Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Cloud’

How will owners of Intellectual Property cope with the era of big and open data?

November 11, 2012 1 comment

The concept of Intellectual Property (IP) is well proven as a powerful incentive that drives creativity and innovation, but it is increasingly being challenged by a highly connected world, particularly in all aspects of digital information and content life-cycle  To further complicate matters, rapid changes in the enabling technology / triggers are only likely to increase or accelerate, and according to Gartner, some of these developments, (e.g. Big Data, Cloud, Mobile & Social) have combined to produce a paradigm shift in the way we do business.  Such worrisome trends are only exacerbated by the fact that IP sits right in the middle of it all.

 

The IP Puzzle

The IP Puzzle

Surprisingly, not many decision makers appear to understand, or are willing to discuss, how such developments affect their business, particularly with regards to information assets and IP. Is it too early for any meaningful dialogue? Are the impacts unlikely to be anything major, (i.e. compared to the other trends), or are business leaders far too busy facing harsh economic realities to focus on this too? The respective answers are no, yes and probably. However, the impact will be anything but trivial, when you consider just how tightly IP is interwoven with all such developments. Some of the high-level intersections between IP and technology trends are:

IP and the Cloud – Key implications for IP, (aside from relevant cloud technology patents), are related to access and use of data held within the cloud, as well as the services they power.

IP and Social Media – Social media is the product of all interactions between individuals in a social network, including all information created, modified, exchanged and shared between the members. Such content, their usage, and user behaviours, have huge implications for IP.

IP and Mobility – Mobility is the ability to access to information and other resources, through a mobile device, without restriction of a fixed location. Key implications for IP include unauthorised access to / use of location dependent material (e.g. territorial rights over copyright content).

IP and Big Data / Open Data – Data and information arguably have the most implication for IP, especially since digital data is both raw material and output / enabler of the information age (e.g. all IP is ultimately reducible to digital data, including the often controversial software IP). Data permeates and binds all the other technology and behaviour trends mentioned above, and reflects all their IP implications.

IP and Litigation – Following the recent spate of patent lawsuits between several large technology companies, it has become clear that IP is now regarded as a crucial weapon by some. According to a recent BBC news article, serious attempts are being made to address “an unwelcome trend in today’s marketplace to use standard-essential patents to block markets”. The cost and impact of such ‘weaponised IP’ litigation is basically stifling innovation, and goes against the key sentiment and objective of IP.

 

Top 5 things enterprise decision makers need to keep in mind

  1. The motivations and interests of 5 key IP stakeholder groups (i.e. the creative, technology, commercial, legislative and consumer stakeholders). No group is completely independent of the others; therefore a balanced approach is required for all IP related decisions.
  2. Need to create and communicate clear enterprise policies for IP, Social Media, Cloud, Mobility and Data
  3. The much desired real-time enterprise requires certain key elements to be in place, including: self-service BI (e.g. data mashups), event driven architecture (incl. Complex Event Processing), analytics and data discovery, as well as contextual capabilities (incl. location based services), and cloud computing. In all cases, early consideration of IP implications is crucial.
  4. The key to digital transformation and architecture, in a fast moving dynamic environment, may be found in alignment with constant business model innovation. The architecture of such an organisation, (incl. process and technology), must become more dynamic if it is to provide any sustainable value.
  5. In the brave new world, the customer comes first, and IP becomes the ‘value’ centre of the enterprise (rather than the products or services it is used to drive), whilst the business model flexes and changes as needed to accommodate those dynamics.

In conclusion, digital trends appear to suggest that mere products and services will no longer be sufficient differentiators in a digital world with ever diminishing barriers to entry. It ultimately boils down to a question of how, and not what, you create and deliver to your customers. Either way, data / Information and IP will continue to play a fundamental role in the entire digital value system.

Note: The above post is adapted from an article which is submitted and due for publication by the BCS Chartered Institute for IT.

Advertisements

The Open Group Conference

July 21, 2012 Leave a comment

This week’s quarterly Open Group conference in Washington DC,  featured several thought provoking sessions around key issues / developments of interest and concern to the IT world, including: Security, Cloud, Supply Chain, Enterprise Transformation (including Innovation), and of course Enterprise Architecture (including TOGAF and Archimate).

