Increase business success. Give your workforce access to company data

03 March 2021

Democratising data is a hot topic, and is helping businesses to get ahead of their competitors, here’s how…

If 10-15 years ago you’d have asked a bank “would you ever think of giving 90% of the workforce access to all of your data?” the chances are you’d have got a pretty blunt reply. 

Fast forward 10 years, and we see a rise in many booming Fintechs, and the stance on accessing data is completely different.

We can learn from Fintech’s.

We MUST learn from Fintech’s to stay current, and successful.

With the introduction of mobile apps and a significantly increased online presence we are a society that now spends the majority of our day online. We’re staring at different web pages, apps, tv screens or mobile devices. This means every interaction is now a chance for us to collect data. It’s giving the likes of Fintechs and cloud first companies the chance to gather a significant amount of data and take customer service to a whole new level.

Cloud technology is integral to this. 

It has helped us rapidly develop new banking platforms, create mobile apps that are used daily, and gather data on every click, swipe, scroll, pause & interaction. 

But how do we use this data for good? How can we ensure the correct teams have access to what they need… The answer is through Democratization. 

Democratization means “the action of making something accessible to all”. If we put this into context this means giving every team in the business access to the data we hold (with all of the correct GDPR & security measures in place). Whether that’s the engineering team, who need to make changes to an app, our customer support team understanding the trending support tickets. It might even be the Exec team trying to define a new strategy and the net product we want to launch. Data democratization is the key to all of this. 

So how do we give everyone access to data easily and when they need it? 

This comes in two parts. 

1.Store your data in a secure and readily accessible platform such Google’s Big Query

2.Visualise and make sense of that data you are storing…introducing Looker 

BigQuery features 

• Analyze petabytes of data in seconds

• Gain insights in a secure & scalable way 

• Access data from multi cloud environments and truly democratise the data 

Looker makes it possible to…

• Use modern BI Analytics to create dynamic dashboards

• Offer a self serve data platform to any department to gain the insights they need 

• Create an environment that can truly leverage everything data has to offer. 

By Leveraging this best in breed technology, businesses are now in a position to give every department their own unique view and access to data. Whether this is to help them to develop a new product, understand the most common support calls coming in, make a decision to enter a new market or offer a new solution. Or, to simply give them access to real-time information. 

As a Google Cloud premier partner Netpremacy is here to help you take data to the next level. There is a range of fantastic tools that can help your company become more transparent with data, and benefit from it. 

We are hosting an exclusive, invite-only roundtable, with key players in the Fintech arena, as well as speakers from Looker and Google. If you would be interested in attending please contact alumley@netpremacy.com for the private event link and password.

02 December 2020

The energy and utility sector is something most of us take for granted. We pay them for warm showers and to heat our homes, and no doubt we will all be reaching for the thermostat over the long winter months ahead to keep us extra cosy. However, behind the scenes, these companies have to embrace digital transformation and harvest massive amounts of data in order to grow, evolve, and meet the demands of the future. 

The industry is constantly up against challenges; from pressure to reduce emissions, increasing demand, and providing competitive prices to their consumers. Google Cloud has a wide range of industry-leading and energy-specific solutions aimed at helping these businesses digitise faster, and respond to these demands. 

Why data is important for digital transformation

The most valuable asset many companies have is data, and in order to be successful, energy providers must adapt to change, stay current, and realise this. They need to be able to store, read, and analyse data properly, in order to gain a competitive advantage and solve complex business challenges. 

Google’s BigQuery can help businesses bring different data sets together in order to gain those insights, and Google’s AI-powered solutions are the key to unlocking analytics capabilities within your data sets. In this case study, you can learn how Energyworx, an energy supplier in the Netherlands, uses GCP and smart analytics to harvest their data to better plan for future energy demand, and find ways their customers can save on their electricity use. 

If you would like to learn how to use smart analytics to help your business grow and evolve, download our Smart Analytics White Paper here.

A deeper dive into AI and ML energy-specific solutions

Powerful AI models use data analytics to provide actionable insights, and these models can help inspections at scale. This is extremely useful for energy and utility companies who have large areas they need to monitor, such as energy grids, wind farms, or solar panels. Google Cloud’s Visual Inspection solution reduces inspection times without compromising on safety or accuracy and makes organisations more efficient and sustainable. 

