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The journey into the cloud

The cloud is rapidly becoming a star within the IT strategies of organisations throughout the planet . Companies of all sizes are awakening to the advantages of moving some or all Oracle application to the cloud, reducing the necessity for up-front capital investment so as to accelerate return on investment, also as gaining greater business insight and a superb user experience. 

Blazing a trail

The reality of today’s cloud technology is now matching – or maybe exceeding – the hype of a couple of years ago. However, some organisations are still cautious about moving business-critical applications to the cloud, supported perceived risks that are often overstated and supported outdated concerns. To allay these fears, we will draw on the experiences of early adopters, like Reading Council, to prove the worth of migrating Oracle applications to the Cloud.
Organisations today are under increasing pressure to embrace new technology, both so as to demonstrate innovation and to enhance performance. Within the Oracle community, organisations are at different stages in migrating their business-critical applications but more and more are embarking on – or a minimum of planning their route for – the journey to the cloud. A key driver is that the cloud reduces the necessity for specialist skills in-house, liberating IT departments from systems maintenance and empowering them to specialise in more strategic initiatives.
Organisations today are under increasing pressure to embrace new technology, both so as to demonstrate innovation and to enhance performance


The state of play

Claremont’s recent survey on the longer term of Oracle-based Applications delivers a desirable insight into the state of play in Cloud migration.
The survey asked: Has your business migrated any of its Oracle-based applications to the Cloud?
13 per cent have migrated some Oracle-based applications to the cloud
13 per cent are within the process of migrating Oracle-based applications to the cloud
74 per cent of companies haven't migrated any Oracle-based applications to the cloud
40 per cent say they're going to move to the cloud within 12 months, 60 per cent within one to 3 years
While only 26 per cent are actively engaged within the cloud at the present , perhaps the foremost interesting result's within the intentions of the 74 per cent who haven't yet migrated. With 60 per cent planning on moving to the cloud within three years, organisations are clearly excited about the advantages of the cloud, making late adopters an ever-diminishing minority.
The survey also asked organisations who engaged within the cloud about which applications they need moved. HCM/Payroll is currently the foremost common application, with 62.5 per cent of organisations moving it to the cloud. In future, this looks is about to vary , with 80 per cent of organisations keen to maneuver ERP, once any apprehensions are dispelled (18 per cent currently host ERP within the cloud).


Conclusions

Moving business-critical applications to the cloud only is sensible if you see clear benefits. The mass migration over subsequent one to 3 years demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of organisations see them very clearly indeed. This movement towards the cloud is unquestionably influenced by the experiences of early adopters. as an example , the survey indicates that 75 per cent of organisations who have moved their Oracle applications have reduced their operating costs as a result, with 63 per cent saying their system is now easier to upgrade and maintain. maybe even more impressive, 63 per cent cite their move to the cloud as enabling new business models for the organisation.
The organisations who believed within the promise of the cloud have blazed a trail and have proven the worth of moving some or all Oracle applications to the cloud. the proper hosting partner are going to be ready to work with you to work out if moving to the cloud is true for you and to assist make that journey as seamless as possible.

Clouds lifting: A brighter public sector security outlook ahead?

