Nordcloud Germany to sponsor Hamburg’s JeffConf

CATEGORIES

Blog

Nordcloud Germany is going to be a proud sponsor of this year’s JeffConf in Hamburg, taking place next month on 16th February.

This will be an event focussed on everything Serverless, Machine Learning, AI, and Data Analysis, but we hope that a special highlight will be Nordcloud Senior Developer and Architect Arto giving a talk about Serverless WordPress.

Arto will be showcasing migrating a (semi-) high traffic WordPress site from a costly server to AWS Lightsail & server-side rendering React app on Serverless framework. On the new framework it will be faster and more secure, however, the customer won’t have to compromise on their favourite website/blog editor.

We are looking forward to meeting everyone and to talk to others in the Cloud industry about how you are using Serverless solutions right now, or, if not, then how they would benefit you and your business. We promise to share all of our best practice knowledge, so come and say hello to us at the Nordcloud stand!

Tickets are going fast, so sign up here to secure yours, or get in touch with our team here.

Blog

Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

Blog

Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

Blog

Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

Get in Touch

Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.








    GDPR: The drought for your data lake

    CATEGORIES

    Blog

    Data lake – we’ve seen it mentioned in the IT news headlines

    The new hope of IT organisations to enable their business units with actual content and valuable insights, rather than just offering servers and empty storage. Almost all companies of size and renown have embarked on this new journey and are building data lakes to sail upon them. Or maybe not?

    Recent concerns raised around this data lake use case, especially since the dawn of GDPR has made people rethink the share-everything-with-everyone mindset behind these lakes.  Also, it has raised the matter of data ownership, retention, deletion and correction. Most data lake scenarios are viewed from a primarily technical perspective because that is where the idea comes from. Inevitably, and luckily not AFTER the actual release of many of these lakes into production, the legal and compliance departments have woken up.

    As we are involved in quite a number of these projects, we wanted to share the main aspects to keep in mind when building your data lake with GDPR in mind. So here we go:

    Employee Data

    You can argue of course that once you work for a company, your data belongs to them. But it’s not that easy. First of all, this is a concept that may or may not apply in some countries. Secondly, the concept of storing employee data is one thing, the idea to use it for analytical purposes may require the employee’s consent. And that is where you run into challenges. For example in Germany, companies all have one thing in common: they have extensive employee data and are rarely allowed to use it to their advantage because of the current legislation. Through the GDPR introduction, this type of scrutiny will be imposed on all EU countries and hence become a challenge for many more businesses.

    Customer Data

    This should be the most traditional use case in data privacy and protection and is one of the key reasons why the GDPR debate is so viral and vibrant these days: it concerns almost all companies. There’s a lot to discuss around this particular point, but one specific aspect that is of some note is the “Right to Explanation”. If you use machine learning on user data, GDPR regulations state that “meaningful information about the logic” behind machine learning models must be made available to users.

    Many machine learning models are black boxes, but the type of data used to train them should be made clear to users so that they can make an informed decision to opt out. Users should, at all times be offered the option not to have their data used as part of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications.

    Device Data

    With IoT and Connected-X, we all feel like we can’t really participate in modern society without sacrificing some of your privacy tied to devices and gadgets. From a legal perspective, the providers of services ask for your consent when you install mobile apps or sign up for a SaaS-type service. This is the easy part. Now, imagine you are a car manufacturer, who could gain plenty of insights and competitive advantage through collection of device/car data in that field, and has all the technology to make that happen but is not allowed to do it.

    In actual fact, this is an issue. People used to buy cars without signing a data privacy agreement. Recently, privacy agreements have become an actual necessity in order to even operate the connected car services. As a business, you have to always keep in mind that just because it is device data, does not mean you can harvest and use the data for your advantage. There is a human being or an organisation behind that device who’s using it. You need their consent, otherwise, no data can be legally processed.