Businesses also have the ability to build their own custom Machine Learning model with minimal effort and little to no Machine Learning experience. 

AES is a Fortune 500 global power company that distributes sustainable energy in 15 countries. Their asset inventory is phenomenal, with a value of over £33 billion. They use Machine Learning and drone technology in their wind farms to monitor, manage, and maintain their assets. 

This was the perfect solution, as it was in keeping with their greener vision and they were able to massively scale using Google’s powerful infrastructure. Learn more about their custom made solution powered by Google Cloud’s AutoML Vision here.


For most modern energy and utility companies, contributing to greater customer satisfaction is also an important identifier for success.

AI models like Contact Centre AI allows agents to assist with customer requests more efficiently, leading to shorter call times and improved outcomes, with much quicker resolutions. Learn more about Google Clouds CCAI and how companies are using this technology to modernise.

A smart future for the energy industry

Smart meters are the latest innovation to tackle the biggest challenges facing the industry today. By 2024, almost 77% of EU households will have one installed*. 

This new technology brings multiple benefits such as delivering automated, real-time readings, giving consumers access to their own data; and being able to identify faulty appliances, reducing downtime, and enabling repair staff to be efficient and effective with their time. They also improve the awareness of energy consumption, allowing individual households and businesses to reduce their energy use and generate savings.

Of course, with all new technology advancements, comes an influx of data. Energy companies need a scalable data warehouse to be able to import, process, and anaylse this data. Google Cloud’s BigQuery streams data in real-time and can predict business outcomes with powerful built-in ML models; plus it runs on Google’s infrastructure and is a managed service, meaning companies spend less time developing technology and can focus on their service instead. Read how Halsfund, the largest power company in Norway, uses GCP and BigQuery for the new smart meter network here.

Being a successful energy and utilities company today requires the right technology to solve big business problems. However, in order to truly succeed, you must make the right decisions for your business by making the most of the information you gather.

Now you know what you can do with your data, are you using it to the best of your advantage?

Speak to one of our data experts and we can help you implement this technology and show you how to use it. Contact us here.


*By 2024 almost 77% of EU households will have a smart meter installed, European Commission 

 

15 October 2020

Christmas is just around the corner…  

With the year coming to a close, and Christmas approaching (yes we are talking about Christmas already), many retailers will already be planning for massive shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and boxing day sales. However, there is no doubt things will be different this year. 

Online shopping is going to explode even more than it already has as we approach a vital time of year for the retail industry. This means more data, more customers, and more manpower. Retail businesses need to prepare for a cyber influx more than in previous years due to the constantly changing lockdown rules and regulations. People are much less likely to be spending their Christmas shopping experience in physical shops, and will be steering towards a safer way of shopping, online. 

Is your marketing as smart as your data?

As we approach the Christmas period, many businesses will have planned a marketing strategy to target their customers, and potential customers, to boost sales and promote special offers. However, many stores will be missing a trick, by not using the powerful AI tools that Google Cloud provides. Storing your new customer database is all well and good, but understanding it correctly with BigQuery is the next step to a more enhanced, and successful marketing strategy. These powerful tools will then be able to understand your data in seconds, and give your business powerful insights into your customer behaviour and predict what to market to your customers before they even know what they want. 

New AI capabilities in Google Cloud means that you can more accurately analyse and understand the data that you are collecting so that you can market in a smarter and more efficient way, based on those particular customers’ spending and behavior patterns when shopping online. Due to the fact that the majority of people will be shopping online this year, it makes sense to invest heavily into your online advertising and marketing campaigns to ensure a maximum ROI

Physical stores are depreciating

It was announced this year that “H&M will close 250 of its 5,000 stores next year as the world’s second-largest clothes retailer seeks to step up investments in its growing online business. CEO Helena Helmersson said sales in September were just 5% lower than last year and the company had returned to profitability after four in five stores were closed at the height of the crisis. Currently, 166 of its stores remain shut.”* This is terrible news for the high street, but means that online sales appear to be the way forward to stay ahead in this industry. 

