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Cloud Computing News & Analysis

Caveat Emptor: Are You Buying a Solution or a Science Project?

2014-11-September-Large-Hadron-Collider.jpgMost enterprise software is more like undertaking a science project than buying a product that solves a problem. Organizations buy a “platform” and have their IT departments build the “solution” on it.

A platform is essentially an Erector set with very poor instructions. Sure -- go ahead and build a motorized crane. If you a. know what a crane is and should do and b. know what parts need to be assembled in what order to do it. Otherwise, you’re just trying stuff.  

Your first few cranes won’t work very well. People will likely use something (anything) else they can until you have built a better crane. You have on your hands a Science Project.

6 Things to Consider Before Buying Enterprise Social Software

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The social software market is dynamic and growing. It's customer rather than vendor driven, and grew by 15 percent last year, according to Gartner’s recently published Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace.

In the past, customers were primarily concerned with product maturity and support. But now they're more focused on collaboration and social capabilities, and how both can be seamlessly embedded into daily operations.

Office 365 Now Makes You Look Smarter via Office Delve

Even though it’s cloudy in Redmond, Wash. today, it actually looks brighter.

Oops sorry, it’s you that looks brighter if you’re one of the Office 365 Business users who is getting first access to Office Delve. Microsoft begins rolling it out today.

Office Delve’s (formerly codenamed Oslo) big promise is to present you with the right information at the right time without you needing to look for it. It makes information “even more valuable” according to Julia White, general manager of Office 365 Technical Product Management.

The 'Drives Race' - The Battle for Cloud-Based File Storage

2014-05-September-Buy-of-the-Week.jpgInspiration comes from strange places. Last week on the radio I heard a DJ talking about how he still uses his VCR (for those of you that are too young to remember, that is what preceded DVRs). My first memory of VCRs was in a commercial that ran during an interview with Ronald Reagan. Although I was too young to understand the point, Reagan spent much of the interview discussing how we must rebuild our military, which was later branded by pundits as another “Arms Race.” Hence the name for this post. But back to the VCR ....

In that commercial, the VCRs were advertised for upward of $500 (that’s around $1000 in today’s money), but as more options came out, prices started falling. When DVDs came out, VCRs dropped under $100 and it seemed that they would soon be relegated to the scrap heap next to record players. Yet many households still have VCRs (and record players). Mine is disconnected, sitting in a cardboard box and likely doesn’t even work, but I am not throwing it away. The thing is, I still have a lot of tapes. Between kids’ birthday parties, family dinners and even videos of my old dog, I feel better knowing it’s there.

Cloud-based storage (and Drives in particular) share many similarities with VCRs.

Cryptzone Makes a Buy to Boost Security Offerings

In a move to further bolster its data security offerings, Boston-based Cryptzone announced today that it has acquired HiSoftware Inc., which specializes in governance, compliance and security solutions.

By joining the two companies, Cryptzone, a global provider of data security and identity and access management (IAM) solutions, boasts that it will not only boost its data-protection capabilities, but expand its customer base to 700. Clients includes companies such as JPMorgan Chase, AIG, California State Universities and the Department of Treasury, specifically the IRS.

Is Box Solving Its Cloud-Only Problem? #BoxWorks

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Box CEO Aaron Levie loves the cloud. He wears cloud socks, his license plate said “GoCloud” and he knocks on-prem storage as if it were an artifact from the Flintstone era anytime he gets the chance.

Hip and forward thinking as he may be, being “cloud only” is one of Box’s biggest problems. In its most recent Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Gartner wrote:

Despite implementations in proprietary data centers, Box's offering is available only in a public cloud model. No hybrid model for data storage on-premises is supported. The movement or replication of corporate content in Box's cloud repository is not a viable option for some IT organizations."

The reality is that Levie’s stance is costing Box business because many, many enterprises aren’t willing to store their most precious, most sensitive, most strategic information on the public cloud.

Hello ECM Managers, Check Out Box Workflow #BoxWorks

Workflow solutions aren’t very stimulating, unless you’re managing content, that is. Or working with it in a compliant, secure environment. Or not in detail.

Then, of course, there’s also the fascination that document management and enterprise content management professionals have had with automated workflow over the past few decades in a seemingly never ending quest to make working with content in the workplace smarter.

So, when Box CEO Aaron Levie introduced Box Workflow, it’s worth taking notice.

After all, Levie may have a point when he said that the software was built more around the process than the user. And what this has meant for users is having to stop what they’re doing to grab the files they need or to waste time weeding through files that are irrelevant to the task at hand.

