Do you really know where your data is these days?  At least 6 of Deloitte clients affected by a high-profile cyber-attack. US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suffers a system breach. 143 million US consumers affected in  the Equifax breach . With such resonant cyber-attacks taking place within a single month, it becomes clear that anyone can be affected by cybercriminals.  But how do you even start with securing your data? What are the best practices to keep your data fully safe in the cloud?     One of the easiest and most important thing for businesses is to be aware of where their data is stored these days so that they can proactively identify if any of the data may be at risk of a breach.  These days, data is being stored in multiple cloud locations and applications in addition to storage devices in business. Companies are adopting cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. and online software services for all kind of business processes. This has led to vast fragmentation of company data, and often managers have no idea where all the data may be.  For example, a confidential financial report for the company may get stored in a cloud storage because devices are automatically synching with cloud or a sensitive business conversation may happen in cloud-based messaging services such as Slack. While cloud companies have all the good intentions to keep their customer data safe, they are also the prime target because hackers have better ROI in targeting such services where they can potentially get access to data for millions of subscribers.  So, what should a business do?  While they will continue to adopt cloud services and their data will end up in many, many locations, they can use some search and data organization tools that can show them what data exists in these services. Using full-text search capabilities in products such as QuikFynd  (https://www.quikfynd.com/enterprise) , they can then very quickly find out if any of this information is a potential risk to the company if breached. Individuals can use these capabilities by deploying QuikFynd on their desktop and best thing is that 30-day trial is available for free  (https://www.quikfynd.com/desktop) . You can't protect something if you don't even know where it is. And more importantly, you won't even know if it is stolen. So, companies looking to protect their business data need to take steps at least to be aware of where all their information is.

Do you really know where your data is these days?

At least 6 of Deloitte clients affected by a high-profile cyber-attack. US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suffers a system breach. 143 million US consumers affected in the Equifax breach. With such resonant cyber-attacks taking place within a single month, it becomes clear that anyone can be affected by cybercriminals. But how do you even start with securing your data? What are the best practices to keep your data fully safe in the cloud?  So, this is an actionable tip that you can put into practice right away

