Today I’m happy to announce that Varonis DatAnywhere, an enterprise-class file sync and sharing solution, is now GA (generally available). We’re also hosting a webinar on DatAnywhere this afternoon if you want to see it in action.
I’ve been using DatAnywhere every day since the early alpha version was handed to us a few months ago. Along with an amazing group of beta customers, we were able to provide engineering with the feedback they needed to iterate fast and furiously and, ultimately, create a product we loveto use.
Some reasons why I love DatAnywhere:
DatAnywhere stays out of the way.
I’ve used Box and Dropbox for personal data and both products are a pleasure to use. I have a folder, I put stuff in it, and it syncs. That’s it. DatAnywhere is exactly the same experience. From a user’s perspective, it could be a cloud app. Or a hybrid app. I wouldn’t know the difference. But my IT department and CEO can rest assured that our company IP won’t leave our corporate infrastructure.
I can get to my files from iOS, Android, Mac or PC.
I can easily share files with third parties.
I can right-click and instantly generate a pin-coded URL where parties and customers can download or upload files from a web UI.
It’s secure and auditable.
Everything is encrypted over the wire, I don’t need to connect to a VPN to sync, all data is stored in our data center—not in a third-party cloud—and IT can monitor user activity and shared links.
It doesn’t change our existing infrastructure.
We got up and running fast because we didn’t have to move our data to a dedicated server. As Terri McClure, Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group puts it:
“With Varonis DatAnywhere, organizations don’t have to modify their processes, infrastructure or permissions in order to give end users the functionalities they crave. Access controls stay the same, data classification continues to function, and data doesn’t need to be moved to a new server.”
We left everything on the NAS with its existing NTFS permissions in-tact. We use Active Directory authentication, so there was no need to create additional users and groups.
If this sounds good to you, sign-up to try DatAnywhere for free today.
One of the goals of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 was to spur adoption of electronic record keeping for what has been a paper-intensive sector of the economy. Realizing that the transition to digital data could lead to larger and more serious breach incidents, regulators at Health and Human Services came up with the Breach Notification Rule: healthcare organizations and theirbusiness associates are required to contact HHS when there’s an exposure of unencrypted health data involving more than 500 individuals.
This breach data is also publicly available, and so I decided to take a peek. It’s clear from the stats that the healthcare industry, although relatively new to computerized record-keeping, is also experiencing significant breaches involving its human-generated unstructured content, or dark data.
Since about 2010, HHS has received over 600 breach notifications for almost 22.1 million health records. I mined this data to create a simple chart based on the top five sources of this breached data, which accounts for about 85% of all records taken. The breach categories, by the way, come from the self-reported descriptions and other incident notes—not always clearly stated, so some judgement calls were made.
Keep in mind, for medical breaches to be reported, the data has to be unencrypted protected health information or PHI—essentially, personally identifiable information such as names, social security and medical insurance numbers. If we excluded the Backup and Other categories, then we can be fairly sure that the remaining nine million exposed records contained dark data. Downloaded in clear-text form from centralized medical information databases, this dark medical data typically finds a home on loosely permissioned folders. From there, it is either directly hacked or accidentally exposed, or then transferred to laptops and other portable devices—USB drives—that are ultimately lost or stolen.
Another source of breached data has been misplaced backup tapes or CDs, which seem to be a significant problem for healthcare data processors. There’s even one incident, accounting for most of the Other category, in which a physical server drive containing 1.9 million patient records was stolen. In all these cases, the data taken was structured—i.e., formatted records. But since the PHI wasn’t encrypted, it wouldn’t take much work for a hacker to zero in and parse out account numbers, names, addresses, and other identifiers.
Bottom line: as far as determined medical data thieves are concerned, it’s better to think of even this structured PHI data as simply badly formatted but target-rich spread-sheets.
How do you define the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Depending who you ask, the definition may be a bit ambiguous:
the Internet of Things, a.k.a. IoT, would appear to be a somewhat vague term. However, I’ve found that most people in the industry are very aware of the term and offer a similar response as to what it actually is. People often refer to the cloud when thinking of IoT, and that’s not necessarily wrong. But the cloud is just one component of the IoT
This clip offers a visionary perspective of how it could affect us (please ignore the connected trees bit).
And this infographic demonstrate some important enabling technologies.
A week after the Google I/O developer conference, it would seem the tech blogosphere is still in a post coitus haze over the amount of forward thinking-service intergrade goodies Google sprayed on the audience throughout the opening Keynote.
Admittedly the 3 hour and 39 min opening keynote was chalked full of some much needed cohesive vertical integration of their various services. For what felt like a week, Google expounded on the deep level of developer API’s, explored new services like Google All Access, and waxed poetic on lofty ideas for the future. This I/O seemed to me, to be by far their most impressive and substantial to date. With that being said, this years I/O does leave me with a certain lingering resignation that Google may have just become the Walmart of the internet.
