Monday, October 10, 2011

Back to Silicon City of India

My blogs have seen no updates for the last 1 month. Don't worry...I am not shutting them down yet. Not anywhere in the near future.

I have shifted my base from Chennai to Bangalore and hence the lack of updates in the midst of my transit and settling down.

A lot of interesting things have transpired on field that I will blog about in the days to come. Keep waiting for the updates to start flowing soon....Keep reading and commenting !!

If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ABC Series - Assisting Business via Cloud–ToTango


I am sure while trying the umpteen cloud services on offer – that offer you everything ranging from online photo editing to online project management to music streaming – you would not have  failed to notice the “freemium” mode of service selling that accompanies these services. What that means is that there is always a basic version of the service available for free – you can register at the website and start using and continue using the basic feature set for as long as you like. In case you need more features, or have usgae stretching beyond the free bundled hours of usage, you will need to upgrade yourself to a higher or premium version.. This in industry lingo is called “freemium”

The problem most cloud vendors face is to convert the maximum number of free service users into paid users. Each user comes with a certain expectation from the service. Identifying this need and working around it to bump up the user to a paid premium version is a tricky area for companies offering SaaS.

This is where ToTango, an Israeli startup, has come up with a solution that integrates with the SaaS offering and keeps tabs on the usage patterns by customers.

It gives a relative usage intensities across customers who have signed up, provides for a stream of user activity to be recorded and streamed real time to sales representatives. Providing for Filtering, segmentation of users, notifications on specific usage patterns, etc., are tools that the company offers to be used by sales representatives to track and go after the most promising users and talk them into moving to premium versions. This also doubles up as a valuable tool for product managers to evolve and prioritize their their roadmap.

If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post
Technorati Tags: , , , Israel, , , , Uncloud

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ABC Series - Assisting Business via Cloud - EchoSign

In this new series, charmingly titled the ABC series, we will look at innovative ideas by cloud based companies that have Assisted Enterprises to do Business by leveraging the Cloud.

The first in the series is EchoSign. A company making headlines due to its recent takeover by Adobe. EchoSign has been addressing the problem of the long and iterative cycles it usually takes for two business groups to sign and close a deal.


EchoSign has simplified the process by

  1. Introducing the concept of e-signatures
  2. Allowing multiple parties to sign at once and let EchoSign consolidate the signatures into a master copy
  3. Provide for a physical sign and fax option if required
  4. Ancillary services like ‘store on cloud’ and let EchoSign remind you and other parties concerned if a renewal is due, tracking of contracts, etc
  5. Pay on the go with no need for long term contracts
  6. The associated parties only need an e-mail address and do not need to download or install any software

All of this while promoting eco-friendliness!

Related Company: DocuSign

Technorati Tags: ,,,
If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cloud Computing Security Standards

As Cloud Computing gains traction both among enterprises and consumers, security on the cloud still commands the greatest mind share when talking about reluctance in cloud adoption. While enterprises question security of their data and information, consumers are concerned about privacy related issues. Cloud Computing vendors are under tremendous pressure to demonstrate their commitment to address these hot buttons of their customers. In this context it pays for all stakeholders to be aware of some of the prevalent and widely accepted Security standards, the adoption of which helps alleviate some of the security concerns and push for greater cloud adoption.

SAS 70 - Statement on Auditing Standards No 70

What is it?

A well recognized auditing standard put in place by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

What does it do?

Modern data centers and hosting providers have to deal with their customers' data being processed or residing on their servers and storage devices. SAS 70 audit checks if the necessary safeguards and controls are in place at the data centers to ensure safety of customers' data.

Who asks for it?

Customers who want to enter into contracts with data centers, website hosting providers, cloud computing infrastructure providers typically enquire about SAS 70 compliance.

More Info @

PCI-DSS - Payment Card Industry- Data Security Standard

What is it?

A defined standard by the PCI Security Standards Council that defines the needed protection to be put in place to ensure data safety while dealing with digital payments involving cards and information provided therein.

What does it do?

The standard framework specifies requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other aspects while dealing with card related information leading to digital payments. It specifies 12 requirements to be put in place. To ensure compliance a continuous 3 step process has to be established

  • Assess: Take stock of your IT assets and business processes for payment card processing and analyze them for vulnerabilities that could giveaway cardholder data
  • Remediate: Fix the revealed vulnerabilities
  • Report: Generate records as specified by PCI DSS to validate remediation. Also submit compliance reports to the financial enterprises that you do business with.

Who asks for it?

Customers who want to enter into contracts with data centers, website hosting providers, cloud computing infrastructure providers typically enquire about SAS 70 compliance.

More Info @

ISO 27001

What is it?

A Information Security Management System (ISMS) standard published in October 2005 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

What does it do?

The standard attempts to bring a structure around information management in enterprises. As information becomes a key asset for enterprises, the need to define standard processes around Information Management and continually keep refining these became the driving factors for the establishment of this standard. The standard defines a model that covers legal, physical and technical aspects of information management. It is a top down, risk-based approach and is technology-neutral. The model is defined in 6 steps

  • Define a security policy.
  • Define the scope of the ISMS.
  • Conduct a risk assessment.
  • Manage identified risks.
  • Select control objectives and controls to be implemented.
  • Prepare a statement

Who asks for it?

Customers while dealing with cross border transactions are more comfortable in ensuring that information passed on to other organizations are safe and do not fall into the false hands. 

