Infographic: How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Cloud Computing

If you’re interested in the world of technology, then cloud computing will not be a foreign term to yourself.

It is arguably one of the most rapid and advanced piece of technology that we have seen in the past century that has been adapted and utilized by almost every industry on the planet.

However, not everyone is clued up on the highly diverse world of cloud computing. Especially small businesses that are looking to expand or entrepreneurs that are looking to get started with building their business empire.

For this reason, Net Technical Solutions, who are a business technology support center in Surrey, have produced this infographic to help educate and inform anyone who wishes to explore the use of cloud computing for their business.

This infographic walks you through the different types of cloud computing structures that you could use depending on the nature of your intended use. It also goes on to look at the exciting part of cloud computing technology, that is of course the future and what industry experts are predicting and forecasting for cloud computing.

We are keen to know what your thoughts are on cloud computing and the future, so make sure you comment and join in on the conversation by commenting below.

Computing In The Cloud

Created by NTSols
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Data War Intensifies with Google’s Memory Hole and Facebook’s Sentiment Research

Big data war

Data is next oil very prevalent thought in an advertising and marketing industry. It seems that recent controversies around ECJs verdict on Google’s ‘right to forget’ feature (memory hole) and Facebook’s sentiment research have also confirmed that the stage is set for a data war.

Some might disagree with my observation and categorize both issues under ethical code to protect the privacy rights of online users, but looking at following points, I think this is a tussle among authorities, data companies and users to control or own data.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Online users with a strong appetite for free services are struggling to control data and however unethical it may sound, users will remain on back foot. And reason is how can we avail ourselves of a free service and not expect Google, Facebook and Twitter to utilize our social interaction data, emotions or gestures to monetize their offerings. The truth is, as soon as we subscribe to a free service, we kind of surrender our fundamental right to control data related to us.

There are ongoing attempts from governing bodies to secure user privacy rights, such as limitation around tracking cookies or strict privacy settings, but there are always stories out there that one way or another users’ data is accessed and used for monetization.

Data ownership and processing have gone beyond legal authorities

For authorities, controlling the flow of information or data is a high priority task and rightly so. The main reasons are ensuring national security, protecting users’ privacy and human rights etc., but the days are gone where government and authorities had big budget, highly advanced surveillance programs to ensure data flow was in their control. Now open source, crowd-sourcing data hosting platforms have made it literally impossible for them to monitor information flow without the support of things like Facebook. For example, Facebook likely to be better than FBI at facial recognition due to its larger photo database. So now authorities are left with no option but to take the legal route and force companies to surrender their data, like the NSA program, or restrict their data, like Google right to reject (Memory hole) or Turkish and Egyptian governments’ stopping Twitter access on their territories etc., but it’s not that easy as here the government might themselves violate data protection laws.

Facebook+ have no option other than manipulating sentiments

Despite unprecedented popularity, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are coming under severe pressure for not driving enough traffic or revenue for businesses, plus users’ appetite for continuous use of free services has forced companies to look beyond display advertising models, doing things such as monetizing users’ interests, sentiments or social graphs.

As a result, in my opinion to appease marketers and show them that they are on top of their game, Facebook recently released results of a sentiment research which they have conducted along with PMAC, to analyze the viral effect of people’s sentiments on their platform, and the results unsurprisingly confirmed that sentiments are contagious, especially when they are negative i.e. if a friend posted a depressing update on Facebook, it might make you feel upset too.

But it all seems to have backfired, as the research has drawn loads of flak from digital rights and privacy experts concerning privacy violation. As a result, Facebook apologized publicly and might be involved in some legal proceedings with concerned parties.

Conclusion: The Data War will intensify from now on

Overall, however you look at it, owning and controlling data is vital but a constant struggle, and in my opinion this stems from users, who have become accustomed to free services and have shown no inclination towards paying for services. Therefore content hosting and providing companies have no option but to use or manipulate users’ data to monetize their services. The authorities can only warn users about data abuse and try to curtail data companies by introducing new laws, but when the buck stops at data, there will always a way for companies to monetize that, and therefore the data war will not slow down. Rather it will intensify from now on.

Twelve science and technology endeavours that might improve Humankind lifestyle

In the last 10-15,000 years of written history mankind has come a long way, changing from predator to mostly producer; in that time all areas of human civilisation have witnessed a huge growth in technology. Specifically, if we look back over the last 100 – 150 years, the advances made in the electronic, medical, silicon, mechanical and chemical sciences are hugely praiseworthy: from the discovery of electricity to the invention of the telephone, through to aeroplanes, computers, satellites and the internet; as a result average life expectancy, income, and gross production per capita have all significantly increased.

However, despite all these advances, as humans we still need to resolve many puzzles around us; we don’t yet know what caused this universe to form, how the human nervous system works, how to permanently cure cancer or AIDS, eradicate poverty, religious wars or corruption or halt environmental change and what happens if the human population explodes beyond the means of this Earth?

