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Enterprise Security Software Is Still Lacking, But MSPs Can Fill the Gap

By Shawn Drew One might assume that the outlook for security software providers may be improving as companies and individuals focus on protecting their data, but new research suggests otherwise. Managed service providers (MSPs) should recognize that their strategies will soon be subjected to extreme scrutiny and pivot to meet the demands of the industry and ensure their continued success. The Issues of Today s Enterprise Security Software After decades of heavy use, legacy security solutions, such as antivirus programs and firewalls, may be an ingrained part of any business security infrastructure, but the industry is in the process of turning in a different direction. Despite being nearly ubiquitous with enterprise security, these legacy solutions are failing in their task of securing the business, according to a recent survey of security professionals by Bromium, an endpoint security vendor. The survey, summarized by The VAR Guy, found that more than 50 percent of respondents gave
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Resolving Bluemix Application Push Failures – Application Staging Errors

By Jack Cai In the last post, I explained how to resolve client and fabric related errors when pushing applications to Bluemix. This post will present the next category of errors: application staging errors. Application staging error with explicit buildpack specified The first group of errors in this category happen when you use the -b option to explicitly specify a buildpack to stage your application and the buildpack cannot be retrieved successfully. The causes could be: Invalid buildpack name or URL — When you specify an invalid buildpack name or url, you may see the error below: Server error, status code: 400, error code: 100001, message: The app is invalid: buildpack notexist is not valid public url or a known buildpack name If you need to confirm that you are using the right buildpack name, you can use the cf buildpacks command to list the available built-in buildpacks. Non-existent buildpack address — When you provide a buildpack URL that points to a non-existent add
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Through Our Customers’ Eyes

By Rachel Katz There’s something unique about getting an opinion about a product or service from someone who has actually used that service—it’s part of the reason why the reviews on Amazon and apps like Yelp have become so popular. We can tell you all day long about all the things the SoftLayer cloud platform is capable of, but wouldn’t it be nice to get real life accounts about real customers who are building real businesses by using it? The new customer stories page on our website features video and written stories of just that—happy customers who wanted to share their experiences about changing their industries or improving the way they do business by using SoftLayer. And some of our customers are doing some really, really cool things. Take Sohonet, for example. The company is using the SoftLayer cloud to improve processes in the movie industry. Its private network for processing, storing, and collaborating on media workloads in the cloud has set a new standard for pr
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The Best Mobile Solutions Aren’t ‘One Size Fits All’

By Julie Hunt Managed services providers are finding extensive opportunities in newer technologies that hold great promise for improving business competitiveness and employee productivity. And managed services providers have many of the same challenges as vendors to find success with these new technologies: They must reframe the business approach to focus strongly on customers They must prove real value to their customers businesses They have to present differentiated advantage to customers They have to understand that One Size does not Fit All
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Cost of Doing Business: Cloud Service Providers Shelve Short-Term Profit for Long-Term Gain

By Doug Bonderud At first glance, offering cloud services appears to be a simple equation for cloud service providers (CSPs): Minimize loss, make profit and repeat. However, as noted by a recent CIO article, the IT services landscape is changing, forcing CSPs to rethink the way they operate and reconsider the most direct route to profit. With the price of basic services dropping and the number of players on the rise, many companies are eating their own revenue to offer greater choice and flexibility to customers. Is this the new cost of doing business? Out In Front In his CIO piece, Esteban Herrera digs into some of the challenges presented by a changing digital services industry. Emerging technologies such as high-speed data analytics and user-level behavioral analysis are now must-haves, along with more basic services such as cloud deployments and failover protection. This creates a climate of uncertainty, since providers used to selling bodies are now confronted with the reality
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Google Says More Than Half Of Its UK Searches Are Performed On Mobile

During today’s London Tech Week event, Eileen Naughton, the managing director and VP for sales and operations in Google UK-Ireland, announced more than half of all UK searches are done via mobile. The stat was shared by attendee Dan Cobley via
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How Software Defined is Changing Storage Economics

By Rob Riffe A few months ago, IBM’s bold move into software defined storage changed how IT looks at storage. The introduction of IBM Spectrum Storage incorporates more than 700 patents and is backed by plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years toward propelling the use of software defined storage in any form – as software, appliance or cloud service.
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SMB MSPs – A New Business Species?

By Babette Ten Haken SMB MSPs are managed service providers (MSPs) that provide managed cloud, big data, security and mobile services to small to mid-size businesses (SMB). According to an article in Channel Partners Online, there’s a tremendous opportunity for MSPs in the next four years, 2015-2019, as small to mid-size businesses recognize the need for these types of services. While that’s good news for SMB MSPs, it is also good news for small to mid-size businesses, if they choose to see it this way. Small to mid-size businesses are traditionally marginalized by consultants and vendors, who prefer to chase accounts with larger companies offering greater ROI on the time spent cultivating that account. This scenario leaves many SMBs on the outside, looking in, when it comes to cloud, mobile, security and big data. This opportunity favors SMB MSPs who are dedicated to working with small to mid-size businesses. These are a special set of folks. Like me, they recognize that the
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How Analyzing the Small Customer Data Can Make a Big Difference

