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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

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.

Watch Your Favorite Tech Exec Get Wet: Ice Bucket Challenge

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The summer of 2014 will be known for many things. Among them, the cloud storage wars, Microsoft’s new Mobile First, Cloud First mantra, and the battle for the enterprise among Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) vendors.

It will also go down as the summer of the ice bucket challenge when everyone from Cristiano Ronaldo toKaty Perry to Jack Black to Novak Djokovic to Taylor Swift and Oprah dumped buckets of ice over their heads to raise money to fund research and bring awareness to ALS, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

VMWare Goes Big on Desktop, Mobile, Content Management #VMWorld

Forget mobile-first, cloud-first. It’s a “liquid world” said VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger … a world in which companies like Uber, an app that connects people needing a ride with drivers, has a higher market capitalization than Hertz and Avis combined. What’s remarkable about this is that it’s a company without any physical assets.

This is the brave, new world of IT, he told a packed house of more than 20,000 in San Francisco at VMWorld, the company’s annual user conference. He also, for what might be the first time ever, mentioned the company’s End User Computing Business, which promises to provide users with secure anytime, anywhere access to their desktops, applications, and content via any device.

Will Alfresco's New Round of Funding Generate Returns?

It’s hard to know if Alfresco CEO Doug Dennerline knew what he was getting into when he took the helm at the open source enterprise content management provider 19 months ago. He was brought in to take the company public, and needless to say, that hasn’t happened.

And while for companies like Box, which filed for an IPO in March but has not even started its road show thus far, the state of the stock market might be an impediment, with Alfresco, it’s something else. They don’t yet have the right stuff.

So it’s no surprise that today they announced that they have raised a new round of “growth funding,” $45 million “to increase velocity of its Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy globally -- focused on adding sales people, investing in marketing, and expanding development to drive the SaaS-ification of the content market,” according to a press release.

Get Better Content Marketing Insights, FREE

Yes, the headline reads like link bait. And it may or may not work. Will it put you off so much that you’ll scroll past it without reading this article at all? Or will the word “free” be just enough to win a few seconds of your attention?

And if so, how do we know that it’s “Free” and not “Marketing Insight” that’s causing you to read on? Have our competitors tried tactics like this? How did they fare?

What if we knew the answers to questions like this before we even started writing?

Pivotal Leads the Charge into the Enterprise Mobile App Era

2014-20-August-Bull-Charge.jpgThe canned software era is over and the custom mobile app era is here. We know, it sounds like a bunch of marketing jive, but in reality, it’s pretty deep. Tomorrow’s enterprise applications will be mobile apps.

Think about your most common gateway to the web right now -- it’s probably not your PC. How many times a day do you use your phone for things other than making calls? And your tablet? We’d bet that you’re visiting apps a lot more often than you’re typing in URLs.

With the onset of the consumerization of IT, what you do in your personal life first, moves to the enterprise. It’s only a matter of time before the way you interact with where you do business, your workplace and its business partners will be via mobile apps too.

Look What Dropbox for Business Has Made Available Now

Dropbox doesn’t have to worry much about gaining an enterprise footprint, the reality is that it’s already huge. There are over 4 million unique companies using the service, according to Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. And there are likely to be a good number of users within each one. Consider that Dropbox, as a whole, has more than 300 million users, many of whom use Dropbox in the workplace -- with or without their employers’ blessings.

We’re in an era of consumerized IT where the worker, rather than IT, chooses the tools. And according to a survey released by mobile gateway provider Wandera, Dropbox is 13 times more popular in the enterprise than file sync and share competitor Box and nine times more popular than Google Drive.

That being said, it’s only in the last 18 months that Dropbox has actively and seriously gone after business customers. This has meant rethinking what they bring to market. After all, as a consumer you own your content, in the workplace it belongs to your employer and it’s under their purview to protect, track and control it.

A Graceful Exit for Box?

2014-18-August-Exit.jpgJust a little more than two weeks from today, on Sept. 2, Box CEO Aaron Levie will host BoxWorks, the company’s biggest pep rally of the year. There’s a nice line-up of all-stars keynoting — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Disney’s Jeff Katzenberg, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner and Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States.

And then, of course, there’s Levie himself. Not only is he Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, but he’s also got celebrity-like status in Silicon Valley. Never mind his Hollywood connections to the likes of Ashton Kutcher, who invested in Box, and Oscar winner Jared Leto who reportedly visited the company earlier this year.

The iPhone 6: Is it Size That Matters Most?

For those who can’t wait to see what the iPhone 6 that will (supposedly) be unveiled on Sept. 9 looks like, we’ve got photos. Ok, not really, but Hollywood gossip site TMZ says it does. It apparently got them from a friend of an ex-employee of the Foxconn factory in China where many models of iPhones are made.

Now before you click over to that well respected source of tech news, chill. You can’t really tell how big the phone is, what kind of glass it uses, and, strangely, its body looks like the iPod 5.

Re.code, whom we consider to be more credible source for news like this, suggests that there may be two iPhones, one that is 4.7 inches and another that is 5.5 inches. Both of which are expected to run speedy new A8 processors.