“A recent study from NRF shows that 59% of consumers will do the majority of their shopping online in time for the holidays – and naturally, you’ll want to give them the best possible experience.”** 

RF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want, in stock at the price they want to pay, delivered at the time they want to receive them.”**

Although the high street retailers will suffer, there is time to prepare for an inevitably busier Christmas period. 

Storing your data & understanding it in the cloud

Our solutions help you to quickly leverage powerful machine learning algorithms to help gain meaningful insights from your existing product sales history, and much more. This is ideal for customers with no Google Cloud Platform estate, or for those with an existing data warehouse who wish to explore Machine Learning.

Google technology will help you to understand and plan for future inventory stocking levels across various product lines. This is a challenge that most retailers face; striking the appropriate balance between having enough stock on hand to meet customer demand without investing in product lines which are slow to sell, taking up valuable shelf or warehouse space, especially as the demands will begin to increase as we creep further towards Christmas, and the infamous boxing day sales. 

How Netpremacy can help

Our team of data experts can help you to understand the next step into storing and analysing your data to gain the best ROI from the data you have collected. We have a dedicated solution that helps businesses to anticipate customer demand, through the use of Google technology, meaning you will be able to gain more meaningful insights from your data and be able to capitalize on it. This will ultimately lead to better business decisions and a smoother Christmas period. 

Download our custom solution here to find out more, or contact us for more information. 

* https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/10/01/hm-close-250-stores-globally/ 
**https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/nrf-launches-new-holiday-traditions-campaign?__s=qco09ljeavbqgks37pkj 

02 September 2020

Find out how to use Google Cloud technology to anticipate customer demand and gain a competitive advantage

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We have put together a solution to help businesses anticipate customer demand, by using Google technology to help gain meaningful insights from their data, leading to better business decisions. Download our One-Pager if you are interested in finding out more about this solution.

DOWNLOAD ONE-PAGER

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To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from this solution, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: info@netpremacy.com

29 July 2020

Understanding Big Data with BigQuery

 

The way we collect, collate, and analyze data has drastically changed in the last 5 years. Gone are the days when we crammed servers and more servers into our office buildings to hold our information. Cloud computing brought with it a radical change in thinking about the way we collect and visualise the information we hold. Organisations want to know how to understand the data they have and how they can use this data to give themselves a competitive advantage. 

data analysis image

Take the example of Retail. Retailers want to understand: buying patterns and behaviours; who to target at a given time and in what geographic area. Concepts like Data Warehousing, ML, AI and specific products like Google BigQuery are designed to help with that exact business case – by being able to collect and store data about the customer behaviours and analyse it in seconds allows organisations to react fast, and given themselves a competitive advantage in any market. After all, data is the most valuable asset on the planet.


Our question to organisations today is: Are you using your data to your advantage, and if not, what is stopping you?


 

Businesses are realising the power of data to predict future spending patterns, analyse spending cycles and understand geographical patterns in consumer behaviour. By using analytical tools and AI we can also ensure that if we are to enter times of uncertainty again, we can initiate and ensure our business continuity plans are in line with the insights our data has provided us. Google is often considered the market leader in data analytics capabilities, with a specific focus on its solution, BigQuery. BigQuery is your enterprise data warehouse, fully managed and completely serverless with built-in machine learning capabilities and is at the forefront of the innovative organisations that are using analytics to gain competitive advantage. Providing usable and easy to digest information is a must and BigQuery can run analytics at scale with 26%–34% lower three-year TCO than cloud data warehouse alternatives. Being resilient, scalable and cost-effective has provided customers with faith in Google Cloud services and there are many more benefits to this solution, click here to understand more about BigQuery. 

What we want to understand is the use of BigQuery, some real-world data scenarios where companies have invested and had a tangible return by using this service to collect and understand the data they receive, and how partners like Netpremacy can assist you. 

So with this in mind, let’s look at the example of how Enterprise organisations with multinational functions are using Google Cloud and Big Query. UPS are world-leading distribution organisation with a global footprint, but the perspective of their operations is definitely needed to understand the scale of this operation:


• Every day, UPS delivers 21 million packages in more than 220 countries worldwide. During the all-important holiday season, the number of packages delivered per day can reach its peak.

• The drivers who make that possible perform 120 pickups and dropoffs daily.