    Prevent the Drought

    So does that mean there is a chance your data lake could dry out very soon? Don’t worry, here are some relatively easy ways to address this challenge:

    Anonymisation of data is one way to solve this. This means that the data is being stripped of all potential identifiers to human beings and actual end-user facing devices and collects statistical data for very specific use cases. If that isn’t possible in your given use case it’s a different story. But it must become an inherent part of all the data processing in the solution you design and isn’t bound to the data lake at all – it sits within your application.

    Encryption of data can be a very easy and elegant way to address the challenge without even building much of a solution into your cloud platforms. Most of the public cloud platforms provide several mechanisms that allow encryption on various layers of the platform at no additional cost. The great thing is you can automate remediation actions based on alerts if any kind of data is being stored unencrypted into a cloud. Non-compliance to this standard is practically impossible.

    Data Management Practice setup is a general requirement in order to make sure you have full visibility and (access) control over all the data your company holds, manages or has access to. Also, it is important to run a proper metadata scheme across all the data types as complete as possible so it is searchable and can be clustered.

    There are many more use cases in the Big Data field that require your attention, but I hope we’ve made our point. Just because you have data (in your lake), does not necessarily mean you can actually use it. GDPR demands that you have customer and employee consent, before using any form of data collected. At Nordcloud, we combine strong expertise in Big Data, Machine Learning and IoT field with years of AWS and Azure project delivery, all wrapped up in a deep awareness of data protection and security.

    Please feel free to reach out to us if you think the above sounds familiar but perhaps too complex to tackle on your own. We’re here to help.

    Blog

    Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

    When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

    Blog

    Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

    UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

    Blog

    Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

    The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

    Get in Touch

    Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.








      AWS Pop-Up Loft Munich: The Full Experience

      CATEGORIES

      Blog

      Last Friday, the AWS Pop-Up Loft Munich 2017 came to an end, with a nice little closing party exactly where we spent the last month learning, exchanging and building. In Nordcloud’s German team, we see a lot of value in the loft to AWS partners and customers alike and it was a logical step for us to sponsor and support this initiative. This is a privilege only few companies have, and we wanted to share our experiences, allowing our team members speak for themselves.

      “AI and ML are the new orange” — Oswald Yinyeh

      The interest in AI and ML with Big Data at the AWS Loft was mind-blowing.  As a Cloud Architect at the Ask an Architect desk, I realised that the majority of users from small, medium and large-scale enterprises are trying to push beyond the generic AI and ML models to more specialised production-ready ones that can adapt seamlessly to their special needs and conditions. For me, having a strong background in this field, it was music to my ears.

       

      The people around the loft I met were very interested in how they can build software that uses ML and AI to learn and adapt to the needs and conditions within their specific businesses, rather than leveraging ready-made or buying pre-baked ML and AI solutions that do image recognition or text to speech. Most of the times, they have problems building a model/software that is able to really learn from its’ surroundings. Further work should be done on developing or advancing the currently available generic AI and ML models to enable them to learn by doing different actions instead of building or training algorithms that just uses static data (e.g. images, text). In my opinion, more reinforcement learning algorithms for different domains should be built into AWS AI & ML stack to serve as starting point for customers. All in all: great event!

      “re:Invent increased the hype a lot” — Zoran Pajeska

      As I was part of the Ask an Architect booth team as well and spent probably most days on the ground at the Loft, (thanks for the trusting customers I work with) I would like to share especially the post re:invent experience. The weeks before the Vegas madness happened, we had comparably quiet days in the Loft and most of the questions we received were quite easy to answer. However, as the re:invent week commenced, the new service announcements made the traffic at our booth explode. We started to get a large variety of unprecedented questions, from basic “how to start” with AWS to questions about newest services like Fargate, EKS (managed Kubernetes service) and GuardDuty, to more advanced stuff like IoT, Machine Learning and Rekognition.