While the pace of cloud computing adoption has reached new peaks, the general public sector continues to lag relative to the private, despite initiatives to allay fears and spur uptake. There are variety of key reasons for this, but the main issue in particular others remains the perception of insecurity. Although some innovative councils and even, more recently, the Metropolitan Police are starting to embrace cloud adoption, the bulk of the general publisector remains overly risk averse and this has been an important blocker of uptake.
In many minds, loss of control will always equate to an insecure environment. A continued lack of due diligence from the media has also added to the present feeling of insecurity. Continually, large-scale cyber breaches of all forms are reported as “cloud” breaches, when most still target corporate networks, not the CSPs (Cloud Service Providers) themselves. the excellence , if made in the least , is usually unclear. The marketing strategy of some cybersecurity firms has also had a negative role to play. In lieu of knowledge to conclusively demonstrate ROI of security spend at board level, scaremongering has become a default marketing strategy. this is often counterproductive within the future .
However, despite these fears, a cloud environment can actually be much more secure than in-house capabilities. Firstly, the character of cloud computing allows reconfiguration in response to threats far easier. These threats are real, but aren't necessarily more or less threatening to the cloud than to the other environment. We are too able to forget the shortcomings of more familiar environments, particularly with reference to economies of scale and specialisation. Indeed, one among the main benefits of moving to the cloud is that the ability to leverage the expertise of the seller . Most CSPs with sufficient scale see many thousands of times more threats than the typical enterprise. during a growing and diverse threat landscape, this is often a strong driver of uptake. Additionally, given the prevalence of risk from insider threats, there's also a robust argument that cloud environments can significantly hinder the potential damage a malevolent employee can wreck by physically separating them from where data is stored. This also makes common tactics like social engineering far more difficult.
The nature of cloud computing allows reconfiguration in response to threats far easier. These threats are real, but aren't necessarily more or less threatening to the cloud than to the other environment
CSPs would be served to spotlight transparency and security reporting features and capabilities. Transparency especially can allay fears over loss of control. If these fears also reach vendor lock-in, CSPs should emphasise interoperability. for instance , some cloud services have gained such widespread uptake they need become defacto standards, with their functions emulated by others. Compliance with these APIs can ease the difficulty of vendor migration.
CSPs should also help customers test for security, no matter the other provisions in situ . Crucially, buyers should never accept a one-size-fits-all approach, no matter how basic or limited a requirement they believe is required . an honest CSP will always be willing to figure with the customer to make a cloud environment that's particular to their organisation.
Migrating to the cloud is that the perfect time to undertake a holistic security audit of processes, assets and other people . While the CSP features a crucial role to play in allaying fears, the customer should in fact undertake significant due diligence on their potential provider. IT security standards like ISO27001 and therefore the Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) should be supplemented by personnel security standards like BS7858.
The Cloud Security Principles issued in 2014 offer helpful guidance when building or implementing a cloud computing platform within the public sector. Empowered by changes to the govt Security Classification Policy, the wants are far less prescriptive and more flexible than previous iterations and permit for straightforward adoption of off-the-shelf cloud products at rock bottom official security band.
Additionally, recent changes to the VAT regime for contracted out services in central government and therefore the NHS has also shifted the value calculation, as commodity cloud is now eligible for rebate. Taken together, these are powerful enablers of uptake, and of serious help in bridging the public-private cloud computing gap.Why cloud storage continues to divide opinion
Cloud technology gives consumers access to a wealth of applications and expands data storage capability beyond the confines of the house PC or laptop. It gives people the chance to access content on the move and to share their data. However, preference for using cloud storage divides opinion.
Through an IEEE online survey, 26 per cent of technology enthusiasts recently noted that the cloud is their least preferred method for storing their information. On a scale of 1 to 5 , 23 per cent ranked it mid-range with only 15 per cent citing it as their first preference.
No doubt consumers are sensitive to the havoc cyberattacks can wreak. A raft of recent data hacking incidents, affecting private individuals and corporations, has raised awareness of the potential dangers when security measures are compromised.
Cybersecurity may be a necessary safeguard to our digital lives as more and more of our private and private information is stored on third party platforms. It’s a modern-day reality that more of our assets and devices are now ‘connected’ and, along side the convenience this brings, also comes the threat of privacy invasions.
Such intrusions can extend beyond the vulnerable devices which will immediately spring to mind – like smartphones and laptops – to wearable devices, connected homes and connected cars also . there's a growing need for vigilance and heightened measures to guard our digital information.


Faith in digital payments

Interestingly, an equivalent IEEE survey reveals growing trust within the security of mobile payments. 70 per cent of respondents suggested that by 2030 mobile payments are going to be secure enough to exchange cash and credit cards because the thanks to pay. 
It certainly points to a high level of religion in digital systems for currency at this early stage of mobile payments’ life cycle. Although, we also see from the survey that for 46 per cent of respondents payment information hacks represent their biggest concern over mobile payment technology, while 33 per cent worry about unauthorised payments.
Cybersecurity may be a necessary safeguard to our digital lives as more and more of our private and private information is stored on third party platforms
The year 2030 may sound how off but it’s a mere 14 years. If the survey respondents are right, we will anticipate a future where today’s infants will never know take advantage their pockets. Cash, having dominated the exchange useful since coins were first used round the 7th century BC, could become obsolete a mere 80 years after the primary mastercard payment (as we might know it) was made, and within the comparative blink-of-an-eye since mobile payments were introduced.
Of course, cash is already being phased call at many arenas, particularly transport where ‘change for the bus’ is an increasingly irrelevant saying. Offering speed and convenience, the recognition of mobile contactless payments is growing as a way for completing low value transactions like purchasing a takeaway coffee.


