Data Centre Managed Services

Data Centre Managed Services

Five network security market trends that matter for Managed Services

It’s no secret that organisations of all sizes are changing the way they run their businesses.

The move toward a digital economy, combined with the need to be “always on,” means that anything that can save time and simplify workflows is in high demand. Now, more than ever, seamless delivery — whether it’s music, email or network security — is where opportunity lies. For channel partners, this opportunity translates into managed services. If you haven’t yet shifted your network security business to the revolution that is managed services, here are five trends that demonstrate why now is the time to make your move:-

1. Rise of the Virtual Data Centre

Traditional customer premises equipment (CPE) will come under increasing pressure as software transformation greatly reduces, and in some cases, eliminates the need for devices on site. In 2015, we saw the rise of the virtual data centre; in 2016 we are seeing its operationalisation in the enterprise come to fruition. Channel partners who set up their businesses to capitalise on this shift as part of their managed services strategy will see demand heat up. Whether you partner to make your virtual data centre happen, or invest in establishing one yourself, put it on your agenda for immediate consideration.

2. Avoid Lock-In

Make no mistake, technology “lock-ins” are stumbling blocks to your managed services success. Because change is constant, your customers are demanding flexibility, and they’re looking to you to help them remain agile to prepare for future industry shifts. The bottom line is that your customers want more openness and customisability, which means channel partners need to be even more selective with their partnerships, only aligning with vendors who enable them to offer best-in-class solutions and managed services that address the dynamic requirements of their clients.
In 2016 and beyond, channel partners who follow this trend, catering to customers with open solutions and services that are seamless, scalable and flexible to customers’ business needs, will hold the competitive edge.

3. Customisation Is Key

What we’re seeing in 2016 is that professional services and DevOps are taking a front seat for channel partners as customers look for turnkey solutions and the ability to customise their environments. Vendor innovation will always be key, but channel partners can also benefit from placing a high priority on innovation.
This is especially true as the channel competes with the technology giants of the world who already have a huge and growing stake in managed services. As a channel partner, your agility and the insight you possess from your customer relationships can empower you to deliver on-point, customised network security services—something that the larger players, who more commonly compete on commoditisation, simply cannot manage.
In 2016, your managed services offerings can and should be differentiated by the value add you deliver. Often, customisation is the value you can bring to the table to gain a foothold against larger players.

4. Be Automation Aware

Customers are looking to automation as the next cost reduction lever to eliminate legacy IT. As your clients’ most trusted advisor, the onus is on you to assess the automation capabilities that your vendors bring to the table—and the automation expertise that your in-house experts have to offer.
Make a checklist of how you can move automation to the forefront for your customers, delivering it as a powerful managed service that supports their goals. As you hold strategic quarterly or monthly client meetings, discuss how you can help your customers meet their software transformation milestones. Discovering ways to save time and costs should be a never-ending conversation.

5. Vertical Market Transformation

In 2015, we saw the adoption of SDN (software defined networking) and NFV (network function virtualization) grow in small- and medium-size enterprises. In 2016, the channel will continue its move to open, integrated and seamless stack solutions, making SDN and NFV solutions more accessible than ever before through pre-designed and tested solutions, purpose-made for vertical markets.

Don’t fall behind the adoption curve. Now is your opportunity to ride the wave and adapt your managed services playbook to these top network security market trends.

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

Changing Data Centres

Changing Data Centres

Traditional data centre’s are undergoing many revolutionary changes as we head to the 2020’s

Hybrid cloud infrastructures, hosted servers, virtualized servers, and new methods to save energy and reduce costs in the data centre create an ever-challenging array of decisions for today’s data centre managers

It’s no secret that traditional, on-premise data centres still rule enterprise IT. According to a recent TechRepublic CIO Jury, 100% of tech leaders still run on-premise data centres but, cloud is catching up in a big way.