• The number of possible routes each driver can take from stop number one to stop number 120 is unthinkably large at 199 digits.


 

UPS set out to use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to design routing software that saved them on average $400 million per annum. GCP provided the platform scalability and security and BigQuery provided the machine learning to fundamentally change their operations in line with their data insights. The information they gained from that data help inform UPS on how to load delivery vehicles, make more targeted operations adjustments, and minimize forecast uncertainty, especially around the holiday seasons. Ultimately helping the organisation deliver more packages at a lower cost which in turn maximised their ROI. 

Although the process of moving to the cloud, or setting up a data warehouse with BigQuery may sound daunting, Netpremacy are here to help. We can be your trusted advisors and partner throughout the whole process – from the initial stages exploring Google Cloud Platform services; to the commercial, deployment and aftercare of workloads. We help optimises spend throughout to ensure you are utilising your Google Platform at peak efficiency. Many data strategies start small and leverage the scale and power of Google to grow. No matter the size of the data you house, the information you gain will continue to grow. So even though most organisation’s data is not on the Petabyte scale, Big Data definitely starts with collecting lots of Small Data, and analysing that data to gain valuable insight is vital for organisations to move forward ahead of their competitors.

 


If you could analyse data, fast, concisely, with zero operational overhead and a helping hand from a Google Premier Partner, why wouldn’t you?


 

We are running a number of data related webinars over the course of July 2020, for our current customers and to organisations that want to find out further information surrounding Big Data and BigQuery. No matter the vertical or size of your organisation, data-driven strategies are vital to the success of your business in new and digital environments that we now face more than ever. Get in touch with our teams today. Or contact amunroe@netpremacy.com

11 May 2020

Learn about our 3-step strategy for getting the most out of your data

 

Now more than ever data is becoming one of our most valuable and most governed assets. Data is all around us and it’s something that we are all using to our advantage. Such is our dependency on data and understanding it, we have teams dedicated to analyzing it, understanding it, dissecting it, predicting it…. The list goes on.

The tools at our disposal are endless and the skill set of data scientists and engineers is constantly growing and improving. However, one thing that is often overlooked, and is potentially the most important thing to consider and understand is actually, what do we want to know? And how do we build a strategy to help us get the most out of our data? 

Netpremacy is Google’s 2019 Global Partner of the Year for Work Transformation Enterprise. Our work over the past decade has been dedicated to understanding organisations’ longer-term strategies, understanding what’s driving some of the world’s leading brands, and how data is beginning to play a significant role in this. This ranges from the tools they use for collaboration and innovation all the way to a fully functional data strategy. Our large team of engineers are extremely skilled in the use of Google’s analytics tools and helping identify and build out a longer-term data strategy.

Below are some of our top tips on how to build a data strategy, and what to look out for along the way. 

Step 1: Understand the business & look for a quick success

Before we even begin to look at what new tools we can use, it’s integral we understand what direction the business is going in. 

  • Are we looking to increase online sales by 20%? 
  • Are we looking to enter a new market? 
  • Are we striving for better operational efficiency? 


Once we understand the direction of the business we can identify what we need to know and the questions we want to ask. We’ve found having 4-5 initial use cases or problems to solve builds a good foundation for a proof-of-concept or pilot programme to get started.  

For a lot of organisations, this can be a new concept and something that needs traction within the business, as when done correctly and with complete buy-in from the business, the benefits can be staggering. 

Now we’ve identified the direction of the business, it’s time to choose a problem that can be solved relatively quickly and easily, but will have a big impact on stakeholders across the business. That could be simply understanding buying trends for a specific demographic & building a view of the customer. Once we have a level of trust and success in the business it’s much easier to find new use cases, funding, and momentum to keep the data strategy going. 

Step 2: The Requirements & Governance 

Once the areas where we can have the quickest and immediate impact have been identified, what will really help us gain momentum internally is to understand what data we need:

  • What types of data are we going to capture and work with? Think Structured vs Unstructured, Transactional, or Relational data. 
  • Do we need to augment what we currently have to supplement the analytics we can run? 
  • What sources of data do we have in the organisation?
  • Read our blog on BigData to learn more


Understanding this is key as without the right data and quality the outcomes will be heavily impacted and could make or break any long term data strategy before it gets started.

