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Pros & Cons Of Serverless Computing

Although the term ‘Serverless Computing’ implicates the existence of a computing architect with no server, it actually defines a cloud based execution model. The server is hosted by cloud service providers and users are not required to buy it or set it up onsite. The cloud service provider manages the server and machine resources are allocated to users.

As most businesses are making a shift towards serverless computing instead of traditional approach, it is necessary to understand the pros & cons of this approach.

Pros Of Serverless Computing:

  1. Cost-effective: Serverless computing is a cost-effective approach for businesses. The users are required to pay as per the amount of resources consumed by their application instead of pre-purchased units of usage capacity.
  1. Easy To Scale Up: In case of serverless computing, application developers are not required to implement a code for scaling up. Also, it rules out the need and cost for upgrading existing servers or adding new server units. When considering to scale up, businesses can request additional resources from the service provider and pay according to their consumption. Also, cloud systems are more elastic as they are capable of scaling up and down inherently according to the demand.
  1. Low Human Resources Cost: Serverless computing eliminates the need for onsite servers. Thus, businesses are not required to hire staff for managing and operating the hardware. This helps them save cost that was traditionally incurred on human resources.
  1. Enhanced User Experience: By switching to serverless computing, the businesses and application developers can save time and resources required for server management. These resources can be used on other tasks such as improving productivity and user experience by developing as well as improving customer-friendly features.
  1. Decreased Latency: Depending upon the services offered by the provider, businesses can choose to run the application functions on a server node close to the end user. Thus, it reduces latency as the requests initiated by a user are not required to travel to origin server and can be reverted from the nearest available node.

Cons Of Serverless Computing:

  1. Testing Becomes Challenging: A serverless environment cannot be easily replicated to check how an application code will respond after being deployed. Also, developers do not have visibility into backend processes and the application is split into separate functions for running on the cloud. This makes it challenging to debug any arising issues.
  1. Vendor Lock-In: When using a cloud based server, the developers are restricted to adapt the rules set by the third party vendor such as using a specific coding language.
  1. Multitenancy: In order to avail maximum benefit, cloud service provider may run applications or software for numerous different users on a single server. Although workloads of different customers are isolated, there may still be bugs in initial offerings. This gives rise to data security risks.

For more information on serverless computing, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Guide To Technology Buzzwords

Rapid advancements in every field are giving birth to numerous new technology buzzwords regularly. Basic understanding of these technological terms assists you in keeping abreast with the current changes.

Stay ahead of upcoming trends with this guide on important technology buzzwords:

  • 5G: It is defined as the next generation of cellular network technology and is one of the most trending buzzwords. It offers faster speed & reliable connections on mobile devices and even home networks.
  • 8K: A beginning to new era of picture quality. It refers to TV’s overall resolution of 7,680 x 4,230 pixels and is a step up from the current 4K resolution that will elevate home entertainment experience.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): It is a term used to define machines that display human like intelligence by using machine learning to perform tasks such as cooking, driving, etc. They have the ability to make decisions through capturing & analyzing data in their environment.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): A VR encompasses user’s senses to create a digital world through headsets or eyewear. It has become a promising trend in gaming & entertainment industry.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): In this technology, real world objects are superimposed with computer generated images like graphics, sounds and touch feedback.
  • X Reality (XR): It is a cross over between both augmented and virtual reality with widespread applications in architecture, medicine, healthcare etc. It allows content creators to create common content for users of AR & VR headsets.
  • Organic LED (OLED): An organic light-emitting diode emits visible light in response to electric current so that pixels can light-up independently. The result is that OLED screens display pictures that are brighter and have better contrast levels.
  • Wearable: They are smart electronic devices with micro-controllers that can be worn as implants or accessories. It stays on the body to perform a particular task like sensing heart rate or keeping a track of your fitness.
  • Eye-Tracking: It is a sensor based technology that makes possible for a device to know where a person is looking. It basically detects reflections in both the pupils and cornea.
  • Ray-Tracing: It calculates the color of pixels by tracing the path that light would take to create realistic lighting effects. Applications include home computer gaming and developing computer graphics imagery for films and TV shows.
  • Biometric: It measures people’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics. The technology uses an aspect of your body like thumbprint or face to authenticate yourself or for unlocking a personal device.
  • Haptics: Technology of adding sensation of touch and feeling to VR via vibration or by exuding pressure to make virtual objects seem real and tangible.

