News

The Cloud and Data as an International Currency 150 150 Kerry Butters

The Cloud and Data as an International Currency

When people and organisations talk about putting information in “the cloud,” data is moved outside their premises, often to a service rented on-demand from large-scale providers like Google, Microsoft, or Amazon.  Cloud storage enables people to gather, retain and generate huge amounts of data – and to derive actionable intelligence from it.

Technological innovation has turned this information into a valuable corporate asset.

read more
Big Data and Market Estimates for 2014 150 150 Kerry Butters

Big Data and Market Estimates for 2014

With the usual caveats, about prediction being an inexact science, and “the value of shares can go down, as well as up”…

To Date:

 Almost two-thirds of 720 companies surveyed by Gartner last year said they were funding Big Data gathering and analysis projects, or planned to, by the end of 2013.

 A.T. Kearney forecasts global spending on Big Data hardware, software and services will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30% through 2018, reaching a total market of $114bn. The average business is expected to spend $8m on related initiatives this year.

 The high level of interest and hype surrounding analytics, Big Data and business intelligence (BI) has led to a proliferation of market projections and forecasts.

 

Advanced and Predictive Analytics (APA)

Simplified APA tools (less flexible than standalone statistical models, yet with more intuitive graphical user interfaces and easier-to-use features) are fuelling adoption.

read more
Why you should Consider Automating your Infrastructure 150 150 Kerry Butters

Why you should Consider Automating your Infrastructure

Virtualisation is the practice of running event or process simulations on a desktop, or through the cloud. It can be useful in creating models or scenarios for new products or scheduled events.

 For IT administrators, virtualisation cuts down on hardware costs and maintenance, but adds a host of new management tasks. Performing each job of monitoring, provisioning or maintenance is not only time-consuming, but leaves room for human error.

read more
Why the Data Storage Industry is Changing 150 150 Kerry Butters

Why the Data Storage Industry is Changing

For years organisations have been grappling with data backup and recovery issues. Like the need to decide what data needs to be kept in near-term storage for easy access, what can live at a second level where it’s still accessible (perhaps not immediately), and what can be kept in deep archives.

Big Problems

The rise of Big Data brings fresh dilemmas. Besides scale, there are characteristics of Big Data management that distinguish it from traditional approaches.

Big Data analysis often involves large data stores that are really only useful for a short period. Once the analysis is over, the data has served its purpose. The question arises as to whether it’s worth keeping at all, much less backing up.

read more
[Infographic] Adoption of Wearable Tech 150 150 Kerry Butters

[Infographic] Adoption of Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is the latest tech fad, with more and more people choosing to adopt it in the consumer space. As this infographic from Tech X shows, for the most part adoption remains centred around health related wearables which boost our motivation when it comes to taking daily exercise and monitor things such as sleep patterns.

The rest of 2014 and 2015 is set to see a further rise in wearable adoption, as companies such as Samsung and Apple fight to enter the market on a high. Whilst the Pebble is still regarded by most as the smartwatch to own, this coming year will see a host of new devices enter the market. Exciting times for those who love their gadgets, which according to the image is around 48% when it comes to who will buy.

Of course, it’s not all just health devices and smartwatches. Google Glass will soon release the

read more
Data is Meaningless Without Analysis 150 150 Kerry Butters

Data is Meaningless Without Analysis

There’s value in organisations being able to analyse social media information and compile profiles to better target their customers. But creating, documenting, and retrieving vast amounts of data is one thing. Understanding it is an entirely different matter.

Context is Key

Measuring ‘likes’ or searching for keywords and phrases is pretty straightforward – a “sentiment analysis”. You might be tempted to develop a marketing strategy directly derived from this.

But there’ll always be examples of impulse buys, or snap decisions in the heat of the moment. And data samples may include information that’s not so easy to quantify – like pictures or videos.

In fact, the majority of actions will be based on the context surrounding them. Brand A might cost less, but B offers greater satisfaction. The sports car looks great, but what about the kids? And so on.