As mentioned at the start of this blog, data is quickly becoming one of the most governed and controlled assets in the world and with new regulations such as GDPR its integral that we have the correct governance in place. This means truly understanding the data we hold, is it secure? Do we need permission to use it? Who is responsible for it, How do we keep it up to date? 

Step 3 – Skillset and technology

Finally, we understand the strategy of the business, we know what data we have and the governance around it. We can now look at what technology we want to use and who is actually going to use it. Do we have the resource in house? Are we lucky enough to have skilled data engineers waiting for a project to come up and the technical resource to house petabytes of data, query it in seconds, and get an answer? The chances are probably not! But we can work on building the internal capabilities, as there is a significant increase in training courses, qualifications & employees who understand data and can leverage a wealth of different technologies to better gain insights from the data we have

We also need to take into account where this data is going to sit. Do we have the infrastructure to do this all in house? Unlikely! 

This is where cloud providers like Google Cloud come into play. 

As we are looking at housing and querying large quantities of data that are constantly changing and growing, we need the correct environment. We need to be agile, adaptable & make sense of data quickly in order to get the maximum impact across the business. This is why the majority of companies are choosing public clouds such as Google Cloud Platform and using tools like BigQuery to help them. 

We’re lowering IT overheads as we don’t need dedicated local hardware. We don’t need to build our own complex analytics tools. We can simply use the market-leading tools available, make sense of petabytes of data in seconds, and then use this to have a positive impact on the business. 

Sounds simple right? 

These strategies can get extremely complex when we start trying to please everyone, and we need to tread carefully or the use cases will grow and the complexity grows with them. This is where a well thought out and constructed strategy comes in and helps keep us on track.

Netpremacy is uniquely placed to help when it comes to creating data strategies and implementing them. Over the years we’ve understood what makes a successful strategy, built up a team of dedicated engineers who are experienced in Google’s Cloud Platform & have implemented some of the largest data strategies and projects spanning multiple verticals from Retail all the way to Energy & Utilities. 

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07 April 2020

Preventing data loss with G-Suite & GCP

Alix Munroe, speaks about best practices to prevent data loss

For those that have ever attended any information security events, like that of InfoSec Europe or Cloud-Expo, they will understand the broadness and confusion surrounding the concept of Data Loss Prevention (DLP). It seemed at one point, every information security outlet or vendor would pitch that their solution was a silver bullet for preventing data loss. Now, in some terms, this can be correct, any solution which is helping prevent a breach provides some sort of DLP service. In this blog, I want to specifically visit the tools available with Google Cloud Platform and G Suite, and relay these to real-life scenarios or current projects you may have on your radar. I want to touch on some of the inbuilt tools within Google’s portfolio inclusive of DLP directly and access control. We’re all aware of the effectiveness of multi-layered protection, this doesn’t change when it comes to DLP, let’s secure the route into the data and secure the route back out.

Firstly, I think we’ve all been there, having attached the wrong document, or mistakenly sent the wrong email. Now imagine this being a confidential document, sensitive/ personal information or even card data! There have been cases of extraordinary accidents, for example, the HIV firm who accidentally cc’d a group of HIV positive patients instead of blind cc’ing HIV clinic fined £250 for a data breach, Believe it not, this isn’t the first time this mistake has been made, take a look at the NHS HIV mistake only one year after NHS trust fined for 56 Dean Street HIV status leak 9 May 2016. Luckily, this is where G Suite Enterprise and GCP can offer their data classification services, to ensure that the correct classification of data is sent, securing sensitive information and making sure that this information is not sent to external sources, maliciously or by a complete accident. Users are notified and/or restricted from sending data which isn’t meant to be sent – senior management can sleep a little bit better.

FYI – one often overlooked and very simple aspect of what G Suite offers to help prevent accidental data loss without the use of the DLP tools, is to retract/undo emails! Now, simple affective little tools like this can save jobs … I assure you. 

Google Cloud Platform provides customers with confidence with its methods of detection for privacy-sensitive fragments in text, images, and Google Cloud Platform storage repositories. Google Cloud DLP can, therefore, define what is sensitive and ensure you are aware of where this data is and when it is moved and sent. Cloud DLP classifies this data using more than 120 predefined detectors to identify patterns, formats, and checksums, and even understands contextual clues. This service is available for GCP and Google Drive for Enterprise customers. However, Google gives you the option to purchase the API separately and an option for you to try this tool for yourself, click here.

