Quest Technology Management

Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

When IT Performance Monitoring Gets a “Big Data” Boost

Businessman standing on Cloud looking at world map covered with image representing Cloud data. And a giant Q from the Quest logo

No doubt you’ve heard about “big data.” It sounds intimidating, invasive, and, well, way too big. But don’t be fooled — “big data” is going to save your IT infrastructure.

The first thing you need to understand about how this is happening (oh yes, it’s already well underway) is that “big data” is something of a misnomer. What we’re really talking about is analytics — automated mathematical tools that work in real time to sift through untold amounts of regular old data, in this case IT performance data, and produce actionable results that go far beyond legacy monitoring capabilities. Continue reading

Why cloud DR pays off in a mission-critical IT world

Shield on a cloud to illustrate Cloud Security

Not so long ago, the best way to assure your organization would survive a major disruption involved building — and continuously paying for — a dedicated recovery site. Like so many early-generation IT solutions, this one was unaffordable for most smaller businesses.

Happily, the very technologies that generate disruption-causing complexity (see my last post) also provide the kinds of cost-effective capabilities, such as real-time replication and managed disaster recovery services, that today’s heavily mission- and business-critical IT environments require. Continue reading

When It Comes to Security, Know Thyself

“If you don’t understand the risks, you don’t understand the costs,” security guru Bruce Schneier advised during a TED talk.

He was discussing security in the abstract — but it got me thinking about IT security in particular and the difficulty many executives face trying to determine if their organizations are safe from cyberattack.

The problem is that these conversations nearly always turn technical. Soon, a flurry of technology acronyms — confounding but apparently reassuring — begin flying around the room.

And, reports Schneier, it works. People, he says, will “respond to the feeling of security and not the reality.”

So what can a CEO do to understand the reality of security risk and grasp what the actual cost of security failure might do to the organization?

Control the conversation — and don’t allow the technical to dominate what should be a business conversation about your firm’s specific security risks and costs.

For example, you need to know which of your employees can use their iPads at the local Starbucks to log into your corporate database, what kind of information they can access, and how exposed to attack this makes your organization. You don’t need to know if it’s firewall or firefly technology protecting the corporate jewels as long as it does the job.

If your security conversations amount to nothing more than a list of product features designed to thwart some list-of-risks, then be concerned. And seek advice from a trusted security services partner.

Look What’s Really Causing IT Disasters

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According to one expert, U.S. enterprises lose $1.2 trillion each year from IT failures. Although this figure gets debated, everyone agrees it’s a whole lot of money.

These losses — and the downtime that triggers them — tend to be caused by the mundane rather than the spectacular, as recent Forrester/Disaster Recovery Journal research shows: Continue reading

98% of Apps are Insecure — Here’s How You Can Protect Yours

Mobile phone with password on screen to illustrate mobile security services

Sadly, one can make the argument that if software vendors did a better job of integrating security testing throughout the development lifecycle, our current struggles with application security might be less challenging.

In fact, however, software vendors are late to the party. Their security testing tends to be tacked on to the end of development lifecycles as an afterthought, which may account for one recent study’s startling conclusions that:

  • 98% of applications carry at least one application security risk (and each risk may signal the presence of multiple vulnerabilities)
  • 80% of applications showed more than five risks
  • The average application registered 22.4 risks

Continue reading

Apps, Apps Everywhere — But How Secure Are Yours

Did you know that your applications are the most vulnerable part of your IT operations?

iPhone with lock to symbolize Cloud Security. Cloud in background

These days, problems with apps — many of them web-based apps — account for the majority of information security breaches. Over the last year or so, and going forward, application-level attacks have emerged as the preferred vector for gaining access to sensitive (and valuable) data. What’s more, the threats are becoming increasingly acute as complex web apps, as well as mobile apps, play ever greater roles in our business and personal activities.

App vulnerabilities for sale — cheap at the price? Continue reading

What Secure, Enterprise-Grade File Sharing/Syncing Looks Like

Small glimpse of Secure VPN diagram

As I detailed in my last post, file sharing/syncing is quickly transforming how, where and when we work by making our apps and data available and usable on any Internet-connected device. Even if your organization doesn’t have an enterprise-grade file sharing/syncing capability in place, odds are your employees have attempted to make their lives easier by implementing their own consumer-grade alternatives. Continue reading

2014: The Year We Can Help Make BYOD Safe For Your Business

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As we venture into 2014 expect to hear a lot more about file sharing/syncing. Not surprising given that 25% of information workers now use file sync and share services in their jobs, according to Forrester Research — up from just 5% in 2010.

Anywhere, Anytime, Anyone

And I believe those numbers will continue to climb. Despite sounding mundane, file sharing/syncing (thanks to the cloud and BYOD) has begun to significantly reshape how we work with each other. By making files, documents and application data available and usable on any device, file sharing/syncing empowers employees to work anywhere, anytime, with anyone — using whatever device is at hand.

Lest you decide to discourage such behavior, consider that BYOD provides more than eight hours of additional productivity per week as a BYODer normally works beyond the time-and-place parameters of the traditional office.

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A Glimpse of What’s on the 2014 Tech Horizon …

Four dice showing 2013. Last die is rotating from 3 to 4 for 2014

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to look ahead, and a good place to start is Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends for 2014, which point to an accelerating velocity of change that we ignore at our peril:

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How Big is The BYOD File-Sharing Target on Your Corporate Back?

Colored files with arrows to and from the Cloud.

If yours is like most businesses these days, many of your employees use their own smartphones, tablets and/or laptops to do their jobs — and the numbers are climbing fast as more people go mobile. Pew Research Center reports that as of May 2013, 56% of American adults have a smartphone and as of September 2013, 35% own a tablet.

Continue reading