Archive for January, 2013

Is Your Private Life Safe Under Cloud Computing? No, says the European Parliament

28 January 2013 – Cloud computing poses a larger threat to your privacy than you might think, according to an European Parliament study.

The study published by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies identified potential risks: “The challenge of privacy in cloud computing is underestimated, if not ignored. The main concern arising from the growing reliance on cloud computing is less the possible increase in cyber fraud or crime than the loss of control over individual identity and data.”

Today Europe is marking annual data protection day, an initiative to raise awareness of how people’s personal information is collected and processed and how to best protect your private lives. The EP is currently looking at plans to update current European rules on data protection to bring them in line with the latest technological developments and prevent misuse of private data.

The report, published at the year-end, also points out that U.S. law authorizes surveillance of cloud data of non-American citizens. U.S. authorities would not be bound by the proposed reform of EU rules, but it is something that could be dealt … Read more

The Effects of Cloud Computing on the Health Care Industry

21 January 2013 – Cloud computing is now not just about uploading your files in Yahoo! Groups or Google Communities for sharing with a common group. Cloud computing today speaks of large data and resources used by enterprises. There are many businesses and industries affected by this trend in technology. One of which is the health care sector.

Yes, the world is fast changing. At the heart of this change are cloud technologies that are also being accepted by the health care industry.

But, there are issues:

1. Record and Protect Patients’ Information Safely
2. Store Data with Less Cost
3. Share Records to Authorized People
4. Less Risk for Data Loss
5. Mobile Component

For an excellent overview from Vanessa Parks click here.

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Facebook’s latest server architecture: a challenge to OEMs IBM, H-P,and Dell? And Amazon and Google?

18 January 2013 – Facebook has provided a big endorsement for ARM server CPUs: the company is showing off a next-gen server architecture for its Open Compute platform for building cheap/dense/power-efficient IT infrastructures that allows companies to switch between various x86 and ARM CPUs by swapping boards. Applied Micro and Calxeda are the first ARM vendors to support it. The architecture will also support Intel’s silicon photonics tech, using it to handle 100G Ethernet links.

Pundits in the industry are saying this latest server architecture could present a huge challenge to server OEMs such as IBM, H-P , and Dell. Not only does the open-source architecture enable cheap, energy-efficient servers, it offers a tremendous amount of flexibility to install and swap out parts as users see fit. It arrives at a time when many incumbents are already struggling to deal with the adoption of cheap commodity servers by Internet/cloud giants.

And Rackspace is throwing its weight behind Facebook’s platform.  Embracing Open Compute could help Rackspace’s OpenStack solutions become more cost-competitive relative to Amazon and Google’s cloud infrastructure offerings – both … Read more

Big Data: Stop Focusing On Size

It’s not the size of your data, it’s what you do with it, says IBM analytics executive

14 January 2013 – Rich Rodts, who manages IBM’s analytics academic programs, often finds himself discussing big data with family, friends, clients and business partners, including representatives from top universities across the U.S.  “There really is no wrong definition of what big data is,” Rodts told InformationWeek in a phone interview. “I like to explain big data as taking a vast amount of information and being able to distill it in a way that can be consumed and acted upon.”

A common definition that’s often overused is one that focuses solely on the vast quantities of data being created, said Rodts, who offered an alternative view.  Big data, he said, “paints a picture” of a human being, including the often mundane tasks a person completes through the day: using an ATM, paying bills or buying movie tickets online, taking public transportation, and so on. “Each one of those things creates a unique data point,” said Rodts. “One that points back to me as … Read more

What are data protection regulators looking for in cloud computing contracts?

8 January 2013 – The recent rise of cloud computing – both for businesses and at consumer level – is providing a decent challenge for the regulators tasked with applying established data protection principles to this new and fast-developing industry.

Until last year there had been little guidance at UK or EU level. However, in July 2012 the Article 29 Working Party – the independent advisory body made up of data protection regulators from across the EU member states – released its Opinion on Cloud Computing (05/2012). This was closely followed by guidance from the UK regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO’s Guidance on the Use of Cloud Computing was published in September 2012.

The working party and ICO have attempted to provide workable and commercial solutions for both cloud suppliers and their customers. Both regulators have concluded that data protection legislation should not be a bar to using cloud services, but that certain measures must be put in place, mainly by the customer, to ensure compliance with the data protection principles at each stage of the cloud … Read more

The Rise and Fall of Black Box Analytics

3 January 2013 – As businesses of all sizes come to appreciate the potential of advanced analytics applications, there’s a rising temptation to use these technologies to gain a sustainable competitive advantage over rivals. But analytics applications also offer a significant challenge: the analytics powering businesses practices often do their thing within a proprietary “black box,” hidden from the client’s view—raising the specter of a scenario in which an algorithm, improperly vetted, wreaks havoc.

Indeed, behind most analytics applications stands a small team of engineers and developers with a high degree of specialized knowledge. The resulting algorithms are pretty arcane, meaning that not many people really understand how they work. Nonetheless, such understanding is necessary: there’s more pressure than ever, at least from a compliance perspective, for senior managers to clearly document processes.

Those opposing forces have created pressure on IT vendors to build analytic applications that are not only more transparent, but incorporate the expertise of a much broader number of individuals.

“Collaboration and compliance are both going to become major issues in the coming year,” said Tom Cowan, … Read more