Similarly, G Suite Enterprise essentially provides DLP for Drive and G Mail, preventing data from being exfiltrated or shared incorrectly to external parties. Google provides pre-defined content filters (global credit card numbers, passport numbers, UK drivers licence numbers etc), which are kept up to date with the latest formats, so you don’t have to worry about that. With this in mind, however, you can create your own custom filters using wordlists or regex for more business-specific sensitive data. Along with that, you can put thresholds in such as a minimum number of matches or number of unique matches to ensure you’re not flagging every single file going, this can be applied or excluded to users, using Groups or OU (organisational units), because I am sure there are different use cases for different areas of your business. You can also decide how stringent or firm you want to be on these rules, reporting only on the triggers so no impact to users, warning your users prior to sending or sharing or actually preventing them from sending (how much do you trust your users?).

Furthermore, we’ve covered some of the ways which Google (Google Cloud) DLP elements which can be extremely beneficial to organisations for those users that have already authenticated and have access to sensitive data. I thought a quick touch on how Google can control access to data in a world of BYOD, Remote Working and Cloud Services would be useful before I sign off the blog. 

Usually, customers have concerns about moving to the cloud, specifically SaaS, a key worry being able to control and have visibility of who can access what, where and from what device. Some companies define DLP as any area for potential data exfiltration including; Identity & Access, device management and remote network access. Google has put this concern to bed with their Context-aware Access, anything using a google identity and will authenticate can be controlled under this solution. Based on the zero-trust security model and Google’s BeyondCorp implementation, context-aware access enables you to provide simpler access, enforce granular controls, and use a single platform for both your cloud and on-premises applications and infrastructure resources. If you are looking at a mobile device management solution for your remote workforce and have or are planning on moving to G Suite then this Google endpoint management tool could be massively useful in cost-saving, boasting the essential features: unified admin console, appl control and remote wipe.

Netpremacy are a leading Google Cloud Partner, with deep knowledge and trusted relationships across the Google Cloud portfolio, we are proud to have achieved Premier status for over a decade. 

Supporting over 3,000 customers in over 30 countries Netpremacy pride ourselves on product knowledge combined with service offerings For anyone looking to delve deeper into how Google help secure your data, we are holding webinars focussing on Collaboration, Connectivity and Security. As we’re all in a similar boat right now, working remotely, trying to stay productive and sane!

Sign up to our upcoming webinar – How to keep your data secure when working remotely, to hear from some of our experts on how to best protect your data when using G Suite. 

Happy to take any queries individually to see how we here at Netpremacy can support you: amunroe@netpremacy.com or connect with me on Linkedin

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19 February 2020

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard & GCP

How Google Cloud provides a secure platform for transmitting card payments

Google Cloud Platform logoPCI DSS/API E-Commerce: many fear the standard, some avoid the standard, some cut corners, risk their credibility, reputation and let’s face it … an excruciating fine from the PCI Council, alongside that of the ICO in-line with GDPR. This blog is aimed at those that are taking security seriously and also want to reduce operational, regulatory and compliance costs by moving to a Google Cloud-based strategy. However, I can’t stress the importance that outsourcing aspects of your environment does not a way of transferring responsibility.

Dependent on your companies transaction pasture, those deemed as high-risk, require to engage the services of a QSA (Qualified Security Assessor) to assist in becoming compliant and this can be a painful cost to bear. Organisations are now looking to simplify this process by using a cloud provider to bring a compliant platform for them to build applications and API-driven e-commerce platforms with ease and scalability. Google Cloud Platform can simply put some ease into the process by sharing this burden with you and giving you a compliant infrastructure to build upon, and a clear and concise shared responsibility model, however, it is important to stress that using a third party like GCP requires you to work directly with them and does not remove accountability, it is always important to know your Third-Party Security Assurance information. With all of this in mind, I would always suggest engaging with qualified PCI professionals if you are unsure about your SAQ (Self Assessment Questionnaire) when using cloud services.

