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Imagine for a moment the following conversation. This conversation is one that has happened for years around water coolers. But now you have wonder if in fact there are ulterior motives to that accidental or apparently forgetting your phone in a conference room.
“Have you noticed recently that Bob leaves his phone everywhere a lot? As in yesterday I found it propped up in the conference room. The day before that it was sitting by the water cooler. Anyway if it were anyone else I wouldn’t care but Bob always seems to know what is going on. So it makes me nervous.” Disembodied voice number 1.
“Bob does seem to always know what is going on.” Disembodied voice number 2.
The concept of personal cloud is intriguing. Your devices connected in a way that benefits what you need at any specific time. The reality of Bob’s personal cloud in this case is more a security issue then a sit around the table and talk about it issue. Is there a line where leaving your device isn’t’ simply being forgetful?
If you see a phone left in the room you do have to wonder. Which got me thinking about what else you have to worry about. Smart pens can record audio natively on the device. Some of the newer Smart pens actually uses the audio recording of the device it is connected to (iPad, iPhone, Android Tablet, Laptop) to record and store audio. Video pens record HD video – again right on the device. They aren’t bugs in the sense that it’s native recording with no transmission. It is a great boon and a new security risk. If you see Bob’s phone on the table, you have to wonder if Bob is actually still in the meeting, listening. After all he always seems to know what is going on.
Your personal or company provided device can quickly become a location based listening service. By location based it means wherever you are at the time the recording starts. The company or anyone who hijacks your phone can use it to listen to what you are talking about, virtually 100% of the time. Using the Smart pen or any other remote device you can easily see what is going on. You can even use your phone to transmit to your watch using some of the new Smart watch applications.
From a “need” perspective this ability to create an audio recording of a meeting this is great. With products such as LiveScribe and other devices there are even great supporting cloud services. You can quickly and easily record your meeting, add notes and publish it on the service. It takes less than 5 minutes to get everything settled and shared via the cloud services. I’ve found that people actually like having notes to review post meeting and having both the written and audio notes makes a significant impact.
Of course this new technology can create behavior problems. Is it wrong to smash a phone left in a conference room? Most likely that is overkill. You should however remove items left in the conference room and place them outside the room, just to be careful. Its always a good idea to reduce the number of leaks possible by as many portable devices left “by accident” in the conference room. PS, while you are removing devices make sure the video teleconference system isn’t on with the in the room monitor shut off.
This isn’t an article designed to scare people into running around conference rooms picking up pens and phones and then chucking them out the window. This article is about your personal security. It is also to begin the conversation about the personal cloud and eventually personal cloud space. At some point as personal clouds expand there has to be a personal cloud space limit. Where does your cloud end?
By Scott Andersen
Scott works as a software architect and has been involved in IT projects over the past 17 years. Before that, Scott was a public school teacher in Bloomington Indiana.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)
Over the last couple of months, I have been discussing Software-Defined Networking (SDN) with data center professionals around the world. It seems that many people are still trying to figure out what SDN is really all about and how it will impact their business. With that in mind, I thought a two-minute introduction to SDN would be helpful to a lot of folks.
In contrast to traditional networking equipment, SDN decouples the logic that makes decisions about where the traffic is sent from the underlying system that forwards traffic to a given destination. This technology is disruptive because Cisco, Juniper and the other IT powerhouses have made a fortune by selling physical networking devices that contain pieces of proprietary software designed to perform the two functions in the same physical machine. When the logic that makes decisions about where the traffic is sent is removed and replaced with a single virtualized controller that centrally configures all network equipment, the expensive devices can be replaced with commodity servers causing a large shift in the business dynamics.
A case in point: rumor has it that Amazon would have reduced the size of a billion dollar order to Cisco to a mere $11 million after having started migration to SDN. Although this has all the makings of a fine fishing story, it does give a prime example of the magnitude the network industry will be going through.
SDN is largely driven by growing application density in data centers. As cloud computing brings about automation and self-service, the number of applications run in an average data center is expected to increase rapidly. Communication between all these applications currently involves a routing mechanism that does not enable direct connections, but rather involves climbing up and down a routing stack that makes a game of ping pong pale in comparison. SDN has been designed to remove the net from the ping pong table: since you no longer need the bounce, you can simply roll the ball directly to your friend. It’s easier, quicker and more economical.