For more information on latest technology trends and how to incorporate them in your business, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654. We are located in Dallas, Killeen, Atlanta and Austin.

Bursting Myths Surrounding Blockchain

A Blockchain is a transparent and publicly accessible ledger that is shared among a network of computers called Blockchain Network. It contains a growing list of records called blocks that are linked in chronological order to form a chain. The data is secured using public key encryption which resists the modification of information. Thus, data stored in blocks can be viewed or accessed by the users but it can’t be tampered with. This advantage has led to a rapid growth of Blockchain technology.

However, with the growth of Blockchain technology, some myths and disillusions have also developed around it. Following are some common myths surrounding Blockchain technology:

  1. Blockchain Is Same As Bitcoin: Blockchain is the root technology for bitcoin; but they are not interchangeable terms. Blockchain is a technology that allows recording of peer-to-peer transactions on a distributed ledger throughout a network. However, bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. It is used to make direct exchange of currency between two people omitting the involvement of a third party such as a bank.
  1. Cryptocurrency Is The Only Application Of Blockchain: Cryptocurrency is a major application of Blockchain, however the technology has numerous other applications. Some common applications of Blockchain include monitoring supply chains, data sharing, digital ids, copyright & royalty protection, etc.
  1. Information On Blockchain Activity Is Not Public: A prevailing misconception about Blockchain technology is that the information on the ledger is hidden. On the contrary, reality is that the information can be viewed by anyone. Users can connect their computer to the Blockchain network and receive a copy of ledger on their system. This copy is automatically updated whenever a new block is added to it.
  1. Cryptocurrency Transactions Are Anonymous: It is a misconception that crypto transactions are anonymous. In actual, cryptocurrency transactions are recorded in a public ledger and many government agencies tie up with numerous cryptocurrency exchanges to access the ledger & map the address back to the owner.
  1. Blockchain Is Fundamentally A Storage Mechanism: Most users consider Blockchain to be essentially a storage mechanism. Undoubtedly, it offers unparalleled advantages for data storage; however, the technology has other advantages such as facilitating convenient exchanges.
  1. Tokens & Coins Are Same: Tokens and Initial Coin Offerings are two important terms used in Blockchain terminology. They are often confused to be same but there is an inherent difference between these terms. Coins store simple values; whereas, tokens are used for storing complex levels of value such as property, utility, income, etc.

For more information on Blockchain Technology and its applications, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Covert Channel Attacks

A covert channel attack is initiated by using an existing information channel to transfer objects from one source to another without the knowledge of the user. Since the system or information channel was not originally built for such communication or conveyance of information, hackers transfer the data in small bits to keep the attack unnoticed.

The data is embedded in the free space available in a data stream without affecting the main body of information being transferred. The space used for creating a covert channel may be the free space left within the padding or other parts of the network data packets. Usually, only 1-2 bits of covert data stream are added to one data packet which makes it difficult to detect the attack. As the original data is not tampered, the covert receiver can receive information from the system without creating a data trail.

Covert channels are of two types:

  • Covert Time Channel- The processing of signal information of a network channel by manipulating own system resources which affects real response time observed by the original network.
  • Covert Storage Channel- Direct or indirect embedding of data to a storage location by a system & direct or indirect reading of this data by another system at a different security level.

Using DNS As A Covert Channel

To create a covert channel, attacker installs a malware or specially designed program on the victim’s system via malicious links or by using remote administration to alter its DNS. An altered DNS is configured to serve random text in addition to website information. It behaves normally under usual conditions, but acts as per the covert channel program for a special domain. The flow of information between DNS & malware follows the normal client-server architecture. The malware plays the role of second component of covert channel. It sends DNS requests which look legitimate. The compromised DNS responds to these requests with hidden key information.  Covert receiver extracts this hidden information. Thus, a covert channel uses a fully functional authorized system to transfer unauthorized information in a secretive manner.

Covert channel attacks make use of simple forums like a file or time used for computation, which makes it difficult to identify these attacks. Two techniques that are commonly used for detection of covert channels are analyzing the resources of a system and vigilance of the source code.

For more information on tips to secure your computer network, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Health Technology Trends

Healthcare industry is moving towards preventive care solutions with the help of technological advancements. Digital innovative platforms like information systems and wearable devices are rapidly growing in health care market. Also, new technological trends like big data and healthcare analytics are gaining momentum. These advancements aim at achieving universal healthcare by making medical facilities accessible and affordable for everybody.