It is however vital that GCP customers are aware that any workload built on a compliant cloud environment needs to be compliant itself. Let’s use the analogy of a house: it’s all well and good having the most expensive bricks, a solid metal 9-foot fence surrounding it and the most durable double glazing, but if you leave your front door wide open and a passing thief notices, the rest is pretty pointless. A quick trip to a DIY store to purchase a ladder and someone could walk directly into your home and steal whatever they wish. Now think of the cloud environment being the house and the application is the door. You have a very pointless exercise of adopting a secure cloud environment if someone can infiltrate the application that sits on it. You have yourself a scenario of someone leaving the front door open. 

Industry best practice suggests that any environment that stores processes or transmits card data, should be monitored appropriately. This is separate from the obligations for penetration testing and on-going scanning with the appropriate infrastructure and access controls etc. SIEM (security information event management), a solution that can be extremely complex to implement, quite pricey and operationally time-consuming. Google Cloud customers have been able to solve their logging and monitoring needs by utilising a mixture of services from GCP – Stackdriver Monitoring and logging and Big Query being some key solutions. Information is readily available, easy to digest and to report on if the worst case is to happen, take a read at how some GCP customers have benefited from Google Cloud Services on their PCI DSS journey – Oro: How GCP smoothed our path to PCI.

Luckily, Google has provided a number of very useful guidelines for its customers, from looking at how to create a PCI DSS environment in Google Cloud.

If you are facing any of the above difficulties in your cloud/card payment strategy, or unsure how to know your data is secure in Google Cloud, then get in touch with the team here at Netpremacy. We boast countless success stories within this arena and are always available to help. Sign up for our upcoming security event in our Netpremacy HQ in Leeds here.

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10 February 2020

How businesses can leverage Big Data to be ahead of the game

Google Big dataBig Data is the latest step in traditional data and business intelligence solutions. When the phrase Big Data is mentioned, there are three important characteristics that are essentially associated with it. Velocity, variety and volume. With Big Data, you now have the ability to make sense and understand large volumes of data, as well as to combine it with data from external sources. Businesses now have access to this through highly scalable and affordable cloud computing. Using Big Data is becoming increasingly popular and is the future approach companies will use to read and understand the data that they are collecting. Businesses can use it to better understand their customers, how they behave and get an enhanced insight into their target audiences, resulting in more efficient sales, marketing and ultimately better ROI. 

Not everyone is a technical guru and that’s ok. Sometimes before delving into technical and more complicated matters, it is easier to explain how Big Data works and how millions of companies worldwide can benefit in many different ways. This is why we have explained in layman’s terms how your company will benefit from Big Data services such as Google BigQuery. 

It has been debated that that data could now be more valuable than oil. This is a scary yet realistic thought in the constantly changing world of technology. Why not capitalize on one of the most valuable assets your company is collecting on a large scale, every single day?

For example, think of a high street retailer and how much data they collect every single day. Sales data, promotional information, store footfall, customer demographics, etc.

Being able to store infinite amounts of data allows you to track and spot trends which would otherwise go unnoticed with a smaller dataset.  For example, organisations are harnessing the processing power of Google Cloud to build ML models to target marketing promotions towards new and untapped potential customers; rather than customers who would otherwise already purchase the product and thus expanding the customer base.

Why Google Cloud?

Google Cloud Platform logo

Google Cloud Platform has a host of services/products that can help organisations with the challenges of storing, processing and analysing enormous quantities of data in close to real-time.  Other services available within the Google Cloud portfolio of products can then be used to enrich the data further;

  • Language Translation
  • Big Query ML predictive analysis
  • Sentiment Analysis
  • External data feeds (Weather, Social Media, etc)

If your company collects massive amounts of data every single day (and many companies around the world do)then there is a strong chance that you can enhance the way you use and analyse data.

Organisations data teams are using their enriched, multi-petabyte datasets to perform incredible real-time analytics on their customers, suppliers, logistics networks and more; providing a competitive edge over their opposition in a highly challenging marketplace.

Big Query is designed to allow your existing data engineers to perform analysis with no further training requirements; data can be extracted from BigQuery using standard SQL commands. BigQuery ML democratizes machine learning by enabling SQL practitioners to build models using existing SQL tools and skills; allowing organisations to harness the power of their data in Google Cloud to build forecasting and other predictive models.