By Christian Youngblood Every day we read of new discoveries that are being made courtesy of big data. Large cities are using this information to predict when and where crime is likely to occur. Meteorologists fill racks of hard drives with historical weather patterns to provide forecasts that are more accurate than ever. Entire professions are being created to focus efforts on both collecting and analyzing information that was once considered insignificant. According to Computerworld, a Boeing 787 can generate approximately the same amount of data as the World Wide Web did in 1996, roughly half of a terabyte. The information is made available to analyze everything from the speed and direction of the plane to the vibrations emitted from each engine. There is no doubt that this data will be refined to suggest quicker routes and fuel saving methods, but that information will be of little use if the company is unable to satisfy their customer demands.  Customer satisfaction is obtained
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Programming Language Landscape Shows Impact of Python, Swift

By Rick Robinson The programming language landscape is in a constant state of evolution, with competition not just among languages, but also across all ecosystems that include developers and vendors. The evolution of programming languages and usage is largely driven by the pursuit of speed and simplicity, which are the keys to performance and reliability. Managed service providers (MSPs) have emerged as crucial players in the technology economy and ecosystem precisely because of their ability to deliver superior performance and reliability across the range of IT services offered. Therefore, operational speed and simplicity are essential to maintaining the competitive position of MSPs. Python Speeds Up as Swift Makes a Splash According to InfoWorld, the popular Python language is getting a boost in speed, with the PyPy implementation now running many Python applications seven times faster than CPython, the default implementation. A set of PyPy benchmarks for the Django Web framework
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5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Cloud Data

By Steve Olenski After high-profile data breaches of Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Sony Pictures, and Anthem, businesses across every industry are investing heavily in data protection. In the retail industry alone, Forrester predicts a double-digitincrease in security spending. Before you start throwing money at your cybersecurity worries, use common-sense precautions to protect your cloud data. These five steps, coupled with smart cloud security strategies and tools, will make sensitive data a lot less vulnerable. 1. Know Where Data Lives Today’s businesses collect and analyze extraordinary amounts of data. They store their trade secrets, product research data, and financial information, along with customers’ personal data. Although your security team can protect the data within your walls, your cloud services provider and third parties are also custodians of your data. Depending on your industry, you’ll face significant financial penalties when business partners misuse your dat
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OpenStack Acquisitions Galore – IBM Buys Blue Box

By Brandon Butler The OpenStack market is consolidating – quickly. Today two startups in the open source cloud IaaS market were purchased: Cisco bought Piston Cloud Computing Co. and IBM purchased Blue Box. Terms of neither deal were disclosed. The moves are just the latest in a flurry of merger and acquisition activity in the cloud market in recent weeks: EMC bought Virtustream last month and a conglomerate of telecom companies purchased the comparatively small cloud hosting vendor named Codero. For Piston and BlueBox, the moves represent successful exits for startup companies in the OpenStack market. While it’s a success for them, some may lament that it consolidates power in the market to more large vendors. One of the founders of Piston, Josh McKenty, who has since moved on from the company, recently said OpenStack has “lost its heart.” Most of the original startups companies in the OpenStack community have been bought – including Cloudscaling by EMC a year ago too. Pist
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Liberty buildpack v1.19 – Enhanced App Management Support

By Jack Cai We just pushed out a new version of the Liberty for Java buildpack in Bluemix, version v1.19! The major enhancement in this release is the application management support. At the beginning of the year, we introduced development mode, which enabled users to doremote debugging and incremental update against their Liberty applications in Bluemix. Later on we delivered similar support for Node.js applications including nice web dev console for managing the application “in-place” (without restarting the application container) and direct shell access into the application container. We are adding equivalent support for Liberty applications in this new version. Enabling app management Previously users can set the ENABLE_BLUEMIX_DEV_MODE environment variable to true to turn on the development mode and get all the above fancy utilities together. To give users more control, we are deprecating that environment variable and introducing a new one called BLUEMIX_APP_MGMT_EN
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Phonebot: Conference Calls in Slack using Bluemix and Watson

By James Thomas Last month, a colleague was explaining he was not looking forward to an afternoon of long-distance conference calls. Having recently started using Slack for collaboration with their remote team, they lamented… I wish I could do my conference calls using Slack! …which got us thinking. Recent experiments with IBM Watson Speech-to-Text and Twilio on IBM Bluemix had shown how easy it was to create telephony applications. Slack publishes multiple APIs to help developers build custom “bots” that respond to channel content. Could we create a new Slackbot that let users make phone calls using channel messages? One month later, Phonebot was born! What does it do specifically? Defines a Slackbot that lets users make phone calls within a Slack channel. Converts phone call audio to text and sends to the channel. Channel message replies are converted to speech and sent over the phone call. TL;DR Full source code for the project is available here. Follow the deployment
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Ready to Test Services That Enforce Authentication?