Technology trends that will potentially dominate healthcare industry in coming years are:

  • Primary Healthcare: The industry is focusing on quality improvement techniques to enhance primary care based on accessibility and equity. This will promote good health among a wide range of people regardless of their age, socio-economic status or geographic origin. Primary care revolves around prevention and patient education for longer & healthier lives. New technologies such as mobile apps that track calories, sleep pattern & fitness plans for improved health cycle are being widely used for educating patients.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare industry is employing artificial intelligence systems like IBM Watson for enhancing care management, drug discovery, managing patients for clinical trials, etc. Numerous other robotic and machine learning systems are being introduced in the healthcare sector as they offer attractive & valuable applications like image processing to detect abnormalities, robot assisted surgery, virtual nursing assistants and administrative assistance.
  • Blockchain: The technology is gaining popularity in health care industry because of its ability to secure data and protect it from breaches. Blockchain will facilitate the health care providers to manage endless data including patient health information, insurance claims, and electronic health records in a hassle free manner. Also, it will increase transparency between pharmaceutical industry and customers by enhancing drug traceability to prevent fake drugs.
  • Guiding Patients: Digital health tools like chatbots and companion robots have made healthcare accessible and convenient. They assist the patients in a humane way by addressing their needs. Chatbots make it possible for patients living in remote and rural areas to benefit from telemedicine projects and consult a doctor sitting far off through online channels. On the other hand, companion robots reduce workload of professionals like nurses & helping staff to save time and money.
  • Advance Analytics: Adoption of predictive analytics across hospitals have made it easier to analyze large amount of patient’s data. The analytic tools are capable of identifying genetic factors related to chronic diseases like cancer and spotting individuals with elevated risks of developing these diseases. This plays a key role in formulating preventive medicine programs, providing appropriate treatment as early as possible, reducing the chances of high-cost lengthy treatments and admission costs.

For more information on how medical establishments can benefit from advanced IT solutions, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Using Technology Advancements To Increase Customer Engagement

Customers are the most important asset of a business. It is important for businesses to successfully engage their customers in order to survive in this highly competitive environment. One way to do this is by using technology.

Technology has influenced the business sector positively & empowered businesses to serve their customers in a better way. Following are some ways in which technological advancements can be used to increase customer engagement.

  • Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality: VR and AR technology is being used to engage customers innovatively. It improves the customer experience & allows them to perform tasks virtually which may be a little difficult or inconvenient to be performed physically. For example, Room Planner: Design for IKEA, is an app that allows users to browse through their products & preview how the furniture would look in their home by visualizing it from different points using their smartphone’s camera.
  • Location-Based Computing: Smartphones these days are location enabled devices that allow businesses to provide personalized services thus increasing customer engagement. For example, businesses can reach out more customers at a geo-location & target their needs. Cinemas, theaters, florists, salons, etc. target their customers in the vicinity & provide them last minute tickets & discounts using location based computing.
  • 3D Printing: By transforming the way businesses manufacture & distribute goods, the 3D printing technology has significantly affected customer engagement. Using this technology, a virtual design can be instantly transformed into a physical object. Also, any flaws in the manufacturing process can be identified early & fixed to save money and enhance customer experience. 3D printing also enables the customers to modify the shape, color, pattern, material, etc. to get a customized product. Since, they can choose what they need, it results in better customer engagement.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots have become quite popular these days. They offer 24/7 customer support and are faster as well as more efficient. These artificially intelligent assistants have self-learning capabilities and can proficiently engage the customers. Emobots have improved abilities & have entered the business scenario now as they can judge real-time emotional reactions of a customer & provide suitable services accordingly.
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI helps businesses in understanding customer needs & preferences better. For example, businesses can personalize a customer’s shopping experience in real time to increase engagement. Intelligent algorithms enable the websites and apps to target individuals and recommend them products based on their search history.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Most devices these days are internet-enabled which provide numerous opportunities to increase customer engagement. IoT generates humongous amount of data which can be used by businesses to gain insight about customer behavior for a personalized user experience. For example, this technology enables creation of predictive models that use condition-based monitoring to prevent failures before they occur. Businesses can use this information and provide timely maintenance before the device breakdowns completely.

For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.