In Search of the Elusive ‘Citizen Integrator’ | @CloudExpo #DigitalTransformation

The rise of the market for No-Code platforms and tools has given rise to a burgeoning population of ‘citizen developers’ – non-technical business personnel who can use these platforms to build an increasingly powerful set of business applications without writing a line of code.

As this market matures, different platforms focus on different challenges. As a result, a wider range of ‘citizen’ roles also evolve, such as citizen process creators and citizen data analysts.

High on this list: the new role of citizen integrator.

A citizen integrator is a non-technical business user who uses a No-Code integration tool to perform either application integration or data integration tasks – as well as tasks that combine these two integration modes.

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Cloud eight years on: From inflated expectations to enterprise adoption

It is 2018 and nearly every consumer has heard of, come into contact with or purchased cloud services in one form or another. Many of us are now dependent on cloud benefits as many of the most common life experiences such as listening to music, watching television and learning in a classroom have all been improved by the ability to access, manage and purchase IT resources online.

Businesses are no different. Enterprises are now leveraging the efficiency and on-demand access of cloud more than ever to speed innovation, cut costs and improve productivity. But like many other revolutionary solutions before it, cloud faced many obstacles in early adoption.

A look back at marketing hype: Cloud “everything”

As soon as cloud hit its stride in 2010, IT analysts, vendors and customers began asking if cloud was ‘here to stay or is it one of these hyped subjects that inevitably will be forgotten in a couple of years’ time?’ Sure enough, no more than a year later in 2011 (according to Gartner’s 2011 Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing), cloud had taken the first step in answering this question by moving beyond the ’Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and straight into the ’Trough of Disillusionment’.

At the time, critics cited ‘cloud washing’ as evidence that cloud could never live up to our expectations. Cloud was everywhere. Eventually, this cloud washing helped accelerate its complete dislocation from reality. Fast forward to 2018 and we could reasonably ask if anything but cloud is here to stay. In fact, not only has cloud met our “inflated expectations” of 2011, but also it has arguably surpassed what we imagined to be possible. Turns out that we weren’t wrong about the potential of cloud, we were just early.

No longer just for non-critical data

One of the more surprising realities of cloud as we move into 2018 has been the rate of business adoption of public cloud services for mission critical applications. Just a few years ago, many of us were convinced that public cloud was great – but was most appropriate for archive, backup and other business “non-critical” data. Non-critical was seen as the “appetiser” of data; the “main course” (mission critical data) would always remain on-premises.

What a difference a few years make. Today, SAP, Oracle and other mission critical, traditionally “on-premises” applications are being efficiently run in public clouds. In fact, a recent survey from the 451 Group suggests that three in five (60%) enterprise workloads will run in the cloud by mid-2018, up from around two in five (41%) today.

Remembering the past and planning for the future

While it is true that cloud has become as pervasive as the on-premises hardware it is replacing, it’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” cloud. In fact, if there exists any hype in cloud today, it is that any one cloud can be a panacea for all our IT challenges. As a result, smart enterprises are focusing on cloud vendors that lead with attributes that directly contribute to running applications and, therefore, a business.

Looking back seven years, we certainly did a great job of hyping cloud beyond all reasonable expectations. But as the cloud momentum continues to press onward, enterprises are developing a plan for the future of their IT landscape with cloud providers in mind. Businesses are requiring their cloud provider to have industry leading performance, efficiency and flexibility across a plethora of integrated cloud platforms, software and managed services.

Additionally, as cloud technologies become more intricate and pervasive, companies will rely on the cloud provider’s ability to meet their most demanding enterprise requirements for complex, mission critical applications and data requiring enterprise-class object storage. And lastly, in the future, enterprises will need a cloud provider who can quickly and efficiently build hyper scale cloud environments that provide customers with significant economies of scale, resource flexibility and enterprise control.

In 2018 we see no signs of cloud adoption slowing. In fact, according to the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Report, in the UK 95% of respondents are using cloud with 85% of enterprises reporting that they have a multi-cloud strategy – so we predict that this trajectory will just continue to grow.

