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All about Virtualization and Cloud Security | Recent Articles:

When it comes to information security, not all industries are alike

Aug 28 by Robert Krauss

Saying all types of companies have the same information security concerns because they face common threats and vulnerabilities is like saying all cars are alike because they have four tires.

The security - as well as regulatory compliance - issues enterprises grapple with differ dramatically based on their industry. As we’ve seen in recent years, the types of attacks companies face and the sources of those attacks can vary depending on their line of business.

Sure, there are basic security commonalities among all types of businesses. Virtually all companies are vulnerable to computer viruses and other malware. Many verticals are seeing a rapid growth in the use of mobile devices and in the security threats they represent. And internal security breaches can happen at any organization, whether it sells shoes or builds rocket ships.

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VARs and MSPs: Keeping Up on the Changing Times

Aug 20 by Robert Krauss

The IT industry has long been characterized by change. You might remember the dominance of mainframes in the data center, the move to minicomputers, and the emergence of client/server architectures and network operating systems. Believe it or not, there was a time when businesses survived without the Internet, and hardly anyone could have imagined anything like a smart phone.

Lately it seems like things are shifting faster than ever. That’s largely because the key trends that are shaping the industry—cloud computing, mobile technology, social media and big data, to name a few—are causing an upheaval in the way vendors design, build and distribute their products and the way organizations use technology.

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Like Many Businesses, Agriculture Needs to Centralize Security Too

Aug 14 by Kathryn Schwab

When we think of farming and agriculture, we tend to think of dirt, maybe some animals, and perhaps some large machinery. And when we think technology and agriculture, maybe our minds wander to a farmer using a mobile phone or some high tech tractor.

Others might think biotech or biometrics for plant or animal breeding, or other farm-related necessities. ITC in agriculture has made many advancements – some for the better, others would argue for the worse. And it shows no sign of slowing down.

For example, here is a fascinating 2014 story from Business Insider that goes into great depth about emerging technologies in agriculture. Another story in The Guardian points to how entrepreneurs are using their tech backgrounds to build unique agricultural operations and urban farms.

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Not Planning for SMAC? Maybe You Should Be

Aug 12 by Robert Krauss

As a managed services provider (MSP) or value-added reseller (VAR), you’re no doubt keenly aware of some of the hottest trends in IT today: the increasing popularity of social media, the growth of mobile technology in the enterprise, the rising emphasis on analytics and big data, and the continuing move to cloud services.

Each of these areas alone has the potential to have a huge impact on IT strategies at organizations. But these technologies don’t operate in a vacuum, and in fact some companies are beginning to look into the concept of creating SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) platforms.

While few vendors are yet offering such platforms, the idea is being talked about in IT circles and some forward-thinking CIOs are looking into SMAC strategies. Some of the large systems integrators and consulting firms are offering services in this area to help clients develop such strategies.

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Managed Security by MSPs: the Now and the Future

Jul 29 by Madalin Dobre

It can be difficult to find relevant estimates for niche market segments, such as managed security services, in such a volatile context. The volatility is mainly generated by the amount of consolidation and business model transformation processes that are currently taking place among managed service providers (MSPs).

In this July, 2014 article from MSPmentor, the author cites forecasts the market values of managed security services, while Research and Markets makes claims for the overall MSP market. If we compare the share of managed security services within overall MSP market, in the two scenarios below, we can easily conclude that the revenue contribution of security services for MSP will grow.

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Security Solutions Offer MSPs a Great Opportunity for Business Growth, But Service Providers Must Address the Licensing Issues

Jul 03 by Robert Krauss

Managed services providers (MSPs) are experiencing a world of change these days, as cloud computing and the “as-a-service” trend continues to grow and have a huge impact on virtually every aspect of IT.

Consider the impact that the growth of public cloud services from Amazon Web Services and other providers has had on IT operations. And think about how much virtualization technologies from vendors such as VMware has changed the way data centers are designed and operated.

As research firm Forrester Research pointed out in a 2013 report, entitled “The Shape-Shifting Tech Industry Channel Ecosystem”, while cloud computing has been a boon for the technology industry in general, channel partners “have to deal with shrinking product margins, skills shortages, and new competitor types”.

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Desktop-as-a-Service: New Opportunities for the Channel

Jun 03 by Robert Krauss

Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), yet another “as-a-service” offering made possible by the cloud, continues to gain momentum in the market. As a VAR or managed services provider, you can tap into this opportunity, not only by providing DaaS offerings to your customers, but by ensuring that these platforms are as secure as possible. 

As with most buzzwords in the IT industry, DaaS can mean different things to different people. But basically this type of service involves providing remote desktop virtualization to devices via cloud computing, much like applications are delivered through software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. 

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The Costs of a Cost, and the Opportunities Lost – Why US Retailers Need to Give Their PoS a Shake

May 23 by Shaun Donaldson

Credit cards are very convenient; swipe, sign, pay later. That is going to change in the US (More Info) and it’s about time. The change does introduce a cost for retailers, but it is also an opportunity.

The Point-of-Sale (PoS) devices at many retailers are a tool that is part of what is generally a low-margin business. The only time PoS devices are refreshed en-masse is when there is an external pressure that initiates the change. The change to credit cards with a chip (whether chip-and-sign or chip-and-PIN) is now creating an external pressure (Read More).

It begs a question from both security and operations perspectives; can retailers do better than meeting only the new immediate demand?

Simplicity rules

When boiled-down, PoS systems have hardware peripherals (magnetic stripe readers, chip readers, signature screens, printers, and so on) attached to a computer. The computer runs software, often within a Windows embedded operating system, that facilitates transactions. They are, in essence, fancy digital cash registers.

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Government and Virtualization: What a Denmark municipality expects for security

Apr 09 by Kathryn Schwab

Governments, federal, state/provincial and municipal, always face mounting costs when it comes to IT, this isn’t news.

And increasingly, many are turning to virtualization and cloud innovations to deliver better service to citizens. Virtualization and cloud technologies bring the promise of better data management and services within and across departments, the storage of the billions of records, and overall, a better user experience both for government workers and citizens alike.

However, security in these innovative environments is no easy task. Traditional implementations rely on a licensing model based on physical machines (per-seat, per-machine, per-year), which ultimately costs more.

But virtualization and cloud present an entirely different methodology, where ‘islands of hardware’ disappear, and the traditional security licensing model becomes troublesome.

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