We’ve also heard another rumor that at least one of the phones (if there are actually two) could be called the iPhone Air instead of the iPhone 6.

EMC Syncplicity Cuts Prices and Raises Storage Caps

EMC Syncplicity wants to own the Enterprise Sync and Share market and they don’t want price or storage limits to be barriers to adoption.

“This is a mass market with hundreds of millions of users to whom our service is applicable” said Jeetu Patel, the company’s general manager.

And since both Forrester and Gartner rate Syncplicity as a best-in-class offering, the company doesn’t want other factors to keep companies from embracing all that it has to offer.

“Our singular goal is active user engagement and we don’t want storage limits to get in the way of that,” said Patel.

Whose Idea Was This? Amazon's Investment in Acquia

Amazon threw a big chunk of change at Acquia yesterday. Perhaps it wants to stake its claim in the startup that provides commercial services around the open-source Drupal content management system before it goes public, which could happen as soon as later this year or in 2015.

Though neither company is disclosing the size of the investment, it certainly makes their relationship more symbiotic than it already was. Consider that Acquia runs on more than 8,000 AWS instances and serves more than 27 billion hits a month (333 TB of bandwidth a month).

Intel, Michael J. Fox and Big Data: Fighting Parkinson's Disease

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You’ve been there. In the doctor’s office that is. You’re not feeling well and you want to tell the doc all about it, but he wants to ask you questions like: How would you rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10? When did this start? How long does it last? How would you rate your sleep 1 to 10?

You answer the questions with what is, at best, a guess. And the doctor makes assessments based upon your answers. But is what he calls an “8” the same thing you call an 8? And what does “sleeping well” actually mean? (And, yes, we know there’s information like heart rate, blood pressure, lab work data to consider, but we’re putting that aside for the moment.)

Now forget about yourself and think of a Parkinson’s patient. Michael J. Fox or Intel’s Andy Grove may be the ones we “know” best, unless there’s someone in our personal lives who has been affected. Their doctors probably include some physical tests in their visits, like asking them to touch their fingertips to their noses or to walk a straight line by placing one foot in front of the other.

Patient performance on activities like these varies. We all have good days and bad. And treatments and research, especially for those who deal with hard-to-manage diseases are, on a large part, based on what a doctor observes during an office visit, what data a patient provides at a specific point in time and what existing medical research suggests.

This isn’t bad medicine. It’s everyone doing their best given the available tools.

Up until now, that is.

Big Data Bits: Big Data Smarts

Yesterday Salesforce completed its acquisition of RelateIQ, a startup that combines CRM and data science to get the right messages to the right person at the right time. The sales price was $392,133,512 -- not bad for a company that was founded three years ago.

While much was reported when the sale was first announced, little has been said as to what happens next, other than Salesforce gaining improved big data, data science and analytic capabilities.

Yesterday VentureBeat wrote, without identifying its source, that Salesforce would create an R&D division, Salesforce X, where RelateIQ’s data scientists would work.

Not a bad idea considering that RelateIQ’s Chief Technology officer, DJ Patil, was named one of the 7 most powerful data scientists in the world by Forbes magazine, and is credited (along with Jeff Hammerbacher) to have coined the term “data scientist”.

Patil’s team members aren’t slackers either. Rusian Belkin, Twitter’s former VP Engineering, Search and Content, leads Engineering at RealateIQ. And then there’s Daniel Francisco, Relate IQ’s Manager of Product, he was Chief of Staff and Product Manager at Linkedin.

Even if the Salesforce X rumor is wrong, it’s a good idea. So how about it, Mr. Benioff? You have one of the best data teams in the world working for you and chances are good that they’re more into doing interesting work than money. The latter of which they probably have plenty of because all of the successful startups they’ve worked at.

Sync and Share Providers Change Their Games

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Take a good look at the leaders in Gartner’s quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) and you’ll see some big differentiators. Box, for example, is a purely a public cloud play. Accellion’s kiteworks, at least up until now, has insisted that private cloud or on premise is the best way to go if you want to keep your information secure.

But things change.

This morning Accellion announced content connectors for Google Drive for Work and for Microsoft’s One Drive for Business. “It shouldn’t matter where you store your content, IT can track and manage it from anywhere,” said Paula Skokowski, Accellion’s Chief Marketing Officer.

While we might have seen this as an “about face” or even somewhat sacrilegious a few months ago, Skokowski insists that it has been in the works for some time.  “It’s an important next chapter for us,” she explains. With connectors to Google Drive and OneDrive, kiteworks can provide EFSS capabilities outside of the firewall. “Users need access to content regardless of where it is stored,” she added.

Adatao's Big Dreams for Big Data

Big Data, 2014-12-August-Soap-Bubble.jpgIf I had a dollar for every time I’ve written about a company that promises to deliver “big data for all” or “big data no data scientist required” or some variation thereof, I’d be rich.

OK, maybe not rich, but I could foot the bill for a pretty nice dinner.

Big promises and big ambitions aren’t a bad thing. After all, if technology vendors are hard at work trying to make data driven insights accessible to more people, then maybe everyone from medical researchers to retailers to school teachers will be able to leverage big data to make the world a better place, right?

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