SAP praises ‘stellar cloud bookings’, reiterates 2020 vision and acquires Callidus Software

SAP has praised ‘stellar cloud bookings’ in its Q417 financial results, with total revenue across all segments at €6.805 billion (£6bn) and cloud and software revenues comprising 85% of that figure.

New cloud bookings were at €591 million for the quarter ended December 31 2017, up 22% from the previous year. The figures show a steady continuation of a long-term trend. Cloud subscriptions and support went up 21% to €997m year over year, while the more traditional software licenses and support bucket went down 2% to €4.81bn.

The company expects full year non-IFRS cloud subscriptions and support revenue to be between €4.8bn and €5bn, thanks to ‘continued strong momentum’ in its cloud business, while full year cloud and software revenue will be between €20.7bn and €21.1bn.

SAP also reiterated its 2020 ambition for cloud and total revenue. By 2020, the German software giant is expecting non-IFRS cloud subscriptions and support full year revenue at a top point of €8.5bn, and ‘more predictable revenue’ – in other words, cloud support and software support revenue – to be between 70% and 75%.

The company also announced acquisition news; that of Callidus Software, a provider of ‘quote to cash’ cloud software, for $2.4 billion. The company said the acquisition will give it ‘immediate leadership’ in the lead-to-money software space and that the combination of SAP and CallidusCloud will ‘deliver the most complete, end-to-end, fully cloud-based lead-to-cash offering.’

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, said the company was ‘connecting the back office to the front office in this consumer-driven growth revolution.’ “The addition of CallidusCloud aligns perfectly to SAP’s innovation strategy to transform that front office,” added McDermott. “SAP gives CallidusCloud the global scale to accelerate its already impressive growth.

“These two strong companies will be better together, help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”

You can read the full financial report here.

This story is being updated with more information as soon as CloudTech gets it.

Picture credit: SAP

Analysing security solutions in cloud computing technology

Ever more companies are proving that cloud computing continues to be a major trend in the IT field. For instance, IDC recently predicted that spending on public cloud services would reach $160 billion by the end of this year.

When it comes to security, however, the same issues and concerns persist today as they did several years ago. Take any research report which asks about organisations’ concerns with cloud migration and security is usually the number one. What if I get hacked? Where does my data go? In some ways, it is becoming even more of a problem today. A recent research report argued that as companies go further into their cloud ambitions their security becomes particularly problematic as their infrastructures become more complex.

So what do you need to know?

Advantages of cloud security and how to secure virtual machines

It is important to note that the cloud has multiple advantages in terms of hardware optimisation, including scalability, availability, high efficiency, and dedicated management. Scalability allows you to expand your resources dynamically to meet requirements at any given time; availability means the user does not have to worry about the performance of their own equipment, as their device displays the result of server-based data processing; high efficiency means data is not processed by a single device but by a computing cluster; and dedicated management means there is no need to use different sub-systems or additional functionalities.

In general, the client’s task is to select the range of cloud-based services required, and the supplier’s task is to provide a reliable solution with access to data.

Due to changes resulting from the amendment of data protection regulations, it is worth bearing in mind that cloud computing platforms should be secured. The cloud computing concept is very close to virtualisation – and thanks to the use of virtualisation on physical servers, there can be many virtual machines. This allows equipment performance to be maximised. The cloud computing layer connects users with physical servers, meaning virtual machines can be moved freely on the entire platform regardless of where the device is actually located.

Crucially, this means that the cloud computing environment allows a user to access their data via the Internet from anywhere in the world.

The virtual machines on which data is stored should be protected against attacks by cybercriminals. The most important tools for securing virtual machines include:

Firewall: The main task of the firewall is to monitor network traffic and to pass and block data packets in accordance with pre-defined security policies. By using firewalls, virtual machines will be separated on the network layer.

IPS: As a virtual machine emulates a physical device, it is just as vulnerable to hackers who exploit system errors and bugs. The intrusion prevention solution (IPS) can block attempts to break into the system.

Tools for verifying data integrity: Virtual machines are often stopped by an administrator to allow configuration changes, and backups are made so that new solutions can be tested. It is quite common that the data between the original machine and the one being tested are different, so it is important to compare the two in order to avoid file integrity errors.