Due to their income structure, Google has effectively been able to corner several markets by being the cheaper alternative. From Android to Google Docs, Google has been able to manipulate their large cash revenues from online advertisement to supplement their various endeavors without so much as wink to the financial burdens or consequences. It would seem Google’s most effective strategy was to become a hyper focused conduit for business to reach customers in the age of the internet. I’d liken the situation to T.V. networks upon the boon of television. Back then, for a business to have any hope in reaching beyond a local market, they had to play nice with the television networks to showcase their ads. Google’s strategy is proving challenging for the likes of Apple and Microsoft who rely on direct sales for their respective services as well. Mimicking the competitive landscape of the sales market that includes Lowes, Ralph’s or a Target; I see Google as the undercutting widely adopted Walmart of devices and software.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have long favored highly visible investments, such as advertising or store design over spending hard-earned income on back-office information technology. In fact, the retail industry devotes only about 1.7% of revenue to IT. Compare that with banking, which spends about 6%.
Big-box and boutique retailers alike see that e-commerce competitors continue to use technology as a means to win on price and selection, and know their customers increasingly use smartphones in-store to compare prices or search for deals.
IBM’s latest Big Data-based retail forecast suggests that some brick-and-mortar retailers are turning the tide against showrooming, a trend in which consumers look at items in a store before ultimately buying them online, usually at lower prices. In order to remain competitive and press their advantage further, brick-and-mortar stores must look to the cloud computing revolution as a way to upgrade their technology without busting their budgets.
Perhaps most important, clouds offer retailers a way to explore the potential of big data analytics to understand their customers better. In order to compete with e-tailers, retailers are tapping social networks to learn what customers are saying about them and about their competitors. Weather data is being used to influence product purchasing decisions, and merchandise promotions are organized around social events.
In many cases, brick-and-mortar retailers are even finding new data sources. Some companies are tracking movement of customers within stores and analyzing how many stop at displays to improve the effectiveness of merchandising. Others are considering installing license-plate cameras in parking lots to find out which customer is about to walk into the store.
All of these innovations make use of massive amounts of data. A cloud based solution, with elastic storage, computing and analytics capability, can make it economically viable for retailers as they dabble with these nascent approaches.
Cloud computing involves a new way of thinking about data. In a cloud, a single server can host many virtual servers, slashing hardware costs. The virtual servers can scale on demand depending on the need for computer capacity. That’s very useful for retailers, whose businesses are notoriously seasonal. Automatically expanding capacity on Black Friday, for example, can reduce lines at checkout counters and ensure quick service.
Further, the retail industry is aided by thousands of specialty software programs that are designed for various niches and needs. The average retail chain uses about 450 such applications — far more than most other industries. Naturally, those software programs get heavy use at certain times while they are shut down at others.
For instance, Planogram software, which lays out how boxes and cans are displayed on shelves, may only run once per month. Order entry systems run during the day and in the evening when shoppers are in stores and online. Inventory replenishment systems run full bore overnight. Frequently, each system is operated by a different part of the corporate organization. Managers order capacity based on the maximum use they anticipate for the system, knowing that it’s hard to expand later because of the need to authorize new capital budgets.
The result is that retailers use only about 10% to 15% of the computer capacity in their data centers. Some 85% is sitting idle at any time. Huge economies of scale could be gained by using the same infrastructure across multiple applications in a cloud-computing architecture.
Companies can either build private clouds in their own data centers, purchase dedicated private clouds hosted by infrastructure providers, or they can move their data and applications to a public cloud used by several different companies and run by infrastructure specialists.
Many companies choose to do both by using a hybrid cloud solution with some applications in the retailers’ own data center and others in the public cloud. In a public cloud, retailers only pay for the capacity they use, just like buying electricity from a public utility. Further, many retail applications can also be rented on a monthly basis as software-as-a-service.
As mobile, social and ecommerce continue to explode in popularity, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers must understand and harness the benefits of cloud computing to optimize the in-store experience, market to the individual and maximize every sale. If they don’t, they risk falling behind their competition.
Vish Ganapathy is the Director and Chief Technologist for IBM’s Global Retail business, and has more than 22 years of consulting experience working with retailers worldwide. Ganapathy particularly focuses on bridging software applications and technology that can enable retailers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
by Kate Enright
Things are looking great for fashion and tech forward startup Warby Parker as they open a new flagship store in SoHo. The store is a design and customer experience masterpiece. From it’s old-world libraries, to it’s 1950s furniture and vintage looking equipment, they have planned out and splashed out, on every detail.