      Got 1Billion files? Find it with QuikFynd Enterprise Search running on Intel Xeon(R) Platinum Processors  How we doubled performance with the power of multiple cores  When we developed QuikFynd Enterprise Search, our goal was to make the solution extremely scalable so that it could serve the needs of both small and large companies when it comes to finding data within their enterprises. We were quite confident in our design because of QuikFynd’s efficient use of multiple cores available on the latest generation of server CPU. So, when Intel announced their latest Xeon(R) Platinum 8180 processors, we were eager to give it a try. We knew that our software will really shine on the latest generation CPUs because of its large number of cores and optimized cache architecture.  Intel Xeon(R) Platinum 8180 processor packs up to 28 CPU cores with 56 threads on a single CPU. On a typical 2S system used for the most enterprise application, we would have a total of 56 cores and 112 threads. Compared to previous generation system we used Intel Xeon(R) E5-2697 CPU, this was an exact doubling of the number of cores. Moore’s law is still at work at Intel.   But could we really double our performance with double the number of cores? It appears logical but in practice, it’s not that easy. See, not all workloads are created equal. If you are running a simple word processing program on a massively multi-processor system, you can’t possibly utilize all the performance, a server platform has to offer and in most cases, you don’t even need very high compute capacity for a simple application like word processing. Searching through vast amounts of data is different though. A company could easily have tens of millions of files and hundreds or even thousands of employees searching through these files every day to find the information they are looking for to perform their work. There is always a need to return search results quicker and to enable more people to search simultaneously without increasing number of servers used. But achieving this feat is no easy task, so here we would like to share our approach to achieve maximum scalability.  A search server typically has 3 main components, a web server that responds to user queries and provides responses, a query engine that takes requests from a web server, formulates a query and transforms results and a database that stores the data that needs to be queried.   A first obvious design consideration is to use a web server component that can serve multiple requests in parallel. Basically, as multiple requests come in, the server could start a new thread or a new process (more on that later). These threads or processes will execute in parallel and be able to offer more queries per second. If your server platform has the number of cores available then it could process more number of queries in parallel and in theory give you a linear performance increase as the number of cores are increased. Now there are some differences between threads and processes. Some software systems will not use a separate core for multiple threads. So, in such a case you need multiple processes versus multiple threads. While we don’t want to be recommending any particular web server, but QuikFynd solution uses multiple process design for its web server and each request gets executed in a separate process, hence it can scale pretty much linearly with the number of available cores.  Your second design consideration is to optimize the number of processes you use because spawning new processes is expensive. Because you don’t expect a single user to fire off many queries in the fraction of a second, it’s probably ok to send all requests from a single user to the same process. This avoids spinning up new processes if requests are coming in from the same user. More importantly, if you start a new process for every request then you can’t do caching effectively because each process will get its own memory space. Users are limited by how fast they can type a search query and process the response. To design for this scenario, QuikFynd chooses to pin a user to a process, so all requests from a user will use the same process. We can still use multiple processes for serving requests from multiple users and this is more close to a real-life scenario. This way, we can support a large number of users.  You will get some scalability by making your web server scalable but it is unlikely that you will still be using your cores effectively because after your web server design is tuned, the bottleneck has shifted. Consider this. To offer full-text search results from 100s of millions of files, the size of the database is several hundred gigabytes. This means that you can’t possibly keep all this data in system memory and it has to be on a disk. If you are designing for real life scenario, you can’t possibly count on same keywords being queries again and again either, so you are likely going to read randomly from the database. While you may have over 100 cores in your server platform, your disk I/O has become the bottleneck because over 100 processes are trying to read from the same file on the disk. There is an obvious (but not so easy to implement) solution to this. Basically, you need to segment the database into multiple smaller databases. This way, multiple processors could read from those files simultaneously. You should also consider the performance of your file system here. For running QuikFynd on Intel SkyLake CPUs, we used Lustre - a network file system that enables parallel reads and it is super fast. By using Lustre and breaking up our database into smaller chunks, now we could achieve the kind of parallelism we were aiming for.   So, here you have it. You can really find a needle in the haystack or put another way a single word amongst 1B files using a single Intel Xeon(R) Platinum 8180 processor and using QuikFynd Enterprise Search that is designed to take full advantage of multiple cores.   Intel published the results of QuikFynd’s performance (shown below) and also available at  link on Intel web site         

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     We were able to achieve 79% performance improvement compared to the predecessor server platform - Intel Xeon(R) E5-2697 v3. While it is not quite 2X but it is fairly close. For enterprises, this can result in great savings. Using QuikFynd Enterprise Search you can consolidate all of your search work on a single server. And if you are a service provider offering search services to your customers, you can use a single server for your multiple customers.  I believe the number of cores will continue to increase from generation to generation and applications like QuikFynd Enterprise Search will take full advantage of it by delivering search results faster than ever.  Do you think having too many cores is an overkill or still not enough? Please share your thoughts and opinions.

Got 1Billion files? Find it with QuikFynd Enterprise Search running on Intel Xeon(R) Platinum Processors

Using Intel Xeon(R) Platinum 8180 CPUs, QuikFynd Enterprise Search achieved 1.8X boost in performance when compared to older generation CPUs. Multiple cores in Platinum 8180 (up to 56 for a 2S platform) allow QuikFynd's highly scalable architecture to take full advantage of the available cores and deliver search results faster for up to 1 billion files on a single server platform