Yes and no. As far as data centers tasked with running and scaling up various cloud platforms are concerned, SDN will allow them to scale better while reducing costs through automation. But if you are a home user or someone operating a network backbone, the chances are that it will take a long time before SDN will have an impact on you.
Although SDN is still admittedly in its infancy, it holds a promising future. Research firm International Data Corporation predicts the market for SDN technologies will grow to $3.7 billion by 2016. No wonder then that the networking industry juggernaut Cisco is changing its game plan by switching its focus on SDN. Only time will tell how that works out.
By Juha Holkkola,
Juha is managing director of Nixu Software Oy Ltd, the cloud application deployment company, and an affiliate of Nixu. He joined Nixu in early 2000 and has since held various business and sales management positions. Before Nixu, Juha worked for Nokia Networks and financial services company Danske Bank in marketing and treasury positions.
This research clearly shows that e-retailers need to get the basics of website performance right in order to maximize online sales during the holiday season – and the cloud can help them accomplish that. For example, an optimized website and proper load testing are crucial to ensure that online retailers are able to deliver availability and reliability online and capitalize on high traffic levels. Ultimately, by using the cloud to enable a high quality website experience for customers, from the ground up, online retailers will ensure that they preserve their brand, stay competitive and drive sales during the holiday season.
Infographic and content provided by – Robert Miggins, SVP business development, Peer 1 Hosting.
Infographic Source: Peer 1 Hosting.
Cloud computing is on the rise, with the worldwide market expected to rise from $111 billion last year to $131 billion in 2013. Gartner, Inc., one of the world’s leading information technology research firms, indicates its growth will continue well into this decade. By 2016, it predicts the majority of new IT spending will be on cloud computing technologies. Read on discover what’s driving this growth.
Cloud Computing Allows for More Flexible Working Conditions
American employees aren’t just working within the confines of the office anymore. Since the turn of the century, the number of American employees working from home has risen by around 41 percent. Around 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week. That number’s expected to grow by 63 percent over the next five years.
Even Americans who travel to the office typically work outside its walls. They’re getting a jumpstart on work, with the average American checking working e-mails from 7:33 am over breakfast or during their morning commute.
As flexible workplaces increase, businesses will become more reliant on the kind of virtual offices cloud computing can create. Hybrid devices allow employees to log on to their virtual office, no matter where they are, and be as productive as any other member of staff. These devices are compact and portable like traditional tablets, but the keyboards are ideal for composing e-mails or business documents on the go.
Cloud Computing has Applications across Many Industries
Studies show companies that use the internet as a key business tool are twice as likely to grow as those who don’t. It’s no wonder then that more than half of American businesses have already adopted cloud computing technology.
We’re seeing this growth across a range of industries, not just the information technology field. For example, hospitals and doctors are discovering the potential of cloud computing for their businesses. In 2011, the global health care cloud computing market was worth just $1.8 billion. But more providers are realizing its potential for affordable data storage that can be readily shared with other healthcare providers. By 2017, it’s expected that the worldwide healthcare cloud computing market will be worth $5.4 billion.
Growth will continue as more industries realize the unique ways that cloud computing can work for them.
Cloud Computing Helps Businesses Grow
Cloud computing will continue to grow as more businesses realize the ways it can help them succeed. Cloud computing gives companies greater access to advanced technological resources with far fewer costs than many firms realize.
Cloud computing enables companies to house data offsite, so they don’t need to spend money on additional servers and storage solutions. Many small to medium firms also find it easier to essentially rent storage space rather than paying large fees upfront. Keeping data on the cloud also eliminates maintenance costs.
Companies can also run efficiently with fewer information technology staff, and ensure these employees are better utilized. Information can also be more readily shared amongst employees, which makes workplaces more productive.
Studies show all these factors see cloud computing promoting economic growth and competition across a range of industries.
Cloud Computing is Evolving
Any innovation must evolve to continue experiencing rapid growth. The key to cloud computing’s continued success is its willingness to evolve to better serve businesses. We’re seeing that as tech-savvy companies move from a traditional cloud computing arrangement to hybrid cloud computing. Gartner predicts the private cloud computing model will give way to the hybrid cloud during 2016. By the end of 2017, almost 50 percent of large companies will use hybrid cloud computing.