The company began as an online store which proved very popular with younger Gen Y (aka hipster…kind of) audiences, and then expanded by opening small stores within other larger retail locations. These small Warby Parker showrooms were opticians with a difference, where customers could try on glasses in 3D and have a unique experience unlike any other on the high-street. By combining the latest in technology with the latest in fashion and design they simply blew people away. The little stores soon began sprouting up all across the US and their cult popularity grew along with their capital (Warby Parker closed a $41.5 million investment at the end of February this year)! They now have their very own, full-size retail location and we have no doubt about its impending success. They simply understand their target market, they understand Gen Y consumers and they know how to bring them in.
WP are an example of the latest trend in e-commerce companies moving offline and building their own brick-and-mortar retail outlets. We have discussed this trend inrecent posts and so many of the online giants are now onboard with the idea, that there must be value in it. Amazon, Google, Ebay PayPal and more have all either expressed interest in moving to offline or already made the move. PayPal for example are now making physical hardware for the high-street and working with retailers globally.
“We wanted to create a much different experience here: have a lot of room for people to bring friends, get opinions from other people,” says co-founder Dave Gilboa. “A pair of glasses is one of the only thing you wear on your face, and it says a lot about how you want to express yourself.” (NY Daily News)
Hear hear Dave! It’s all about getting that personal opinion, that physical data that online just doesn’t offer.
The bright and beautiful showroom is the perfect example of ensuring customer satisfaction through layout and design we spoke about last month. This space is irresistible to passers by and is modelled the New York Public Library, with brass lamps, rolling ladders and old books. Awesome is not the word.
And WP have big plans for bringing more tech into the offline world. They are leading the charge in collecting data by wiring the stores with sensors to get a better understanding of how people shop with them in terms of flow, store design, gender, age group, preferences and more. Very clever and forward thinking!
We are well and truely on the Warby Parker bandwagon. Here’s hoping a store opens in Dublin!
Founders Neil Blumethal and David Gilboa… because they’re just the coolest.
(This post originally appeared on AVG)
Everyone’s talking about the cloud nowadays so you’ve got to consider it, right? It enables companies to be more flexible and save on their IT costs. It allows free and easy access to data for employees from wherever they are, using whatever devices they want to use. A recent survey by accounting software maker MYOB finds that small businesses that adopt cloud technologies enjoy higher revenues. Another analysis finds that small businesses are losing money as a result of ineffective IT management that could be much improved by the use of cloud based services. And another poll of more than 1,200 small businesses by technology reseller CDW found that “…cloud users cite cost savings, increased efficiency and greater innovation as key benefits” and that “…across all industries, storage and conferencing and collaboration are the top cloud services and applications.”
For many companies, particularly startups, small companies, virtual firms and organizations with remote employees, cloud based technologies make a lot of sense. And it also makes sense that the more popular ones are the ones that provide storage and collaboration –these are easy to setup and not as mission critical. There are a lot of myths about cloud computing in 2013 that just aren’t true. Here are some of the more common ones I hear from my clients.
“It’s cheaper and cost beneficial.” This may be true if you’re a startup or are migrating to a relatively inexpensive cloud application. But if you have existing applications and you decide to move your entire organization to a cloud based infrastructure you’ll likely pay about $100 per month per user. That’s exactly what I’ve been seeing and that’s a lot more expensive than just buying a new server and having an IT guy service it for a few hours a month. There are many inexpensive cloud based applications but the more robust, the higher the monthly fees. And if you add up the monthly fees over a 5-7 year period and compare it just buying an application you’ll see that you could be likely paying more. I expect the costs of the cloud to continue to decrease over time, but for now it could be more expensive.
“I can connect anywhere, anytime.” The reality is you’re not as mobile as you think. That’s because to use the cloud effectively you need internet access. And depending on where you are this is easier said than done. Many places say they offer free Wi-Fi but sometimes it’s so slow it’s almost not worth doing the work. It’s not uncommon, particularly for a business traveler, to hit dead spots and experience agonizingly slow speeds which can really hurt productivity. Internet access and speeds continue to improve, but they haven’t caught up with the functionality that a lot of advanced cloud based apps offer. Many of my clients experience frustration with this.
“My data is less secure.” If any cloud provider tells you that your data is 100% secure than they’re lying to you. Nothing is 100%. But I’m going to bet that your data hosted on their server is way more secure than in your own internal environment. That’s because successful companies who offer cloud based services and who want to continue being successful build their business models around data connectivity and security. They will always be using the latest security applications and have more security resources deployed than you could ever hope. Breaches will happen, but I favor the security of cloud companies over my IT guy.
“My service provider is guaranteeing me a long term, flat, monthly fee.” True. For the time being. But my biggest question about cloud application is how much you will allow your business to become dependent on the cloud provider. How much are you willing to relinquish control over that “flat monthly fee.” What if your cloud services provider decides to increase it 10%? What can you do? What’s your recourse? Are you going to move yourself off of their platform and go through the inconvenience of finding another solution? Or will you opt to self-manage your cloud applications? Nothing ever stands still for long in IT. Nothing.