Cloud computing

4 steps to overcoming the cloud services challenge of shadow IT

Presented by IBM

A recent report by Skyhigh Networks stated that the average organization used a whopping 1,427 cloud services in Q3 of 2016, representing a 23.7 percent growth over the same quarter in the previous year. These numbers clearly illustrate the extent of the shadow IT problem. Cloud services provide several advantages of improved agility, productivity, and user experience, but they also represent significant risk for the IT and security teams.

Across the 20,000 cloud services in use today, only 8.1 percent meet the strict data security and privacy requirements of enterprises as defined by Skyhigh’s CloudTrust Program. When employees choose a cloud service, they often ignore its security limitations. In many cases, this can result in the unauthorized access of corporate data.

A large conglomerate faced this problem when members of its legal team uploaded contracts to online PDF converters, whose terms of service stated that they assumed complete ownership of all documents uploaded into their systems and that they had the right to distribute data to any third party. The legal team put its company at significant risk by uploading sensitive information to a service that could freely distribute it to any interested party.

Companies attempt to address the shadow IT problems by blocking the known risky services as they pop up. This “whack-a-mole” approach may partially address the problem, but it also increases the risk of employees finding other cloud services that are lesser known and possibly riskier. In order to overcome the challenges imposed by risky shadow IT services, CIOs and CISOs are looking for security solutions to address the key challenges.

Consider these four steps:

1. Gain visibility into shadow IT services

Enterprise CIOs are looking to get visibility into all cloud services used by employees within their company. Though existing proxies and firewalls provide some level of visibility into some cloud services, it’s not adequate for IT to make any actionable decisions. Furthermore, for informed decision-making, IT leaders are looking not only for visibility into all cloud services, but also related data points including users or teams accessing each service, data uploaded or downloaded, and usage trends over time. And, with the increasing growth in the usage of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms, enterprises are also looking to get…

Warner Bros. opens New York office to support games like Injustice 2

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is setting up shop on the East Coast with WB Games New York to provide additional backend support for their online games.

The new branch is focused on cloud-based backend technology, which will allow Warner Bros.’s teams to implement new online content. There’s a big benefit to this, as it’ll be able to quickly add features such as the Wonder Woman gear that went live in the DC comics-based fighting game Injustice 2 shortly after the Wonder Woman movie debuted in theaters.

“We understand the importance of expanding the connected communities of players, and with WB Games New York, we will have a strong foundation to grow our player connectivity with our digitally…

Amazon: Everything From A To Z Now Includes Whole Foods

Many were surprised when Amazon recently announced its purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Those that love Amazon applauded the move while those that fear, or dislike, Amazon are using it to confirm their prediction of its “big-brother” takeover of the world.

Competitors to prevent a complete takeover

Of course, those that fear Amazon should take notice that Amazon has some formidable rivals – Apple, Facebook, and Google, which have their own growing eco-systems that are enveloping bigger and bigger chunks of commerce. Based on its recent resurgence under Satya Nadella, many would include Microsoft to this group. And if you include international players, Chinese Internet giant, Alibaba, should be added to the list of dominant competitors. Going back to the pre-digital world, people had similar concerns about General Motors and big Oil companies, such as Exxon Mobil.

The writing has been on the wall

Anyone that has been surprised by Amazon’s move to buy Whole Foods has not been noticing the writing on the wall for some time. Amazon started out as an online bookstore. The name was a curious choice for a bookstore. Many didn’t notice this because the company started in the “ bubble” days when “interesting” names, such as Yahoo!, were in vogue. If you think about the branding more deeply, however, you might notice that the name “Amazon” relates to a lot of things – mostly big and powerful. In Greek Mythology, the Amazons were women warriors that were warlike and aggressive. The Amazon River and rainforest are vast and powerful. If you look at Amazon’s logo, it has an arrow pointing from the “a” to the “z” – not-so-subtly implying Amazon wants to sell you everything.

From online bookstore to world’s biggest retailer

Most think of Amazon as an online retailer since the company branded itself that way and lots of us buy products from Amazon on their e-Commerce Web site. Amazon recently passed Walmart as the world’s biggest retailer (note: some dispute this claim when Alibaba in included). Unless you need to touch, feel, and try on the merchandise, Amazon is perhaps the most convenient place to find and buy products ever invented. Marketers know that the primary added-value function of distribution is convenience. That’s not all. Buyers can use the site to read reviews, receive suggestions, and comparison shop for better prices. With increasing disincentives to go to physical stores – traffic, parking, wasted time, and opportunity costs, Amazon has gained the upper hand as more and more people feel comfortable buying online….