Box Offered Nice Productivity News, Anyone Notice? #BoxWorks

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Box CEO Aaron Levie set himself up with an interesting line to tow at BoxWorks, his company’s user conference being held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center this week.

But how do you make your product announcements shine in a room where Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg talks about Walt Disney’s mission to “make movies for children and the child inside all of us,” where Academy award winner Jared Leto pontificates on his early days as an entrepreneur selling weed and where an Oscar is passed around so the audience can take selfies with it?

 

Can a Box integration with Office 365 garner the same enthusiasm? Maybe it would in another context on another day, and we’re here to say it is notable.

Why Google Is Rebranding Its Enterprise Division

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Here's a riddle for you: Why is Google rebranding of its Enterprise business?

Last night, Google announced the division that sells Google Drive and Gmail, among other services, is changing its name to Google for Work.

The announcement left a large number of observers underwhelmed. But the long-term vision behind the move may cause a lot of vendors concern about their future in a world where Google is seriously targeting the small business space.
 

Is Microsoft the Caped Crusader of Email Privacy?

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Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, Batman! Looks like Microsoft is defending email privacy. This, after it confirmed over the weekend that it would not be handing over email data to US federal regulators.

The decision follows a ruling on Friday by a US judge, which instructed the company to turn over email stored in Ireland to US prosecutors. But Microsoft does not plan to turn over the emails, and plans to appeal, a company spokesperson said.

Risk Analysis: The Missing Piece in Authentication

Traditional identity and access management strategies aren't enough anymore. As modern threats continue to emerge and evolve, organizations need a multitude of authentication technologies to control and grant access to their resources, including multi-factor authentication. 

Multi-factor authentication has long been a staple for “secure” access to resources. It is usually a combination of at least two of the following:

  • Something you know (e.g. password, PIN, or pattern)
  • Something you have (e.g. smart card, mobile phone, X.509 certificate, hard token)
  • Something you are (e.g. biometrics)

That makes means it is much stronger authentication than username and password alone. 

If the Cloud Isn't Safe for Jennifer Lawrence, Is it Safe for Enterprises?

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What bad timing for Box. On the eve of Boxworks, the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) vendor’s biggest user conference to date, we saw headlines asking  “Are we too quick to trust cloud storage?”

The question didn’t come out of thin air.

Over the Labor Day weekend, nude, private photographs of model Kate Upton and Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence began to go viral on the web.  They had been taken, it seems (not verified) with iPhones and stored on the iCloud. Hackers allegedly accessed the photos, posted them on the popular image-sharing site 4chan and voila!

Not surprisingly, the photos spread rapidly on social media sites like Twitter.

Building a Hybrid Bridge to the Microsoft Cloud

2014-29-August-Rope-Bridge.jpgWhen Satya Nadella announced Microsoft’s new Mobile-First, Cloud-First strategy, he drew a line in the sand with Microsoft employees and set the company on a new course. When Microsoft COO, Kevin Turner reiterated the message at the World Wide Partner Conference in July, he sent partners scrambling to get cloud certified, saying “Selling on-premises software was good for you and us for a long time but the future lies in the cloud and mobility, and Microsoft plans to go in that direction with our partner community intact.”

Customers have felt the shift as well as they ponder what solutions can be cloud based and how to integrate them without significant effort and cost. Some organizations look at Office 365 and feel insecure about moving to a multi-tenant environment. Many organizations have significant investments in on-premises applications and infrastructure so moving to the cloud will not be an easy process.

These critical business systems have kept the wheels of commerce running for some time and have been built up with many layers of complexity and integration. Strict compliance regulations prevent many companies from exposing data in a cloud environment. With these constraints and issues in mind Microsoft has created a number of hybrid options that allow companies to selectively migrate enterprise solutions or build new applications that use cloud services while maintaining an on-prem infrastructure.

Let’s look at the options.

Zocalo + Amazon Web Services Could Be Game Changer

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Things are already pretty messy in the productivity space between Microsoft and Google. But it could get a whole lot messier.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)  just announced that its document storage, sharing and collaboration application for the enterprises is now on general release.

Amazon Zocalo has been in limited preview since July, but is now available to all AWS customers with bargain basement prices, and could be a game changer in the document collaboration and sharing and sync space.

Why Your DAM Will Be Obsolete

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Social. Mobile. Analytics. Cloud. Big Data. These are the buzzwords that have been used to describe the transformation of all technologies over the past decade. With the evolution of these technologies, we have fundamentally moved from a basic client-server model of computing to a highly distributed, scalable, contextualized and scrutinized computing environment. But how does this concretely affect the future of Digital Asset Management?

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