If a data analysis tool can’t provide further context around the solutions it offers, it’s at best, an expensive waste of time.

read more
Why GoodData and HP Vertica have Collaborated 150 150 Kerry Butters

Why GoodData and HP Vertica have Collaborated

And, why should you care? Well, the partnership brings together two companies from opposing ends of the data analysis / management spectrum – and could light the way for future collaborations in this sector.

The Players

GoodData is a rising star in the field of cloud analytics. The venture-backed start-up recently introduced an Open Analytics Platform to provide a comprehensive set of services spanning the entire analytics lifecycle, from initial collection of records to data processing, visualisation and business intelligence.

With analysis conducted on the fly, GoodData is designed to be very easy for even non-technical business people to use.

Vertica is a high-performance columnar database which Hewlett-Packard acquired from Vertica Systems in 2011. Built to handle really large amounts of data, Vertica is better tailored to address the performance and scalability requirements of enterprise customers.

The Rationale

A key challenge faced by organisations today is the need for speed, high availability, and flexibility of data and analytics. Traditional solutions weren’t built to handle the variety and volume of data flowing through data-driven companies.

Amid increasing demand for its service, GoodData has in effect signed up as a customer of HP Vertica,

read more
Prepare for your New Quantified Employees 150 150 Kerry Butters

Prepare for your New Quantified Employees

The “Quantified Self” movement has emerged with the rise of wearable devices like Fitbit, Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband. These gadgets help people monitor their daily health: activities like steps taken, stairs climbed, sleep, and water consumption.

Some devices deliver health tips through a corresponding smartphone or desktop app. The idea being that the more we know about ourselves, the healthier we can be.

Not only are we monitoring our bodies, we’re slapping instruments on everything else. Homes are being monitored by tools like Nest.

Then, there’s social media. Facebook encourages us to post data about where we are, what we’re doing, and who we’re with. When you Tweet, you broadcast your location, what you’re reading or thinking, and often your photograph.

In the Workplace?

The movement has seen organisations begin using data and insights from personal tracking apps given to their employees (or which they’re encouraged to sign up for).

read more
Top Technology Blogs that your Business Should Be Following 150 150 Kerry Butters

Top Technology Blogs that your Business Should Be Following

Originally a sort of online personal journal,  web logs or blogs have since evolved into a powerful method of communication. Breaking news, insider perspectives, whatever; there’s an infinite number, covering any subject.

 

read more
10 Reasons Why Your Business Should Consider Chromebooks 150 150 Kerry Butters

10 Reasons Why Your Business Should Consider Chromebooks

Modern businesses have a huge amount of choice when it comes to technology products these days. The power of the cloud means that less storage space on the device is needed now, which further increases choice. It’s possible now to work on wafer thin devices that need very little in terms of power, or of course you can choose to have a laptop or a device that’s powered almost entirely by the cloud.

What IS a Chromebook?

Chromebooks are lightweight laptop computers which run on Chrome OS, an operating system made by Google. Designed primarily to be used online, they’re best suited to professionals who already use services like Gmail and Google Docs.

The Chrome OS

Chrome OS is similar to Windows or Mac OS X, but sits on a Linux platform. It’s

read more
Google I/O Roundup: What you Need to Know 150 150 Kerry Butters

Google I/O Roundup: What you Need to Know

Google I/O is the company’s annual developer conference and much like the Apple equivalent it offers a number of new tools and approaches. The main news out of the tech gathering is the fact that the Android OS will feature heavily in the company’s future.

The I/O conference is a three-hour-long keynote presentation that’s held in San Francisco, with Google executives and engineers showing off a number of new products. The aim it seems was to add better tech functionality to everyday tasks and users lives. Android powered devices are destined for cars, living rooms, and wrists – wearable tech will be another new platform for Google’s OS.

Let’s consider some of the new tech, products, and innovations promised by the increasingly prevalent Google.