Antivirus protection: A virtual machine, just like a physical one, can be infected by a virus. What’s more, the virtual machine can be infected when it is offline. A good antivirus system should be characterised by a fast and silent online scanner and a virus database that is updated at least daily. The system should also integrate well with the add-ons that support the virtual machine, and detect newly created VMs.


These examples are the foundations of protection for a virtual environment located on a cloud platform. It is also worth remembering the principle of rational use of the resource and employing cloud platform providers’ best practices. If in-house knowledge is lacking, there are organisations that can help. In this respect, Comarch ICT Department (to read more click here) has a cloud-based platform development team, and engineers who specialise in the whole spectrum of security for IT solutions.

Dariusz Wójcik – ICT Solutions Product Manager in Comarch,

Amazon Web Services acquires advanced threat platform provider Sqrrl

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has acquired Sqrrl, an advanced threat detection platform provider, according to an announcement from the latter.

A statement from Mark Terenzoni, CEO of Sqrrl, explained: “We’re thrilled to share that Sqrrl has been acquired by Amazon. We will be joining the Amazon Web Services family, and we’re looking forward to working together on customer offerings for the future.”

Sqrrl offers a ‘threat hunting’ platform which combines technology such as link analysis and user behaviour analytics, as well as being compatible with security information and event management (SIEM) systems. The majority of Sqrrl’s founders had previously worked for the NSA. The company has to date secured $26.5 million in funding across four rounds, with the most recent, a series C of $12.3m, landing in June last year.

The announcement confirms a story from Axios published last month which asserted AWS was in advanced acquisition talks. While the announcement does not give any indication as to how Sqrrl will fit into AWS going forward, it is worth noting that AWS launched Amazon GuardDuty, a managed threat detection service, at the company’s re:Invent showcase in November. Last month, Trend Micro announced a collaboration with AWS on its Enterprise Contracts for AWS Marketplace service.

This is not to mention the wide-ranging security snafus around the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities publicly disclosed earlier this month. AWS was among many cloud providers who issued statements fairly sharpish about how they were combating the problem. According to the most recent update, as of January 23, all instances across the Amazon EC2 fleet were protected with no ‘meaningful performance impact’ for the majority of EC2 workloads.

“For now, it is business as usual at Sqrrl,” Terenzoni added. “We will continue to work with customers to provide advanced threat hunting capabilities. And, over time, we’ll work with AWS to do even more on your behalf.”

Snowflake and Tigera secure funding for data warehousing and cloud app connectivity

A couple of interesting cloudy companies who have raised capital in recent days; Snowflake Computing has closed $263 million in growth funding, while Tigera has secured an additional $10 million in funding.

Snowflake Computing, based in San Mateo, offers cloud-based data warehousing. The company aims to help organisations made their data more easily available and actionable in the cloud, with three claimed elements to help it: a unique architecture to provide complete elasticity, a database engine that natively handles both semi-structured and structured data, and technology which eliminates the need for manual data warehouse management.

The company said it will use the funding to double down on R&D and expand current operations across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions ‘to address the global surge in demand for Snowflake’s data warehouse as a service’. The capital takes Snowflake’s total funding to $473m in growth funding, with a pre-money valuation of $1.5 billion.

Tigera, however, is in the application connectivity and security space. As this publication noted earlier this month, organisations are making more cloud investments and, as a result, their infrastructure becomes more complex. Where Tigera comes in is to make app integration easier as technologies such as containers and microservices are being utilised.

Madrona Ventures Group has a stake in both deals. The Seattle-based firm was named as an existing funding partner who contributed to Snowflake, but was the lead partner in the Tigera round. In a post announcing the news, Madrona managing director S. Somasegar explained its rationale.

“While containers have been the rage for the last 18-24 months, the complexity that grows from this technology quickly escalates to an unmanageable level from an application connectivity and security perspective,” wrote Somasegar. “This conundrum has been an issue for large enterprises as they look to benefit from these new methods of software architecture and management.”

Snowflake’s round was led by ICONIQ Capital, Altimeter Capital and newcomer Sequoia Capital, alongside Capital One Growth Venture, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Wing Ventures, alongside Madrona. CEO Bob Muglia said in a statement the announcement “further validates Snowflake’s continued mission to enable a true data economy by removing the barriers that prevent enterprises from easily acquiring insight from all their data no matter where that data resides.”

