Category Archives: Cloud Computing

How A Hotel Data Breach Can Affect You

How a Hotel Data Breach Can Affect You

The hospitality and travel industry are the largest industry in the world as billions of dollars are spent every year by companies and individuals as they take vacations and business trips. The hospitality industry has grown considerably since the addition of online reservation options, and so has identity theft. Hospitality venues host a large amount of information in their databases. From personal information of thousands of guests each year to employee information, a hotel database covers it all, making it a perfect target for criminals.

Hotels have become a hot target for criminals looking for a quick score or an identity to use. Names, addresses, email addresses, financial data and more can be found in a hotel database. Many even have reward options which cover a more extensive amount of personal information which is ripe for the picking if a hotel data base is breached. Most travelers have no idea how a hotel database breach can affect them. Below is more information on how a breach can affect you and what you can do to maintain your identity.


A data breach is when an outside source gains access to a company’s data base, in this case, a hotel chain. The breach will give the outside source access to all the information listed in the database. This means that credit card information is accessed which gives the criminal the ability to charge your credit card if they so choose. A data breach at a hotel has been known to happen and is usually done by a hacker intrusion. When this happens the hotel must take certain precautions to protect their customers as well as themselves.

Hotel Liability

In most states, the hotel is required to contact anyone who could potentially be impacted by the breach. This gives the customer the option to cut off their credit cards, notify their banks, etc. and potentially head off any access to their accounts. If the information allows a criminal to access a customer’s personal account then the hotel can be liable. Businesses are supposed to state their security procedures, so you are well aware of what you are getting into.

What You Can Do To Prevent Breach of Your Information

There are a few steps you can take to prevent a breach of your information. One is to use banks that monitor your purchase history. This way, if your information is gathered by a criminal, they will catch any suspicious activity. Since most people secure a reservation with a credit card, this is a smart action to take. You can also use the same card every time you check into a hotel. This will avoid more than one card or account being accessed if a breach takes place.

If you feel lucky, you can just show up at a hotel and pay cash. However, they will most likely ask for a credit card to put on file for any damages or charges that may incur during your stay. This can still put your information at risk, so find out the procedures and see if an option is available for you to feel more secure.

It is also crucial to be aware of online security measures. We all use the internet access available at our hotel. It is also necessary to make sure that this option is secure as well. It is best to use only a verified secure connection and still is safer to stay away from websites with your personal information or those that require passwords to enter.

A breach of data at a hotel can and will happen. It is best for you to understand what happens in this instance and how best to go about handling your accounts so that your identity cannot be stolen. Speak with your bank and credit card providers on a regular basis to ensure that you are covered if an instance like this was to occur.

By Michelle Patterson

Michelle is a Marketer and Writer for the new start up company GuestDoor 

Five Ways To Boost Your Cloud’s Security

Five Ways To Boost Your Cloud’s Security

Cloud Security

There is no disputing the fact that Cloud computing is on the rise. Regardless of myths and rumors, Cloud computing is steadily becoming a more viable for various applications and uses. As such, the Cloud works by using the Internet for the storage and transmission of voice, data, and video. In doing so, adoption typically allows for cost efficiency, increased productivity, greater mobility, better interconnectivity of users, improved accessibility and flexibility, and more. That being said, it is not surprising to see more and more users, as well as companies (throughout various industries) both adopt and implement the platform. For example, companies like Apple (iCloud), Google (Google Drive), Cisco (WebEx Collaboration), and Sony (Playstation 4) have or plan to utilize the cloud to further their offerings. Though the cloud can be a highly effective tool, there are some disadvantages that hold the platform from even wider adoption. Chief among these potential detriments is security.

As stated above, the cloud moves data across the Internet, networks, and various mobile and wireless devices. In doing so, users’ systems become more susceptible to data breaches and hacks. This can be due to a number of factors including insecure interfaces, data loss or leakage, as well as account/service hijacking. While security has gotten better, it is still a primary concern of those considering adoption; however, though these threats are real, and should not be taken lightly, they should not wholly deter users away from Cloud usage. Instead, they should inform users. Currently, there are a number of methods available to beef up users’ cloud security. Though some are more effective than others, each is sure to fortify users’ platforms.