According to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends report, cloud spending continues to grow and it’s on track to catch up to traditional data centres spending. Citing IDC data, Meeker noted that cloud investments had grown over the past few years as traditional data centres spending shrank. If the trend continues, the two markets could eventually match one another in spending.

Spending increased in both private and public cloud, the report noted. In the public cloud market, the major players continued to dominate — Amazon Web Services (AWS) led the pack, followed by Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM, in that order.

 

Cloud is leading to new innovation in infrastructure and the way enterprise IT gets work done. New software delivery models mean products are being delivered through the cloud, often with a subscription model. Experiences are becoming more personalized and products are becoming more intelligent as well, the report said.

Software as a Service (SaaS), especially, will see a big boost, with many organizations turning to the model. According to another report from BetterCloud, some 73% of organizations said more than 80% of their business services and applications will be SaaS by 2020.

The growth of the cloud at this rate creates new opportunities for business, Meeker’s report said, but it also creates new concerns. While data security is still the top concern, questions about compliance and lock-in fears are increasing dramatically, the report said.

However, the question about lock-in is a complex one. While enterprises desire the unique proprietary tools that the major vendors are building out, that same R&D could be making lock-in even worse, as TechRepublic writer Matt Asay has argued.

Still, cloud availability continues to go up, while the major vendors continues to drop their prices, making the cloud an even more attractive option for big business.

The 3 big takeaways for cloud services, as we see it:

 

  1. Data centres are still the norm in enterprise IT, but cloud spend could soon catch up, according to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends report.
  2. Public and private cloud spending both increased, but concerns are shifting from security to compliance and lock-in, the report said.
  3. Cloud growth is also enabling innovations in edge computing, elastic databases, containers, and microservices, which are changing the way IT thinks about infrastructure.
By Conner Forrest (TechRepublic)

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

Microsoft Azure Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft Azure Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft Azure launches 3 new tools to speed migration to hybrid cloud and optimize deployment

In a Microsoft blog post, the company detailed three new tools to aid in cloud adoption: Cloud Migration Assessment, Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, and Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft launched three new resources for the enterprise focused on getting companies to the cloud faster, and saving them money once they get there, the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday.

Most of the companies Microsoft executives work with are considering a hybrid cloud approach to their infrastructure, according to the post, written by Microsoft’s general manager of cloud platform marketing Mike Schutz. In order to best assist companies in understanding the size of their environment and how they can plan financially for a move to the cloud, Microsoft released three new tools focused on cloud migration and economics.

SEE: Build your own VM in the cloud with Microsoft Azure (Tech Pro Research)

Here’s a breakdown of the three new tools and what they can offer businesses.

  1. Free cloud migration assessment

This assessment will help customers more easily find and better understand their current server setups, to help them determine the cost and value of moving to the cloud, the post stated. Once the servers are discovered, the tool can analyze their configurations, and give the user a report of the potential cost drop of moving to Azure.

Additionally, data center administrators can export the results of the assessment into a customized report, the post said. For those looking to gain some extra funding for a cloud project, the report could provide some valuable data and statistics for your conversation with the CFO.

  1. Azure Hybrid Use Benefit

This tool is intended to save users money on their cloud deployments. According to the post, customers can activate the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit in the Azure Management Portal, which could save them up to 40% on their Windows server licenses, by optimizing what resources you’re using. The post noted that it is available on Windows Server virtual machines in Azure, to all customers.

“Use your on-premises Windows Server licenses that include Software Assurance to save big on Windows Server VMs in Azure,” the tool’s web page said. “By using your existing licenses, you pay the base compute rate and save up to 40 percent.”

  1. Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery is meant to ease the process of migrating virtual machines to Azure. Applications running on AWS, VMware, Hyper-V, or physical servers can be moved. Additionally, a new feature in Azure Site Recovery will “allow you to tag virtual machines within the Azure portal itself,” the post said. “This capability will make it easier than ever to migrate your Windows Server virtual machines.”

