Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Intronis.
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Recent Posts

EU to require organizations to appoint data protection officers

Posted by Mike Vizard on May 3, 2016 11:03:12 AM

data_protection_officers.jpgWhile it may be popular to decry regulations these days, IT service providers that specialize in data protection will soon have a lot to be grateful for as governments such as the European Union move to implement much stricter privacy requirements.

As part of a wave of regulations that will go into effect in the next two years, the European Union has decreed that any organization doing business in Europe must have a designated Data Protection Officer (DPO). These DPOs are to be appointed based on “professional qualities and, in particular, expert knowledge of data protection law and practices and ability to fulfill its tasks.”

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Ransomware exposes poor data management hygiene

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 28, 2016 9:00:23 AM

Ransomware-3.jpgAs ransomware attacks continue to proliferate, the soft underbelly of IT — how organizations often manage their data in a cavalier manner — is finally being exposed.

Ransomware combines social engineering techniques, malware, and encryption to take an organization’s data hostage. As this scourge continues, digital criminals are getting more sophisticated about selecting their victims. For a while, they focused on hospitals, which have lots of sensitive data they need to be able to readily access. Now it’s become apparent that police departments are also favorite targets for much the same reason.

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Topics: Ransomware

Tapping into managed security services remains a challenge

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 26, 2016 9:02:40 AM

Managed_Security_Services.jpgThanks to a rash of high-profile security breaches, awareness of IT security issues has never been higher. However, securing an IT environment gets more complex with each passing day.  Given those two factors, demand for managed security services should be escalating.

But a new survey from CompTIA suggests that solution providers across the channel are not tapping into that opportunity. In fact, the survey finds that only one in 10 of those surveyed are leading with their own security services brand rather than the brand of the security vendor. That doesn’t mean that channel partners are not offering security services. For example, a full 67 percent report offering risk management services, and another 61 percent say they have a mobile security service.

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Topics: IT Security

The FBI wants to see your malware

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 21, 2016 9:46:52 AM

FBI_malware.jpgThe Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would like IT services providers and their customers to share their malware with them. As part of its ongoing efforts to combat cybercriminals, the FBI has developed a massive database of malware that it uses to identify and keep track of the individuals and organizations that create malware.

Speaking at a DatacenterDynamics Enterprise conference in New York this week, Timothy O’Brien, a supervisory special agent for the FBI who leads a task force dedicated to combating cyberespionage, says the FBI now has six different task forces in place to help combat various types of cybercrime.

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Topics: Malware

Microsoft Azure gaining ground on AWS

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 19, 2016 8:59:15 AM

Microsoft_Azure.jpgTwo separate new surveys suggest that while Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant public cloud platform the Microsoft Azure cloud platform appears to be gaining ground rapidly.

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Topics: Cloud Trends

Safe Harbor agreement drives awareness of data sovereignty issues

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 14, 2016 11:41:58 AM

It's truly an ill wind that doesn't blow some good anywhere. Such is the case with the contentious Safe Harbor agreement that the European Union and the United States are trying to hammer out.

This week a pan-European data regulator group, known as Article 29, recommended that the latest attempt to create a Safe Harbor agreement for transferring data into the U.S. from Europe should not be approved because it doesn’t go far enough to protect the privacy of Europeans. The previous agreement has been invalidate by the European Court of Justice after it determined earlier this year that the existing Safe Harbor agreement did not adequately protect the privacy of European citizens.

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Topics: Data Loss, Compliance

Data and storage management emerges as bigger managed services opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 12, 2016 1:11:29 PM

For as long as most IT service providers can remember most storage systems have been managed in isolation. As a result, it’s been a major challenge to create a managed service around data and storage management. But thanks to the rise of virtualization, software-defined storage (SDS), and the cloud it’s becoming more feasible to create a profitable practice around data and storage management.

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Topics: Growing Your MSP Business

Are you a victim of service catalog sprawl?

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 7, 2016 10:31:26 AM

service_catalog_sprawl.jpgThe number of catalogs the average organization is able to provision services through is starting to spin out of control. A new survey of 766 technical support professionals conducted by HDI Research finds that 85 percent of IT professionals now identify service catalog sprawl as being at least somewhat of a problem inside their organization.

In many cases, service catalog sprawl is simple too much of a good thing. Internal IT organizations create service catalogs to drive increased consumption of a sanctioned application, and external IT service providers create them for the same reason. Before long, multiple IT service providers along with multiple IT departments inside an organization are exposing end users to multiple service catalogs. The HDI Research survey finds that almost half of all organizations (49 percent) have five or more catalogs spanning a variety of IT and business services.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Battle of the business intelligence clouds

Posted by Mike Vizard on Apr 5, 2016 10:47:19 AM

business_intelligence_clouds.jpgWhile interest in business intelligence (BI) applications remains relatively high, the battle over whether those applications should run in public clouds or private clouds is just now starting to intensify.

In fact, BI deployment plans for public clouds is now slightly ahead of private clouds, according to Dresner Advisory Serivces' new Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study, which is based on a survey of 550 IT professionals. Key to that change is a shift among smaller businesses that tend to be less concerned about security and regulatory compliance issues when it comes to accessing BI applications.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Artificial intelligence emerges as new integration opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 31, 2016 4:09:37 PM

Artificial_intelligence.jpgServices that use some form of artificial intelligence to augment an end-user experience are now well on their way to mainstream adoption. The latest example of this manifested itself this week at the Microsoft Build 2016 conference in the form of “chatbots” that Microsoft plans to make available as digital assistants that can be infused into almost any application. The goal is to make it possible to invoke a chatbot as a service and to provide a framework through which organizations can create their own chatbots.

That move comes on the heels of a more ambitious IBM Watson initiative under which IBM has exposed more than 30 application programming interfaces (APIs) to developers. The initiative has already lead to the development of several relatively simple applications, such as The North Face using Watson services to help online shoppers find products and Hilton building a concierge robot that promises to transform the hotel guest experience.

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Topics: IT trends

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