Users should be familiar with the ins and outs of their system. If they are, they are better able and prepared to prevent, scan, identify, assess, and combat security threats. Inversely, if a user is unfamiliar with their system, it is less likely that they will be able to act on any impending threats. Monitoring the security of your cloud is different from that of operations/performance. While security monitoring is less advanced as its performance counterpart, it can still be an effective tool. Monitoring is ultimately the user’s responsibility; therefore, users should stay actively engaged with their systems. Additionally, there are a variety of monitoring options available, each with different tools and focuses. In selecting one for their system users should be sure their solution is inclusive—i.e. software assessment, configuration security monitoring, server account admin, authentications, etc.

Knowledge Base/Familiarity:

More tactic than tool, knowledge base and familiarity are not dissimilar from monitoring. As users must actively engage their systems to better understand its workings, it would serve one well to examine other models and categories too. There is more than one type of cloud; there is Public, Private, and Hybrid. That being said, users should research the functionality, limitations, benefits, and disadvantages of each before selecting one. In doing so, they will be able to select the best option for your intended use. Additionally, they will be better able to monitor as they will know the general workings of the platform.


Regardless of how well users monitor their systems, if one does not implore encryptions with their data, they are doomed to have a security breach. Encryption refers to the process of reappropriating information/data stored, processed, and transferred through networks, the Internet and mobile and wireless devices in order to keep it from prying eyes. In doing so, it typically converts clear text data into cyphertext—which cannot be accessed via unauthorized persons. Aside from this, there are a variety of encryption methods available.

For example, Tokenization, which replaces sensitive field data (i.e. credit/debit card number, social security number, etc.) with an alternate data called a token. This method is preemptive and is effective when users take a data centric protection approach—meaning information is secured before moving it into the cloud. For example, an admin encrypts all backup data before moving it into the storage cloud.


While it is useful to learn from mistakes, it is not always the best route. This is especially true with the Cloud platform. Users will likely store, transfer, and receive a ton of personal information in using the cloud. That said, even the slightest breach of security can be disastrous. Security failures can be caused from ignorance, inexperience, and/or ineptitude, While Knowledgebase and Familiarity work to reduce ignorance, and Monitoring remedies inexperience, how can users counteract ineptitude? The answer is checklists. It is extremely common for easy tasks to get compounded into something else. As users then work to overcome new issues, they may forget to monitor pre-existing ones. Checklists can help users effectively secure their system. By making a log of all the necessary steps, redundancies, procedures, etc. users are more apt to maintain quality security.


As mentioned above, security vulnerabilities, as well as other mistakes, are often a result of human blunders—i.e. inexperience, ignorance, etc. That being said, users may want to seek out automation as it automatically improves security. Cloud ecosystems are very complex; therefore, manual configuration can be outrageously time consuming, harrowing, and expensive. With that in mind, there are a number of automated provisioning tools that are not only more cost and time efficient, but effectively prevent variances that lead to security vulnerabilities and breaches. Automations can work two-fold as they can help admins to better control security settings—meaning users’ systems would be more effectively monitored.

Honorable Mention:

Structure—i.e. the layout and configuration of a cloud can affect how accessible the platform is.

While there is a variety of security practices available to users, the above are straightforward, quick, and effective solutions. Again, some may be more effective than others; however, each definitely has a role to play in the overall security of users’ cloud platforms.

By Michael Ventimiglia

Managing Editor at – complete guide to VoIP service comparisons and provider reviews.

The Magnificent Seven: Benefits of Private PaaS

The Magnificent Seven: Benefits of Private PaaS

Benefits of Private PaaS

Enterprises are often disappointed when they move to the cloud. They expect efficiency, flexibility, and productivity gains from virtualization, and it doesn’t happen. They still run into the same IT roadblocks. That’s why they come to us.

Private PaaS is a critical component for companies wanting a complete cloud solution and to fully extract the value from their cloud. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what I think are the seven key value propositions for private PaaS as our customers have told us.