Other features include automated protection and replication of virtual machines, remote monitoring, custom recovery plans, recovery plan testing, and more.

By Conner Forrest a Senior Editor for TechRepublic
Picture from Microsoft

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

Cloud Migration done right

Cloud Migration done right

Lessons on How Juniper Networks made the switch in the cloud and what you can learn

There are many steps for a company to transition to the cloud. At the 2016 Structure Conference, Juniper Networks’ CIO Bob Worrall explained how the company is managing the change.

For many companies, transitioning to the cloud is a long process with many steps. At the 2016 Structure Conference in San Francisco, Bob Worrall of Juniper Networks explained his company’s strategy and provided some best practices.

Over the past four years or so, Worrall said, Juniper has closed 17 of its 18 data centers, and moved 85% of its applications to the cloud. By June 2017, he said, the company won’t have any corporate data centers remaining. Almost all of their apps will be running on Amazon Web Services (AWS), but their engineering assets will all be hosted on a private cloud, where they are adding their own tech and IP to make it a showcase for what they can do in networking, Worrall said.

One of the first considerations was the cost of moving to the cloud. On the engineering side, moving to the private cloud was a “no-brainer” in terms its financial impact, Worrall said. But, the transition away from their corporate data centers to the public cloud was a “fine line.”

Worrall said that Juniper, like many others, had to refactor their apps to run on the cloud, which was costly. So, he said, you have to pay attention to the cost model. Juniper designated some IT employees to look after monthly billing and bill statements to make sure they are continually optimizing for storage, and getting the most for their money.

For security, they created a team to think through security and compliance, and to make sure they’re meeting those needs. It took “grinding” to get the legal team comfortable with the cloud, Worrall said. But, they’re also investing heavily in network monitoring, logging, and inspection so they can more readily detect and respond to any issues.

The cloud has “retooled” the Juniper organization, Worrall said. Juniper has made significant investments in the skillsets needed for designing apps for the cloud, and refactoring them to run in the cloud. According to Worrall, the firm has bifurcated its development team to focus on those issues and they have added new employees who understand the cloud environments of Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.

The most critical skills, he said, are found among the people who know how to make these cloud platforms work together. So, they’ve hired more people in the US and India to look after that connection, and they use Oracle Fusion Middleware to connect all the clouds together.

Juniper’s vendor management team has also been strengthened to better look after SaaS contracts and vendor promises, to make sure their cloud investments are optimized.

While there has been a lot of positive reaction from employees, Worrall said, some people have left the company over time. As a response, Juniper is investing in existing employees to help them grow their skills. Companies should consider the impact that cloud will have on their workforce.

Craig Ashmole, Founding Director of London based CCServe stated, “There are commercial businesses that are taking advantage of the strategic moves that Juniper Networks have taken. This businesses can deploy green field Data centre sites in under a few weeks. This is real value.”

Picture above: Juniper Networks CIO, Bob Worrall, speaking with ZDNet's Stephanie Condon at Structure.
Image: Jason Hiner/TechRepublic

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

5G is Future of mobility

5G is Future of mobility

5G is coming and it is the future of mobile

In 5G, wireless will grow up into a true horizontal industry that provides a support system for literally everything

Scouting the news feeds on where we are going with respect to the world of mobility and up popped this interesting article written by Alan Carlton, who has 25 years in the wireless technology industry spanning 2G, 3G, 4G and beyond and of course the focus at this year’s 2016 Mobile World Conference is 5G and how it will take the use of mobility to new reaches for IoT.

It is fair to say that it is still early days for 5G, but research efforts have been rolling for some time and standardization is expected to start in the next few months. Perhaps the two most-cited requirements in 5G are the 1000x improvement in peak data rates (on LTE 2010) and a big reduction in end-to-end latency. These KPIs are important, of course, and keep us engineers pointed in the right direction. But really, they only tell a small part of the 5G story.