       

      Based on these questions, we at Nordcloud can really see first hand what “moves” people, why they start to use AWS and what is it that drives the most interest. My experience with the Loft and the people there was really great. A lot of answered questions, a lot of new connections and maybe new customers.

      “How can I sell books?” — Richard Zimmermann

      Not everyone at the AWS Loft was interested in Amazon Web Services, but some actually wanted to know something about Amazon retail (Amazon.com). From time to time you could see people entering the Loft – and then leaving it after a few minutes because the saw that they couldn’t buy anything there! Luckily, those were the edge cases and most of the conversations were purely technology and AWS focused. The chats I had ranged from “first-time users” to very complex topics around all services of AWS. It was also great to talk with people who are working at AWS and to learn more about the current and coming service updates.

      For me personally, holding a presentation about Serverless was another great aspect of the event as it gave me a platform to speak to a wider audience about my daily work. We showed people one of our favourite jobs at Nordcloud: developing cloud-native applications in an effective, secure and customer orientated way.

      “Deutschland – Advantage cloud” — Sandip Jadhav

      AWS Pop-up Loft was in many ways the unique and fulfilling event for everyone. My favourite aspect was the Ask an Architect area. As we are a Premier Consulting Partner with AWS and were a main sponsor of the event, we had a dedicated Nordcloud presence on one out of the three booths. Our volunteers spent entire days there, interacting with visitors to address their challenges with using all kinds of AWS elements. What was great about was that there was almost always a two-way knowledge exchange. We were helping customers to solve their problems and at the same time learning about current industry trend and the needs of emerging markets from them.

      AWS pop-up loft days and AWS training sessions gave us valuable opportunity to get in touch with knowledgeable people to sense the current interest among the tech community and present market needs. Looking at the AWS session responses and attendees, one thing was very clear. Germany is a rising market and companies interested in cloud adaptation and AWS tech community is growing rapidly in Germany.

      Another really good thing was the great concept of having many technical experts working for their respective companies/customers from a common work location. It was a great experience, as we worked normal office hours and yet we explored new things and shared experience and knowledge on the fly.

      “Cloudy way to fade away 2017” — Lars Oehlandt

      Like 2016, this year’s AWS Loft was again a great get-together for the Bavarian and surrounding cloud community. Partners, customers, AWSlers, Nordcloudians and many more gather to work, experience or learn in one building. Everyone has his or her own opportunities and challenges and sees the core topic, AWS Cloud, from a different angle. But without much limitations, people are open to new ideas and connections. The long duration – a whole week longer than last year –  of the Loft enables stress-free planning of how to maximise the desirable value. Especially in the Nordcloud Ask an Architect our tech team members were able to learn from practical cases and share their experiences. It is hard to imagine a more interesting and casual interface for Cloud Architects and cloud-implementing companies to solve problems together.

      Nordcloud – as a Munich-based advisory – were more than happy to again extensively participate and sponsor the Loft and are already looking forward to 2018 summits and lofts all around Germany!

      So long, and thanks for all the clouds

      All in all, we would love to thank our friends in AWS Germany and AWS Global who made this event possible, it was indeed a seemingly impossible improvement from the year before and the re:invent experience happening in parallel made it especially amazing for us as a partner. Thanks also to the many many new friends we made there, both from other AWS Partners and from AWS customers alike. Let ’s keep building amazing things!

      See you all next year and have a great holiday season y’all!

      Blog

      Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

      When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

      Blog

      Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

      UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

      Blog

      Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

      The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

      Get in Touch

      Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.








        Market leaders always push the envelope

        CATEGORIES

        Blog

        In this blog post, I will be picking up on what my colleague Sandip discussed in his latest blog post, ‘Innovating by Making a Difference’. Based on that, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about how Nordcloud Germany have managed to stay on top of the industry for the last year or two. It’s been about focussing on the right things at the right time. For example, we haven’t worked in the Private Cloud space, and we haven’t been involved in the SaaS world of productivity, collaboration or CRM. We have stayed focussed purely on leading Public Cloud platforms; AWS, Azure & Google to deliver full-stack consultancy and services.

