Posted by: Clarity Blog | March 27, 2013

Cyber Security Personnel Deficiency


Cyberspace has become a battlefield.  And the good guys are losing.

That’s not news to the thousands of professionals in the U.S. security business.  Malware attacks, hacks, and virus outbreaks are reported daily.  The number of individuals, groups, and nations entering the war against them continues to grow

Technology is helping but the ultimate “defense in depth” strategy has to include people—lots of them.

Yet the shortage of white hat security personnel in the job market is getting worse.  The exponential growth of malware generated by really smart, organized and well-funded cybercriminals, needs a corresponding number of highly trained security professionals to keep a positive balance in cyberspace.

However, in their sixth annual  Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), Frost and Sullivan polled 12,000 security experts worldwide and revealed that many professional don’t fully understand this problem. The report’s underlying message is that there is already a major shortage of skilled cyber security professionals and something needs to be done about it soon.

A study released last year by one of Clarity’s clients, Norman software, highlighted the problem.  Of the IT directors surveyed, the majority say they can’t find enough talent for their incident response teams; and that if they could they don’t have the time or money to train and pay them.

Corporations, government agencies and security organizations need to embrace this problem and make it a top priority across the board.  Discussions at this year’s RSA conference started to address the issue.  A top down approach, starting with the government, security consortiums, and colleges was suggested.  That’s a beginning, assuming recommendations turn into action soon.  But that won’t be nearly enough without increased salaries and budgets throughout the security industry.

The scarcity of skilled cyber security personnel is finally starting to cause the pay scale for these positions to rise in some areas, in order to make them more attractive. For example, The Washington Post reports that the pay scale for cyber security analysts in the area surrounding D.C. has risen by 10.1 percent this year.  Not surprising given the high concentration of security companies and agencies in the region.

Other regions need to follow suit because one thing is clear.  We can’t afford to lose this battle.

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Posted by: Jonathan Bloom | March 26, 2013

Software Defined Networking: The Billion-Dollar Technology Infant

SDN-Virtualization-NetworkingIf anything is certain about the technology industry, it’s that it doesn’t take long for new technologies to make an impact. One of the more recent ones to impact the industry is software defined networking (SDN), which, though still in its infancy, has already brokered billion-dollar deals.

Recently, Business Insider’s Julie Bort offered a peak at just what this “infant” has prompted a couple major players in the Tech market to spend on advancing software defined network offerings. She wrote:

A new enterprise technology called software-defined networking is still in its infancy. But it’s already created some billion-dollar success stories, capturing the imagination of Silicon Valley’s savviest investors and inventors.

Consider the $1.26 billion acquisition of Nicira by VMware last summer.

Or the $176 million acquisition of Contrail Systems by Juniper Networks last month, a mere two days after Contrail came out of stealth.

Bort goes on to predict that the SDN market is primed to skyrocket to even greater heights. She notes that IDC places its value at a “mere” $360 million this year, but predicts it will grow to $3.7 billion by 2016. To put those numbers in human perspectives that would be like a baby that weighed seven pounds at birth weighing 72 pounds when he or she was three years old—the mean weight for an 11 year old in the U.S.

There is some solid business reasoning behind this giant forecast in the SDN market. It’s virtual. To put it bluntly like David Greenfield does on the WANspeak blog (which is administered by our client, Silver Peak), “Virtualization means enormous cost savings.”

Because of its software-based nature alone, software defined networking is a huge cost savings. The need for additional hardware is removed.  And everybody knows, when it comes to a hardware upgrade it’s not just the machines that cost money. There’s also the cost for additional space, additional energy costs, installation and maintenance costs, etc., etc., etc.

As with many infants, though, Greenfield points out that SDN has some growing up to do:

We might talk about Software Defined Networks (SDNs) and OpenFlow, but there are still huge architectural bottlenecks that happen at the WAN. Applications, such as Hadoop, have tremendous sophistication, but often lack an in-depth understanding of the physical network that prevents them from factoring in the impact of the WAN.

These growing pains have not impeded germination of the SDN space – far from it. Based on the number of startups that have been spawned in the wake of SDN’s birth and the number of significant enterprises that have joined the race, few companies find these growing pains at all daunting. The question is will SDN startups like Big Switch Networks, NoviFlow and Plexxi be able to bridge the gap between virtual (i.e., software) and physical networks to achieve the efficiencies that software defined networking promises. Those that do will be proud parents of a healthy, well-adjusted network.