A better way to understand 5G is first through a historical lens. It is astonishing to reflect that this mobile industry adventure really only began a little over 20 years ago with the proliferation of GSM. In those days, peak data rate support was a massive 9.6 kbps! Today, deployed LTE systems have improved upon this metric by 100000x. Presented in this context, the 1000x goal of 5G doesn’t really seem so crazy, does it? GSM or 2G, of course, was not designed for data. 2G was designed really for only one thing: basic telephony applications. 3G raised the bar with a specification that supported more voice users and the beginnings of a mobile internet. 4G took this further with the first real system designed principally to support video. It is this evolution that has driven the 100000x. And further, it is this service roadmap that has also driven latency reduction on a parallel path. At the simplest level, 5G will certainly be about more of this. However, the true 5G vision is a lot more interesting.

In 5G, wireless will grow up into a true horizontal industry that provides a support system for literally everything. 5G is the first generation to target supporting the full array of vertical markets (e.g. Automotive, Transport, and Health) that in themselves will define the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). This is the real 5G challenge, and in this respect 5G and the IoT are simply two sides of the same coin. Think about this challenge: what do a car and a thermostat have in common? They are all part of the IoT! So, how will 5G go about tackling this “everything” challenge?

Think flexibility. Think simplification. Think re-imagination. These concepts will permeate all aspects of 5G from the services supported, how the network is designed, and all way down to the elemental new waveforms that may provide us with some new acronyms and labels for this fifth generation.

5G will be built on a foundation of established IT thinking. The cloud, Network function virtualisation, and programmable networking (aka SDN/NFV) will provide the cornerstones. These technologies inherently deliver flexibility and, at least through the eyes of any IT professional, are a lot simpler than the legacy approach of telecom. 5G will, however, take these technologies to new levels and depths of integration, and in so doing will shape the 5G specification that will be defined in the months and years ahead.

“Reading my previous blog on the IEEE predictions for technology advancement in 2016 both 5G and Network function virtualisation (NFV) are on the top of their list”, states Craig Ashmole, Founding Partner of London based IT Consulting firm CCServe. “The other item coming across is Containers, which hold SW application logic and all of its dependencies, running as an isolated process, and execute the same in any environment. This creates parity between dev and production, and enables developers to confidently break up apps into discreet chunks”.

SDN/NFV in telecom is a hot topic today, but where we are now only scratches the surface of its original vision. The focus of work in this area now is primarily Total Cost of Ownership and OPEX reduction through switch hardware commoditization and the efficient relocation of a subset of network functions.

In 5G, SDN/NFV concepts will be pushed much further, returning to the original value proposition, namely that of enabling true architectural innovation. In 5G, it will not simply be about virtualizing the network functions, but entirely changing the way of its inner working. Network evolution will be the frontline in the realization of many 5G requirements (e.g. low latency). Today’s internet is simply not designed to support low latency. However, through programmable networking, new, more efficient approaches will become possible.

In 5G, virtualization will touch every element in the system, spanning backhaul, fronthaul, and radio access. It is within this flexible, dynamically configurable fabric that system resources will be optimally and instantaneously orchestrated to deliver the next generation experience to end users.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

IDC 2015 Contact Centre Leaders

IDC 2015 Contact Centre Leaders

2015 IDC Worldwide Contact Centre CCaaS Vendor Assessment matrix

The IDC MarketScape study examines the key players in the worldwide contact center infrastructure and software (CCIS) market, analyzing  current capabilities as well as longer-term strategies

The CCIS market includes voice and digital media contact distribution, management, and agent-software clients, as well as self-service solutions for voice, web, and mobile devices used to offer customer service solutions as part of a customer experience strategy. IDC also examine the ecosystem and cloud (public/private) deployment, customer experience solutions, and mobile customer care solutions, as well as go-to-market models used by vendors to achieve these.