The ‘I’ in Internet

A surprising number of the survey’s respondents demonstrate a high level of security awareness when it involves the web reception and to the impact on the individual of cybersecurity threats. Technology is getting used to watch home internet activity with over a fifth (22 per cent) from the survey saying they need auto alerts found out to flag any attempted connectivity, 11 per cent stating they use visualised monitoring in real-time and three per cent indicating they hook up with a cloud monitoring system. 
They’re statistics that suggest more people now understand some inevitable vulnerabilities go hand-in-hand with being ‘online’ which there are measures which will , and will , be taken to guard oneself and one’s assets. Such awareness bodes well for the continuing health of the cybersecurity industry. subsequent generation of cybersecurity professionals must be encouraged and developed to make sure protection within the future.
those developments in cybersecurity will mostly affect fraud , consistent with 42 per cent of survey respondents with over 1 / 4 (27 per cent) calling out online anonymity, 18 per cent piracy and 12 per cent viruses.
This survey into views on digital safety and therefore the way forward for cybersecurity reveals enthusiasm for progress, with a high proportion of individuals anticipating digital sorts of currency exchange to supercede take advantage a brief space of your time . Yet, it also shows reticence towards giving an excessive amount of control over personal data to 3rd parties for it to be stored somewhere within the cloud. Awareness has grown over the importance of security, and therefore the risks when it fails. In an increasingly digital world, with unprecedented levels of connectivity and therefore the proliferation of cloud services, cybersecurity has never been more important.

IBM Mad Scientists Event: Robots, AI and IoT

Last week the Compare the Cloud team were invited to the IBM Mad Scientists event at IBM Southbank to experience a number of the more “out there” technology projects currently being explored by the company’s developers, members of the LJC and University researchers. Promising IoT, AI and robotics, the event was unashamedly one that valued innovation over functionality, which helped to elucidate a number of the stranger projects on show. Still, with the human imagination providing the sole limit to the creations on offer, we’ve highlighted a number of the foremost noteworthy proposals below.
How emotional can we need robots to be?
One of the earliest talking points of the night came from an interview by developer Dave Snowdon about why emotions are playing an increasingly large role in robotic development. With Aldebaran’s Nao robot offering support within the sort of unintelligible noises, Mr Snowdon explained that giving a non-human object a personality may be a difficult balancing act.
When it involves personal assistants and avatars, for instance , a scarcity of emotion can encounter as cold and unengaging, but misguided attempts at giving robots emotions also can cause a way of unease – the disconnect between the human and inhuman leads observers to experience a sense of the “uncanny.” Robot personalities will still progress, but it's going to be a short time before we experience one that's convincing without being creepy.


Twitter-controlled drones

While the words “Twitter-controlled drones” could conjure images of social media-based warfare, the devices we saw were purely for entertainment purposes. By tweeting a spread of commands like “take off,” “turn left,” and “flip forward,” we were ready to make the quadcopters perform aerial acrobatics at the touch of a button.
Promising IoT, AI and robotics, the event was unashamedly one that valued innovation ovefunctionality, which helped to elucidate a number of the stranger projects on show


LED disco

It was time to observe out for the dad dancing as we made our thanks to the LED disco, where Twitter messages might be displayed on a Saturday Night Fever-esque floor . Our own Neil Cattermull was throwing all manner of shapes because the lights beneath him spelt out his Twitter handle. It’s not yet known what happened to the footage of this amazing spectacle.


Gaming on a budget 

The event also showcased a few of homemade gaming efforts by IBM DevOps specialist Paul Mandell.information technology degree the primary saw a £5 IKEA table, an old LCD screen, some broken PC speakers, and a Raspberry Pi became a retro gaming fan’s dream. Pac-Man, Space Invaders and a number of other classics were available without you having to read your spare change.

Also on display was a “Zombie Bunnies” computer game , which saw you charging round the IBM Hursley data centre collecting coins while avoiding hordes of the undead. the foremost impressive thing about this game is that it had been created from start to end in only 24 days.


IoT innovations

Given the promise surrounding the web of Things, it had been hardly surprising that connected devices played a sizeable role at the Mad Scientists event. information technology schoolsThere was a kettle that tweeted your mum to inform her you were having a cup of tea, a soil monitor that allows you to know when your plants need watering and IoT soap dispensers that inform you when they’re in need of a refill. The latter idea, especially , could prove useful during a host of other areas – essentially ensuring that everything from vending machines to medical supplies are kept stocked up.
It remains to be seen whether any of the innovations on show at the Mad Scientists event will ever become commercial products or services, but to stress that would be to miss the purpose entirely. virtualization technologyThe projects on display were about innovation, experimentation and imagination, all of which must be in situ long before the moneymen become involved .