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Forget Looking in the Mirror, It’s Your Digital Image That Truly Matters

It’s great to stay in shape at the gym and pick out stylish clothes. But more and more, the personal image that really counts is digital.

That’s because the Internet of Everything (IoE) era demands new ways of looking at, well, just about everything. And everything includes you. In an expanding universe of new connections, each of us needs to ask, just where do I fit? And how am I being viewed?

In short, what is my digital persona?

The ways in which we are seen online have assumed acute importance in recent years, and that only stands to increase. Therefore, our digital personas have to be cultivated and maintained, just as we care for our images in the physical world.

In career terms, for example, you may be known in your daily work life as a good leader. But the physical world has limited reach.  If there is no evidence of that in the digital world, you will be in trouble, especially if you happen to be looking for a new job. Recruiters, of course, know that they can do an instant search and start compiling your digital profile within seconds. If you say you’re an expert or a good manager, your digital persona had better back it.

According to some recent research, job recruiters are turning more and more to Facebook, which by some measures is becoming even more impactful for employment purposes than LinkedIn. So, if the personal social media site can actually trump the professional social media site, think twice before you post those Spring Break photos.

As the consumerization of IT extends ever further into the workplace — via personal devices, social media, and so forth — the blurring of the personal and the professional will only continue.  As a result, everyone must be aware that personal actions have an impact comparable to professional achievements. And the digital trail that you leave behind every day influences how you are perceived in the marketplace.

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How Cisco Helped Solutionary Boost Security and Improve their Hadoop Performance

Every day, security threats continue to evolve, as cyber attackers continue to exploit gaps in basic security controls. In fact, the federal government alone has experienced a 680% increase in cyber security breaches in the past six years, and cybersecurity attacks against the US average 117 per day. Globally, the estimated annual cost of cybercrime is over $100 billion. Often, even when security breaches are identified, it can be extremely difficult to figure how they happened or who is responsible.

One company working hard to prevent these threats is Solutionary, a managed security services provider (MSSP) that actively monitors their customers’ technology systems in order to identify and thwart security events before any negative impacts occur.

In order to provide real-time analytics of client traffic and user activity, Solutionary, a wholly owned subsidiary of NTT Group, developed a patented Solutionary ActiveGuard® Security and Compliance Platform which correlates data across global threats and trends in order to quickly identify security alerts and provide clients with actionable alerts.

The patented, cloud-based ActiveGuard® Security and Compliance Platform is the technology behind Solutionary Managed Security Services

The patented, cloud-based ActiveGuard® Security and Compliance Platform is the technology behind Solutionary Managed Security Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to keep up with growing data volumes, the need for fast security analytics, and their expanding client base, Solutionary needed to find a way to quickly scale their infrastructure, as their traditional server infrastructure was not able to easily scale and support in-depth analysis. Their challenge was to figure out how to:

 

1)     Increase their data analytics capabilities and improve their clients’ security

 

2)   Cost-effectively scale as their clients/data volume grows

 

When a security threat occurred in the past, the legacy systems could only be used to analyze log data; they couldn’t see the big picture. Thus, when an event happened, it would sometimes take weeks of forensics work to figure out what had occurred. In order to meet these challenges, Solutionary turned to the MapR Distribution for Hadoop running on the Cisco Unified Computing System™.  By using Hadoop, Solutionary was able to smoothly analyze both structured and unstructured data on a single data infrastructure, instead of relying on a costly traditional database solution that couldn’t pull in both structured and unstructured data into a single platform for analysis.

Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for Big Data

Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for Big Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifically, the Cisco/MapR environment consists of two MapR clusters of 16 Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Servers. Solutionary uses the Cisco UCS Manager to provision and control their servers and network resources, while the Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects provide high-bandwidth connections to servers, and act as centralized management points for the Cisco infrastructure, eliminating the need to manage each element in the environment separately. Because of the environment’s high scalability, it’s easy for the fabric interconnects to support the large number of nodes needed for MapR clusters. Scalability is improved even further by using the Cisco UCS 2200 Series Fabric Extenders to extend the network into each rack.

Cisco UCS Components

Cisco UCS Components

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With MapR and the Cisco UCS CPA for Big Data environment, Solutionary can now access a much greater amount of data analysis and contextual data, giving them a more informed picture of behavior patterns, anomalous activities, and attack indicators. By quickly identifying global patterns, Solutionary can identify new security threats and put them into context for their clients.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions, or via twitter at @CicconeScott.

 

 

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Quick Insights from the Big Boulder Data Event

On Thursday and Friday of last week, I attended the Big Boulder data conference, which brings together vendor, academics, analysts and practitioners of social data.  The purposes were many: discuss emerging trends, acknowledge the issues and challenges around privacy and security, and make introductions to encourage discussion of how we all envisage social data technology and by extension social data maturing.

I spent two days fastened in on how vendors believed social data could be used and how companies and researchers were ultimately using it. At times, there was a wide gulf and not only because the rate at which technology is evolving is rapid but because we, as an industry, recognize the importance of this data and don’t want to compromise the trust our customers and clients have for us.

The people at GNIP/Twitter are well aware of this and have spearheaded the Big Boulder Initiative, a task force created to address critical issues around stewardship, enablement, availability and value. If you’re interested, you can learn more here.

Over the two-day conference, there were over 45 sessions with topics ranging from Sina Weibo to the challenges of analyzing unstructured data to user-generated content vs. brand-created content.  Despite the wide scope of topics discussed, there was an underlying recognition that we were all in this together, that we have an obligation to manage the growth of social data in a responsible and secure manner and that we still had some growing up to do.