Where does Netpremacy fit in with this? 

Netpremacy has dedicated data engineers that specialise in data analysis, machine learning, BigQuery and much more. We provide bespoke solutions to fit your companies needs. To first establish you need our team to provide consulting services to assess how your company works, what data it is collecting, and how it’s collecting it. We look into what we can do to help you read the data faster and more effectively, which will help to result in better ROI for your business in the long run. 

We are always more than happy to help and to discuss your requirements. To find out more about how you can benefit please contact us. 

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07 August 2019

Data Security – Our Top 5 Tips on Remaining GDPR Compliant One Year On

Taking into account these three key factors; People, Training and Technology, is your business GDPR compliant one year on?

Netpremacy’s Andrew Eden explains the steps to follow and how data management has transformed since May 2018.

GDPR compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on Friday 25th May 2018, aiming to empower people to control the way their data is stored and managed. You might remember the collective anxiety that surrounded the approaching deadline day as businesses tried to comprehend what this meant for their teams and systems, rushing to train their employees and double down on achieving ‘opt-in’ from their customer databases.

Over the last 12 months at Netpremacy, one of the UK’s leading Google Cloud Premier Partner, we found that the journey towards total GDPR compliance is far from straight-forward and is often a complex combination of factors. Reflecting on our decades of experience of supporting our customers with data security and digital transformation, we have determined that the key success factors to achieving compliance consist of focusing on three “people, training and technology”. With these aspects in mind, how can your business move forward with GDPR compliance?

GDPR compliant

In the immediate days and weeks after 25th May 2018, people began to pay attention to how their data was being used, with a sharp increase in customer claims of misused or mishandled data. Newfound public awareness resulted in The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seeing complaints of data breaches increase by 160% in the first six weeks.

When looking globally at data privacy, GDPR has inspired huge shifts in attitude, from governments proposing legislation to individuals reconsidering what privacy means to them in a rapidly changing digital world.

Many organisations have invested in training to empower employees to understand how to remain compliant and how to identify and resolve data breaches. This knowledge is vital to share throughout businesses and should be adapted to meet the unique needs of each organisation and role within it. For example, the data security responsibility for an IT Manager is different than those for a Marketing Manager, nevertheless they’re equally as responsible for the safe storage of customer and/or employee data. 

Over the past year, GDPR has heralded a fundamental change in how data processors and controllers handle personal information. Technology has aided GDPR by allowing businesses to delete, edit and duplicate data easily, however many systems have not been designed with these requirements in mind. Now, instead of being an afterthought, data protection needs to be considered from the beginning and become the very fabric of an organisation’s systems, ensuring that the technology is less likely to fail and data breaches are therefore reduced.

What should you be doing?

There is no silver bullet for GDPR compliance; it is an ongoing activity, requiring ongoing reviews to ensure consistency. If you’re still feeling unsure about GDPR compliance within your business, we have devised the following guidelines:

  1. Evaluate your GDPR plan. You might find that the GDPR procedures you put together before last year’s deadline were not as informed as they could be now. It’s worthwhile to look at the changes you made, what you’ve achieved and what still needs work. Compliance is a continuous and ever-changing process, so it’s always a good idea to look at continually adapting for future innovations.
  2. Invest in basic staff training. All businesses need to be proactive in training their staff for GDPR. When new staff members come onboard, they should receive data management training, and all members of the team should understand how your business specifically uses data. 
  3. Know your data. Ensure your business understands what data you process, how it is used and who you share it with. To do this, conduct an audit and ensure there is someone responsible for reviewing and improving data handling constantly, rather than only looking at procedures every year
  4. Organise your systems. Your IT systems should be up-to-date and as secure as possible, with clear policies in place to prevent security breaches. All employees should be aware of these policies should a breach occur. 
  5. Don’t get data confused! Get in the know about what constitutes data. Often people think it isn’t data if it doesn’t include a name or address, but actually data is anything that can help identify an individual, making it very wide ranging. 

 

Discover how Netpremacy can support your data strategy, contact us to discuss a plan tailored to your unique business needs.

If you would like to find out more about GDPR download our free whitepaper. 

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