Key criteria that contribute to a successful CCIS offering include:

  • The ability to present a strategy that comprises key technologies that focus on the 3rd Platform of IT, including cloud (public and private), Big Data and business analytics, mobility, and social business functionality.
  • Vendors that present innovative strategies around partner management, pricing, and product packaging.
  • Vendors that can provide flexible delivery options for partners and customers as part of their video portfolios (on-premises, managed, hosted, cloud).
  • Business partnerships and sales channels that open up new markets for the vendor’s offering, yet still maintain a high level of support and customer care.

Twelve of the leading worldwide contact center infrastructure and software vendors profiled in the report are:-

  • ALE (formerly Alcatel–Lucent Enterprise)
  • Avaya
  • Cisco
  • Genesys
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Intelecom
  • Loxysoft
  • Mitel
  • NEC
  • SAP
  • ShoreTel
  • Unify

Some of the key challenges for customers investing in contact center infrastructure and software are the identification of technologies, features, and applications that are most appropriate for their organisations, and more importantly, which source(s) they should turn to for deployment and expertise.

CCaaS leaders 2015

“Although there were 12 key vendors evaluated it is my opinion that the leader of the pack – Genesys – showed more diversification with regard to capabilities and ability to move with market demands, so this report has focused on the overall capability of Genesys.” stated Craig Ashmole, Founding Partner of London-based IT Consulting CCServe.

The three primary sources of CCIS functionality are:

  1. IP PBX/unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) vendor solutions and the enterprise network, such as Cisco, Avaya, ShoreTel, Unify, ALU Enterprise/Huaxin, NEC, Mitel, and Huawei.
  2. Standalone contact center solution environments from vendors such as Genesys, Interactive Intelligence, and SAP.
  3. Hosted/managed and cloud service provider solutions offered by facilities-based providers such as Genesys, inContact, Verizon, and 8x8.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution for contact center solutions, customers can choose from an assortment of features from these sources, which may require a little, or a lot, of integration to make the solution run on customers’ network infrastructure and/or within the bounds of their existing services/carrier contracts.

  • Many organisations find CCIS solutions complex and are not sure how they would go about managing and maintaining the environment. Therefore, having a solution managed by a third-party provider would help remove the complexity for them and alleviate the need to make internal investments in hiring appropriately skilled IT staff to manage and maintain it.
  • Businesses are looking at ways to reduce the amount of real estate to lessen operational costs and lower their carbon footprint generated by existing premises-based equipment. As a result, businesses are reducing the amount of hardware equipment they have on-premises.
  • Cloud environments can provide greater levels of automation, orchestration, provisioning, and deployment. Transitioning to the cloud can help organisations reduce operating costs, improve application performance, and better allocate their resources. However, contact centers are generally more strategic than, for example, unified communications (UC) solutions so the transition is slower and the ability for customisation can be less than a system on-premises or hosted by a service provider.
  • Businesses reliant on high levels of security will be more inclined to move existing solutions to hosted and private cloud deployments. In addition, many providers still need to do more work in terms of updating or bringing inadequate security policies to reassure companies that the transition to a cloud-based environment will provide them with the proper level of security.

In Summary:

“The CCIS market includes functionality that runs on standards-based equipment or purpose-built systems such as PBX. It has revived itself over the past three years with vendors active in several acquisitions, divestments, and partnerships,” said Jason Andersson, program director, IDC Nordics. “The movement to cloud is clear as investments in both hosted solutions and cloud solutions are beginning to make global headway.”

IDC expects 9.4% revenue growth in worldwide CCIS in 2015. Although premises-based solutions have garnered high attention in recent years, enterprise evaluations, trials, and ultimately adoption of hosted solutions (single-tenant) and cloud (multitenant) CCIS solutions will contribute significant growth predicted for the global market this year. Revenue growth will be driven by enterprises looking to retain capital, reduce costs, and improve customer experience, as well as by service providers refining their contact center strategies and product portfolios.

The full report covering all the vendors can be found on the IDC website but should you want to see the deep dive on Genesys covering their premise-based platform as well as the Cloud-based Contact Centre offering then you can read that report here.

