Archive for the ‘Cloud Software’ Category
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
by: Markus Latzel, CEO
Last week I participated in a discussion on LinkedIn started by Lucy Railton with a simple question: “Is there enough understanding by Canadian owned organizations about the importance of choosing a Canadian cloud provider?“. Lucy considered this question in particular in the context of existing legislation re: PIPEDA, and US Patriot Act.
There was quite a discussion on this question, with a few experts weighing in on whether Canadian executives are fully aware of the level of protection US-based cloud providers give them and whether hosting domestically should be the first choice for them.
Michel O’Neil from cloudfingr points out that there are many onsiderations, including jurisdiction in the state of data location and how that can affect potential litigation vis-a-vis SLA contract requirements.
Oscar Jofre pointed out that Canada is a country with very high data security standards and suggested it should be a first choice in selecting a hosting provider.
In my opinion, Canada actually still has quite a ways to go with respect to data privacy protection. In our own review of Canadian cloud provider service level agreements (SLAs), we found that 9 out of ten still lack significantly with respect to data protection and ownership. Practices in the field support our finding.
We believe that in a world where regulations (SSAE-16, PCI/DSS, PIPEDA) only scratch the surface of proper data protection, ultimately, reliable risk management is very highly dependent on practices and procedures enforced by the cloud provider. The Service Level Agreement is a core indicator to how far the provider is willing to assume joint risk with the client. And we all know that enforcing an SLA is best done on legal home territory.
Therefore, selecting a domestic data centre for your data storage needs seems like an obvious choice.
WebPal Cloud Servers are available in data centres in Toronto/ON, Phoenix/AZ, Ashburn/VA and Amsterdam.
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
When it comes to adopting new technology, it is important for there to be both the perception of security and the reality of security. Perception is integral to opening the door to using any new system. A poor impression of how secure a particular technology is can often be the biggest challenge in stepping through the door to implementation.
We have discussed the reality of cloud computing security in the past, and recently there have been two great events that have helped build acceptance of how secure cloud storage can actually be. Firstly, a recent study by CA Technologies and the Ponemon Institute shows businesses have improved practices regarding cloud security in comparison to a previous survey in 2010. There are still some challenges, such as the lack of agreement as to who holds responsibility for cloud security within some organizations, however, a good start has been made.
The second recent occurrence to boost our perception of cloud security comes from the CIA. Last week, the CIA reportedly signed a $600 million dollar cloud computing contract with Amazon with the goal of assisting the CIA in gathering and analyzing information. Amazon will be setting up a “private cloud” for the CIA to further investigate and process on an even greater scale.
As we’ve mentioned previously, private clouds are a viable security option for many firms – they are not restricted to large agencies like the CIA. This is a very strong statement about how secure the cloud can actually be. If the CIA can trust their data within a private cloud computing environment, what does this do for your appreciation and acceptance of cloud computing in relation to security? New partnerships are occurring every day. Who will be the next major player to boost our confidence in the cloud? Perhaps it’s time to take another look at what this technology can do for you.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
If you’ve been following along in our blog so far, you will have learned that there are a lot of advantages behind moving your content into the cloud:
1. Increased security
2. Business continuity
3. Mobile document management
4. Saving time and resources in your IT department
5. Saving time and increasing efficiency for everybody using your systems.
The process of migrating your servers to the cloud can have amazing advantages in and of itself.
Finding the Skeletons in the Closet
One of the first steps you take as part of migrating your servers to the cloud is initiating an assessment of what you have and what you need. Often our servers grow over time, with newer parts being added to older systems. This leads to a jumble of systems that can be a challenge to support and that can hide all sorts of problems and inefficiencies. There are no dark corners on your network when you use cloud servers, so all the issues will come to light.
When was the last time you took a detailed look at what skeletons might be hiding in the dark corners of your network? A recent event in in the media has prompted many to ask this question. The New York Times recently cleaned their technical house to resolve an issue they were having with hackers. They admitted that hackers had access to many of their systems for up to four months. Standardized cloud systems offer greater transparency and thus a security advantage worth looking into.
As Stephen Schmidt, chief security officer at Amazon’s web services told the BBC in this article, “The very act of shifting from an in-house data centre to an on-demand service can start a powerful discovery process.”
What will you discover when you look into your network?
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
In a recent report, privacy expert Caspar Bowden has warned Europeans about the dangers posed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendment Act (FISAAA) to the security of their cloud data. Under the terms of the FISAAA, US cloud service providers can be forced to release data they hold from any citizen living outside of the US.
Laws such as FISAAA put businesses in an awkward position, as they might be in violation of certain security and privacy regulations in their home nation in order to comply with regulations in other geographical areas.
While data security is a valid concern at all times (both in the cloud and outside of it), it is entirely possible to both enjoy the benefits of cloud computing while having all the data security of hosting your own servers. All it takes is a little planning.
Getting Back to Basics on Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is defined by Dictionary.com as:
Internet-based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked so as to allow sharing of data-processing tasks, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources.
Often, we think of “remote servers” to be somewhere at the opposite side of the world. In reality, remote means anywhere off your business premises – meaning they can be next door, down the block, or on the opposite side of the world.
