Blog posts by Mike Small

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Real Time Security Intelligence (RTSI)

Organizations depend upon the IT systems and the information that they provide to operate and grow. However, the information that they contain and the infrastructure upon which they depend is under attack. Statistics show that most data breaches are detected by agents outside of the organization rather than internal security tools. Real Time Security Intelligence (RTSI) seeks to remedy this. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to take simple measures to protect against known weaknesses in infrastructure and applications. However, even those organizations that have taken these...

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And all for the want of a nail

On Friday morning (October 23 rd ) I was preparing for my lecture on software vulnerabilities to the final year degree students at the University of Salford when I heard the news of the of the TalkTalk data breach .  Now this is not about that breach in particular – it is important to wait until the detailed investigation is complete before drawing conclusions.  However that breach provided me with an example of the high level of responsibility now borne by the CISO.  Using the story as an example I asked the students how they would like to explain to the press and...

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Getting the Cloud under Control

Many organizations are concerned about the use of cloud services; the challenge is to securely enable the use of these services without negating and the benefits that they bring. To meet this challenge it is essential to move from IT Management to IT Governance. Cloud services are outside the direct control of the customer’s organization and their use places control of the service and infrastructure in the hands of the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). The service and its security provided cannot be ensured by the customer – the customer can only assure the service through a...

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Windows 10: How to Ensure a Secure and Private Experience

Together with many others I received an offer from Microsoft to upgrade my Windows 7 desktop and Windows 8.1 laptop to Windows 10. Here is my initial reaction to successfully performing this upgrade with a specific focus on the areas of privacy and security. As always when considering security the first and most important step is to understand what your requirements are. In my case – I have several computers and I mainly use these with Microsoft Office, to use the internet for research and to store personal ‘photos. My main requirements are for consistency and...

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Security and Operational Technology / Smart Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 is the German government’s strategy to promote the computerization of the manufacturing industry. This strategy foresees that industrial production in the future will be based on highly flexible mass production processes that allow rich customization of products. This future will also include the extensive integration of customers and business partners to provide business and value-added processes. It will link production with high-quality services to create so-called “hybrid products”. At the same time, in the US, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership...

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From Hybrid Cloud to Standard IT?

I have recently heard from a number of cloud service providers (CSP) telling me about their support for a “hybrid” cloud. What is the hybrid cloud and why is it important? What enterprise customers are looking for is a “Standard IT” that would allow them to deploy their applications flexibly wherever is best. The Hybrid Cloud concept goes some way towards this. There is still some confusion about the terminology that surrounds cloud computing and so let us go back to basics. The generally accepted definition of cloud terminology is in NIST SP-800-145. According...

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EMC to acquire Virtustream

On May 26th EMC announced that it is to acquire the privately held company Virtustream. What does this mean and what are the implications? Virtustream is both a software vendor and a cloud service provider (CSP). Its software offering includes a cloud management platform xStream, an infrastructure assessment product Advisor, and the risk and compliance management software, ViewTrust. It also offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with datacentres in the US and Europe. KuppingerCole identified Virtustream as a “hidden gem” in our report: Leadership Compass: Infrastructure...

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Risk and Governance in Analytics

There is now an enormous quantity of data which is being generated in a wide variety of forms. However this data, in itself, has little meaning or value; it needs interpretation to make it useful. Analytics are the tools, techniques and technologies that can be used to analyze this data into information with value. These analytics are now being widely adopted by organizations to improve their performance. However what are the security and governance aspects of the use of these tools? For example Dunnhumby which was created in 1989, by a husband and wife team, to help businesses better...

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AWS Announces Machine Learning Service

AWS has recently announced the A mazon  Machine Learning  s ervice – what is this and what does it mean for customers?   Organizations  now  hold enormous quantities  of data  and more  data  in a wide variety of forms  is rapidly being generated .  Research has shown that organizations that base their decision making and processes on data are more successful than those that do not.  However  interpretation and analysis is needed  to  transform  this data  into useful...

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Migrating IT Infrastructure to the Cloud

Much has been written about “DevOps” but there are other ways for organizations to benefit from the cloud. Moving all or part of their existing IT infrastructure and applications could provide savings in capital and, in many cases, increase security. The cloud has provided an enormous opportunity for organizations to create new markets, to experiment and develop new applications without the need for upfront investment in hardware and to create disposable applications for marketing campaigns. This approach is generally known as DevOps; where the application is developed and...


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