Buzz around Machine Learning

 

There is a lot of buzz in the news lately relating to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Video Analytics and Facial Recognition. The airline industry is just one area example of this.  In fact, the Orlando Airport announced last summer that facial recognition technology will be used on all international travelers.

 

Travelers from Boston’s Logan International Airport to the Caribbean islands on Jet Blue started a trial program to use Facial Recognition software that acts as a boarding pass.  This is the first trial between an airline and Customs and Border Protection. Other airports are also running pilot programs.

 

So, what does this all mean?

 

Recently, I heard about an Artificial Intelligent Robot that was taught to take on and beat the best poker players in the world. The first attempts, the robot lost. After the robot spent a year learning, it was able to beat the best players in the world.

 

We are still in the very early stages of AI and machine learning.  For example, the chess playing robot has learned how to win the game of chess. If another occurrence happened like a fire breaking out, the robot would not know what to do. A human would be able to process the information about the fire and determine they should get out. The Robot would still be playing chess.

 

What I am trying to say is as humans, we have the ability to take on so much more information and process that information based on a lifetime of learning. Machine learning, or AI is still in it’s infancy by comparison.

 

HPE and Machine Learning

 

HPE is utilizing Machine Learning with HPE InfoSight to improve customer support.  Infosight has been supported with the Nimble and 3PAR storage platforms and recently added support for the Proliant Servers.  Look for additional platforms to be supported in the future.

 

Using HPE Infosight, HPE has been able to prevent downtime on the Nimble storage platform using the InfoSight Predictive Analytics.  HPE recently published a white paper titled HPE Nimble Storage Sets Six Nines Availability Standard.  This standard of system availability is a result of using the predictive analytics along with machine learning.

 

InfoSight predictive analytics

 

InfoSight collects and correlates data from every storage array implemented across their install base, enabling global visibility and learning.  This allows InfoSight to predict potential issues before they happen, before they cause outages for customers.  This in turn provides a better support experience for the customer.

 

This capability will also be available for the Proliant, BladeSystem, Synergy and Apollo systems.  InfoSight for Servers will proactively collect and analyze each servers Active Health System data to identify configuration, health and performance information, then recommend solutions.   It will also provide warranty and support status.  All this information is consolidated and provided through a global dashboard.

 

Video Analytics and Facial Recognition

 

Machine learning can also be utilized in Video analytics and facial recognition.  As stated previously, the airline industry is looking at using facial recognition software to replace the boarding pass.

 

There are also several other use cases.  Facial recognition is beginning to be implemented in law enforcement, corrections facilities, stadiums, schools, casinos, along with the airports and other transportation industries.  Where this goes over the next 2 years is going to be very interesting.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Video analytics can be used in several ways.  Here are just a few:

 

  • Improve traffic flow
  • Detect a firearm
  • Determine if a person is in a location they shouldn’t be in
  • Determine if a person is underage
  • Detect aggressive behavior

 

The use cases are limitless as people look at what can be done and has this technology become more mature.

 

Several things we have noticed that make video analytics a reality is better quality cameras, the ability to do real time alerting, the integration with mobile devices, scalability of the software, accuracy of recognition and above all, the privacy of the individual.

 

Hold on, this is going to be interesting.

Zunesis recognized by CRN as a top IT Solution Provider with deep technical expertise and premier certifications. Tech Elite 250 Lists Recognizes Highest Achieving IT Solution Providers in Vendor Certifications.

 

 

Denver, CO March 25, 2019

 

Zunesis announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Zunesis to its 2019 Tech Elite 250 list. This annual list honors a select group of North American IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology suppliers, scaled to their company size. These companies have distinguished themselves with multiple, top-level IT certifications, specializations, and partner program designations from the industry’s most prestigious technology providers.

 

2019_TechElite250To compile this annual list, The Channel Company’s research group and CRN editors work together to identify the most customer-beneficial technical certifications in the North American IT channel. Companies who have earned these elite designations— which enable solution providers to deliver premium products, services and customer support—are then selected from a pool of online applicants.