Android’s Lollipop

The newest version of the Android OS featured heavily at the conference and the VP of design at Google Matias Duarte led the discussion. The new OS is titled Lollipop or L for short and it comes with a load of new tools for users to enjoy.

read more
Top 5 Things to Know about Android L 150 150 Kerry Butters

Top 5 Things to Know about Android L

At Google’s most recent developer conference in San Francisco the company revealed its new mobile OS. The Android update is dubbed “L” or Lollipop and it sits within an emerging range of interconnected Google devices and software ensuring ease of communication between devices.

Let’s have a look then at some of the new approaches to the Android OS and how those may better the experience of this mobile software. This is this is the biggest Android update in a very long time.

New Look

Android 5.0 (or L) looks very different to the current Android 4.4 interface. L is much more vibrant than the current Android OS and it uses interface layers to provide a sense of depth.

read more
How the Cloud Brings You Better Workers 150 150 Kerry Butters

How the Cloud Brings You Better Workers

The cloud has helped to bring businesses around the world closer together. Cloud storage has made documents that would otherwise have to be downloaded immediately available, and cloud computing has brought familiar software to offices that would otherwise have to go without. But perhaps the greatest impact of the cloud on businesses in the future is how it is changing the shape of our workforces.

Everyone’s Local

Whereas in the past businesses were restricted in their hiring by both their location, and their budget for relocating the talent they wanted, cloud services like storage and remote desktops mean that it’s now possible for employees to work from practically anywhere as long as it’s got a data connection and they have a device capable of accessing it.

Remote working like this used to be a burden for businesses, as it often served as a disruption to regular operations. However, now that it’s possible to unify all documents and software in the cloud, there’s no disruption

read more
Overview of Amazon Cloud 150 150 Kerry Butters

Overview of Amazon Cloud

As more and more businesses move towards doing their business on the web, it’s important that the infrastructure is in place to handle the challenges that kind of move presents. When you’re not dealing locally with one another, or even with physical objects, there’s a huge amount to take into consideration. How long does a file take to transfer? How is someone going to have access to the right software? Will there be enough processing power available to the user when they need it?

These are all problems that cloud companies are now racing to answer, and cloud infrastructure is set to be big business in the future. Very few companies understand this better than Amazon; whose cloud services are among the top services available today for businesses looking to take themselves to the next level.

Amazon Cloud listed by Gartner as a leader in the ‘infrastructure as a service’ (IaaS) section of their Magic Quadrant report for the third time in three years. They also listed Amazon Web Services (AWS) as having the best complete vision and ability to execute of all others in the magic quadrant. If you needed more evidence of Amazon cloud’s prowess, you need only consider that the Amazon website itself, which received 164 million unique visitors in the USA alone, runs on AWS.

read more
Computing Degree or IT Certification? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Computing Degree or IT Certification?

It’s a hotly debated topic on IT forums; whether a degree is necessary to work in IT, or if you only need the correct certifications. Certainly all you need to technically do a job is the correct certifications and an understanding of any programs and work that might relate to your field. However, many employers are looking for more than just the ability to do the job.

The choice is partially financial. If you can afford to do a full time degree program, then it’s probably advisable, as a degree gives you a qualification that benchmarks salary and increases your earning potential as you go through life. There are also a lot of benefits to being in an academic environment for that long a time.

You’ll not only learn about your subject, but you will be given the chance to explore other talents that may be useful to you in the future. University is also often the place you make your first business contacts. Many people get their first jobs, or further business, through these contacts, and they can’t be underestimated.

read more
2014 Facts about the Cloud 150 150 Kerry Butters

2014 Facts about the Cloud

Cloud computing is something that’s here to stay. The legacy of the cloud has been debated for some time but now businesses are embracing this new technology at a faster rate. The cloud allows a business to free up its employees with bring your own device policies and remove them from tethered PC options.

There are plenty of reasons to jump on board the cloud bandwagon but there are likely still some areas of cloud computing (and its benefits) that remain unclear to some businesses. According to a recent study, one of the most important reasons to shift to cloud computing is to connect employees through a multitude of computing devices – ones that they already use.

The cloud is simply about removing traditional restrictions on data and making it readily accessible on multiple devices with no decrease in functionality. This better-connected world is becoming more and more commonplace. So, let’s consider some of the other benefits of cloud computing and some that you may not have thought of before.

