.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2CRMfiW