 

Zunesis places a significant emphasis on technical expertise and certifications. Since their inception in 2004, they have sought to hire, retain, and equip only the best solution architects who can bring the highest value to their clients. It is this deep commitment to extensive technical knowledge that often sets Zunesis apart from their peers.

 

“CRN’s Tech Elite 250 list recognizes solution providers with extensive technical knowledge and premier certifications,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “Pursuit of vendor certifications and broader skill sets in a wide range of technologies and IT practices, proves a solution provider is committed to delivering maximum business value from those technologies and giving their customers the highest level of service.”

 

“I could not be more proud of our team for achieving this award,” commented Zunesis CEO, Steve Shaffer. “Our solution architects work diligently to stay on top of, and even ahead of, what is happening in the technology space. Because of their commitment and dedication to be the best at what they do, Zunesis is able to offer top-tier services to our customers.”

 

Coverage of the Tech Elite 250 will be featured in the April issue of CRN, and online at www.CRN.com/TechElite250.

 

About Zunesis

Zunesis, headquartered in Englewood, Colorado has been an HPE Platinum Partner for 14+ years.  Zunesis has expert engineers in HPE server, storage and networking technologies along with common software applications like VMware and Microsoft.  Zunesis serves clients large and small but our sweet spot is the mid-market organization – the heartbeat of the US economy.  Our mission is to make the lives of our clients and community better. www.zunesis.com

 

Follow Zunesis: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

 

About The Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelcompany.com

 

Follow The Channel Company: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

 

Copyright ©2019. CRN is a registered trademark of The Channel Company, LLC.  All rights reserved.

 

The Channel Company Contact:         

Jennifer Hogan

The Channel Company

jhogan@thechannelcompany.com

 

Zunesis Contact:

Rachael Stiedemann

Zunesis

rachael.stiedemann@zunesis.com

 

Microsoft Office is a product everyone knows, and it has been a household name for decades at this point. Office 365 is the slightly lesser well-known cloud version of office. It was a massive step forward for Microsoft at its release.

 

 

Over the past 8 or so years, Microsoft has been fine-tuning the suite, adding features and entirely new programs as they go. This has resulted in the powerhouse of productivity we know today. While moving everything in your organization to the cloud may not be a great idea, this is one area where the cloud is almost universally a good idea for all companies.

 

 

You already know all the programs

 

 

The core programs included in Office 365, such as Word and Excel, are the same programs people have been using for years. It’s the same programs you used 20 years ago to write a paper, create a cover letter, and give a presentation. You can access these programs online without downloading anything.  You can also install the desktop versions and work in the same manner you always have.

 

 

Work anywhere

 

 

One of the biggest advantages to Office 365 is the ability to work from anywhere, on any device. If you have an internet connection, you can access everything you need to continue working. This is especially great for people who travel a lot or use multiple devices. Just log into the web portal, and all your documents and files are ready to go.

 

 

Collaborate easily

 

 

If you have multiple people accessing the same file multiple times a day, this is where Office 365 really shines. Everyone who needs to edit a document can work on the same version. Rather than having multiple versions, or having to wait until a coworker closes the document, it’s accessible at anytime.

 

You can see real time changes without having to reload the file. You have the capability to share your documents directly with others. This eliminates the need to send the document as an email attachment. Sharing directly also enhances security.  Office 365 allows you to set permissions so you can be sure its only shared with the people you want.

 

 

Communicate easily

 

 

With the addition of Skype and Teams, Office 365 makes it easy to manage projects and communicate with your team members. It has integrated video calls and screen sharing into its easy to use programs.  You can create conference calls, do remote presentations, and even use your computer as your phone.

 

 

Don’t worry about updates

 

 

Office 365 will always keep your programs up to date. You will never have to worry about making sure you have the latest version. Everyone in the company will be on the same version so you won’t run into mismatches either.