AWS’ high-security GovCloud heads to the Eastern U.S.

Amazon Web Services is spinning up its second set of data centers for government customers in the United States, this time in the Eastern U.S. The US-East region will provide cloud services that conform to government security and compliance regulations in data centers that are closer to Washington, D.C.

It’s a move by the cloud provider to offer government-oriented services closer to federal customers. AWS already serves agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Overall, the region announced today will be AWS’ 20th worldwide. Each region includes a set…

Lightspeed and Accel lead $100 million investment in cloud security startup Netskope

Netskope platform

Netskope, a cloud security startup that helps companies secure their data stored in the cloud, announced today funding of $100 million in a round co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Accel. Existing investors Social Capital and Iconiq Capital also participated in the round, as did new investors Sapphire Ventures and Geodesic Capital.

“A third of all business data has moved to the cloud, which has created a huge compliance gap,” wrote Netskope’s cofounder and CEO Sanjay Beri, in an email to VentureBeat. “In our data alone, we see that nearly 50 percent of all uploads to cloud violate data loss prevention policies set by our customers.”

Another layer of threats Beri described are what he…

Google accelerates customer data processing with new cloud feature

Google is making it faster for cloud customers to process data for analysis with a forthcoming feature called Cloud Dataflow Shuffle. It’s designed to make consuming streaming and batch processed data up to five times faster than before by applying technology the tech giant developed in-house.

The feature is built for Google’s Cloud Dataflow service, which helps customers process data before feeding it into databases, machine learning applications, and other systems. Customers set up processing tasks in Cloud Dataflow using pipelines written with the Apache Beam SDK, then Google handles the provisioning and scaling of compute resources necessary to handle those tasks.

Cloud Dataflow Shuffle accelerates those pipelines by using a Google-made system to manage shuffle operations, which sort data from multiple compute nodes. When this launches, customers will get the…

5 mobile collaboration apps top developers can’t live without

5 mobile collaboration apps top developers can’t live without

It’s no secret that mobile apps are taking over the planet. According to a recent report from comScore, time spent on mobile apps accounts for seven out of every eight minutes of media consumption on mobile devices.

But we’re not just using mobile apps to read articles on BuzzFeed. We’re also using mobile apps at work. Today’s top developers are no exception. In fact, they’re mobile app power users. They know what they like, are dedicated to finding the right solutions for their teams, and are comfortable critiquing mobile apps of all shapes and sizes.

Here are five developer-nominated mobile apps that drive collaboration:

1) 1Password – Keep everything secure

It’s easy to shrug off security breaches and assume they’ll never happen to you, but many developers have seen the effects of breaches and are committed to keeping things locked down. But how can you keep all of your accounts safe and secure.

Enter 1Password, which offers a mobile app for retrieving passwords. “Modern app development requires accessing secure cloud services, server environments, code signing keys and any number of credentials that needs to managed for a team,” said Alex Robinson, Co-founder of Atomic Robot, a mobile app development consultancy.

“Rather than sharing credentials over email or SMS, distributed teams can access their password anywhere from their phone, tablet or computer while providing tools to management for administrator who can have access.”

2) Postman – Collaborative API development

APIs have become a cornerstone offering of many tech companies, but it’s been difficult to collaborate on building them. Jonathan Uy, CTO at Shine, relies on Postman to help with collaborate API development.

“The GUI itself is pleasant to work with — making it easy to create HTTP requests, review responses and save and organize collections of your endpoints,” said Uy.

Postman really shines for working with teams. Sharing…

Pied Piper’s New Internet Isn’t Just Possible—It’s Almost Here


On HBO’s Silicon Valley, startups promise to “change the world” by tackling silly, often non-existent problems. But this season, the show’s characters are tackling a project that really could. In their latest pivot, Richard Hendricks and the Pied Piper gang are trying to create new internet that cuts out intermediaries like Facebook, Google, and the fictional Hooli. Their idea: use a peer-to-peer network built atop every smartphone on the planet, effectively rendering huge data centers full of servers unnecessary.