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

Social media statistics to get you thinking

Social media statistics to get you thinking

10 SURPRISING SOCIAL MEDIA STATISTICS THAT WILL MAKE YOU RETHINK YOUR SOCIAL STRATEGY

If you’re managing social media for your business, it might be useful to know about some of the most surprising social media statistics to help you formulate your strategy to get it right !

1. THE FASTEST GROWING DEMOGRAPHIC ON TWITTER IS THE 55–64 YEAR AGE BRACKET.

This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.

The 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+.

For Facebook, this group has jumped 46%.

For Google+, 56%.

Those are impressive numbers against the prevailing idea that social media is “just for teenagers.” It certainly points to the importance of having a solid social media strategy if these age brackets fit into your target demographic.

Rethink it: Keep older users in mind when using social media, particularly on these three platforms. Our age makes a difference to our taste and interests, so if you’re focusing on younger users with the content you post, you could be missing an important demographic.

2. 189 MILLION FACEBOOK’S USERS ARE “MOBILE ONLY USERS”

Not only does Facebook have millions of users who don’t access it from a desktop or laptop, but mobile use generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue as well. This is a 7% increase from the end of 2012 already.

Rethink it: There are probably more users accessing Facebook from mobile devices than you thought. It’s worth considering how your content displays on mobile devices and smaller screens before posting it, particularly if your target market is full of mobile users. Of course, make sure to make sharing to social media from mobile more straightforward.

3. YOUTUBE REACHES MORE U.S. ADULTS AGED 18–34 THAN ANY CABLE NETWORK

Did you think TV was the best way to reach the masses? Well if you’re after 18–34 year olds in the U.S., you’ll have more luck reaching them through YouTube. Of course, one video won’t necessarily reach more viewers than a cable network could, but utilizing a platform with such a wide user base makes a lot of sense.

Rethink it: If you’ve been putting off adding video to your strategy, now’s the time to give it a go. You could start small with simple five-minute videos explaining what your company does or introducing your team.

4. EVERY SECOND TWO NEW MEMBERS JOIN LINKEDIN

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, continues to grow every second. From groups to blogs to job listings, this platform is a rich source of information and conversation for professionals who want to connect to others in their industry.

Rethink it: LinkedIn is definitely worth paying attention to. In particular, this is a place where you may want to focus more on new users. Making your group or community a great source of information and a newbie-friendly space can help you to make the most out of the growing user base.

Make sure you share consistently to your LinkedIn company page and profile by, for example, scheduling your posts.

5. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS OVERTAKEN PORN AS THE NO. 1 ACTIVITY ON THE WEB

We all knew social media was popular, but this popular? Apparently it’s the most common thing we do online. So next time you find yourself watching Kitten vs. Watermelon videos on Facebook, you can at least console yourself with the fact that the majority of people online right now are doing something similar.

Social media carries more weight than ever. It’s clearly not a fad, or a phase. It continues to grow as a habit, and new platforms continue to appear and develop.

Rethink it: Putting time and effort into your social media strategy clearly makes sense in light of these stats. If you weren’t already serious about social media, you might want to give it a bit more of your time now.

6. LINKEDIN HAS A LOWER PERCENTAGE OF ACTIVE USERS THAN PINTEREST, GOOGLE+, TWITTER AND FACEBOOK

Although LinkedIn is gathering new users at a fast rate, the number of active users is lower than most of the biggest social networks around. So more people are signing up, but they’re not participating. This means you’re probably not going to have as good a response with participatory content on LinkedIn, like contests or polls, as you might on Facebook or Twitter.

Rethink it: If you’re hoping to get people involved, think about which platforms are best for that. Looking at the latest Twitter statistics and Facebook statistics, these platforms might be a better place for your contest or survey, while passive content like blog posts or slide decks might be just right for your LinkedIn audience.