The best thing is that we, human kind, have not become complacent and are very much aware of the challenges faced by our civilisation and that there are many projects taking place around the world to resolve these issues. I have summarised below some of the science and technology projects that might address these challenges and improve our lifestyle.

1.Large Hadron Collider (LHC) may figure out how the world is put together

Large Hadron Collider Particle physicists have the coolest job: smashing subatomic particles together at incredibly high speeds to untangle the secrets of the universe. Scientists use the LHC to reconstruct the conditions immediately following the Big Bang. In July 2012 the LHC drew international attention when scientists conveyed their discovery of the Higgs boson, the particle thought to explicate how other particles get their weight. “Our goal is always to understand how the world is put together,” said Roger Dixon, head of the accelerator division at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois.

2. Brain re-mapping reveals rationale behind our sentiments and abnormalities in our neuron system

Brain RemappingUS President Barack Obama has revealed a new initiative to map the brain. The $100m investment will be used to cultivate new technologies to examine how the billions of individual cells in the human brain interrelate. Scientists will also focus on how the brain registers, stores and processes information and investigate how brain function is linked to behaviour. The project will use supercomputer-based models and simulations to rebuild a virtual human brain to develop new cures for neurological conditions.

3. Human space exploration can give us a glimpse of the bigger picture

Human space exploration Human space exploration helps to address essential questions about the place of mankind in the universe and the history of our solar system. Through addressing the challenges related to human space exploration, scientists can figure out:
• How did the solar system form and where did the Earth’s water and other organic materials, such as carbon, originate?

• NASA is researching galactic cosmic radiation that might potentially be the most threatening element to humans exploring deep space with the aim of cultivating easing strategies that may also lead to medical advances on Earth.

• The International Space Station assists as a national laboratory for human health, biological and materials research, as a technology test-bed and as a stepping stone for going further into the solar system.

• By understanding more about asteroids we may learn more about past Earth impacts and possibly find ways to decrease the threat of future effects.

4. Stem cell research can fix physical anomalies in the human body

Stem cell research Scientists and researchers are interested in stem cells for several reasons; although stem cells do not serve any one function, many have the capacity to serve any function after they are instructed to specialize. Stem cells are powerful enough to regenerate damaged tissue under the right conditions and can help in:

1. Organ and tissue regeneration
2. Cardiovascular disease treatment
3. Brain disease treatment
4. Cell deficiency therapy
5. Blood disease treatments

5. Genetically modified foods might resolve food scarcity issues

Genetically modified foods Genetically modified foods are foods formed from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), specifically, genetically modified crops. GMOs have had specific changes woven into their DNA by genetic engineering methods.
With an ever-increasing global population, massive third world hunger and with an estimate that a child dies every two seconds worldwide from starvation, there is great potential in the use of genetically modified technology to the advantage not just of farmers but also for societies worldwide.

6. Big data analysis can make information much more transparent and curb corruption

Big data analysis Big data analysis can now process trillions of bytes of data in minutes; there are five broad ways in which using big data analysis can create value:

1. Big data can be used to monitor the progress of developments in the next generation of products and services. For instance, manufacturers are using data acquired from sensors implanted in products to create new after-sales service offerings such as proactive maintenance.

2. A big data can offer significant value by making information transparent and operational at much higher rate.

3. As businesses create and store more transactional data in digital form, they can collect more precise and detailed performance information on everything from product inventories to staff turnaround, and therefore exposes variability and increase productivity.

4. A big data permits ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more exactly customised offering.

5. Refined analytics can noticeably improve decision-making.

7. Renewable energy may slow environmental change

Renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources which are continually restocked such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. About 16% of global final energy intake comes from renewable resources with 10% of all energy from traditional biomass, mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from hydroelectricity.

New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) account for another 3% and are growing rapidly. The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 19%, with 16% coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.

8. Wearable tech, 3D printers, cloud computing and self-driving automobiles increase productivity

Renewable energy Other technology advances resulting from continuous computing and bio-technology growth are:

1. Cloud computing making information hosting, processing and rendering very accessible and cheap.

2. Wearable techs like Google Glass and Apple’s highly anticipated iWatch are embedding tech into the human body to enable more efficient collection and communication of information, thereby increasing productivity.

3. 3D printers/faxes that promise to manufacture custom made products on the fly.

4. Self-driving automobiles, like Google Car and Boing plane, reduce human error when we commute from one place to another.

5. DNA analysis helps to do genome analysis and can detect early signs of deadly diseases such as cancer.

Conclusion

Overall, we are still in the very early stages of discovering why we (i.e. human) exist, how we evolved, how our bodies work and subsequently facing issues like dementia, poverty, unemployment, religious wars, resource scarcity and those causing more agony and pain. But if we join all the points together, from the LDC project to renewable energy to brain mapping to cloud computing, we are progressing in the right direction by exploring the possibilities of what causes our existence; in doing so we are creating employment and using the latest technology to communicate new findings at a very high speed.

