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May 24, 2018

How Artificial Intelligence Is Solving Your Business Needs

Paul Painter, Director, Solutions Engineering

When you hear artificial intelligence (AI), it’s easy to start thinking about Skynet or R2-D2. Or that episode of The Simpsons where the robots at Itchy and Scratchy Land run amok.

But these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

The fact is, AI is very real and very applicable to today’s increasingly demanding business and personal world. The sky’s the limit: AI assists in everything from spam filtering to flying airplanes. Using advanced algorithms, it determines the fare for your late-night Uber ride home or allows you to tell Alexa to order that pizza you know you deserve!

So, how does AI really work? Here are a few questions answered about artificial intelligence and some examples of industries that are using the technology well today.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Neural networking or cognitive computing are other commonly used terms to describe AI technology. Both define what is essentially the same thing: advanced computing using algorithmic patterns for various purposes and applications.

Cognitive computing enables neural networking and expert systems through advanced learning and data mining processes. Mimicking the human brain, the system will gather data and information and adapt to accomplish a set of tasks.

What Applications Does Artificial Intelligence Have?

AI is inherently designed to solve complex problems or needs that humans may not be able to effectively address.

We are increasingly seeing cognitive computing influencing many areas of everyday life. With everything ranging from personal assistants, security analyses and adaptation to sales automation, the uses are nearly endless. Consider IBM’s Watson, a cloud-based data analysis platform, or Salesforce’s Einstein, a CRM automation tool. Both are AI platforms based in cognitive computing and designed to make your life a lot easier.

One area the technology is really transforming is healthcare. AI offers the ability to efficiently sort, analyze, catalog and apply complex data sets. This helps medical professionals and practitioners conduct further research in addition to diagnosing disease. The idea of being able to provide informative evidence-based solutions to patients has driven many to further AI development in this industry.

Other great examples of AI advancements can be found in the gaming and software industries. For more than a decade, certain games have incorporated options to play against “bots”—artificial players that contain advanced techniques and protocols. This is another example of cognitive computing being able to predict, learn and anticipate situations and problems. While the concept isn’t new, each year, we’re seeing developers advance the technology.

How You Can Use Artificial Intelligence to Manage Your Infrastructure

With the wide variety of possible AI applications, it stands to reason that artificial intelligence can also benefit your IT infrastructure. Having a program that can learn and adapt to different situations while managing and monitoring aspects of your systems would be invaluable.

Imagine the man-hours saved when it comes to managing cloud architecture, reducing OPEX or mitigating a sudden DDoS attack.

With so many potential applications, we will definitely be keeping our eyes on further innovations in artificial intelligence technology.

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Paul Painter

Director, Solutions Engineering

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May 14, 2018

How General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Impacts Your Business


There has been a lot of buzz recently about the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect on May 25, 2018, officially replacing the Data Protection Directive from 1995.

If you market to, process, transmit or store information of European Union (EU) data subjects – including employees, customers and end users – you will need to adjust your organization’s data management to align with the new GDPR requirements. Failure to comply with regulations can result in a fine of up to 4 percent of annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater.

For your organization, these new regulations should encourage you to take a fresh look at how you control exposure to personal data, employ security mechanisms to protect personal data, detect and notify supervisory authorities of breaches within a timely manner, keep records of data-processing activities and document risks and security measures.

Why GDPR is Being Implemented

In an increasingly data-driven world, people want more control over their personal data and transparency into how businesses are using their data. Individuals are not only concerned about how organizations are using their information for advertising, but also how their data might be exposed to the increasing threat of cyber incidents.

To combat these issues, GDPR is being implemented for the following reasons:

    • To standardize data privacy laws across Europe;
    • To protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy; and
    • To reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.

Companies must continue to listen and meet the privacy demands of users, and GDPR is the first step to create more transparency between brands and individuals.

6 GDPR Changes to Expect for Your Business

There are a few key changes to previous legislation that your organization will need to prepare for in your transition to GDPR compliance.

