Monday, January 30, 2017

NCTA CloudMASTER®: The Path To Your Future

In 2016, cloud computing started to dominate many IT market segments. As a business, Synergy Research Group reported that industry revenue for the four quarters ended Sept. 30 grew 25%. Operator and vendor revenue for six segments of cloud computing reached $148 billion during that period, with spending on private clouds accounting for over half the total but spending on the public cloud growing much more rapidly. As more and more companies are taking advantage of the benefits of moving to cloud services, there is a significant need for IT professionals to gain the skills needed to successfully use and implement a wide range of cloud services, making typical vendor-focused training solutions less valuable.

This NCTA program was designed to provide IT professionals with a strong foundation in cloud technologies, and overall cloud architecture and management of cloud infrastructure, as well as a solid technical background in modern web services deployment and administration. The program is comprised of three courses: Cloud Technologies, Cloud Operations, and Cloud Architecture. In these courses, students will learn concepts, principles, techniques, and practices needed to administer and secure a modern cloud-enabled business environment. Unlike other cloud training programs, this curriculum is platform-agnostic, and therefore offers students a more comprehensive approach to cloud computing.

  • Cloud Technologies: An overview of cloud computing will help you develop a deep understanding of the models and understand the landscape of technologies used in the cloud and those employed by users of cloud services. You will receive multiple points of view, firsthand experience and a foundation in managing industry leading cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Drupal, Wordpress, Google Docs and Digital Ocean.

  • Cloud Operations: This module helps you study the management of cloud operations and addresses the application need for compute power, managing CPU scaling, and meeting both structured and unstructured storage requirements. You will learn how to painlessly deploy fairly complex applications that scale across multiple instances in cloud technologies including Windows Azure Chef, Chef Solo, Linux and Windows Tools.

  • Cloud Architecture: This module includes OpenShift, OpenStack, VMware, Amazon Web Services, Azure and Rackspace, and provides a framework to assess application performance needs while addressing business requirements of Return on Investment (ROI), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Groups will complete a cloud assessment of Fortune 100 firms using public information and make presentations to the client.

NCTA CloudMASTER® helps organizations transform customer experiences through:
Customer understanding;
Top-line growth; and
Customer touch points.

They help companies optimizes internal processes through:
Process digitization;
Worker enablement; and
Performance management.

They can also transform a company’s core functions and activities through:
Digital modifications to the business;
Creation of new digital businesses; and
Digital Globalization.

IT staff of the future need the skills of a businessperson to stay current, as their company's software requirements and the options for satisfying them will be deep, varied, and changing quickly.  The IT department five years from now will also need to keep pace with nearly constant change. The more complex and interconnected technology environments become, the more a general understanding and knowledge of how it all works together will be valued. 

If you want to secure your IT future, schedule a consultation today.

This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.

Cloud Musings
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cybersecurity in the President Trump Administration

From the rise of increasingly capable nation-states—like Iran and North Korea—conducting destructive attacks against American private sector companies, to the continuing pace of IP theft by China striking at the very heart of our innovation economy, the new team at the White House will have its hands full. And this doesn’t even account for ongoing efforts to infiltrate critical infrastructures by nation-state proxies and efforts to influence political, economic, and military conditions in the United States through cyber-enabled intelligence. Or recruitment activities, the reality of our aging federal cyber infrastructure, and the lack of serious federal government policies on joint public-private cyber defense and cyber deterrence.
Given this dizzying list of challenges, the likely limited bandwidth to address these issues in the first 100 days, and the urgency of the threat, one might ask what critical issues the new administration ought to tackle immediately after inauguration day. To that end, there are five key steps that the Trump Administration should—consistent with its policy platform—take that might have a useful impact on our nation’s cybersecurity in the near-term.
First, as we did in the Cold War, the new administration should define the scope of cyber activities that would provoke our nation to action. That list must include efforts to conduct destructive attacks on the property of any American government or corporate assets, regardless of where they are located; activities targeting American critical infrastructures, and activities directly affecting our body politic—including, but not limited to, efforts to influence our political process or to fundamentally undermine our economic capabilities, including through the theft of the American core corporate intellectual property.
Second, the administration must make clear that it will respond swiftly and severely to activities that cross the lines described above. If we are to have credibility, we must also be prepared to actually take action when such lines are crossed. For better or worse, today, American redlines largely go disrespected because of our prior failures to enforce them. We also ought to make clear that our responses will be calibrated to the threat and may not necessarily take place in cyberspace.
Third, the Trump Administration should incorporate technology infrastructure into its $1 trillion initiative to build roads, bridges, and buildings. As it encourages private sector investment through tax credits and other incentive programs, the administration must, likewise, encourage investment in technology infrastructure including the build-out of high-speed network access to underserved areas and the broad deployment of cloud infrastructure for public and private needs. In addition, the administration should encourage the use of American infrastructure technology domestically and abroad, even in the face of efforts by other nations—like China—to subsidize their industries through low-to-no interest loans and government-enabled IP theft.
Fourth, the Trump Administration needs to establish a White House mechanism for engaging the American private sector in national security decision-making. As the recent Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity recently recommended, the new administration should create a forum for top private sector executives from key infrastructure sectors to be regularly briefed on critical national security matters with a cybersecurity nexus and to provide their input directly to the President through the National Security Advisor.
Fifth, the Trump Administration should require the U.S. intelligence community to immediately begin providing classified threat information directly to American critical infrastructure companies in a machine usable format that protects intelligence sources and methods. While Congress recently passed threat sharing legislation, the reality is that both the federal government and the private sector have remained reticent to share the most useful information. The government ought to show good faith by being the first to give in this area and start sharing immediately.
Like any new administration, the Trump team will face a steep learning curve on the wide range of threats the nation faces around the world, particularly in cyberspace. However, there are some key steps that it can take in the near-term to have a significant impact on our cybersecurity posture. By establishing the conditions for a serious, workable deterrence system, treating technology as a core infrastructure component, and establishing a tight working relationship with the private sector, the Trump Administration can take the very ideas at the core of its electoral platform and apply them to good use in cybersecurity in the first 100 days.
About the author: Jamil Jaffer, a cybersecurity and national security expert at Dūcō, recently served as the Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he worked on key national security and foreign policy issues, including leading the drafting of the proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS in 2014 and 2015, the AUMF against Syria in 2013, and revisions to the 9/11 AUMF against al Qaeda.
This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.

