Insights from DX3 Canada 2020

Insights from DX3 Canada 2020

By Aleks Hara, Director, Cloud Service Sales
March 16, 2020

On March 10, 2020, WatServ was pleased to attend DX3 2020, Canada’s largest retail, marketing and technology conference. Although day two of the conference was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, our team came away from the event with several insights.

In particular, DX3 painted a picture of the retail industry’s new landscape. Gone are the days when retailers simply had to open up shop and customers would come. Nowadays, customers expect retailers to come to them via personalized advertising and shopping experiences, unique and differentiated touchpoints and customer engagement in the places they’re already frequenting. Every retailer needs to be a technology company in order to survive and thrive in this fast, on-demand marketplace. Failing to connect meaningfully with customers usually ends poorly, as we saw with Forever 21.

So, how can a retailer create personalized experiences? How can they understand and connect with their customers authentically? The answer is data. Lots of data. And, lots of meaningful insights derived from the data.

Many of the exhibitors and sponsors at DX3 2020 were technology SaaS providers that offer solutions to ingest, digest and make sense of retailer data using things like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), proprietary algorithms and other software-based innovations. They provide big companies, like Canadian Tire, with tools to make better business decisions, specifically by leveraging data and transforming it into meaningful insights. These insights can be used to drive new ideas for products and services, as well as spark ideas for unique ways of connecting with audiences.

However, for data analysis to work, a retailer must first collect and provide accurate and relevant data. Before it’s ever analyzed and put into algorithms, it’s got to be the right data. The trouble is many retailers aren’t using the latest ERP or CRM tools and either simply don’t capture enough data or don’t capture relevant data points. 

To combat this, many of the technology vendors we spoke with at DX3 discussed the idea that, when leveraging new technology, companies should take a “crawl, walk, run” approach:

  • Crawl– Implement foundational IT systems that capture, store and segment relevant data.
  • Walk– Add AI, ML and other software to make sense of the data and provide strategy going forward.
  • Run– Rely almost exclusively on software results to make quick and agile decisions.

How can WatServ help? At WatServ, we play an integral role in the early (“crawl”) stages of transforming and updating database capabilities. By offering cloud technology services – such as putting SQL and Dynamics in Azure – we empower retailers to embrace the latest technology tools, which they can then leverage to process and refine their data. The lessons we learned at DX3 reminded us that a strong foundation, like the ones we provide to our clients, is critical to data-driven business success.

Thank you to everyone we met at DX3.

WatServ demonstrates best-in-class capability and market leadership through proven technology and customer commitment.​

About

WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and  services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with more than 10,000 users connecting from 30+ countries, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.

WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.

Migrating to the Cloud? Here’s Why You Should Choose a Cloud Solutions Provider that Takes Security Seriously

Migrating to the Cloud? Here’s Why You Should Choose a Cloud Solutions Provider that Takes Security Seriously

By WatServ
November 7, 2019

Is your business considering working with a cloud solutions company to provide cloud consulting, engineering or managed services? If so, you’ll be joining a rapidly expanding market. In fact, Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud services market to increase by 17% this year, reaching $214.3 billion globally.

Migrating from conventional servers to the cloud can have many benefits for your business, including increased efficiency, scalability, resiliency and affordability. Cloud adoption can mean better flexibility, enhanced disaster recovery and accelerated digital transformation for businesses of all sizes.

However, before you take the plunge and choose a cloud solutions provider to engineer and/or maintain your cloud, it’s critical to ensure they take an important topic seriously: security.

In this article, we’re going to dig into this topic and look at 4 reasons why you should choose a cloud solutions provider that prioritizes your company’s security.

1. The public cloud introduces new security considerations.

As more companies move to the cloud – especially the public cloud – a host of new information security challenges are emerging. In fact, CSO recently put together a list of the top 12 cloud security threats, which include:

  1. Data breaches
  2. Insufficient identity, credential, and access management
  3. Insecure interfaces and APIs
  4. System vulnerabilities
  5. Account hijacking
  6. Malicious insiders
  7. Advanced persistent threats (APTs)
  8. Data loss
  9. Insufficient due diligence
  10. Abuse and nefarious use of cloud services
  11. Denial of service (DoS)
  12. Shared technology vulnerabilities

We’ve heard about many of these threats in the media – and we recently wrote about ransomware attacks on our blog – because these threats affect businesses of all sizes.

