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Data beyond boundaries

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Although disruptive technologies like cloud and mobile are driving transformation, they are putting CIOs under pressure to deliver a good combination of business value and competitive edge in the ever changing IT environment, says ANURAG AREN.

The latest disruptive technologies such as the cloud, social media, mobility and more are driving digital transformation, creating new and innovative ways of doing business. However, this prevailing trend, while it has the potential to be enormously beneficial, is putting increasing pressure on CIOs to deliver the right combination of business value and competitive edge in an ever-changing technology environment. In addition, customers increasingly expect a seamless, intuitive IT experience, which CIOs must then deliver. The data centre, as the heart of the modern organisation, needs to adapt in order to enable the delivery of agile, flexible services required for a customer-centric enterprise. The Boundary-less Data Centre (BLDC) has thus emerged as the catalyst for this change, driving a new model of ‘workload centric’ IT services that empowers the customer to sense and respond as per value and cost effective services to the business.

Current IT and data centre challenges

One of the most significant challenges today is that the data centre is not optimised, nor is it aligned with business strategy, requirements and outcomes. Organisations are constrained by legacy IT environments, operational issues, lack of appropriate IT compute resources, obsolete technology and more. The current IT landscape is not agile enough to enable faster time to market of new products and expedite release of applications, which reduces competitive advantage. Turnaround time on new releases is slow and the cost is prohibitive if the same hardware and software is used as it has been utilised in the past. Organisations are challenged with the need to reduce costs and cycle times while focusing on the end user experience, becoming predictive in their approach to business, and learning to become workload-centric.

The BLDC is the solution to these challenges, offering a software-defined data centre architecture that is responsive to business outcomes. It serves as underlying enabling technology to allow organisations to become more agile and cater to customer requirements. IT resources including networking, storage and compute can be commissioned in an instant through a self-service portal. Importantly, these resources can be decommissioned as necessary, allowing the organisation to only pay for what they use, when they use it. Utilising a BLDC, organisations are able to seamlessly deliver workloads using a combination of resources from a hybrid cloud-based environment. In addition, the BLDC is hyper-resilient for maximum uptime, and as a software-defined approach is at the core of the offering, it creates a cloud-ready architecture that enables organisations to embrace next-generation technologies such as social, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The advantages of the BLDC

Since a BLDC can be delivered in a variety of different models, including outsourced, in-house or a hybrid Data centres, a key advantage of a BLDC is that the business is not locked into a particular technology or vendor platform. In addition, organisations can leverage significant performance improvements and cost savings. Organisations can be competitive with hardware costs decreased between 30 to 70%, and software licences can be reduced by between 20 to 50%).

In addition, the BLDC facilitates improved alignment between business and IT, as well as pooling of resources for the seamless consumption of IT as well as reduced total cost of ownership. The end user experience is optimised, and the resources consumed by IT can be scaled up and down according to requirements. In addition, agility is improved for faster go to market as well as enhanced automation and automatic scaling of infrastructure to meet demand. This BLDC approach is coupled with role based security and Policy based governance.

These benefits enable organisations to become more flexible, more agile and ultimately more competitive. Costs are automatically reduced by virtue of ensuring optimal technology utilisation, and IT infrastructure is future-proofed. In addition, organisations can quickly launch applications, enhance the end user experience, and expand vertically and horizontally into existing markets with delta incremental cost compared to doing so utilising legacy infrastructure.

The journey toward BLDC

Many organisations have already begun to work towards embracing digitisation and cloud-based technologies, however, this often proves to be a ‘hit and miss’ learning curve as they work towards the desired outcome. Every CIO knows that cloud is successful but is worried about how to get there with minimal risk and assured outcomes. Partnering with an expert service provider can help organisations to reduce the time this process takes, assisting organisations to become more agile sooner, remain competitive and meet changing customer demand.

* Anurag Aren, Head of Global Infrastructure Services at Wipro.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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