7. 93% OF MARKETERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS

Only 7% of marketers say they don’t use social media for their business. That means there are lots of people out there getting involved and managing a social media strategy. It’s becoming more common to include social media as part of an overall marketing budget or strategy, as opposed to when it was the outlier that no one wanted to spend time or money on.

Rethink it: If you’re struggling to make your strategy work, or you just want some advice, you don’t have to go it alone. If 93% of marketers are using social media for business, you can probably find someone to give you a hand. Plus, there are lots of blogs, videos and slide decks around to help you out. Be sure to find the right social media management tool for you to stay on top of everything.

8. 25% OF SMARTPHONE OWNERS AGES 18–44 SAY THEY CAN’T RECALL THE LAST TIME THEIR SMARTPHONE WASN’T NEXT TO THEM

It’s pretty clear that mobile is a growing space that we need to pay attention to. And we’ve all heard the cliché of smartphone owners who don’t want to let go of their phones, even for five minutes. Well, apparently that’s not too far from the truth. If 25% of people aged 18–44 can’t remember not having their phone with them, there are probably very few times when they’re not connected to the web in some way.

social media stats

Rethink it: While you can reach people almost anytime, since they have their smartphones with them almost always, this also means you can interrupt pretty much any part of their lives. Don’t forget that having a phone in your pocket all the time isn’t the same as being available all the time.

9. EVEN THOUGH 62% OF MARKETERS BLOG OR PLAN TO BLOG IN 2013, ONLY 9% OF US MARKETING COMPANIES EMPLOY A FULL-TIME BLOGGER

Blogging is clearly a big focus for marketers who want to take advantage of social media and content marketing. This is great, because blogging for your business has lots of advantages: you can control your company blog, you can set the tone and use it to market your product, share company news or provide interesting information for your customers. With only 9% of marketing companies hiring bloggers full-time, however, the pressure to produce high-quality content consistently will be a lot higher.

What a lot of people struggle here is how to write the best headlines for your articles, when the best time is to publish posts and lots of other blogging questions that arise when people are starting out.

Rethink it: If you don’t have (or can’t afford) a full-time blogger for your business, be aware that having a content strategy that requires consistently posting on your blog will mean a lot of work for your marketing team and/or other team members in your company to keep up that volume. This can work, it’s just important to realize how big a task it is to run with a full-time content strategy without a full-time content creator.

10. 25% OF FACEBOOK USERS DON’T BOTHER WITH PRIVACY SETTINGS

We’ve seen a lot of news about social media companies and privacy. Facebook itself has been in the news several times over privacy issues, Instagram users recently got in a kerfuffle over changing their terms of service, and the recent NSA news has seen people become more conscious of their privacy online.

But despite these high-profile cases of security-conscious users pushing back against social networks and web services, Velocity Digital reports that 25% of Facebook users don’t even look at their privacy settings.

social-media-stats-privacy

Rethink it: Assuming that all of your customers are thinking along the same lines could be a big mistake. Especially if you’re basing that on what you’ve heard or read in the tech news. Remember that your customers might have very different priorities than what you expect.

Your social media strategy really comes down to what your goals are, and who your target customers are, but it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the trends happening across the web. Hopefully these stats will help you to identify trends that will affect your strategy and adjust accordingly.

First appeared on buffersocial 

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

Taming the Internet of Threats

Taming the Internet of Threats

Internet Security continues to plague us with relevations of expanding Malware introduced through advertising on the internet

The "Malvertising" Report

If you want to read the report from Cyphort Labs that shows a dramatic rise in the amount of malware sent through advertising, known as ‘malvertising’  

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.

Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe

The shocking truth of an unbelievable 325% rise in malware-infected advertising hitting our email, PCs, Smartphones and Tablets.

In a recent report by security firm Cyphort Labs it has revealed a dramatic rise in the amount of malware sent through advertising, known as ‘malvertising’. It is fast becoming one of the most popular types of drive-by attack for cyber criminals, who can easily corrupt the legitimate ad supply chain, targeting consumers directly and infecting their machines with malware.