The cloud computing industry is aware of the concerns businesses have regarding legal and political risks involved with storing and accessing data in the cloud. Phoenix NAP Partners offers a product called SecureCloud, which offers businesses the ability to choose the location where their sensitive data will be hosted. Thanks to a recently announced partnership between Phoenix NAP Partners and WebPal, SecureCloud will be available as part of the WebPal customizable content management system.
Markus Latzel, President and CEO of Palomino Systems Innovations (the creators of WebPal), is currently at the Parallels Summit in Las Vegas until Wednesday! You can follow him on twitter at @mlatzel to get live updates from the floor. Parallels is a worldwide leader in hosting and cloud service enablement and desktop virtualization, and the Parallels Summit is an excellent opportunity to network with leaders in the cloud computing industry. Feel free to introduce yourself to Markus if you see him there.
In an increasingly security conscious world, the US government will likely not be the last government attempting to have control of and access to information. If political risk to your data is a concern for you and your company, being proactive about securing the geographic location is an important step to ensuring the security of your data. You can still make use of the benefits of the cloud, you just need to follow in the footsteps of the Rolling Stones and tell everyone else to keep off of it.
If you’re interested in experiencing what WebPal can do for your organization, click here to receive a free trial.
Thursday, November 15th, 2012
by: Markus Latzel, CEO Palomino Inc.
Last week, we were again present on IBM’s Centre for Advanced Studies anual CASCON Conference, followed immediately by the co-located annual general meeting of NSERC’s Business Intelligence Research Network.
Aside from meeting old friends and enjoying face-to-face time with our research partners are University of Toronto and Dalhousie University, we used the time to learn about progress in various fields of interest to us:
- Visual Analytics
- Business Process Management
- Health Care Work Flows
Visual Analytics is high on IBM’s agenda, in a search for “consumable analytics” that allow stakeholders quick, easy to attain glances of corporate performance indicators and market data. Social data mining of course is a large area of interest, but also the “hard” data contained in corporate data bases and document repositories are still largely untapped in terms of extracting knowledge with decision-generating power. To fuel research in this area, IBM has announced the creation of the IBM Center for Advanced Visualization, a new visualization engine that they wish to open and standardize, and are looking for research partners and opportunities.
In a discussion with Stephan Jou, Sr. Architect at IBM’s Business Analytics CTO office, consumable analytics are driven largely by visualization research. How to display complex data in a meaningful way, reducing its complexity to understandable visualizations without losing information and context, is still a large, unsolved problem.
The Dalhousie team had a strong presence on both CASCON and BIN AGM – the team of four researchers garnered a total of three awards:
- Interactive Clustering of Semi-Structured Documents (Axel Soto, #1 Technology Showcase, Best Presentation)
- Document Clustering with Dual Supervision (Yeming Hu)
- Adaptable Feature Selection and Clustering for Text Streams (Yael Kollet)
- Smarter Text Similarity using Google n-grams (Aminul Islam, Best Presentation)
Healthcare Technology no doubt can benefit from deep data analytics as well – however here we feel that primarily the data acquisition is still a large concern of the industry, in particular the CIOs and IT vendors working on solutions for health care. Data analysis can only be as good as the raw data itself. Of course, health care providers are dealing with large amounts of unstructured information, and this problem will have to be solved before any meaningfull deep data analysis can be carried out.
All in all, this year was once again a showcase of powerful, applied research, and we are glad to be part of it.
Looking forward to CASCON/BIN 2013!
Visual Analytics powered by WebPal
Mobile Patient Health Record on a WebPal Cloud Server
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Choosing a Content Management System for your organization can be very difficult as there are so many options available. Do you choose a proprietary solution or a cloud content solution? What organizational factors do you have to take into account to ensure that your company will use the system in the most effective way? With so many options, it is easy to lose sight of your goal.
It is important to have a reliable Content Management System in place when running one the largest seniors housing organizations in North America. Chartwell Seniors Housing REIT has over 180 locations that are locally operated. To ensure the management of their residences that was globally accessible, Chartwell had to evaluate the most effective Content Management System that fit their needs.
Evaluating the product itself is the first step. The product with the most features may not be the product that is best for your organization. For companies with a similar model to Chartwell, features to look for could include; establishing that the cloud content server is a secure system, or that the system can be easily implemented and understood by varying skill levels online.
Next, ensuring that the Content Management System aligns with your needs is important. Having the opportunity to customize your system can lead to your organization receiving the maximum benefit. The custom WebPal system developed by Palomino for Chartwell is a great example of how customization can create easy management for an organization in a decentralized way.
When your company makes the decision to move to a Content Management System, look at the core reasons for your project. Why are you considering this solution in the first place? When you know the core issues and the features you need from a CMS platform to resolve these concerns, it will make your decision making process easier.
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
Technology has played an integral role in the advancement of healthcare. Without information storing/sharing systems, such as WebPal, or mobile point of care solutions, such as Cycom, our healthcare system would not be able to run as efficiently as it does. As technology continues to play an integral role in healthcare, it is important the industry embraces new developments and collaborates to provide the best possible service.