  1. Consent
    Under GDPR, consent for processing data must be clear and distinguished from other matters, provided in an easily accessible form and the individual must easily be able to withdraw consent. For instance, companies will no longer be able to assume users give permission for their data to be stored and used. Even pre-checked boxes on websites will no longer constitute consent in most instances. Businesses will now have to allow users to explicitly give their consent through a written or verbal statement or electronic means.
  2. Breach Notification
    If your company is victim of a personal data breach, you will now be required to issue a breach notification with 72 hours of being made aware of the breach – unless you are able to demonstrate that the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of the people impacted by the breach.
  3. Right to Access
    Data subjects have the right to obtain information on whether their personal data is being processed, where it is being stored and used and for what purposes. Data controllers must provide a copy of the personal data free of charge upon request once.
  4. Right to be Forgotten
    Think of this as a universal data opt-out option. Subjects will have the right to have their personal data erased without undue delay if that information is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which it was collected.
  5. Data Portability
    This new regulation gives data subjects the right to receive personal data concerning them and the right to transmit that data to another controller.
  6. Privacy by Design
    This concept has been around for years and is now a requirement in the GDPR. It calls for the inclusion of data protection during the design of systems rather than an addition.

INAP’s Commitment to GDPR Compliance

INAP has been preparing for the GDPR implementation ever since the law was passed in 2016.

The security of our global infrastructure is one of our top priorities, and we have been reviewing and updating our customer privacy and security policies to better safeguard your data and ensure we are in compliance with the new regulations. We are entering into data processing agreements with our customers if GDPR applies to the processing of their data and entering into sub-processing agreements with vendors when necessary.

For more information about our processing roles and responsibilities, as well as our commitment to customers as a data controller, visit INAP’s GDPR page.

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May 7, 2018

3 Easy Steps to Create a Comprehensive Backup Strategy


It’s a tale as old as time.

Company gets data. Company doesn’t back up data. Disaster strikes. Company loses data.

But before we get all Shakespearean tragedy on you, there’s a simple way to give this story a happy ending.

A comprehensive backup strategy.

Building an Off-Site and On-Premise Backup Strategy

By now you’ve probably heard about how important it is to have a backup solution to protect your infrastructure and critical files from natural disasters, human error and cyber incidents.

Traditionally, companies would center their backup strategies around on-site storage systems. But recently, off-site cloud solutions have been giving organizations more flexibility to back up their files while providing the security and business continuity strategies necessary to keep their infrastructures running.

Backing up your data in off-site cloud solutions ensures you can still access your critical information if your primary site goes down (similar to disaster recovery as a service) – something that might not be possible with on-site backup options.

So, how do you best create a backup strategy that utilizes on-premise and off-site resources? Here are three best practices to get you started.

1. Calculate the Amount of Data You’ll Need to Back Up

In most cases, you’ll want a solution that provides a complete backup of your data. This strategy allows you to still access your information should there be a disruption at your main site.

But before you begin building anything, you need to calculate exactly how much data you’ll need to back up. Basically, the whole “measure twice, cut once” philosophy. You don’t want to create a strategy and then discover it’s insufficient to meet your backup needs.

2. Determine Which Backup Files Go on Which Platform

It’s important to note you don’t need to put all of your backup files in one location. In fact, it’s encouraged that you use multiple locations. If your primary site is hit by a natural disaster or goes offline due to human error, chances are your on-premise backup will be disrupted as well.

If you keep non-mission critical data in an on-premise backup, you can save space for your most important files in the cloud. You just need to determine which resources you absolutely need to be able to access. Storage can be expensive, so it’s important to map out which data needs to be backed up on each platform.

3. Analyze Your Backup Timeframe

It doesn’t matter if you are running your backup on-premise or in the cloud, it’s important to determine how long it will take to complete your backup process.

Companies will generally run their backups overnight or on weekends, so they don’t interfere with daily business operations. This typically gives organizations a large enough backup window to accomplish everything they need. However, you never want to assume. While not an exact science, you can estimate how long you’ll need to back up your files by calculating the amount of total storage you’ll need backed up and dividing it by the storage read/write speed.

For instance, assume you have a data set that is 800GB and your storage read/write speed is 150MBps:

800GB / 150MBps = 1.5 hours of backup time for that specific data set.

Add up all of your time to give you an estimate of how long you’ll need so you can effectively plan your backup strategy.

Of course, each organization has unique data and storage requirements. Determine exactly what type of backup strategy would be best for your company and how off-site cloud options can help. In addition to securely housing your data in a location that’s separate from your main site so it’s accessible if your facility goes offline, off-site cloud backups are managed by third-party providers and can help free up your IT team to focus on more critical needs.

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