Here are some cloud predictions for 2014.

read more
Google Gets Girls Coding 150 150 Kerry Butters

Google Gets Girls Coding

The IT skills gap is now well documented and there are a few initiatives going on around the world that seek to address the issue. In the UK we’re about to see Computer Science come in as a core subject in the curriculum which goes beyond the current ICT qualification and introduces coding and understanding how computers are put together.

At the moment, ICT is more concerned with using applications than anything else and whilst this is of course valuable when it comes to workplace skills, it’s not going to get anyone a job as an engineer or programmer.

Made With Code – Google Initiative

A new initiative from Google seeks to address the skills gap and the lack of women in IT. Last month the search giants announced that just 17% of its technology employees are women. With this in mind, the company has launched Made With Code, a website that provides access to

read more
A Guide to CompTIA Certifications 150 150 Kerry Butters

A Guide to CompTIA Certifications

In the online world it’s important to be known for your skillset. There are always going to be numerous competitor businesses doing the same job as you are. But the difficulty that consumers face is picking the right business, or even the best individual, to fulfill their needs. That’s why there are often plenty of different types of certified qualifications that a business can achieve to mark them out as qualified and good at what they do.

CompTIA is one of those qualifications and the certification demonstrates that an individual has a solid grasp on various aspects of the computing industry. There are many different potential accreditation types within CompTIA’s library. One such option is in the cloud computing industry. This means that someone certified by CompTIA has a business and technical perspective on cloud models and infrastructure, as well as a good knowledge of what is involved in moving a business infrastructure to the cloud.

read more
5 Really Useful Productivity Apps on Android 150 150 Kerry Butters

5 Really Useful Productivity Apps on Android

We recently wrote a blog post about the security problems on the Android OS. Many consider Android to have quite an issue with malicious coding and malware but that’s really not the case. So, in the spirit of becoming reacquainted with the mobile OS here are 5 apps to help increase your productivity.

Increasingly, smart phones are used as portable computers with nearly all of the functionality of a laptop or even a tethered PC. The proliferation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies ensures that more and more employees are joining the burgeoning ranks of the mobile, transient workforce.

With Android being the most used mobile platform we thought we’d help you out and save you some time. So, without further ado, here are our choices of the top five productivity applications available on the Android OS.

read more
The Truth about Android Malware 150 150 Kerry Butters

The Truth about Android Malware

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Developing nations are jumping onboard this platform at a fast rate but there are some negatives to consider. Android has a bad reputation when it comes to malicious malware. This is often very dangerous and it can completely wipe a user’s phone and with it their personal details.

There are lots of accounts of harmful malware being discovered in apps and on Android running phones. Malware on Google’s OS seems set to rise and Google has recently begun patching some of the numerous holes in its mobile platform. Mobile malware is up by 700% since 2011 and most of it is destined for the Android OS.

read more
Introducing Swift – Apple’s New Programming Language 150 150 Kerry Butters

Introducing Swift – Apple’s New Programming Language

At a recent developers conference, Apple revealed its new iOS 8. This was met with mostly favourable responses and the current beta test is being used by a number of developers. The new iOS will be generally released sometime in Autumn this year.

That’s not all of the news to come from the Cupertino based company, and it seems that Apple is addressing its programming language. The Worldwide developers conference saw the introduction of Swift, which is widely regarded as an attempt to keep developers onside. Google’s Android OS is gaining market share and so Apple needs its own innovative approach to combat its rival’s success.

read more
What’s New in iOS 8 150 150 Kerry Butters

What’s New in iOS 8

It doesn’t seem too long ago that Apple released iOS 7. This was perhaps the biggest overhaul to its mobile software design since 2007. The new OS came from a post-Jobs era and the design came from Jony Ive.

iOS 7 made the iPhone more up-to-date and it allowed it to be more competitive when it came to the likes of Android. Windows 8 mobile software has been struggling, so iOS 7 was a tempting (if expensive) alternative.