A hybrid cloud environment sees firms using both private and public cloud services. For example, a legal firm might use a public cloud service to store its archived data, as such services are affordable with limitless space. However, it might prefer to manage sensitive data, about current clients and cases for example, with a private cloud. This approach limits the risk of security breaches while allowing businesses to take advantage of the benefits of public cloud services.
With massive growth and no sign of slowing down, cloud computing may prove to become one of the most important information technology developments of the 21st century.
By Elliot Martinez,
Elliot is a business graduate of the University of South Florida and currently working towards his graduate degree. He is a freelance writer covering all tech topics, Lenovo gadget geek, and social media fanatic.
Today’s information security teams increasingly rely on security systems with big data capabilities. In order to seek out and detect today’s complex advanced persistent threats you need to monitor network, host and application behavior across your organization’s IT data.
Read this white paper to understand the evolving security landscape and how advanced persistent threats and sophisticated malware have fundamentally changed the way security teams must think about these new threats and the tools used for detective controls.
Included is an infographic provided courtesy of Sage which highlights some key points on how to keep your online business safe.
Infographic Source: Sage One
Outsourcing has won out over ownership, and the rush to the cloud continues to gather pace. Where security is concerned there are two major trends that threaten to expose your company to unnecessary risk. There’s a lack of planning and due diligence when choosing cloud providers, and there’s a murky grey area when it comes to responsibility. They can both be mitigated by building security planning into your system from the start, instead of trying to retro-fit.
There are standards that can be applied to inform your planning, and help you to assess the maturity of your security model. The Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) by the Cloud Security Alliance seeks to uncover a set of fundamental security principles that you can use to assess your prospective cloud providers, or, if you’re a cloud vendor, to guide your development and enable you to tick all those vital security boxes for customers.
Evaluating cloud provider security
When shopping for a cloud partner there’s a lot to consider and you should use something like the CCM to drill down into the details. Looking at the bigger picture, you need to address a lot of potential security risks.
Before you start to build out a security plan, probably drawing on your existing governance, risk and compliance processes, take time to analyze your data and identify all of your assets. Data classification and discovery is often overlooked and good security is about protecting everything, not just whatever is in your line of sight.
Ask any prospective cloud provider to produce detailed documentation on their setup. A complete set of terms should be hammered out in your Service Level Agreement (SLA) that covers every potential eventuality down the line. This will protect you and establish levels of responsibility. You should be clear on data encryption in transit and storage, compliance and legal exposure, levels of authentication, and what happens in the event of service breakdown.
It’s important to understand exactly what control you are ceding to an external party. Try to avoid the vendor lock-in that typically accompanies proprietary software, there are plenty of good applications and services out there that meet industry standards and deliver the functionality you need. You can also leverage more value from your existing tools and systems by investigating their security capabilities; you may find that you aren’t maximizing the potential of what you already have.
Consider how the system will be managed and how security incidents are handled. Is there a mechanism in place to detect and report security breaches? Without it, you simply don’t know how secure your system is.
Changing roles, who’s responsible for this?
Separate internal security teams are a thing of the past, those responsibilities are typically being infused within infrastructure and network administration roles. There’s a danger when this occurs that too much responsibility is being heaped onto already overburdened shoulders. Is the necessary expertise there? Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined? Do your internal employees have the mechanisms of control in place?
Whether you need to adhere to ISO 27001/27002 or NIST compliance standards, you can bet that a dedicated external cloud security team working with these frameworks daily is going to have a better handle on them than internal staff with divided responsibilities. An external audit can document gaps in your system and give you a realistic snapshot of your risk. Before you can control and mitigate risks, you need to understand what they are.
Building a solid foundation
The shift to the cloud is not a one-off process, it’s a fluid evolution, and so establishing a model for your plan which can inform everything that comes later is important. You’re not looking to find that one perfect solution, you’re trying to adopt an approach and a set of standards that will ensure security beyond the horizon. Achieving a high level of security with your private or public cloud services and applications is easier and cheaper if you start right.
Make sure that boat is seaworthy before you launch, because finding and plugging leaks when you’re out in the middle of the ocean is asking for trouble.