      Equifax Data Breach And 5 Things You Should Do To Protect Yourself  As I was still digesting the news of Equifax data breach where social security numbers, driver licenses, birthdates, addresses and other personal information for roughly half of U.S. population showed up in hands of hackers, I began to wonder if there is anything I can do about it.   Personal information of 143 million people had been compromised and the company sat on it for full 2 months before disclosing it to the public. Class action lawsuits have already been filed and company stock fell by over 13% on the news. This is all fine but my immediate concern was to check if I was impacted and how to protect myself from this and future frauds. Chances were that I was impacted because 44% of U.S. consumers were impacted. So, here are the steps I took and I believe that all of us should take a few of these steps.  First, I wanted to check if my information was compromised, I used a link provided by Equifax. You can also use the link  https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/  and enter your last name and last 6 digits of your SSN.  This link is provided by Equifax as a courtesy after this breach, Equifax is also offering an option to enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services (more on that later). After entering my SSN, I found that my personal information was indeed compromised - disappointing but not surprising given that I had 1 in 2 odds of being one of the unfortunate ones whose information got compromised. This meant that I needed to take some more steps to feel safe.  Secondly, I wanted to see if my information was already misused by someone. Since Equifax waited full 2 months before reporting it to the public, chances were that some of the information was already being used. This particular data breach provided enough information to hackers that they could open up new lines of credit in my name without any of my knowledge. Best way to check is to review your personal credit report at  https://www.annualcreditreport.com/  and see if any new accounts in your name have been opened. I went ahead and requested my free credit reports and luckily found that there were no new accounts. A small sigh of relief but the information in this report was eye opening for me. There were a few addresses on my report where I have never lived before. They provide an option to dispute those records and I did. But in the process, I learned that it is probably useful to periodically check what is on your credit report and catch any suspicious activity.  My third step was to sign up for credit monitoring service. Equifax is offering complimentary monitoring services and some 3rd party paid options from LifeLock and IDSheild are also there. I am no expert in recommending which monitoring service is best but I went ahead by enrolling in services offered by Equifax knowing that I can always sign up for a different service once I do more research about which one is best.  Now the next major step I took was to freeze my accounts with  Equifax ,  Experian  and  Transunion  altogether. This is a rather drastic step because this also means that I can’t apply for new credit cards or get new lines of credit without first lifting a freeze. This is highly inconvenient and may not even be an option for some but for me, I felt that I didn’t really need any new credit for foreseeable future and precaution was better than convenience.  This brings me to my fifth and last point about trading off security for convenience. See, companies are playing gamble with our personal information in the name of making our lives more convenient. Multiple sensors on our phone are reporting our coordinates all the time. Devices are listening to our voice commands and soon they may even be capturing video of our surroundings just so they can suggest better products and services for us. Bots are reading our emails and suggesting that it is time to leave for the airport because the bot found flight confirmation details in our inbox. Convenient - yes, but it does come at a hefty price of compromising my information especially when we can’t be so sure that companies can or will really safeguard our personal information. They probably have good intentions to keep our information secure (at least some of them do) but can they be hacked in the same manner as Equifax or Yahoo or Dropbox or many others  did ? Absolutely Yes. Now, we will all make different tradeoffs when it comes to security and convenience but I think that we at least need to be aware of what sensitive information about us is being used and by whom and for what purpose.   So, I started the discovery process of my own by looking for my personally identifiable information stored on my computer and in my cloud storage services by using a software program called  QuikFynd Desktop Search  (Full disclosure - I am also founder of QuikFynd, a search and data organization solution, so it's all but natural that I would trust my own software).  QuikFynd  indexes files on my desktop and all of my cloud storage accounts and I can search for files based on their content easily. I have files in about a dozen or so cloud accounts and most of the files are still on my laptop. Curious to find if all of my information is safe, I typed my SSN in the search box of  QuikFynd Desktop Search  and whoa, in the fraction of a second I found 3 documents that had my SSN number. One file was on my desktop and two more in Dropbox. How did my SSN number show up in Dropbox? Ok, so I use my phone connected to Dropbox and all content from my phone automatically gets synched up with cloud storage. I remember sharing my SSN for getting insurance for our cars last year and I used a note-taking program on my phone to type it up. This document got automatically synched with my cloud storage service. Convenient - Yes, but did I intend to put my SSN on a file in Dropbox? Absolutely No. They too were  hacked  just a few years ago. Now the important thing to note here is that I didn’t have slightest of the idea that a file with my SSN exists in my Dropbox. By using QuikFynd Desktop Search, I was able to quickly find it and remove this file from cloud storage. I also found a few other files in Google Drive that had my personally identifiable information, one file was a photo copy of my driver license and I removed those also.   When it comes to securing and protecting our own personal data, there is no better person than you. By taking some of the steps I took after Equifax data breach, I feel a little bit safer. These hacks will continue but by doing periodic checks of your own credit report and by periodically searching for personally identifiable information using products such as  QuikFynd Desktop Search , I believe we can be a bit more in control.   Did you do anything about learning about this data breach? Do you have tips for others that you would like to share? Please use the comment box to share your thoughts.