For instance, in the first half of 2019 alone, we heard about data breaches increasing by 54% from the previous year. And, with an estimated 3.4 billion phishing emails being sent out daily worldwide, almost all of us can say we’ve been on the receiving end of a phishing email.

Sure, not all of these cyberthreats target the cloud specifically, but with the cloud being accessible online, many of them do.

The takeaway: While security threats are a part of life regardless of where your data is stored, and the cloud introduces several new cybersecurity concerns, a good cloud solutions partner will understand these security threats and take them seriously. Most importantly, they will offer 360 insight on how to mitigate your risk – so your business can stay focused on leveraging the immense power of the cloud to benefit growth.

2. It’s up to the cloud customer (not the cloud service provider) to protect business data.

Did you know that cloud security is a shared responsibility? The best way to illustrate this is to take the example of a condo building. It’s up to the building owner to ensure adequate security is in place to protect the building – like having control over the front door and installing working smoke detectors in hallways and public spaces. However, what you do inside your condo is your own responsibility. If you leave a pot boiling on the stove and forget to replace your smoke detector battery, it’s at your own risk. Likewise, if you let someone into your unit and they steal your jewelry, that’s your mistake.

The same goes for the public cloud. Cloud service providers (like Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform) are responsible for the security of the cloud, but it’s the customers (you)  who are responsible for the security of what gets put into the cloud and how that information gets accessed.

This is an important distinction to remember, since the majority of security failures are a result of a customer not taking appropriate action to protect themselves or monitor for threats.

In fact, Gartner found that “through 2022, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.”

The takeaway: You have a shared security responsibility when using the public cloud, with you holding a good chunk of that responsibility. Rather than face this responsibility alone, a good cloud solutions partner that prioritizes security will help you engineer and maintain your cloud in a way that minimizes your risks and provides continuous threat monitoring, detection and mitigation.

 

3. Security challenges are changing all the time.

When speaking about the latest round of research on cloud security, Gartner’s VP of Research, Jay Heiser, notably said, “CIOs must change their line of questioning from ‘Is the cloud secure?’ to ‘Am I using the cloud securely?’”.

This is a great way to look at it. There have been countless articles written and debates had over the question “is the cloud secure?” and “will I be more at risk if I move to the cloud?”, with customers looking for definitive answers. The truth is, the cloud, like anything else, will always be vulnerable to a mix of changing threats.

For instance, we’ve recently been hearing more about the threat of container software vulnerabilitiescryptographic exploits and meltdown or spectre as cybercrime becomes increasingly complex and sophisticated. Plus, internal threats will always remain a concern. The truth is, threats will never go away, so how you approach and handle them is what matters.

The takeaway: A cloud solutions partner that takes cloud security seriously can help you navigate these threats as they change from month to month and year to year. Threats will never go away, so adopting a mindset of “am I using the cloud securely?” will help you engage effectively with a partner that’s focused on adaptive risk assessment and mitigation.

4. There are steps that can be taken to mitigate risk.

Just as threats change monthly, so do technologies, tools and procedures designed to mitigate risk. A knowledgeable and up-to-date cloud partner can help you identify and navigate your vulnerabilities, so you can make an educated decision about your cloud strategy.

Some of the solutions that can be put in place may include:

  • Engineering your cloud environment using security best practices
  • Implementing or maturing security operations centers (SOCs)
  • Strengthen your existing security and governance procedures
  • Providing advanced threat detection and automated threat mitigation
  • Setting up continuous security monitoring
  • Ensuring good API hygiene
  • Providing managed endpoint protection and DDoS protection
  • Offering training to employees on threats like phishing and account hijacking
  • Looking at ‘passwordless’ methods of access management
  • Setting up procedures to review security analytics
  • Responding to incidents quickly and effectively

The cloud offers a huge range of benefits for businesses large and small. With almost 50% of data worldwide expected to be stored in public cloud environments by 2025, the cloud has shaped the world of computing in a whole new way.

By working with a security-focused cloud solutions provider, you can put your energy into leveraging the incredible power of the cloud – while also making informed decisions about risk and enabling adaptive approaches to risk mitigation.

 

Need help protecting your cloud? WatServ is a security-focused cloud solutions provider that helps companies safeguard their cloud through CloudOps advanced managed services. Speak with one of WatServ team members today to learn more.

WatServ demonstrates best-in-class capability and market leadership through proven technology and customer commitment.​

About

WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and  services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with more than 10,000 users connecting from 30+ countries, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.

WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.