The Capitol in Washington DC

The Capitol in Washington DC

Below are some key highlights, captured from the sessions I attended (or presented), as follows:

Day 1 – Plenary session focused on Cyber Security, followed by three tracks on Supply Chain, TOGAF and SOA. Key messages included:

  • Key note by Joel Brenner described the Internet as a “porous and insecure network” which has become critical for so many key functions (e.g. financial, communications and operations) yet remains vulnerable to abuse by friends, enemies and competitors. Best quote of the conference, was: “The weakest link is not the silicon based unit on the desk, but the carbon based unit in the chair” (also tweeted and mentioned in @jfbaeur’s blog here)
  • NIST’s Dr. Don Ross spoke about a perfect storm of consumerisation (BYOD), ubiquitous connectivity and sophisticated malware, leading to an “advanced persistent threat” enabled by available expertise / resources, multiple attack vectors and footholds in infrastructure
  • MIT’s Professor Yossi Sheffi expounded on the concept of building security and resilience for competitive advantage. This, he suggested, can be done by embracing “flexibility DNA”, (as exhibited in a few successful organisations), into the culture of your organisation. Key flexibility traits include:
    • Your resilience and security framework must drive, or at least feed into, “business-as-usual”
    • Continuous communication is necessary among all members of the organisation
    • Distribute the power to make decisions (especially to those closer to the operations)
    • Create a passion for your work and the mission
    • Deference to expertise, especially in times of crisis
    • Maintain conditioning for disruptions – ability for stability is good, but flexibility to handle change is even better
  • Capgemini’s Mats Gejneval discussed agility and enterprise architecture using Agile methods and TOGAF. He highlighted the relationship flow between: agile process -> agile architecture -> agile project delivery -> agile enterprise, and how the latter outcome requires each of the preceding qualities (e.g. agile methods, and faster results, on its own will not deliver agile solutions or enterprise). My favourite quote, during the Q/A, was: “…remember that architects hunt in packs!”

Day 2 – Plenary session focused on Enterprise Transformation followed by four streams on Security Architecture, TOGAF Case Studies, Archimate Tutorials, and EA & Enterprise Transformation (including our session on Innovation & EA). Key Highlights include:

  • A case study on the role of open standards for enterprise transformation, featured Jason Uppal (Chief Architect at QRS), describing the transformation of Toronto’s University Health Network into a dynamic and responsive organisation, by placing medical expertise and requirements above the flexible, open standards based, IT delivery.
  • A view on how to modernise service to citizens via a unified (or “single window government”) approach was provided by Robert Weisman (CEO of Build a Vision Inc). He described the process to simplify key events (from 1400 down to 12 major life events) around which the services could be defined and built.
  • Samira Askarova (CEO of WE Solutions Group) talked about managing enterprise transformation through transitional architectures. She likened business transformation to a chameleon with: its huge, multi-directional eyes (i.e. for long term views), the camouflage ability (i.e. changing colours to adapt), and the deliberate gait (i.e. making changes one step at a time)
  • The tutorial session on Innovation and EA, by Corey Glickman (Capgemini’s lead for Innovation-as-a-Managed Service) and yours truly, discussed the urgent need for EA to play a vital role in bridging the gap between rapid business model innovation and rapid project delivery (via Agile). It also provided several examples, as well as a practical demonstration of the Capgemini innovation service platform, which was well received by the audience. Key take aways include:
    • Innovation describes an accomplishment, after the fact
    • EA can bridge the gap between strategy (in the business model) and rapid project delivery (via Agile)
    • Enterprise Architecture must actively embrace innovation
    • Engage with your partners, suppliers, customers and employees – innovation is not all about technology
    • Creating a culture of innovation is key to success
    • Remember, if you are not making mistakes, you are not innovating

Day 3 – Featured three streams on Security Automation, Cloud Computing for Business, and Architecture methods and Techniques. Highlights from the Cloud stream (which I attended) include:

  • Capgemini’s Mark Skilton (Co-chair of the Open Group’s Cloud Working Group) talked about the right metrics for measuring cloud computing’s ability to deliver business architecture and strategy. He discussed the complexity of Cloud and implications for Intellectual Property, as well as the emergence of ecosystem thinking (e.g. ecosystem architecture’ and ‘ecosystem metrics’) for cloud computing and applications
  • A debate about the impact of cloud computing on modern IT organisational structure raised the point that a dysfunctional relationship exists between business and IT with respect to cloud services. The conclusion (and recommendation) is that healthy companies tend to avoid buying cloud services in business silos, instead they will pursue a single cloud strategy, in collaboration with IT, which is responsible for maintenance, security and integration into the enterprise landscape
  • Prakash Rao, of the FEAC Institute, discussed Enterprise Architecture patterns for Cloud Computing. He reiterated the point made earlier about how enterprise architecture can be used to align enterprise patterns (i.e. business models) to development processes. Also that enterprise patterns enable comparison and benchmarking of cloud services in order to determine competitive advantage

