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In February 2015, we published a blog post entitled "State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean?" which itself was an update to an earlier "Clarifying State of the Internet Report Metrics" blog post, published in March 2013.  The explanations in both posts are still relevant to the State of the Internet / Connectivity report series, but there are a few updates that are worth highlighting.

Your cloud-hosted workloads are your "main event". They are your commerce website, your CRM application, your collaboration tools, your partner portal, your corporate website, etc - the engines that drive your business and enable your organization to connect, collaborate, and transact business across a broad group of employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and more. Unlike the making of a motion picture, where you can rehearse and do as many re-takes as needed, your cloud-hosted workloads need to be up-and-running 24 x 7 x 365. Downtime is not an option for your end-users. When operating in the cloud, this is easier said than done. The availability of the IaaS/PaaS services are completely out of your control. So how do you ensure your workloads stay online, even when your cloud provider goes down?

National Internet Outages - The New Normal?

Gabon's ongoing "Internet curfew" is, unfortunately, representative of the new normal for Internet connectivity in some countries.  After experiencing a near complete Internet outage in the country from September 1-5, connectivity returned.  However, since that time, the country has put a so-called "curfew" into place, with Internet connectivity regularly disrupted each day between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM local time.

OpenSSL Security Update

On September 22nd, 2016, the OpenSSL project released  versions 1.1.0a, 1.0.2i, and 1.0.1u of OpenSSL. This release contains about a dozen security fixes, including one important update that we wanted the Akamai community to be specifically aware of.

Mobile is a key part of the shopping journey, both online and offline. 55 percent of Chinese consumers rate the smart phone as the most important device in making a purchase decision compared to only one-third of consumers in the US and UK. Mobile devices are also becoming the go to device for Internet access across Asia Pacific. According to an eMarketer survey, 90 percent of respondents said they accessed the Internet on their mobile devices each day, although this varies quite a bit from region to region.

Do you remember playing capture the flag as a kid? I sure do! My friends and I would split up into even teams - usually about 6 kids per team. Then each team would hide our precious flag on our side of the backyard. Now the important "strategery" comes into play once the game actually begins, as I found the winning formula was to make sure my teammates all spread out and stayed as far away from each other as we could. That way, we avoided getting caught when we entered enemy territory (i.e. the other side of the backyard). Some teams would stick together in groups of 2-3 to chit-chat while they snuck around the backyard, making them an easy target! The principle here is a familiar one: don't put all your eggs in one basket. Well, cloud computing has created the largest IT egg basket the world has ever known. The aggregation of thousands and thousands of workloads into a few, very large data centers has made these workloads sitting ducks for attackers. Just like my chatty friends, cloud-hosted workloads are easy to find and much more vulnerable than in the old days when each company kept their workloads in their own private data centers. I'm certainly not proposing that we go back to the old days of IT, but it's important to consider how we can combine the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud without increasing our attack surface and adding new vulnerabilities into our security perimeter.

In the words of the great Peter Drucker "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it". This is especially true when it comes to managing performance in the Cloud. Most organizations rely on the standard performance monitor tooling that is offered by their Cloud Provider, which only provides basic insights into the health of the infrastructure within the data center. But what about what's happening outside the data center? Do you have complete end-to-end visibility into all your actual users and the performance they are experiencing? And then how do you optimize the experience for your end-users?

Or is it?! Do you feel burnt out on hearing from vendors who don't have any new or interesting perspectives to share on the seemingly overplayed topic of Cloud? As a former IT Manager myself, I feel you. That's why I sought out an expert, Jason Fuller, to share his insights and best practices for designing cloud architectures. I wanted to get an unbiased perspective from a guy who has the battle scars to show for his many ups-and-downs as an IT executive managing mission critical cloud environments for large global enterprises.

Rapidly changing technology is disrupting the way retailers and consumers interact with each other and creating avenues of interaction that were not even possible a few years ago.  However, this pace of change and the pure volume of available solutions can be overwhelming and make it difficult for retailers to prioritize solutions that can really help them move the needle.

Last week, American Banker hosted its brand new conference, Cybersec 2016 in Midtown Manhattan. Penny Crosman (@pennycrosman), Editor at Large, American Banker, did a great job as chair of the event and brought together thoughtful presenters and panelists. There were great insights from leaders in the industry from BBVA, Bank of the West, USAA, Mastercard, U.S. Bank, and many others. It was a fantastic day of information sharing - exactly what we need more of within the Financial Services Industry.