The IT Healthcare Conference and Exhibition 2012 from October 3rd to 4th intends to provide an opportunity for discussion. Hosted by Diversified Business Communications, this two day event intends on educating the Healthcare sector on industry trends, best products and practices and how to incorporate information technology and management systems into daily practice. Palomino Inc (Booth #708) will be participating in the conference in more ways than one.
Markus Latzel, CEO of Palomino Inc, and Dr. Wendy McCaull, professor at St. Francis Xavier University, will be speaking on Thursday October 4th on a Careflow Management System (CfMS) developed in collaboration between StFX and Palomino. The CfMS prototype provides care team providers with complete electronic access, allowing for better opportunity for patient care.
On October 3rd, Markus and Michelle Morley, Nursing Professor at Algonquin College will be comparing home health care mobile devices. Palomino’s devices were a part of a research study in 2012 that compared time savings and user feedback. Michelle and Markus will be discussing the results and what this means for an aging population.
The IT Healthcare Conference and Exhibition provides an opportunity to better our healthcare system through dialogue and collaboration. Markus and his team are looking forward to connecting with all attendees, including long term health care providers and Hospital CIO’s.
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Last week, we have completed release of the latest version of the WebPal Cloud Server, version 2.3.0. Here are some of the goodies and improvements we have made on this install. As you can guess, we are already steaming towards version 2.4, stay tuned!
Shared Drives. Admin users can now manage all Shared Drives in a convenient location, the Shared Drives Panel. This is accessible under Server/Settings and allows for a quick overview of who can access which folders, and with what permissions. Convenient batch-operations make the daily admin tasks a lot easier!
Group Management. The group panel allows for easier management of group members.
Online Document Viewing. The online document viewer now opens in new tab, improvements to thumbnail generation now allow 100+ page documents to be viewed, improved document sizing and zoom, and improved cache control to avoid reloading previously viewed pages
Google Document Import/Export. Google Docs is great for co-authoring drafts of your documents in a collaborative manner. WebPal now supports direct drag&drop of google docs into WebPal folders. WebPal will store Google doc links and allow joint management of Office documents with gdocs. Have a look at this video to see how.
File upload improvements. Files of up to 500MB can be uploaded seamlessly after some improvements to the upload mechanism.
WebDAV. Our enterprise clients appreciate WebDAV and we are getting great feedback on the ability to mount WebPal as a Windows Network drive Letter. Some improvements have been made to make this feature even faster and easier to use.
IE 10 support. Yes, Internet Explorer 10 is coming out now. We have ensured compatibility ahead of time and are ready for the future. Not to worry, while Google is also moving forward and burning old bridges, we still support IE 7 and IE 8. Sorry, IE6!
Drag & Drop. One of our favourite benefits. Drag many files at once from your desktop right into a WebPal folder. Now with improved responsiveness. Check out this video.
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Implementing eHealth policies can be difficult, as you are often dealing with large institutions that struggle with making decisions, and technology that can often become obsolete before a system can be put in place. One example of this occurred last week when a “$46.2-million contract to build an electronic diabetes registry for eHealth Ontario had formally been cancelled.” Reports indicate that the proposed system had since become obsolete as newer versions of the technology had been developed. Cloud technology and content management system is a fast-paced world where new technologies come and go, which can pose a challenge to health care providers. This is an area WebPal is very interested in. Our CEO Markus Latzel will be presenting at the HIMSS Ontario event in October to discuss WebPal’s role in eHealth initiatives and the future of eHealth.
It is undeniable that there are benefits of a content management system in healthcare: it can help regulate patient and physician paperwork, helping people get the best care as quickly as possible. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto recently experienced what this type of technology can do in terms of processing patients. MyChart is a mobile app that provides access to diagnostic scans, surgery results and medical progress reports on the cloud.
“It empowers the patients so much more – like we are in it together. And it is a whole new way of doing medicine,” said a cancer surgeon at Sunnybrook.
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Tablets and smartphones have made it possible for businesses to operate beyond the office life that exists between the hours of 9am and 5pm. So far, Apple has dominated the mobile market, especially with their iPad tablet. But alternatives to Apple and the ailing Blackberry are beginning to emerge, and they are focusing on creating products that can be used in the workplace. One example is Microsoft and their planned release of Windows 8. The new software will be a “tablet-optimized” version of their operating system that will attempt to bridge the gap between mobile devices and desktops. As long as cloud content management systems like WebPal are in place, a hybrid model is possible for businesses.
“We’re in a transitionary space right now, where we’re almost giving up the desk to become very mobile,” says Quocirca principal analyst Rob Bamforth. “But it’s still difficult to call whether people will prefer something entirely tablet-like or the legacy keyboard.”
One person who is confident in the powers of Windows 8 to rejuvenate the company is Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. He “thinks the potential of Windows 8 is on par with Windows 95, one of the most important software releases in the past two decades,” and may even surpass it. Since Microsoft is doing a complete overhaul of their products to accommodate the changes Windows 8 will bring, expectations ought to be high for the software.