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( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Creating Your Digital Strategy

Photo credit: Shutterstock

For many corporations, welcoming the New Year also heralds the season of strategy development and budget distribution. This year, however, companies of all sizes are struggling with how to deal with the accelerating consumerization of technology and the mind numbing societal changes it brings. While each industry vertical has its own processes and business models to deal with, they all share a pressing need to develop an appropriate digital strategy. For 2017 this seems to be at the top of every executive to do list.

Business strategy experts around the world have categorically stated that data is now a strategic asset that can be sold and exchanged. In order to identify important data and manage it in a digitally driven future, companies will need to evaluate their organization’s structure, go-to-market approach, and overall corporate identity. Accomplishing this task effectively requires these companies to first establish their role within the new data economy.  To do this, IBM experts have created the Data Economy Framework which is used to characterize companies, their roles, capabilities, and overall trends in how they act in the data-driven digital economy. Specifically, will your company become a:

  • Data Producer - generate data from IoT and traditional big data sources (i.e. business applications, social media, websites, open sources, financial transactions, surveys, censuses, and digitized hard copies);
  • Data Aggregator/Custodian – provide data normalization services that enables data collection from heterogeneous devices and efficient data distribution; 
  • Platform Owner – provide application programming interfaces (APIs) for connectivity and ecosystem device discovery; 
  • Insight Provider – design and development of the semantic models, analytics libraries and machine learning techniques necessary for taking efficient and effective action based on data; or 
  • Data Presenter - make complex and large datasets easy for business users to consume. They also allow consumers to have intuitive access to the underlying data and its derivatives.

Once you have settle on your desired role, experts offer up four strategic pillars that must be addressed when executing on a corporate digital strategy:

  • Executing processes on a resilient digital platform that’s secure, available on demand and easy to set up and use; 
  • Offering anytime, anywhere digital insights, driven by analytics; 
  • Creating a digital workforce platform of connected workers, using advanced monitoring, search and analytics tools; and 
  • Proactively managing a digital innovation ecosystem comprising multiple partners to incorporate the latest technologies.

Digital transformation will also require reconfiguring both your corporate front and back office operations for digital executionMicroservices and serverless computing are at the heart of this process. Serverless computing, also known as Function as a Service (FaaS), is a cloud computing code execution model in which the cloud provider fully manages starting and stopping virtual machines as necessary to serve requests Requests are billed by an abstract measure of the resources required to satisfy the request, rather than per virtual machine hour. One of the leading serverless computing options is IBM’s OpenWhisk. It uses business rules to bind events, triggers, and actions to each other. OpenWhisk actions run automatically only when needed. Its servlerless architecture is quickly instantiated with the scalability needed to meet the evolving demands of the modern user.

Microservices is a service-oriented architectures (SOA) specialization used to build flexible, independently deployable software systems. “Services” in a microservice architecture (MSA) are processes that communicate with each other over a network in order to fulfill a business goal. These services also use technology-agnostic protocols. This option represents a modern approach to software architecture for systems where continuous integration and DevOps are practiced. In its core, the microservice architecture advocates partitioning large monolithic applications into smaller independent services that communicate with each other by using HTTP and messages. The architecture pattern is a child of the continuous integration revolution and is designed for deployments that use a DevOps-based continuous delivery model.


In summary, developing a new digital strategy for you company requires you to:

  1. Select the right digital economy role for your company’s business future; 
  2. Design implementation steps that align with the four strategic pillars of digital strategy execution; and 
  3. Reconfiguring corporate front and back office operations in ways that take advantage of microservices and serverless computing.
Make 2017 the year your company creates its digitally driven future.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit

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