By Michelle Drolet,
Michelle is the founder of Towerwall (www.towerwall.com) a data security services provider in Framingham, MA with clients such as PerkinElmer, Smith & Wesson, Middlesex Savings Bank, Brown University and SMBs. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emails have been an integral part of our lives since the advent of the internet era. However with the influx of consumerization, enterprises are witnessing a gradual process of being affected by user’s personal email accounts. And it is not just email forwarding that is to be blamed, with cloud computing and email coming together; Cloud email services too comprise of security, malware and encryption concerns.
As it mostly happens, free and easily accessible cloud email services like Gmail are extensively used many a times than most corporate email in workplaces by employees to forward work emails to personal email accounts in the cloud. Such messages are usually not encrypted, thus putting the network at risk for malware infection. This leads to heightened risk of cloud email services being misused at workplace.
But why do employees prefer to use cloud email services than corporate emails?
Well, one of the key reasons employees forward work emails to personal accounts is that free cloud email services usually have higher attachment limits than those for corporate email systems. This makes it easier to share files from a personal cloud email account than from a corporate one. The way Gmail cloud services work is fairly simple.
When a user attaches a file that is larger than 25 MB, Google encourages the user to upload that file to its Google Drive cloud service. Then Gmail puts a link to that file in the email instead of the file itself. Even MS Outlook offers this functionality, as you can have add-ins to convert attachments to a URL that points to a cloud service.
IT teams in organizations can stop email forwarding by putting cloud and mobility policies in place, even though many users will still take advantage of what cloud email services have to offer. In such cases, you may consider easing your inbox and attachment restrictions in your corporate email account.
Even though the functional benefits of cloud-based e-mail are limitless, there are several opportunities for organizations so as to take advantage of a cloud-based option; including financial benefits.
Cloud Email Services: Gmail
Gmail is undoubtedly the most popular SMB cloud-hosted email solution. Not only does it offer the ability to customize your email address, it also comes loaded with 30 GB of storage per account for everything associated to that email address – including calendar, pictures, documents, instant messaging and email.
Besides offering 24/7 customer support, Gmail comes with 99.9 percent uptime, strong security and compatibility with most desktop clients. Available at $50/year standard, Gmail also offers Vault at a higher price of $10/month. Vault features email discovery, email and chat archiving, legal holds, and the ability to run audits as well.
Moreover, Cloud storage is available for Google’s services – Gmail, Google Drive and Google+, combining which, users can have access to 15 GB of free storage. This they can tentatively use for their emails, Google documents and photos on the Google+ social network.
Cloud Email Services: ZohoMail
ZohoMail that shares many of Gmail’s features, is available for free or at $24-$36/year (inclusive of all kinds of free and paid add-on services). However, compared to Gmail ZohoMail has less storage space to offer. Considered to be one of the most enticing email options, ZohoMail is built precisely for businesses.
Besides providing over 30 different services (which includes many free services as well – for up to a certain number of users) —it indeed beats Gmail and Outlook with dedicated CRM tools, wiki, an invoice service, and many more web applications – and most interestingly all integrated with your Zoho account.
Cloud Email Services: Outlook/Office 365
Microsoft Outlook, a name synonymous to Email for many, thanks to its familiarity it in a way offers comfort of use. Outlook/Office 365 services starting at $5/month and above includes 25 GB of storage space.With both services you get the lite browser-based version of the MS Office suite.
As expected, Office 365 has 99.9 percent uptime, 24/7 customer support, and interestingly both services allow you to use a custom email address. Moreover, Microsoft provides excellent spam filtering for Outlook and it’s easy to sync to mobile phones including iOS, Windows Phone and Android.
Experts believe emails cannot die. In fact, it is just the changing face of social media and collaboration tools that are diluting the dominance of email to some extent. Although social media triumphs as one of the fastest means of garnering response and catering to a larger cross-section of your audience at a time; email is undeniably the most reliable way to foster one-on-one communication besides allowing file attachment. Moreover, cloud email services remain the finest tool for collaboration, document capture, calendaring, marketing and customer support.
Have you integrated cloud email services for your business?
By Hariot Mills,
Hariot is an app developer for VitebMobileApps, a mobile application development company offering mobile solutions to clients across the world. She also loves to write on the latest happenings in the mobile technology industry, specifically related to iOS application development.
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