Reykjavik city administration manages Mac with Microsoft SCCM

In this blog post, we will talk about how Iceland’s capital Reykjavik city administration manages Mac with Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft SCCM. “The expense of the comparatively small Mac flotilla in our organization sometimes made me break out in a sweat… Thanks to Parallels Mac Management, this nightmare is now over. If I don’t […]

The post Reykjavik city administration manages Mac with Microsoft SCCM appeared first on Parallels Blog.

DX World EXPO, LLC Acquires @CloudExpo Trademarks and Associated Brands

DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of “DXWorldEXPO® – Digital Transformation Conference & Expo” has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. “Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation,” he said in making the announcement.

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Organisations are aware of quantum computing security threats – but are not taking action yet

Quantum computing promises much – but are organisations secure enough to make the most of it? According to a new report from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), companies are aware of the risk of quantum computing but not yet ready to take action.

The alliance had previously put together the Quantum Safe Security Working Group (QSS WG) to assess the risks of the emerging technology. According to today’s report, which polled more than 100 CSA members with more than 90% working in either IT or information security, only 14% said they were not aware of quantum computing and its impact on data security. In contrast, only 12% said they were ‘very confident’ in their current security options to protect against quantum attacks.

Quantum computing differs from classical computing in that it has the potential to find patterns and insights based on data which does not exist, rather than finding patterns in vast amounts of existing data. Its potential applications include improving security through quantum physics and enhancements to machine learning and artificial intelligence. Readers of this publication will be aware of quantum computing through the work IBM – who, it has to be said, are experts when it comes to research and development of emerging technologies – is doing.

So what threats are there – and how are organisations taking measures against them? In essence, quantum computers will be able to break all public key systems and render them vulnerable. Yet only 40% of respondents today said they were working to future-proof their data to protect against the threat.

When it came to specific quantum-safe technologies, respondents were most likely to be aware of longer symmetric keys and longer hash functions, as opposed to quantum random number generation and key distribution. The report added that many respondents do not believe a one-size-fits-all solution yet exists to counteract quantum threats effectively.

It’s worth noting at this juncture that while the sample rate was comparatively low, the CSA argues the data provides a ‘valuable snapshot of the perception of quantum-safe issues in the industry.’

“While there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done in convincing the industry of the importance of including the threat of quantum computing in enterprise security strategies, the good news is that there is a great deal of interest in learning more about the threat quantum presents and how it can be mitigated,” said Jane Melia, CSA QSS WG co-chair in a statement.

“This latest report provides an excellent context for moving forward in our efforts to educate the industry.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

Deloitte acquires cloud migration platform provider ATADATA

Deloitte may be best known in the cloud industry for its forecasts and reports – but the consulting firm is making waves of its own with the acquisition of cloud platform provider ATADATA.

ATADATA offers a migration and mapping service across almost any infrastructure one cares to think of, from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Google Cloud, Oracle and VMware, with the company claims to be the only platform which can migrate SAP to AWS and Google.

Last year saw the launch of ATAsphere, certified by AWS, compatible with Azure and recommended by Google, which in the company’s own words is “the industry’s first managed workload mobility platform that enables borderless automation for hybrid IT and cloud environments.”

From Deloitte’s perspective, the move will ‘expand [the company’s] robust end-to-end offerings – from the strategy phase to the build and operate phases.’ Charles Wright, the CEO and CTO of ATADATA, will join the Deloitte team, alongside chief commercial officer Ian Easton.

“Deloitte has demonstrated exceptional success in driving innovation using cloud, digital, and cognitive technologies for a wide range of enterprise clients,” said Wright in a statement. “We are excited to amplify that success by enabling simple, scalable data and application stacks for on-premise, private and public clouds.”

In March last year, Deloitte announced the acquisition of cloud consulting firm Day1 Solutions, the opening of a series of cloud studios in Orlando, New York and Washington D.C., as well as adding 3,000 US-based high tech engineering jobs. At the time, the company said cloud was ‘the backbone of innovation’ and that the additions to its portfolio would give clients ‘access to deeper cloud expertise and even more innovative capabilities.’