Malvertising works by hackers placing seemingly legitimate or ‘clean’ ads on sites, and then altering or executing secretly embedded codes that can force a computer to load malicious software. According to Cyphort, cyber criminals are choosing this method because it offers little or no resistance when attacking networks.

Some of these infected ads need to be clicked on in order to release the malware, but an increasing number of cases are appearing where the ads are instead covertly embedded with code that can exploit browser vulnerabilities, thus not even requiring the victim to click on anything before falling under attack.

per centThere is even an element of sophistication in the development of malvertising, as cyber criminals are able to conduct attacks with some degree of selective targeting – much in the same way that legitimate ads can.
During 2014 alone, it saw a colossal 325% rise in malvertising, with cybercriminals costing global advertisers an estimated $6.3 billion this year through the use of automated programs and click-through ads on third party sites.

With the continued increase of websites using cookies to produce targeted ads as well as our own growing online habits, malvertising looks set to rise further still. The challenge then is for ad networks to keep a hold of their ability to control and monitor each and every ad that is being cast out into the cyber-sphere.

So as we move rapidly into the IoT (Internet of Things) as many devices, and even toys we now buy have WIFI, Bluetooth or USB connectivity.

“As the world connects more and more smart devices to the internet, the number of potential vulnerabilities will increase in linear fashion.” Comments Craig Ashmole, founding Partner at London based IT Consulting CCServe. “I’m not one to give ammunition to the doomsayers about the Internet of Things, as I believe that on the whole it’s going to be a major change in what we do and see, but someone recently describe the IoT as the ‘Internet-of-Threats’ ! ”

There has been a period where many smart devices have already been installed with no security protocols. They were originally expected to be used only in a closed, secure loop but now regularly connecting to networks both home, in the office or on the factory floor.

Open by default?

Many smart devices that are ubiquitous throughout the manufacturing and processing industries have in fact turned out to have been installed with no security protocols. They were originally commissioned with the expectation that they would only be used in a closed, secure loop. Recent cyber security breaches have taught us that even the humble industrial (and even office) equipment devices could be subverted for malicious purposes.

Therefore, it’s only fair to suggest that we should certainly be looking to protect the corporate data centre from generic attacks, and the best way of doing that is not to leave the security door wide open.

Internet security advice is so often aimed at IT but we should also be considering other areas. So, for data centre and facility professionals, here are five basic things that will help protect your company and its reputation. Other than time and employee costs, many of these actions are “free”.

Basic fixes

  1. Simplify: Complexity increases the number of attack surfaces. An easy way to reduce this is to turn off default functionality that is not being used, and disconnect equipment that is not in use.
  2. Strengthen: Adopt the view that published default usernames and passwords are 100 percent compromised and should be changed. Eliminate default credentials (passwords, SNMP community strings, etc). Replace them with strong passwords and, wherever possible, use different usernames and passwords for different people.
  3. Partition: Isolate the facility network from the enterprise network. If possible build a separate physical network for the data centre and hide it behind a physical firewall to keep hackers away from mission-critical equipment.
  4. Update: Ensure that all devices have the latest firmware, and revisit this regularly to keep up with security patches. Do not make it easy to exploit known vulnerabilities.
  5. Lock down: Physically secure critical equipment, create an access control plan and be sure to use it. Some protocols used on equipment are 30 years old, developed at a time when we didn’t have security concerns. Putting equipment behind closed doors with access control goes a long way to making them secure.

It is assumed that active scanning tools (network scans, intrusion-detection and penetration logs, email scanners and antivirus software) will have been implemented by IT as part of sensible enterprise protection measures, but if you work in the data centre and are unsure about this, one should definitely be checking.

To read the report from Cyphort Labs that shows the dramatic rise in the amount of malware sent through advertising, known as ‘malvertising’ fill in the form on the left to access it.

Comments also from: Soeren Jensen - VP Schneider Electric.