Sunday, August 28, 2016

From PC Break/Fix to CloudMASTER®

It was late 2011 and Steven Donovan was comfortable working at SHI International Corporation, a growing information technology firm, as a personal computer break/fix technician. His company had been growing quickly from a $1 million "software-only" regional re-seller into eventually becoming a $6 billion global provider of information technology products and services.

At that time, cloud computing was just starting to explode onto the information technology scene. Although Amazon Web Services had been offering its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) since 2006, browser-based enterprise applications from companies like Google had only been around since 2009. Steven wanted to somehow elevate himself professionally so after hearing good things about the National Cloud Technologist Association's  CloudMASTER® certification , which was available at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is Data Classification a Bridge Too Far?

Today data has replaced money as the global currency for trade.

“McKinsey estimates that about 75 percent of the value added by data flows on the Internet accrues to “traditional” industries, especially via increases in global growth, productivity, and employment. Furthermore, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that about 50 percent of all traded services are enabled by the technology sector, including by cross-border data flows.”

As the global economy has become fully dependent on the transformative nature of electronic data exchange, its participants have also become more protective of data’s inherent value. The rise of this data protectionism is now so acute that it threatens to restrict the flow of data across national borders. Data-residency requirements, widely used to buffer domestic technology providers from international competition, also tends to introduce delays, cost and limitations to the exchange of commerce in nearly every business sector. This impact is widespread because it is also driving:
  • Laws and policies that further limit the international exchange of data;
  • Regulatory guidelines and restrictions that limit the use and scope of data collection; and
  • Data security controls that route and allow access to data based on user role, location and access device.
A direct consequence of these changes is that the entire business enterprise spectrum is now faced with the challenge of how to classify and label this vital commerce component.

Figure 1- The data lifecycle
The challenges posed here are immense. Not only is there an extremely large amount of data being created everyday but businesses still need to manage and leverage their huge store of old data. This stored wealth is not static because every bit of data possesses a lifecycle through which it must be monitored, modified, shared, stored and eventually destroyed. The growing adoption and use of cloud computing

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vendor Neutral Training: Proven Protection Against Cloud Horror Stories

Cloud computing is now entering adolescence.  With all the early adopters now swimming in the cloud pool with that “I told you so” smug, fast followers are just barely beating the early majority. The gold rush to cloud is also driving the IT herd to get cloud computing training.  Training vendors from multi-billion dollar behemoths to little Mom and Pop shops are ready to cash in with fast and easy, vendor-specific certifications for just about any cloud service provider.

Although at first glance, all is well with this vision, the industry’s adolescent hubris has started to show some troubling warning signs. The source of the trouble, however, is not with the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). The problems are actually caused by the CSP customers themselves!

Driven by an almost reflexive assumption that the planet’s largest providers are always best, most customers fail to conduct even the most basic CSP adoption due diligence tasks. These same customers also have a very limited appetite for learning foundational cloud computing concepts. These facts have combined to make cloud computing pilot errors typical and CSP transition failures much more common. The broadening use of hybrid cloud solutions and the rapid growth in the sheer number of cloud service provider options have also contributed to this unfortunate trend. Although there is always great value in vendor-specific training, this type of focused investment should be made after enterprise IT professionals have been well grounded in cloud computing fundamental and well versed in the now plentiful cloud service provider options. This is why vendor-neutral cloud computing training is so critical to today’s IT professional and, by extension, the modern business enterprise.

As more companies take advantage of cloud service benefits, the need for IT professionals to be skillful in the use and implementation of a wide range of cloud services becomes even more acute. This form of training also serves as a layer of