Equifax Data Breach And 5 Things You Should Do To Protect Yourself

Personal information of 143 million people had been compromised and the company sat on it for full 2 months before disclosing it to the public. Class action lawsuits have already been filed and company stock fell by over 13% on the news. This is all fine but my immediate concern was to check if I was impacted and how to protect myself from this and future frauds. Chances were that I was impacted because 44% of U.S. consumers were impacted. So, here are the steps I took and I believe that all of us should take a few of these steps.

Petya turns out to be a wiper malware

Petya turns out to be a wiper malware

Petya Ransomware destroys the data of the hard disk it infects. Security experts warn that Petya and other malware attacks will continue to proliferate as long as companies delay patching and fail to develop a robust response plan for dealing with ransomware infestations. One of the reasons why people are not as careful with their data is because it is becoming too hard to manage already and if you begin to add multiple cloud storage accounts and a NAS drive, it just becomes too hard to keep track of it all. Quikfynd is an intelligent data search, organization and sharing solution that runs on your Windows PC or on your NAS. You can connect your cloud storage accounts to QuikFynd and instantly know where all your data is by just searching for it with a few keystrokes. 

500M user accounts compromised at Yahoo, Is cloud really safe?

It was not really a surprise that many user accounts got compromised at Yahoo but what was surprising was the scale - 500M and the fact that it took almost 2 years for them to report it. Now the 2nd point is even more serious. This means that for full 2 years, one of the largest internet companies had no idea that user accounts are being compromised. What does it say about other cloud companies? And cloud storage in particular. Now, the largest cloud storage vendor by numbers - Dropbox reported in August of 2016 that 70 million of their customer accounts were compromised in 2012. Wow! So, for full 4 years they had no idea that accounts are being compromised. And you really think that your data is safe in cloud? 

Customers should make smart choices about where they keep their data and how they want to manage it. Cloud storage is great for many things - especially if you want to share some documents with partners, customers or peers easily but should it really replace all of the local storage you have? We don't think so. Not till it is as secure as your local storage. Storage on your desktop, laptop is relatively very secure. Can this also be hacked? Yes. But the probability is low because it is much more expensive for bad guys to go after 500M individual machines versus going to one company and stealing 500M credentials. 

There are plenty of local storage options. NAS (or Network Attached Storage) in particular gives cloud storage like functionality these days and the best part is that it stays in your home or business where it is not subject to curious eyes of sophisticated hackers. 

We at QuikFynd believe that customers should be able to store their data in whatever location that makes sense for their personal and business needs. Whether it is cloud storage for sharing, or their NAS device for more privacy or even their laptop and they should be able to find all their content easily, securely and instantly. If you can quickly search your content and access it from any device, it enables making right choices about where to keep your data. 

Discover the power of unified search across Cloud storage and NAS devices with QuikFynd. Learn more about QuikFynd solution.

Search, Organize and Share All of Your Data Anywhere, Anytime

Search, Organize and Share All of Your Data Anywhere, Anytime

"QuikFynd offers intelligent search solutions to organize, search, and share data instantly in a secure manner. Using QuikFynd app you can access data stored on different storage devices and locations, regardless of the size, whether it is in Google Drive or Dropbox or PC or file server,” adds Aditya.

Why Owning Your Data is Important

Data storage is exploding all around us with a market growth of 35.7% annually which is equivalent to a 7.14% growth a year in the last five years according to virtual data room research. The loss of business related data can lead to closing down of the business. At home losing our prized photos, financial info etc. could be heartbreaking.  Be it word articles, spreadsheets and confidential documents, data storage systematically files our most prized assets.  Because of this, data is preserved in multiple locations like cloud data centers, NAS and other types of removable storage. The end result is that data is fragmenting and finding data in a timely manner is frustrating.