Now however, Apple has revealed its plans for iOS 8 and it looks to be much the same as iOS 7 – but with a better, and more rounded, design. There’s a beta version of this software for developers to play around with and the software will be generally released in the fall of 2014.

With this new OS (perhaps not quite revolutionary) there are a number of changes for users to look forward to. Let’s have a look then and see what we’ve got in store in the coming months. It’s not ground-breaking, but it is an OS update that betters the functionality of iOS 7.

Update to the App Store

The App Store is already fairly good; it doesn’t have the dross of Windows 8, and it’s less cluttered than Android’s offering. It has however had some slight functionality tweaks to make it even better. The Wish List function wasn’t something that many folks seemed to use, but iOS

read more
What you need to know about Cryptolocker and GOZeus 150 150 Kerry Butters

What you need to know about Cryptolocker and GOZeus

Starting on May 30th a conglomerate of law enforcement agencies hailing from eleven different countries led by Europol and the FBI and with support from the private sector, have been working together to curb an online threat. Law enforcement, alongside Internet Service Providers and the Information Security industry, have been attempting to combat two specific malware groups – Cryptolocker and P2PZeuS (aka GameOverZeus).

Those malware groups however have been disrupted due to the efforts of law enforcement agencies. This isn’t to say the threat is negated however. Instead it marks a distinct shift in policing tactics and the number of countries working hand-in-hand shows just how seriously cyber crime is now considered.

Cryptolocker

This malware collective effectively holds your files hostage. An internet user will find those files inaccessible until they pay a ransom of one bitcoin, worth about $600 USD. This insidious threat is a pain and one that can be avoided – or at least that’s what the enforcement agencies believe.

read more
Why Audio/Visual Aids help In Business Communication 150 150 Kerry Butters

Why Audio/Visual Aids help In Business Communication

Perhaps the single most important part of business is good, clear communication. Your point has to be made well and be understood by your audience, be they staff or potential clients. The clarity and succinctness that you convey your information with is important and if it’s lacking you could end up with staff doing completely the wrong job.

But simply telling your staff what’s required of them and what your plans for the business are may not give them the clarity they desire. That’s why there are tools to aid communication within your business and a number of them are simple enough to use.

Let’s look at some.

Audio/visual aids can help business communication in a number of ways. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and every individual processes information in their own unique way. As a business it’s not only a good idea, but a necessity, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Hence why numerous businesses use multiple audio and visual tools during presentation sessions. This approach is often referred to as a “multimedia presentation” and can include a number of disparate mediums:

read more
2014 Internet Trends Report 150 150 Kerry Butters

2014 Internet Trends Report

As the majority of those in the technology industry will know, it’s that time of year again when influential analyst Mary Meeker sets out the most important trends across the web for the year.

This year’s Internet Trends Report was presented at the Code Conference on Wednesday and takes a look at such things as tablet devices, media consumption, security, technology in certain sectors and much more. One of the most notable things about this report was the look at mobile devices and the proliferation of data that such devices are now generating.

The death of big data

As mobile and tablet shipments have risen, so too has the data generated risen in line with that. However, despite this just 1% of this data is currently being analysed, which is unsurprising given that Gartner has recently spoken about the death of big data.

read more
Obituary: Big Data 150 150 Kerry Butters

Obituary: Big Data

Donald Feinberg, VP and analyst at Gartner’s Intelligence and Information Group, recently said that Big Data will die within the next couple of years, thanks largely to the confusion which surrounds the term.

Once upon a time, databases were relatively small; tiny by today’s standards. Businesses had records of their customers’ accounts, built up manually over time, originally with pen and paper and later with microprocessors. Bigger companies started to have whole floors dedicated to data processing departments, ensuring that purchase orders and invoices we all matched and accurate, and accountants knew who had paid and who owed money, what had been bought and what had been cancelled.

With cloud computing and processing technology getting so small that you could practically map out the life cycle of a grain of rice, data started to get recorded and collected at increasingly faster rates and much more of it. Processors in cars and other equipment meant that a whole boatload of parameters could be constantly measured.