Posted by: Clarity Blog | February 24, 2013

The New Age of Retail Shopping on Mobile


We all know that the mobile world is big right now. It’s true most consumers are still spending more time on their desktops than on their mobile devices, but that gap is getting smaller every day. According to Research and Markets, mobile is revolutionizing all aspects of retail purchasing, both online and offline, and their report shows you where the market is, how you can profit from it and how mobile is critical for your retail strategy. If your website is not optimized for tablets and smart phones, you may be losing out on significant retail profits in the coming year.

Customers are ready for smart in-store shopping experiences aided by mobile technology. It’s time for a future where mobile shoppers will thoroughly understand every product on a store’s shelf. Retail stores will have a better understanding of what each individual customer wants, needs and interests. From the moment the shopper enters that store these new mobile devices will help them to discover, evaluate and buy products that are the best fit for them.

Mobile is changing the retail industry, as people will perform a variety of shopping-related functions on their phones and tablets. They are comparing items, looking up reviews and even purchasing the item via mobile. By connecting the in-store and online shopping experience, you provide more value to your consumers. The blend of in-store and mobile retail shopping helps to make the relationship between a shopper and a brand stronger and longer lasting.

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Posted by: Clarity Blog | February 14, 2013

New Enterprise Mobile Customer Integration


Enterprise companies are always looking for innovative ways to connect their customers and it seems smart that they would integrate fully with mobile. By developing a well thought out strategy, enterprise companies can easily connect mobile users with enterprise and cloud recourses. Everybody is tying to build faster  smarter apps, as well as coming up easy ways to manage and secure apps, data and devices. That way enterprise companies can communicate consistently with their customers in a safe environment.

2012 saw mobile application development platforms focus on the enterprise with a view to helping companies capitalize on the growing BYO trend. In 2013, the trend seems to be going towards developing new mobile software and services to help enterprise IT achieve a more efficient and complete mobile SDLC for faster, smarter mobile apps that are easier to manage and secure. We look forward to seeing which top enterprise companies start to fully integrate mobile into their business strategy.

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IT Knowledge Exchange

Posted by: Clarity Blog | February 12, 2013

Climbing to Financial Success


It appears as though we are slowly but steadily climbing out of the financial crisis. Things are looking positive, with strength returning to the financial industry and established technologies given more room to grow. The International Monetary Fund says that it continues to expect a modest upturn in global growth in 2013, with fewer risks of major policy mistakes and lower levels of financial stress.

It appears as though start-ups are going to be leading us in this ascent. Policy makers passed (with broad bipartisan support) the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) in 2012 to make it easier for start-ups and entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowd – funding and other means. This week, in his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined plans to build a stronger America, including actions to help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand. With wider adoption and decreasing cost of mobile and cloud computing are making it easier and cheaper to start and grow businesses anywhere in the nation.

What does this mean for start-ups? “If crisis risks do not materialize and financial conditions continue to improve, global growth could be stronger than projected,” the Washington-based fund said in its economic report. Lots of start-ups are moving into the enterprise software business and positioning them selves to either go public or be acquired with this growth. Oracle (ORCL), IBM (IBM), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and Dell could choose sooner rather than later to acquire their way into new growth markets, says Brian Marshall, an analyst with International Strategy & Investment. There are a lot of game changers making big moves out there with this new financial upturn and start-ups will be smart to jump on board sooner rather than later……..

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Entrepreneur Magazine

Posted by: Clarity Blog | February 4, 2013

New Anti-Unlocking Smartphone Law opens Pandora’s Box!!

They finally made it illegal to unlock smartphones over the weekend, unless you have the permission of the carrier that originally locked the phone. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act now states: “…with respect to new wireless handsets, there are ample alternatives to circumvention. That is, the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers. While it is true that not every wireless device is available unlocked, and wireless carriers’ unlocking polices are not free from all restrictions, the record clearly demonstrates that there is a wide range of alternatives from which consumers may choose in order to obtain an unlocked wireless phone.”

This new policy makes it more difficult to move between smartphone carriers and still keep your existing phone. People generally unlock their phone so they can get out from under the poor service of one carrier and move it on to another (you MUST have a carrier for the phone to work).  Sometimes this is due to cost savings but more often this “churn” (the term the carriers use to recognize turnover) is due to poor customer service, coverage that is inferior, etc.

This ruling is one way the carriers can continue to lock you in, even if they are providing the kind of service that would make you leave that establishment. You aren’t penalized by changing your home phone system or cable carrier, as people often do: sometimes for a better short term incentive by a competitor and the promise of more bundled services (which make it harder for you to leave them, by the way), but more often it is because of poor service, coverage quality, or customer care. The same reasons for leaving apply, it makes you wonder how fair this new policy is…..

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World International News


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