 

The bullet items and observations recorded above does not do justice to breadth and depth of the entire conference which included networking with attendees from over 30 countries, across all key industries / sectors, plus multiple, simultaneous streams, sessions and activities, many of which I could not possibly attend. Overall, this was an excellent event that did not disappoint. Further materials can be found on the Open Group website, including:

I would recommend the Open Group conference to any professional in IT and beyond.

Cloud and emerging economies

March 17, 2012 Leave a comment

With the Earth’s population hovering at the Seven Billion mark, there is pressing need for bigger, better, faster, and preferably cheaper, sources and versions of almost everything (e.g. food, energy and even computing power). This is just as acute in the emerging economies of Africa, South Asia and Latin America, which must rely on more creative and innovative ways to achieve their objectives. Enter the cloud.  

Although, in many so called emerging economies, certain key infrastructure essentials such as constant power supply, high bandwidth connectivity and landline coverage may be lacking, the rapid expansion and penetration of mobile technology (and infrastructure) as well as novel approaches to power management has helped to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and operators to provide Internet based services to the populace. Furthermore, the lack of pre-existing infrastructure that would otherwise require interfacing and integration is advantageous and has contributed to what is often described as the leapfrog effect.

The upshot of this is that mobile technology and the Internet both combine to create an opportunity for accelerated growth and development in emerging economies. Other factors include: a younger demographic; dysfunctional institutions; a global economy in shambles; an expanding middle class plus a Diaspora of educated and skilled professionals that are increasingly tempted to return and contribute to further development of these markets. A recent Sunday Times Magazine article (note: subscription required) pointed out that six of the ten fastest growing economies in the last decade were African.

In light of the above, it is easy to see how cloud and emerging economies can align to mutual benefit, not least because they are relatively more flexible and unencumbered by legacy considerations for pre-existing infrastructure and / or an aging population of baby boomers. However, the reality is that much care needs to be taken in order to reach the full potential of such alignment. Recently, a friend and colleague with much experience working across Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Caribbean, described a trajectory and framework for cloud technology adoption which encompassed: 1 – localised exploitation (via mobile / enterprise systems); 2 – Business Process Re-engineering (requiring business analysis / change management expertise); 3 – B2B interconnectivity between businesses (at local and global levels). In addition, global tech companies are already getting in on the action, and you can’t turn a corner without bumping into various initiatives from the likes of: Google, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and SAP, to name but a few. Also there is a lot of technology investment activity from Private Equity and Hedge Funds.

In any case, the immediate question and decisions faced by emerging economies with respect to cloud include: information governance (where is the data located); data centres (location and hosting options); security (emerging threats and vulnerabilities); new and smart applications (designed to work within the limitation and specific circumstances of particular markets). Once again, it will require more innovative and creative approaches to attain the promise of mobile / cloud enabled leapfrog effect. It really is an exciting time for emerging markets.

Categories: Cloud Tags: ,

Big Data, Cloud, Social and Mobility == Super Disruption

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Did I leave out anything? Well, there was just no other way to end 2011 than by taking a quick look at the big four buzzwords that will likely combine to unleash a perfect storm of disruptive forces over the next 12 months or so.
Cloud, big data, social and mobility

Cloud, big data, social and mobility

Over the course of this blogging campaign I have focused mostly on cloud and certain relevant aspects (e.g. content, security, access and Intellectual Property), but the fact remains that other equally profound developments, such as: big data, social and mobile computing also provide significant challenges and opportunities for both consumers and the enterprise. Gartner predicts that the above four forces will combine to transform the IT landscape in 2012, and I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, this will probably go much further than the IT landscape, since such a potent combination can easily transform entire industries as well.

In 2011, the impact of social media and mobility meant that many organisations sought ways to engage better with their customers, using social media and mobile technologies. Also various organisations, ranging from consumer products to public sector, actively looked for ways to manage and leverage increasingly large amounts of ‘big data’ and valuable content, sometimes in ways that almost rivalled traditional content industries. Think publishing, broadcast and, of course, social media footprint in your organisation today and compare it to just 3 years ago.