Six reasons why big data science is not working for businesses

Recent revelations of phone firms selling their million+ users’ data to public and private companies and also that the Bloomberg News Unit, via their data extraction technology, were tapping secretive information that Wall Street traders use on a daily basis, have reconfirmed that data breaches have become a regular phenomenon and re-endorsed the thought that data is the new oil and that big data science is not working.

But before we look at why data is really the new oil, let’s quickly brush up: is abusing big data the only way for companies to gain a competitive advantage or there are other ways too? The answer is that there are many fair practices that companies can use to obtain customer data, such as offering free services like unlimited mobile phone data usage, free content generation networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) or the use of relatively cheap or free sophisticated content aggregation tools (Digg, Hootsuite). Cloud computing with open source data processing models like Hadoop and NoSQL or social media data aggregators such as Gnip and Datasift have made it relatively easy for businesses to collect all this information and subsequently use it for decision making.

However, despite all these advances we keep hearing every second day that companies are violating data protection laws or using unlawful techniques to get, buy or sell data. Which made us think, as we discuss below, is this sheer greed or there is something missing from this big data science that forces businesses to take an unlawful route?

We have come up with six main reasons which cause or tempt companies to breach data privacy i.e. go beyond normal big data science practices to gain a greater competitive advantage.

1. Data within dark social media cannot be accessed legally

Despite so many open source social media networks, 80% of communications are still done via emails, SMS or private messages apps and this is information that companies cannot legitimately access. This therefore forces them to look at ways of using technology, such as buying cookies or spying on these dark social media tools, to get hold of that information.

2. Inability to de-code intuition or customer buying intent via big data analysis

Many studies suggest that 60% of the time we go with our impulse or 80% of the time we go with word of mouth or else we simply Google when we buy something plus these studies also suggest that the existing technologies are not able to decode sentiments from whatever data we have. This means that, despite having all this social interaction, engagement and sentimental data, companies are continuously looking for real data on consumer buying behaviours and in real life this data is either with Google or within individual companies’ systems. Big companies maintain this valuable data in centralised data storage centres which, despite both digital and physical security, are always prone to data holes or attempts by competitors to break in; this is particularly true for those data centres held in Far Eastern countries.

3. ROI is very low on advertising or subscription models for free data services

We all know that the rationale behind mobile phone companies giving unlimited data usage package or websites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google giving free space to upload images, text, video and audio is to implement an advertising or subscription revenue model based on the back of huge amounts of data collected through these services. However, apart from Google, very few companies really make a substantial amount of money from these models and therefore are forced to look to other avenues to monetise their data. The most obvious route is licensing or selling data, something which is very prone to data law breaches, as in the case of EE trying to make some money by selling their mobile user data.

4. Hacking can still tempt corporates to get big data illegally

Hacking is no longer the hobby of technologists who like to break the code of robust systems to prove their technical superiority, it has become a business where even large corporations have broken into their competitors’ data systems in order to obtain exclusive information and thereby gain a competitive advantage. The recent hacking of the Wall Street trading system, either knowingly or unknowingly, by the Bloomberg News Unit could be categorised as this kind of hacking.

5. The expense of data scientists and processing forces companies to buy cheap data without a sanity check

The abundance of information has created a new breed of scientist and managed services companies who charge businesses a fortune to collect, process and render information for competitive benefits. Few companies can afford to do this and, if they can, it is a time consuming process. Businesses can take a shorter route to obtain this information by buying in data but in the process they usually forget to undertake a sanity check on the source of the information.

6. Inconsistent and loosely coupled data privacy laws create loopholes for data breaches

In practical terms, despite many regulatory bodies, there are no consistent worldwide data privacy and protection laws. For example, Google, Microsoft and many other big companies currently have issues with the European Commission under EU data privacy laws, however, these same companies are running their business in the rest of the world using the same data privacy policies. As another example, in the USA every breach made to an organisation’s system must be reported to the authorities and be made public whereas in countries like India this is not mandatory. In other words, inconsistent laws around the globe mean that companies can be tempted to either obtain or block competitive data from different parts of the world.

Overall, the main reasons for big data privacy breaches are the continuous advance of technology (hacking); a lack of consistent laws internationally; the inability to extract and contextualise big data or to find a way to monetise data collected via free services.

In this open source, crowd funded and cloud storage era I don’t think that the situation is going to improve very soon. Closing the loop, for all the above reasons, is tough and, for the same reasons, I and many others are forced to accept that data is the new oil, causing mayhem everywhere, from Wall Street to top websites, from the banking industry to public services.