        At Nordcloud, we’re able to keep our customers – not just ourselves – on top of the game, by understanding everything we can, identifying the most valuable for our customers and then adopting the latest services of each of the providers. These are, for example, services around containers, (Kubernetes for instance), and serverless (Lambda), and also the Internet of Things and Machine Learning. Our work with companies of all industries and sizes is the foundation of being able to filter the different technologies for what matters the most. In this sense, our customers are those who teach us how to help them best and we can then pick the best technologies to do just that.

        We were recently screened by the leading Cloud market analyst in Germany against how we deliver state of the art managed Cloud services. Check out CRISP’s perspective here (in German). 

        We’re proud to be recognised as a leading provider in the Cloud consulting and service industry, who stands out amongst a vast number of peers in the market. If there is one thing we have realised throughout the years – both as a company and as individuals – it’s that you shouldn’t stop innovating and questioning. To stay on top, it’s not enough to just do the basics well. You have to keep going forward and step beyond your comfort zone at all times. At the same time, you shouldn’t be running after each new hype, but picking your game wisely and then building up expertise and concepts around that area.

        Blog

        Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

        When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

        Blog

        Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

        UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

        Blog

        Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

        The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

        Get in Touch

        Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.








          GDPR and the public cloud industry

          CATEGORIES

          Blog

          Given the large scale impact of this new regulation, the EU administration have released the requirements already, to give businesses, public agencies and citizens time to adapt already today and some time before it becomes actually legally binding.

          GDPR, a Key topic for 2017 and 2018

          The announcement of this new regulation caused lots of noise in the market and relevant IT media. The main challenge of course is, that not every business in Europe is compliant even with today’s regulations we have. With the General Data Protection Regulation – in short: GDPR – raising that bar quite a bit, more work for CIO’s and CISO’s is coming up; and even a CEO may well have to get involved. The topic has a significant business impact. No Europe based company can afford to ignore it and neither does any company servicing European customers from the USA or Asia.

          Given the importance of this matter to our customers, our partners and ourselves we decided to dedicate a small series of blog posts to it. We want to reflect the core requirements expressed in the GDPR that are relevant in the public cloud context. We will also talk about how we, as a provider of managed cloud services and consultancy to a multitude of businesses across Europe, are affected by it and what we do to remain compliant. Most importantly though, we will talk about the impact to our customers and how they can make sure they are compliant at all times. As always, we’re here to help and guide you towards a secure future in using cloud services.

          The Public Cloud and GDPR

          When new security and data protection standards are released anywhere in the world, they have a lot of impact on the IT parts of a business especially. Hence, in the context of public cloud services, we see a huge attention of both customers and cloud providers alike. Although it will be discussed in a dedicated blog post in more detail, we want to give you a quick overview on the state of affairs in the public cloud market as of today:

          The large players like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure have already implemented a strong set of actual measures to comply with the GDPR today – have a look at their statements:

          here: https://aws.amazon.com/compliance/eu-data-protection/
          and here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/privacy/gdpr#enterprise-product/
          There are non-binding GDPR Code of Conducts that cloud businesses can comply with to show that they are adhering the regulation already today – check out the most relevant one, CISPE, here: https://cispe.cloud/

          GDPR is not (just) about Technology

          No matter where your cloud or hosting provider stands today, you should look at their current degree of compliance to the GDPR and most importantly, you have to make sure they allow your business to remain compliant to your customer expectations in the post May 2018 time. The compliance of your business to regulations is your responsibility, not that of your IT providers.

          Our goal is to increase awareness around GDPR holistically and how it applies to our readers, irrespectively of who they are. That means we don’t focus purely on the technical, but also on the process and organisation side of the challenge at hand. Data Protection is certainly a technical topic when it comes to implementing defence mechanisms. But without understanding the legal and regulatory background, you will just be buying tools. We are looking at things end-2-end and will guide you towards the right setup for your business and customers.