 

 

Subscription based and pay-as-you-go

 

 

Office 365 is subscription based, which can lower the investment your company needs to make to get started. You only need to pay for licenses you use. You can add and remove licenses at any time. Adding and removing employees is simple. You will no longer have unused licenses just laying around.  Since everything is tied to a central admin portal, there are no more license keys to worry about.

 

 

Easy to use admin portal

 

 

Speaking of the central admin portal, Microsoft has been designing Office 365 to make it easy to use, even for non-technical employees. You can perform most administrative tasks from the portal, without the need for an in-house IT department. Microsoft’s support options are also integrated in the portal, so you have everything you need, even if you run into a problem.

 

 

Security features

 

 

Office 365 has everything from spam filters for email, to data loss prevention cloud saves for documents. Even if you are in the middle of working on a document and your computer explodes into a million pieces, you will be able to log into your account from another machine and resume right where you left off. Office 365 offers many security features like email encryption, mobile device management, and email recovery.

 

Microsoft has been working hard to streamline daily office tasks for businesses. From collaboration, to file sharing, to communication, Office 365 makes it all very easy. Add the fact that it is being constantly updated with new features, bug fixes, and more robust security, its easy to see why Office is the giant that it is, and the cloud features of Office 365 only makes it better.

 

 

The Problem

 

Most mid-sized IT organizations suffer from inadequate time and resources to keep the business running. Organizations need to address the pressing IT changes required to keep pace with the evolving needs of their customers & competition.  These same mid-sized IT organizations do not get the same love from IT vendors that larger organization receive. Often only seeing support when they are actively in the process of buying new infrastructure.

 

Add to these factors a very tight IT labor market and this leads to big challenges and disappointed end users. This impacts one of the largest customer segment in the US economy – the mid-market.  When business owners and leaders can’t get what they need from IT, they start looking for other alternatives. This can include Cloud and IT Outsourcing.

 

An important piece of the Answer

 

Zunesis has announced a common-sense service (Recurring Data Center Advisory Service – RDCAS) that offers substantial value to our clients who operate an HPE server/storage environment.  For customers operating IT data centers, this service is designed to provide on-going expertise and advice to minimize disruption, down-time, and operational risk.

 

The sweet spot for this service is mid-market and SMB clients who can benefit from on-going expert engineering support and guidance.  This service is designed for the client who desires guidance and periodic expertise. In addition, the organization still plans to operate and manage their own HPE infrastructure.

 

The value of this service lies in its focus and consistency.  The RDCAS approach combines a focused Managed Service with consistent high-end engineering engagement.

 

What is Included?

 

The service includes an upfront assessment of the client’s HPE environment (inventory, firmware, configuration, and capacity).  From this upfront assessment, Zunesis will make suggestions and provide guidance on any needed upgrades or best practices.

 

From there, Zunesis will establish recurring quarterly sit-down, in-person meetings with senior Zunesis Engineers and Project Manager to review the following:

 

  • Service tickets
  • Contract support status
  • Additions / subtractions to the environment
  • Planned migrations / changes, O/S versions
  • Customer advisory history & recommended updates/patches
  • Performance & capacity
  • Suggested list of priorities for remediation / updates.

 

Throughout the life of the contract, Zunesis will also serve as an advocate for resolving support issues with HPE. We will help to get support tickets escalated.  Zunesis has 15 years working with hundreds of HPE clients. Our understanding of the HPE organization and the right knobs to turn and levers to pull will help our customers get the best support possible.

 

While the RDCAS is an advisory and consulting service only, Zunesis also offers follow-on hands-on services to implement suggested updates and best practices.  Some clients want a turn-key offering where Zunesis recommends specific firmware upgrades, for example. Then Zunesis engineers would make those changes during a scheduled maintenance window.