So what does each of the aforementioned forces portend for industries in 2012, and what are the early signs or indicators of disruption? My imaginary crystal ball has misted over slightly, but the following are some key trends to watch for the coming year:

  1. Big Data – According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), there will be more networked devices than people on earth, by year end 2011. With so many networked devices, and a related prediction that this number will double to over 2 devices per person by 2015, this is a clear indicator of the trajectory of growth for big Data over the next few years.
  2. Cloud – Cloud service providers will continue to improve and optimise services, particularly at the Data Centre level, in order to provide a seamless and efficient solution for their customers. Key focus areas include: security, intelligent storage, unified networking, policy-based power management, and trusted computing capabilities. Basically, anything that will make it easier to transition customers to the cloud environment, along with greater confidence in sustainable delivery and quality of service will win the day
  3. Social – Social media, networking and CRM all represent a move towards user centric engagement models that will allow a two way conversation between the enterprise and their: customers, suppliers, partners and employees. The user expectation of more meaningful and productive dialogue with the enterprise is only set to increase over the next 12 months
  4. Mobility – This is both a technology and use centric force which readily demonstrates the combination of all three forces along with location (in space and time). In the paradigm shifting world of context aware computing, the user and their activities are central to the flow and direction of dialogue / interaction with the enterprise. Increasingly users expect the enterprise to be able to leverage contextually relevant information when dealing with them, and this in turn drives enterprise adoption of enabling technologies to provide this capability.

A good case in point will be the summer Olympic Games in London, which should provide a fertile proving ground for many of the combined challenges and opportunities presented by the four buzzwords / trends discussed above.

In conclusion, I expect no less than a step change in disruption levels across industries over the next 12 months, or so. The gloomy economic situation will only enhance the need for change, particularly in situations where: competitors are plunging ahead; customers are expecting even more for nothing; and employees are demanding similar levels of service and user experience from their enterprise, as might be expected for a consumer – which they likely are. Some very interesting times lie ahead.

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE

The ISP Dilemma Continues

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Some time ago I wrote a post about the challenges facing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) over whether they can afford to be the police of the Internet, with respect to helping find and stop persistent abuse of content, and other illegal online activities by their users. This is still a serious issue today, particularly in light of the cloud, hence the urge to revisit that post here.

The biggest challenge then was around the growing perception of ISPs as de-facto gatekeepers of the Internet, which effectively added another layer of complexity to their traditional / core business. As a result, not only do ISPs have to deal with existing and non-trivial issues (e.g. declining markets, convergent evolution via multi-play business models, and issues around increasing broadband / bandwidth consumption), they also have to contend with the fact that:

  • Content owners still want ISPs to play a more central role in preventing, detecting, monitoring and punishing illegal file sharing (e.g. via schemes like the infamous three strikes proposal).
  • Various initiatives by governments around the world, such as the UK’s Digital Economy Act, are put in place to help provide much needed governance and teeth to the need for ways to monitor and combat illegal activities including copyright infringement.
  • There still are also signs of lack of trust by ISP customers over service quality / charges, and potential invasion of privacy

These all add up to a severe headache for ISPs, and may be made even worse when you throw cloud services into the mix. Some of the options, or combinations thereof, that ISPs have used or considered using to deal with these key challenges include:

  • Targeted advertising schemes – preferably via opt-in models as a way to help subsidise the cost of service. In some cases even extending to much cheaper or even “free” access, for your usage information, of course.
  • Industry self regulation – Still not easy to do, but one that would benefit the entire industry, and help address the pressures from content owners
  • Network Controls – Invest in better ways to track, monitor and control or “shape”  network traffic, in order to deliver better quality of service, promote fair use, and support law enforcement
  • Partner with content owners – To explore new and more flexible content business models. E.g. a survery found that music fans might actually prefer ISPs as their music supplier. However the advent since of cloud based music and streaming services may have changed that landscape somewhat.

In any case, it is still advisable for ISPs to bear in mind the following three points in trying to deal with this dilemma:

  1. Do not alienate or irritate the customer – protecting the customer relationship and keeping their trust is still key to future success
  2. Resist excessive external pressures – Content owners need ISPs as much as ISPs need them, and perhaps even more so
  3. Take the initiative – ISPs should be more proactive in creating customer-pleasing, regulator-friendly propositions and business models (perhaps by working closely with consumers and content owners)

Overall, there is no easy way to slow down the natural evolution of the Internet, and cloud services, therefore ISPs need to do more to understand, evolve and embrace what is really a critical niche in the digital content ecosystem. The cloud is here for all, and it is here to stay.