More and more measurables

Social media sites, ecommerce sites and other communal online gatherings meant that individuals could be adding to the pile of data already stored about them as they filled in forms and registered for things online. Photos, likes, friends, birthdays, political leanings, sexual orientation, marriage status, hobbies and interests…the list of measurables became endless.

read more
[INFOGRAPHIC] The Future of Cloud 150 150 Kerry Butters

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Future of Cloud

Whilst cloud computing is nothing new, it is a technology that’s taken a little while to gain real traction in business environments. This was due to a lack of confidence in aspects of cloud models such as security and the assumption in many circles that it was yet another buzzword that the technology sector had dreamt up.

To some extent the issue has also been the huge job that is deployment to the cloud, when thinking about moving entire infrastructures, or even just applications from the traditional onsite network to data centres which power the cloud.

However, over the course of the past couple of years, cloud computing has really begun to take off and it’s safe to say that it’s now becoming a trusted technology. According to the infographic below, courtesy of NerdGraph, by 2016 it’s thought that a huge two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud.

The stats don’t stop there though, all of the major cloud ‘as a service’ offerings are set for steady growth, with infrastructure seeing the largest at 11% and it’s thought that the use of Hybrid cloud will start to see a bigger increase, with a growth rate of 27% expected to rise to 47%.

read more
Graduate IT Jobs: What’s the Best Fit for You? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Graduate IT Jobs: What’s the Best Fit for You?

If you’re graduating this summer and looking to land the perfect job in IT, then it can be difficult to know which sector might be the best fit. This is because there are a very wide and varied range of industries that demand IT workers, far beyond the usual suspects such as vendors and big-name tech companies.

It’s likely that you’ll be attending a good few graduate fairs, where many companies are likely to be looking for the most talented candidates. So what can you do to ensure that you stand out from the crowd? It might be a fact that IT is one of those sectors that has been and still is suffering from a lack of incoming talent, but in the UK, with the curriculum changing to accommodate better IT learning, this is something that could very well change in the next five years or so.

read more
Is Your Business Security Good Enough 150 150 Kerry Butters

Is Your Business Security Good Enough

Computer security is an important issue for any business and it seems that hardly a day goes by without us hearing about another botnet, hack or malware attack doing the rounds. The most notable of late was a vulnerability in SSL certificates, and whilst there’s little evidence to suggest that hackers have taken advantage of the Heartbleed bug, it still brings to the fore the ever-increasing problem that is network security.

For businesses, securing the company network isn’t a particularly difficult task, nor is staff training, but many still don’t have adequate enough protection to ensure that the company, or even customer, data is safe.

According to a recent survey carried out by the Poneman Institute, this is due to many enterprises lacking the tools to protect their information and “a disconnect in executives’ perceived value of data”. The study saw a huge 80% of IT professionals state that their company execs don’t seem to see the correlation between a cyber-attack and loss of revenue when it comes to stolen data.

Security is lacking all round

This is a worrying statistic, as security has to be a priority in this technological age that we live in. If customer data is stolen, firms stand to lose not only a loss in business due to the spectre of a system audit, but also possible fines and even the loss of customer confidence. Even if it’s not customer data that’s stolen, the loss of sensitive data from within a company can have serious ramifications for the future.

read more
Implementing Cloud-Based BYOD Policies Safely 150 150 Kerry Butters

Implementing Cloud-Based BYOD Policies Safely

BYOD adoption is on the rise in SMEs. Cloud based services have opened up businesses to the world of bring-your-own-device, allowing SME business managers to save internal spending by encouraging employees to use their own laptops, phones and tablets.

However, these devices are often only intended for personal use, not commercial. This means that they can be ill-suited to the security needs of your company and you may end up spending the money you thought you were saving on implementing new security for these phones. There are still plenty of benefits to a BYOD environment however, so the best thing we can suggest is that you familiarise yourself with the potential downfalls of a BYOD office and plan for it appropriately.

Increased Threats

Some SMEs have been struggling with the new threats presented by a BYOD environment, so it’s important to ensure that if you do adopt BYOD you have the security infrastructure to cope with it.

read more






captcha