More Info @

Data Protection Directive (DPD)

What is it?

A set of European Union (EU) regulations that deal with personal data of individuals and their processing & movement.

What does it do?

With privacy laws being some of the most stringent among the European nations, the EU has made the DPD a part of its privacy and human rights laws. This directive governs both automated and non automated processing of data. It assumes significance in the cloud computing scenario as more and more online services require individuals to divulge personal data while subscribing to services.

The EU directive incorporates the seven principles recommended by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) earlier. The seven principles state

  • Notice: Give the individual notice when data is being collected
  • Purpose: State the purpose for which the data is being collected and data collected should be used only for this purpose
  • Consent: Get the individual's consent before disclosing data
  • Security: Ensure data collected is secure from potential misuse
  • Disclosure: Individuals need to be informed on who is collecting their data
  • Access: Individuals should be allowed access to their data and must be allowed to changer erroneous data.
  • Accountability: Individuals should have an ability to hold the data collectors accountable for the above principles

Who asks for it?

EU directive is basically for the member nations who in turn have to enact laws to give the directive legal binding.

More Info @

If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post

Monday, June 13, 2011

Understanding Cloud Computing – 5 – SaaS

In my previous posts on IaaS and PaaS, we covered the building blocks of Cloud Computing. SaaS is the top most layer in our cloud computing stack that rides on top of the power unleashed by the Infrastructure and Platform layers to really deliver value to consumers and enterprises.
SaaS or Software as a Service is quite a buzz word these days. Why so? Is it a new concept?
Not really. SaaS is about hosting a software application on a server and allowing users to use it via Internet connected computers from anywhere in the world. The user need not install the application to start using it on his computer. He/She can just access it as a service over the Internet. Web based email is a basic example of SaaS.
Other more recent examples include photo editing that certain website allow, word document to pdf conversion, Google word processing, spreadsheet applications, etc which you can access through a simple Internet browser and more. If SaaS had been around for so long, then why the buzz now?
Several reasons can be attributed to it
SaaS as a business centered concept
SaaS as a concept has worked successfully for individual centered applications but not business centered applications. There are both technology related and business related reasons for this. While SaaS applications like e-mail, office suites, etc have taken off quite well, business related SaaS applications like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, sales force automation software, payroll applications, procurement, logistics software have only started gaining traction now.
Why so?
Technology has matured
  • New software design and delivery models allow multiple instances of an application to run at once
  • Internet bandwidth costs have dropped significantly to allow companies to buy the connectivity necessary to allow the remotely hosted applications to run smoothly
  • Media rich AJAX based UIs that do not go for a full page refresh when you click on a button.
Business customers are realizing the benefits SaaS can offer
  • Delayed deployments and high Total Cost of Ownership are forcing CIOs to look away from the traditional software delivery format.
  • Business customers are frustrated with endless cycles of buying software licenses, paying for maintenance contracts, unresponsive helplines, costly upgrades, etc.
  • Pay-as-you-go benefits
  • Easy add ons
  • Easy ability to switch vendors if current vendor is unresponsive to business problems
  • No software maintenance headaches
And add to this the early successes that the world is seeing in early pioneers of SaaS like, WebEx, Digital Insight, etc. The model has proven viable. We need to wait and see how the trends in SaaS unfold.
If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Understanding Cloud Computing – 4 – PaaS

Platform as a Service corresponds to the second layer in my analogy of cloud computing to your commonplace desktop at home.
PaaS – Platform as a Service is akin to an operating system that allows application developers, programmers and the like to install their language support systems, write and test code, package and distribute and finally deploy/install them to render the apps usable by end customers.
Cloud - PaaS
The difference lies purely in the ‘as a Service’ aspect. The platform in the case of cloud computing context is not tied down to a Operating System – rather it is something that is hosted on the cloud and available on demand to developers and programmers via any machine connected to the internet. The developed requests the environment and the same gets provisioned to him over the cloud.
PaaS also follows the 4 tenets of Cloud Computing.
Examples of PaaS platforms include Azure from Microsoft, SalesForce’s, Google’s AppEngine.
We will explore SaaS in our next part in this series.
If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cloud Startups – Asankya

In the first of the series on Cloud Startups – a series of posts that will over time cover some of the unique cloud startup companies that are working to resolve challenges that cloud computing realization poses.

Asankya, an Atlanta based cloud startup is working on the transport layer of the Internet. Working to make it more efficient, fault tolerant and enable it to deliver Cloud applications more rapidly and reliably.

The company has patented a Internet transport layer routing technology that hinges on dynamic network characterization and scheduling capabilities to optimize data flow. It calls it the RAPID protocol.

The interesting part of this ‘hyper-mesh technology’ is the ability of the patented algorithms to break up a file into 10 parts each of which is transmitted along a pre-scanned path on the Internet to the destination. The pre-scan helps establish the reliability of the path’s performance.The end result is a transmission rate that is 40 times the current speeds offered by normal routers.

You might be wondering where the cloud and Asankya’s ideas cross paths. Think of a private cloud that an enterprise wants to have. Having it in house guarantees LAN speeds. However having a 3rd party data center to create a private cloud for your enterprise means that all data between the enterprise and the private cloud has to negotiate the bottle-neck in the middle – the Internet. Asankya’s technology leaps to the rescue. Having special routers deployed at the gateways of your enterprise and the remote private cloud ensure that the bottle-neck problem is solved/minimized.

If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post

Never miss a post...

If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post