          At Nordcloud, we want you to get the most out of the public cloud. We will help you and your compliance teams understand the requirements of the GDPR and guide you towards a compliant future in the cloud. Look out for our follow-up blog posts that are going to be released on a weekly basis during the summer time.

          Blog

          Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

          When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

          Blog

          Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

          UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

          Blog

          Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

          The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

          Get in Touch

          Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.








            Why do companies stay with on-premise hosting?

            CATEGORIES

            Blog

            At Nordcloud, we naturally promote the public cloud. The public cloud providers define new IT standards and innovate at a speed and quality that is unmatched. The public cloud is the answer to most of the IT challenges we all grew so painfully used to during the last 10 years. However, since we are not just dealing with digital-native companies in the media, gaming and Web industry but also very traditional and several hundred years old enterprises, we know very well that the on-premise world exists for a reason. And no matter how much we would love to get all of our customers workloads to where they would be best hosted, we understand that sometimes the answer has to be: no. In this blog post, we want to discuss some use cases that we have seen over and over and that were stopping companies from moving their workloads to the cloud.

            Migration Cost vs. Business Case

            Migration cost and transformation effort are seen as too much of an investment compared to the seemingly uncertain benefits of adopting public cloud services. Well, there are a few edge cases where companies just do not have the money at all, and that’s definitely a show stopper. But all others are just afraid. Don’t be afraid! Public cloud is not just about reducing infrastructure cost. It’s about gaining agility, changing your business model and becoming more digital. If you refuse to take the step forward, your competitors will – and then one year later, you will be left behind.

            Private Cloud

            For many customers it turned out that their private cloud is more of a burden, less of an innovation catalyst. It is a hosting platform. However, be that as it may, the cost is sunk and depreciation runs until 2019. What now? Well, it is pretty simple. Get every bit of it out of your basement as soon as you can and bite the bitter lemon now. There might not be any more lemons for you, once you reached 2019 and all your competition has outpaced you by far already. You can bury your business and your private cloud with it then.

            Software Readiness

            We often start customer projects with application discovery deep dives to identify best candidates for a cloud migration. In that process, what we always find are that ancient,  unstable, utterly monolithic applications. They never win the contest for the first mover. They would sit on that public cloud and be just as expensive, just as hard to maintain and just as unstable. That is what we would call: not cloud ready. We advise customers to leave the thing where it is and use their time wiser. At some point, they can start rebuilding the beast from the ground up, or just parts of it. And we can help them with it when the time is right. However,  sometimes it makes more sense to have a quick win than a hard try.

            Regulatory Reasons

            Maybe this is the only use case where we just can’t help you at all. If you are in a regulated industry or run your business under a government that forbids hosting of citizen data in another country, then maybe the public cloud is not for you. We have experience in helping customers understand and evaluate such situations, yet even the best technology is useless when it is illegal. But hang in there, the wind of change is ever blowing, and maybe soon your government decides to loosen the strings… or one of the big three cloud providers picks your country for their next region.

            Don’t give up yet!

            We have all seen an incredible change in the way IT works within only a very few years. This trend will not stop, neither AWS nor Azure or Google are going to stop improving, innovating and challenging existing concepts. Our customers have to adapt to new realities every year. So must we. Things we think impossible today, might be a click-and-buy tomorrow.

            Therefore, let us turn the answer to the public cloud from no into yes, or at least not yet!

            Blog

            Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design

            When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...

            Blog

            Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 3)

            UX writers are not omniscient, and it’s best for them to resist the temptation to work in isolation, just as...

            Blog

            Building better SaaS products with UX Writing (Part 2)

            The main purpose of UX writing is to ensure that the people who use any software have a positive experience.

            Get in Touch

            Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.