Cloud data centers allow our data to be maintained, managed and backed-up using multiple servers across diverse databases. It has a dependable virtual infrastructure which protects our digital data and making them accessible when we need them. As a matter of fact, cloud is even used as complementary storage for disaster recovery in case of unprecedented accidents like building fire. Cloud can connect to off-premise and on-premise data storage through various distributed resources that act centrally. It is also built for system fault tolerance through duplication and distribution of data.

On the other hand, we have NAS or Networked Attached Server. NAS is a smaller server compared to the multiple servers of cloud, which provides shared storage for a small number of computer units. NAS, like cloud, is very important for homes and small businesses which require regular information transfer and data back-up. NAS has lower storage costs.

NAS adds more storage to our computer’s capacity. NAS servers have a range of up to 200GB to 8TB of data storage. NAS also provides efficiency and privacy in small business and consumer data with as much as 45% through NAS’es efficient compartmentalizing.  All of the computers active at home or in a small office could have greater speed in all domains of accessing since data resides locally instead of having to receive it from cloud.

NAS benefits are faster data access, lower storage costs, backing up ones precious data, security and privacy as data is owned by the small business or the consumer.

QuikFynd makes it possible to easily search for data on the NAS. With QuikFynd, you can access your private data at home and at work with powerful full text search. You could also use QuikFynd as your NAS search server and have your data accessed anytime and anywhere using any of your mobile devices. QuikFynd can organize, search and share your digital universe in the most convenient way possible.

In this technological age, securing our data has never been more imperative. If we fear losing data or seeing them leaked on unreliable platforms, then we have to choose a dependable form of storage. QuikFynd brings you the combined benefits of cloud and NAS data storage.

 

Efficient Search for your data can save a day's worth of work

Research claims that 80% of enterprise content is unstructured (stored in things like Word docs and pdfs, as opposed to structured databases, CRM systems, etc.), and Forrester Research asserts that content volume is growing at a rate of 200% annually

Between now and 2020, the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world will grow to almost 35 zetabytes that is 5,200 GB of data for every person on Earth.

There is no doubt that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is growing ever more rapidly but unfortunately, a large amount of it gets unused. IDC estimates that by 2020, as much as 33% of all data will contain information that might be valuable if found and analyzed.

At an enterprise level, data if managed well, can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and save money by improving employee productivity. Even for individuals, organizing and finding the data when you needed it can help save time you never knew existed!

Companies large and small are beginning to appreciate the benefits of high-quality search in the workplace. There’s no doubt that “search,” in a pure sense, heightens employee productivity by making the right knowledge available and useful when and where it’s needed. What’s more, relevant, findable information can speedup timelines and bring about measurable increase in efficiency with which employees work

The below graphic shows us the task breakdown of a work week, for a typical information worker:

 

This indicates that 9.5 hours of time is spent searching and another 8.3 hours are spent gathering information each week. That’s more than 17 hours every week, or full 2 days of free time you could have if only you could search and find the information you needed instantly.

This wasted time costs an organization $19,732 per information worker per year and amounts to a loss of 21.3% in the organization's total productivity*. Which means an organization of 1000 employees needs to hire 213 more people to keep up the same productivity!

How does Quikfynd help?

 QuikFynd is a solution to organize and search your data. Many individuals and small companies keep their data on a file server or on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. QuikFynd is installed as a software application on file server or on NAS and enables full text search of all content. You just type a few keywords and all matching documents are returned. Another cool thing is that you can search for your documents even when you are not in the same network as your file server or NAS. You may be traveling and only have your mobile phone with you. Just launch the QuikFynd app and it will securely search your content. If you are a person who works with data and information on a regular basis, QuikFynd is guaranteed to save you a ton of time.

*Reference: White paper by www.idc.com on bridging the information worker productivity gap.