 

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE

IT Security: Still Hot & Cloudy!

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

This a refresh of an older, but still relevant, post I did last year about security and cloud which remains mostly true even today. The origin and subject of the post was from an event on IT security at the BCS Chartered institute for IT which featured 3 speakers on IT Security and Cloud.

I said back then that if I was a betting man, I’d wager the IT security industry was on the brink of a major revolution on the back of the Cloud, and indeed that still appears to be the case today. In fact, the question asked then of how many people in the audience actively used the cloud will have many more hands raised in response, if asked today, mainly because people are much more aware of the cloud then before. Which is not to say that the cloud has completely become front and centre; it still exists rightfully behind the scenes, powering various services that may still be taken for granted by the consumer, however some more recent services are also leveraging increased awareness of cloud by consumers and positioning themselves directly as cloud services. E.g. think Apple’s iCloud or Amazon’s Cloud drive for instance.

But I digress, what’s this got to do with IT Security you ask? The answer is very simple, if the cloud is really a behind-the-scenes enabler, then cloud security should also be behind the scenes right? But I still have this uneasy feeling, that we’ll yet see someone get sued over security breaches emanating from the Cloud. How long will it be before we get cloud compliance and cloud security risk assessment models, regulations and perhaps even exotic insurance policy for Cloud based services? Furthermore, the Internet (and consequently the cloud) is essentially borderless technology, which means that various national and international data governance regimes may have a thing or two to say about where data is stored – assuming it can be found in one place! This could well be a nightmare in the making for eDisclosure and/or eDiscovery.

Finally, apparently some clever Silicon Valley types are actively seeking ways to commoditize the cloud, and cloud based services, such that it can be traded as a financial instrument. Hmmm, now where did we see that one before (does Collateralized Debt Obligation ring a bell)? Suffice it to say there’s a lot of food for thought when it comes to Cloud Security, and far better qualified people than I have pondered, spoken and written about it (e.g. see my  review of an excellent book about Cloud Security), so I shall just leave well enough alone.

To conclude, I dare say that cloud has come a long way since last year, especially in the minds of consumers, and it is looking likely to stay that way for a while yet, or at least until the next big hot topic strikes the zeitgeist. We can only wait and see.

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE

Categories: Cloud, Security Tags: , ,

Content Security and the Cloud

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Following on from my previous post about storage in the cloud, the topic of content security, (aka how do you secure what is already stored in the cloud?), seemed like a natural next stop, hence this post. What does it take for content to be deemed secure in the cloud environment, and can it really be so?   

Many months ago, I reviewed a book (for the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT), which dealt with the topic of cloud security, and I recall that although the book’s titular topics of Cloud Security and Privacy was very apt, it did not take a lot of reading to get the gist that security touches every aspect of cloud, right from initial login to choice of service provider and beyond. You may be forgiven for thinking that once your content is deposited in a secure cloud location, e.g. in a highly redundant, uber-secure, private cloud provided by a certified defence contractor, then it must be secure right? Wrong.

The content, and not just the location, is what needs securing. The age old concept of perimeterised security, such as can be found within firewalls, does not apply well to distributed cloud services, hence the need for the actual stored material to have it’s own inherent security (be it encryption, obfuscation, DRM etc.). What really matters is how the material is protected from intentional or accidental leakage.

Several methods or techniques are in use today by cloud service providers to secure the content stored within their services, and just like most things in cloud, you may even get a choice of how locked down you want it to be. Again, I mean locked down as in the actual content, and not the cloud. One of the more promising systems, spearheaded by the video content industry (and Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem), is the cloud based digital rights locker system known as Ultraviolet, which allows users to buy content once and allow playback across any supporting platform / device. More information about the alliance and partners can be found here.

The key challenge is typically around content usage, and perhaps more importantly, the users intent. The use of otherwise secured content once released / accessed can often introduce an element of risk of leakage which spans anything from intentional copy and distribute (e.g. via the so called analog hole), to accidental misuse or malicious hacking. The impact of content leakage in the cloud can be devastating for content industry players that rely on revenue from their content investments.

The next post on this series will be looking very closely at the challenges facing copyright in the context of the cloud, and I hope to be able to bring back some insight from the rather timely Copyright and Technology 2011 conference, which I am attending today.

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE