In an unexpected announcement today Microsoft and Dropbox have revealed that they're joining forces to integrate Dropbox more closely into Office.
The link up will allow Office files to be edited directly from the Dropbox mobile app and the changes synced across devices. It works the other way too with access to Dropbox from within Office.
With Azure and Office 365, Microsoft already has a strong position in the business cloud market. But the company isn't resting on its laurels, it used this week's Convergence 2014 conference in Barcelona to announce a number of innovations to help enterprises gain greater benefit from the cloud.
The main announcement is that the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release will be generally available in December this year. The new release is designed to address the growing need for businesses to deliver seamless experiences to their customers by helping them break down the barriers between divisions.
Despite the news that enterprise cloud adoption is up 61.5 percent since 2010, many businesses are still skeptical of moving critical communications applications such as email and corporate data over to a single cloud vendor. Even admitted cloud enthusiasts and members of the Open Data Center Alliance, a consortium of global IT companies such as Infosys, Deutsche Telekom and SAP, have admitted that two-thirds of its members are delaying their move to the cloud due to a number of concerns around security and downtime.
Security has long been one of the primary barriers to cloud adoption, but while vendors are working hard to assuage fears on that score, the issue of unplanned downtime is another major hurdle that must also be overcome.
How many of you really understand the cloud? If you were tasked with explaining "the cloud" to a child could you manage it?
A recent discussion with top industry professionals and cloud thought leaders revealed that, for cloud solution providers, education was the biggest hurdle in cloud service adoption. Thankfully at a SAGE hosted round table, we dissected exactly what the cloud is, what it does, and how it can benefit you.
There is little doubt that cloud will play an increasingly important role as more and more organizations adopt cloud based strategies to underpin their IT infrastructures. Indeed, cloud hosting offers a wide variety of advantages to companies with the expertise to take advantage of it. Applications can be rolled out faster, resources can be rented rather than purchased and infrastructure can be right-sized to support monthly and seasonal peaks.
However, a global survey commissioned by iland in April 2014 and undertaken by analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), highlighted that there are also plenty of challenges when moving to a new cloud based infrastructure. In fact, 91 percent of those surveyed experienced at least one unexpected challenge when moving to the cloud with pricing, performance, scalability and location all topping the list of issues.
Securing applications in the cloud can prove a difficult challenge for businesses. Any solution needs to balance protection against accessibility and not harm performance.
After flip-flopping between closing, then not closing, and finally closing, Twitpic has now shut up shop. But that's not quite the end of the story. There had been rumors flying round that Twitter was going to buy the image and video hosting service, but that ultimately amounted to nothing. The latest twist in the story is that Twitpic and Twitter have come to an arrangement that means content that has already been uploaded is safe. For now, at least.
In a statement on the Twitpic blog, founder Noah Everett explains that a deal has been struck with Twitter. What this amounts to is Twitpic handing over the domain and content archive to Twitter. This will keep "the photos and links alive for the time being".
Dropbox is not especially consumer focused. However, it is still very popular in the cloud market for individuals. The good thing about this combination is that security insights needed for the business aspect of its model seep into the consumer product.
For example, it has much better security settings than Google Drive or OneDrive, the other two popular cloud services in the consumer space. Only Dropbox allows you to view, and remove connected devices.
Anyone who was under the impression that Surface was a failure for Microsoft need look no further than the latest earnings release for proof that they're wrong. In the quarter ending September 30, Microsoft pulled in $23.20 billion in revenue, and $908 million of this came from the Surface division.
All told, FY15 Q1 represents record first quarter revenue for Microsoft, and it can be at least partly attributed to the influence of Satya Nadella, as well as the restructuring surrounding Nokia Devices and Services. There was a strong performance in the Devices and Consumer divisions, with revenue increasing 47% to $10.96 billion, while commercial revenue rose 10% to $12.28 billion.
One of the problems that enterprises often see in implementing cloud computing is that they risk getting tied into a single supplier for software and platform.
This is leading to more interest in 'hybrid cloud' solutions which allow the mixing and matching of features from different suppliers. Today industry giants IBM and Microsoft announce that they're working together to provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.
As businesses increasingly turn to the cloud to store their data the weak link in the chain remains the use of the public internet to transfer information.
To overcome these concerns enterprises are looking for secure and scalable ways to directly connect data centers across the globe. Now IIX (International Internet Exchange) has acquired a platform that fully automates the buying and provisioning of network connections in under five minutes, replacing a manual process that can take as long as 30 days.
Firebase, a company helping developers to produce apps and services that store and sync data in realtime, is the latest Google acquisition. With a user base of 110,000 developers three-year-old Firebase announced that it is joining Google and plans to continue the work it already does, but pointing out it will be possible to "do much more, much faster" with Google's resources and backing.
With Firebase's focus on the cloud and mobile, it is little surprise that Google's own announcement about the acquisition came on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. The two companies appear to be a good match, with Firebase's aim to "continue to be platform agnostic and provide clients for iOS, Android, the web, and more" being very much in keeping with Google's own ethos.
The security of the internet is an on-going concern. Whether you're online for fun, or you're conducting business, there are all manner of pitfalls you may encounter. Issues such as viruses and malware are now widely known about, but these are far from being the only security issues to concern yourself with. Security has been thrown into the limelight once again by high-profile stories like the Fappening, problems with SnapChat, concerns about the Whisper app, and the POODLE SSL 3.0 vulnerability.
A large proportion of companies and individuals are aware of the importance of anti-virus and anti-malware tools, firewalls and the like. Security tools are all well and good, but there's also a lot to be said in favor of changing online behaviors; it's something that the online community and businesses are increasingly coming to understand. Much of what this entails -- taking care about the personal information you share and educating yourself about services before you use them -- is common sense, but it bears repeating.
The tabloids are abuzz with tales of hackers stealing salacious celebrity selfies stored on the Cloud, and of course the furor dies with next week’s issue of People Magazine.
The thought of Cloud based business data being compromised is a different matter, and you’re right to be concerned about ubiquitous computing resulting in ubiquitous hacking attempts. Fortunately, efforts to secure the cloud are maintaining the pace of the unprecedented growth of the cloud itself.
As the popularity of cloud services has grown, so have concerns over the security of the data that's stored on them. This has led security vendors to adapt and develop solutions for the new environment.
A new report by security company NSS Labs looks at the rise of cloud security solutions and at the business demands driving their adoption, as well as the limitations and potential hidden costs in their use and recommendations for enterprises.