I could probably write several pages of themes and insights that I noted during the two days but here are three I thought we’re particularly interesting.

Visualize Whirled Peas

This year there was a lot of discussion around visualization and the impact of Tumblr and Pinterest, respectively.  One of the panelist believed that visual channels were happy because people like to engage with images.  I’m not sure I entirely buy that and other members of the panel were quick to argue to the contrary. However, watching the world wake up and go to sleep with Twitter was very compelling and did make me smile (if not happy).

Some members of the panels wanted customers to more fully recognize the value in sharing their location via a social platform.  I can see the benefits to users of the data; it was amazing to see the outline of common maps reveal themselves not through traditional boundaries but rather through social activities—outlines of cities, airports, etc. emerged as people Tweeted.  The panelists didn’t seem to share some of the anxieties I had about sharing my whereabouts in real-time.  Issues of safety and cyber-bullying can and should influence what people share online.  However, I liked the idea of using imagery to guide discovery and finding someone on say, something like Tumblr, with a similar aesthetic to encourage that connection.

We Do Have Some Standards Around Here, You Know

This was the first year, where I heard the admission that social does not have the same standard of measurement as say TV advertising, print ads, etc.. This wasn’t the familiar beat of the ROI drum but rather a recognition that we need to, as an industry, better define the value of social.  To date, we don’t have a verifiably mature model that clearly defines what comprises that value.  We don’t have a clear idea of when engagement matters most and how to attribute that activity. But honest conversations are beginning and everyone seems to recognize the importance to sales, marketing, HR, etc. to answer these questions.

Millennials vs. Digital Behavior—Which One Truly Matters

I have to admit this topic really intrigued me and I was excited to learn the digital characteristics of this generation. I don’t know if the resulting information was meant to make us all feel better (read: younger) but some of the panelists felt that generations should be segmented along the lines of digital behavior over age.  Susan Etlinger  suggested that we’ve been using demographic behavior as a proxy for categorizing customers and it’s losing its value.  It’s certainly true that using the blunt instrument of age to determine a person’s online social persona may omit a lot of detail but with each succeeding generation the use and proliferation of online tools can’t be entirely overlooked. Susan certainly wasn’t minimizing the influence of social technology broadly across generations but that we should perhaps adjust our lens to include more than just demographics to segment an audience.

#InformationOverload

In the two days, I met some great people, discovered that everyone is facing very similar changes and that it’s never been more exciting to be involved with Social Data.  Learn more about the Boulder Initiative here and the Big Boulder conference here.

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The Digital Renaissance Is Here. Is Your Company’s Culture Ready?

Sooner or later we all feel like throwing up our hands and cursing the complexity of modern life. But while technology may seem the chief culprit in making things unmanageable, it is also the ultimate solution to complexity.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, it is particularly important for business leaders to understand the power of technology to simplify our lives and support JBradleySAPinformed decision making. And this was a core theme at Sapphire Now 2014, an event in Orlando, Fla., that I was privileged to attend last week.

By using network technology to integrate people, process, data, and things, IoE counters complexity in unprecedented ways. In a city, this can involve something as simple as cutting the time it takes to find a (connected) parking space. Or IoE technologies can scale up to reroute traffic lights; for example, to head-off highway backups before, during, and after a large event.

In a brick-and-mortar retail setting (a key area of discussion at Sapphire Now), IoE can alleviate the complexity of managing customers, staffing, and products. With data from multiple sources comes heightened, real-time awareness, empowering managers to react faster than ever. For example, they can then stock shelves and reorganize staff in response to constantly changing levels of demand. With predictive analytics they can even respond before a customer rush begins.

The idea of hyper-aware, real-time decision-making resonated during a Sapphire Now panel discussion titled Thrive in the Digital Networks of the New Economy. I was honored to share the panel with such luminaries as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT; Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute; and Jai Shekhawat, Deepak Krishnamurthy, and Vivek Bapat of SAP. And there was much discussion on the impact of bad decisions on failed organizations. Which is why we all take such an interest in technology that enables good ones.

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Carving Out “Me” Time in the Internet of Everything Era

In a typical week, I spend about 70 percent of my waking hours on work-related matters. Another 50 percent is devoted to my family. Which leaves 20 percent for taking care of the household, and ….

Yes, that adds up to more that 100 percent. But there simply aren’t enough hours in a day for all that needs to be done — not to mention protecting that crucial time with loved ones.

So, thank you, multitasking! I can’t be the only one who has held a child while writing emails, taken conference calls from the supermarket, or had several online meetings running simultaneously.

All of this occurred to me as I struggled to find time for this blog. Writing forces me to shut off everything around me and reflect on the things that really matter — in a world that is rapidly changing, increasingly complex, and in which technology can sometimes seem a mixed blessing. When I do finally carve out an opportunity to write, it is precious time, which I cherish.

But writing is hard. Trust me, I’ve thought about creating a blog for years, and my past is riddled with failed attempts to start. Each time, I hesitated for too long, wondering whether people would really want to hear what I have to say. Like many writers, I have wondered if my compositions were too long, too short, too personal, too corporate, too banal, too deep ….

But as much as I appreciate your attention, dear reader, this time around I realize that I am writing the blog for me, the writer. Like many of us, I navigate a harried, high-pressure life. And this blog is my time, my space, to do something creative and expressive.

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