“If we could do it we could build a completely decentralized version of our current internet,” Hendricks says. “With no firewalls, no tolls, no government regulation, no spying, information would be totally free in every sense of the word.”

But wait: Isn’t the internet already a decentralized network that no one owns? In theory, yes. But in practice, a small number of enormous companies control or at least mediate so much of the internet. Sure, anyone can publish whatever they want to the web. But without Facebook and Google, will anyone be able to find it? Amazon, meanwhile, controls not just the web’s biggest online store but a cloud computing service so large and important that when part of it went offline briefly earlier this year, the internet itself seemed to go down. Similarly, when hackers attacked the lesser-known company Dyn–now owned by tech giant Oracle–last year, large swaths of the internet came crashing down with it. Meanwhile, a handful of telecommunications giants, including Comcast, Charter, and Verizon, control the market for internet access and have the technical capability to block you from accessing particular sites or apps. In some countries, a single state-owned telco controls internet access completely.

Given those very non-utopian realities, people in the real world are also hard at work trying to rebuild the internet in a way that comes closer to the decentralized ideal. They’re still pretty far from Richard’s utopian vision, but it’s already possible to do some of what he describes. Still, it’s not enough to just cut out today’s internet power players. You also need to build a new internet that people will actually want to use.

Storage Everywhere

On the show, Richard’s plan stems from the realization that just about everyone carries around a smartphone with hundreds of times more computing power than the machines that sent humans to the moon. What’s more, those phones are just sitting in people’s pockets doing nothing for most of the day. Richard proposes to use his fictional compression technology—his big innovation from season one—to free up extra space on people’s phones. In exchange for using the app, users would agree to share some of the space they free up with Pied Piper, who will then resell it to companies for far less than they currently pay giants like Amazon.

The closest thing to what’s what’s described on Silicon Valley might be Storj, a decentralized cloud storage company. Much like Pied Piper, Storj has built a network of people who sell their unused storage capacity. If you want to buy space on the Storj network, you upload your files and the company splits them up into smaller pieces, encrypts them so that no one but you can read your data, and then distributes those pieces across its network.

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“You control your own encryption keys so we have no access to the data,” says co-founder John Quinn. “We have no knowledge of what is being stored.”

Also like Pied Piper, Storj bills itself as safer than traditional storage systems, because your files will reside on multiple computers throughout the world. Quinn says that in order to lose a…

ARM wants to boost AI performance by 50X over 5 years

ARM is unveiling its first Dynamiq processor designs today, and the company said that the family will boost artificial intelligence performance by more than 50 times over the next three to five years.

The new family aims to spread AI processing from the edge to the cloud. The processors include the ARM Cortex-A75, which delivers massive single-thread compute performance at the high end; the ARM Cortex-A55, a high-efficiency processor; and the ARM Mali-G72 graphics processor, which expands the possibilities for virtual reality, gaming, and machine learning on premium mobile devices, with 40 percent more graphics performance. ARM’s partners are expected to launch chips in 2018.

To better handle AI processing, ARM realized that it needs to make basic changes to the computing architecture, with faster, more efficient, and distributed intelligence between computing at the edge of the network (like in smartphones and laptops) and in the cloud-connected data centers, said Nandan Nayampally, vice president and general manager of the Compute Products Group at ARM, in a blog post.

That AI technology also needs to be secure, as recent survey data shows 85 percent of global consumers are concerned about securing AI…

The GNU GPL Is An Enforceable Contract At Last

It would be difficult to imagine the technological enhancements to the world we live in today without open-source software. You will find it somewhere in most of your consumer electronics, in the unseen data centres of the cloud, in machines, gadgets, and tools, in fact almost anywhere a microcomputer is used in a product. The willingness of software developers to share their work freely under licences that guarantee its continued free propagation has been as large a contributor to the success of our tech economy as any hardware innovation.

Though open-source licences have been with us for decades now, there have been relatively few moments in which they have been truly tested in a court. There have been frequent licence violations in which closed-source products have been found to contain open-source software, but they have more often resulted in out-of-court settlement than lengthy public legal fights. Sometimes the open-source community has gained previously closed-source projects, as their licence violations have involved software whose licence terms included a requirement for a whole project in which it is included to have the same licence. These terms are sometimes referred to as viral clauses by open-source detractors, and the most famous such licence is the GNU GPL, or General Public…