By Dan Pollitt You can now test services based on the role of a user or client that is consuming the service, making it easy to do role and mixed-role testing. Step 1. Define the type of authentication that the service uses First, you add information to the service definition about the type of authentication that the service uses, for example, basic authentication or an API token that is supplied as an HTTP header or query parameter. Depending on the choice of authentication, you provide more details. Step 2. Create one or more identities to test the service Next, you create an identity for the use case that you want to test with that identity. Each identity represents either a human with a specific role such as an “administrator” or “basic user”, or a software component. Step 3. Add credentials to that identity Credentials are either a token or a username/password pair that enable authentication. You can associate those credentials with one or more services. An identity can h
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Best #SEO tactics to try for 2015 (Flowchart)

Google s made thousands of changes to its algorithm over the years, making it difficult for marketers to keep up with exactly how to optimise their content for search in this day and age. Old tried-and-true SEO tactics suddenly don t work anymore and there are tons of new ranking factors we need to consider. What s a marketer to do? To help you started with a solid SEO strategy in 2015, Kuno Creative created the flowchart below. Use it as a quick guide to see what else you should be doing to rank better in search results. The post Best #SEO tactics to try for 2015 (Flowchart) appeared first on The Smarter Business.
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Work Life of a Customer Support Technician

By Stanley Soman My day as a customer support technician begins very early. I leave home at 6 a.m. to start my shift at 7 a.m., relieving the overnight shift. Customers start calling, opening tickets, and chat sessions almost immediately after I log into one of our systems, either LivePerson Agent Console, Cisco Phone Agent, or SoftLayer’s ticket management system, which is dependent on employee scheduling, specialty, or customer traffic. Should our customers ever need help, we are prepared and up-to-date as possible on what’s going on with our internal systems. Every morning I check for any notices received via email from different internal teams about updates to the network, server upgrades, or emergency maintenances that could be relevant to the tickets and questions of the day. Besides current update notifications we use to address customer questions and concerns, we also use our external wikis (also known as theKnowledgeLayer) for existing information should we need it. As cu
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Facebook’s new app helps you share photos with only those you want to see them

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MSPs and Cloud-based Analytics

By Jim Harris A decade ago the phrase cloud-based analytics would have conjured images of meteorologists basing their weather forecasts on the analysis of data describing cloud formations and atmospheric movements. Today cloud-based analytics refers to the use of cloud computing to provide more business users with access to the data and analytical functionality needed to forecast business outcomes, calculate risks, predict market shifts, develop profitable promotions, and make more informed business decisions. According to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group, user adoption and engagement is key for enterprises looking to exploit the power of business analytics, which is why a cloud environment can be a useful backdrop for analytics and provides the ability to deliver analytic capabilities in a familiar interface, with reduced or minimal IT intervention. Compared with companies taking solely an on-premise approach, the research revealed that companies taking a cloud-based ap
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Cloud Computing Services: Demand in the Education Sector

By Marissa Tejada The education sector is learning some fast lessons around cloud computing services. A new industry report reveals that a majority of school districts are using cloud services to provide mobile learning for students — a noteworthy trend for CSPs working with schools and educational institutions. More Learning According new research from the Consortium of School Networking, 65 percent of districts are utilizing cloud computing to help students with mobile learning. The report, featured in Education World, also revealed that 55 percent more school districts are using the cloud this year compared to 2014. This is a result of increased familiarity with what cloud can provide — a proof point that the IT educational market is evolving. The survey suggests that the positive impact of the cloud could cause more districts to follow suit. However, administrators have expressed concerns regarding the potential use of student data and compliance with education laws that inv
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Europe’s Particle Physics Lab Keeps Options Open with its Clouds

By Paul Miller Europe’s particle physics lab, CERN, generated its share of cloudy headlines at the recent OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, as a multi-year collaboration between CERN’s openlab Project and managed cloud provider Rackspace reached prime-time as the underpinnings of OpenStack Kilo’s federated identity capability. Other organizations also contributed code and ideas as this project rolled into OpenStack, but CERN continues to explore other cloud technologies and perhaps even other ways of solving very similar problems. As Frederic Lardinois reported for TechCrunch at the time, OpenStack Executive Director Jonathan Bryce used the opening keynote at last month’s Summit in Vancouver to announce a number of advances within the project. One of those was support for ‘federated identity,’ or the ability to log in to a remote OpenStack cloud using credentials associated with your own OpenStack cloud. Given the early — but essentially unrealized — promise of a gl
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Internet of Things Could Trigger a Surge in Productivity

By Rick Robinson The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) promises to unleash a surge in productivity that will be felt across the economy. These productivity improvements will be driven by the ability of connected smart devices in the field, such as infrastructure and transportation equipment and consumer appliances, to report their condition and maintenance needs in real time. This reporting will allow servicing to be performed as needed, rather than on a fixed schedule. Maintenance as a Responsive Service As Patrick Thibodeau reports at InfoWorld, the IoT could lead to a new wave of productivity growth, which will greatly benefit an economy that is still not running in top gear. According to Harvard economist Michael Porter, the IoT could drive waste out of the economy in ways that we have really never seen before. As smart devices make field maintenance more efficient and reliable, the spillover effects will be felt both directly and indirectly. For example, the current reliance on
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