 

The RDCAS is the ultimate preventative maintenance program.  Zunesis recommends adding this service when your maintenance support renewals are due.  This way the people at Zunesis can review and understand the current type of support you have and the current services you are already receiving from HPE.

What VPN services are a Good Fit for you?

 

I am certain that many people are familiar with the concept of a VPN or virtual private network. They are used to gain access to a corporate network while traveling or at home.  I would assert though that few are familiar with the growing market of personal VPN providers who target non-commercial entities and individuals.

 

According to Orbis research Statista:

 

This market has grown eight billion dollars in the past five years
and is expected to grow another twelve billion in the next three years.

 

This emerging market has many players.  Understanding which to use can be quite confusing to someone who is not well informed on the topic.

 

We will explore the concepts of how they differ from the often-provided corporate VPN’s. As well as discuss how to use them to protect your private information aside from how the company protects itself.

 

 

VPN market worldwide

 

 

Corporate vs. Personal VPN

 

Most business travelers do utilize corporate VPN connections to gain access to company files and services.  When the traffic is not destined to the business networks, the traffic is not tunneled back to the home office.  This configuration is called split tunneling.

 

It is a very common configuration. Network engineers configure this so that users will not saturate the VPN concentrators with YouTube, Netflix and other non-business-related traffic. Additionally, as business travelers it is incumbent on us to use company assets such as bandwidth in a manner which is in line with our companies’ policies.

 

How do the personal VPN services work?

 

Most if not all personal VPNs use a client-based software to encapsulate and encrypt the traffic. This makes it very hard to unscramble if someone is capturing data from an open network.

 

The other mechanism used is to proxy the traffic to a third party where it is then sent to the eventual destination.   The proxy or redirect mechanism ensures that the transmitted information doesn’t contain the public IP of the coffee shop or public network but the source IP address of the proxy service.  This is important when connecting to financial institutions that monitor the public IP address that you normally connect from.

 

If for some reason another person attempts to connect to your bank account through the bank’s web portal, the bank would notice that it is not the normal public IP address that you would typically connect from and disallow the login attempt.

 

Who are they for?

 

Firstly, who should use a personal VPN?  The answer is anyone who regularly uses free and open Wi-Fi at public places.  Anytime you connect to the coffee shop Wi-Fi or to a hotels guest network connection, you are often at risk of someone intercepting the unencrypted traffic you are sending and receiving.  This vulnerability has existed for many years and is called a, “man in the middle attack”.

 

This sort of intrusion used to be carried out by very skilled hackers but these days the attack is very well documented.  Toolkits to exploit these common scenarios are being used by very unskilled characters.

 

Personal VPNs circumvent the vulnerabilities of open networks by using encapsulation and traffic proxying so that the connection is more secure and free from prying eyes.

 

Good rules to live by regarding when you should use a VPN include:

 

  • Are you logging in to a private or personal account of any kind?
  • Are you transmitting information that is proprietary?
  • Is there personal or customer information being transmitted?
  • Is banking or financial information being received?

 

If any of these conditions exist, I would recommend using a personal VPN to protect yourself.  The many protective and anonymizing mechanisms that the VPNs employ would allow you to safely transmit and receive any data without the risk of intrusion.

 

Current major players in this market

 

I will not make any direct recommendation since at Zunesis do not sell these products directly. We can help with the implementation of them if requested.  I would recommend that you find a solution that does satisfy the conditions I have covered.

 

This article from PCMag.com gives a great overview of how VPNs work and how each VPN company compared to the others.

 

How can Zunesis help?

 

At Zunesis, our expertise and offerings focus on corporate VPNs and other firewall services. We find it equally important that our clients and partners understand the risks involved when not utilizing some protective measures when they connect to open public Wi-Fi systems.

 

We have all heard of the unlucky Hollywood stars who have had their personal accounts targeted or hacked at great expense to themselves.  Reputations are very important in business and in private life. Remember that the weakest link is not the traffic we monitor, it is the traffic we do not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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