Virtualization is not the problem. The real issue is that enterprises don’t take their clouds far enough, and private Platform as a Service (PaaS) is often the missing link. Private PaaS makes the cloud efficient, productive, and transformative. While private PaaS adds value in many areas, it delivers seven key benefits to the adopting enterprise.

1. Agile Development For Real

With private PaaS, enterprises no longer rely on IT for everything they need. One of our large enterprise clients used to run a two-week development cycle. If developers missed the window of opportunity or if something went wrong, they were forced to wait for the next cycle. With private PaaS, agile development finally becomes a reality. Developers can launch applications within minutes. With one click, they can self-serve and auto provision without being constrained by IT infrastructure.

2. Freedom of Choice

In today’s world, developers should not be limited by IT. With the right private PaaS, organizations can now choose the most appropriate data service, language, or framework. Most of our customers are “multilingual” and tell us that our multi-language support is one of the most important features they need.

3. Scalable Management

With virtualization, enterprises can scale resources, but not management. IT staff and DevOps don’t scale well, and staff members are now managing more complex requests in higher volumes. Private PaaS solves this problem by managing computing resources and application scalability. For example, one of our enterprise customers can now launch 30 applications into the cloud within the same amount of time that it used to take to launch and
manage one application. If that’s not increased scalability and productivity, I don’t know what is!

4. Beyond ROI

Admittedly, virtualization does deliver ROI. With fewer physical servers to buy, cost savings are obvious. But ROI is more than cost savings. It is also about efficiency and productivity gains. And that’s where a private PaaS can make a real difference by reducing application deployment time from months or weeks to minutes.

5. The Innovation Highway

With private PaaS, enterprises can innovate more and faster. Developers who don’t have to play tag with IT have now more time to actually…develop. They are no longer bound by old processes, backlogs, and wait times. Projects move faster, which makes it easier for enterprises to test out new ideas quickly and safely. With private PaaS, one of our customers, ExactTarget, has significantly ramped up its innovation program.

6. Any Cloud Any time with Portability

Portability goes hand in hand with freedom of choice. Private PaaS allows organizations to seamlessly shift between public, private, or hybrid clouds. An infrastructure-agnostic private PaaS grows with the enterprise, and offers the best future-proofing guarantee.

7. Last but Not Least, Security

Security is not simply a requirement on a checklist. It must be built-in from the ground up. A private PaaS gives enterprises the control, flexibility, security, and oversight that they need to safely and legally conduct business. Among our customers, we have several defense contractors who use private PaaS for mission-critical applications, and trust the security capabilities of our product.

Private PaaS is a critical component of any private cloud (or public, hybrid cloud), and is really the only way to realize the full potential of the enterprise’s private cloud infrastructure or expanding hybrid cloud infrastructure. The enterprise can spread its wings, and fly direct to transformation and innovation in the cloud.

By Bart Copeland, CEO of ActiveStateBart-copeland

As ActiveState Software’s President and CEO since 2006, Bart Copeland brings more than twenty-three years of leadership, management, finance, and technology business experience to his role.

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Savings

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Savings

Cloud computing is quickly becoming a standard for business organizations, big or small. Everywhere you look in the industry cloud computing is being praised as the go to solution for companies trying to save money on IT costs and leverage their business processes to increase profits and probably save time too. But it is seldom shown how cloud computing benefits companies in terms of return on investment (ROI).

Well let us explore some ways to calculate ROI from cloud computing and maybe convince more people to consider this new computing paradigm.

See also:  Calculating the True Cost of On-Premise and Cloud Software Investments .

Attached is a fantastic infographic provided by the group over at: AutoDesk


Infographic Source: AutoDesk

What Kind Of Cloud User Are You?

What Kind Of Cloud User Are You?

What Kind Of Cloud User Are You?

1. The Martha Stewart

During the spring time sometimes I like to decorate my cloud with festive ornamental grasses and hay to give it a more vibrate feel for others to enjoy. It is a good thing. “

You might be a mom or some girl wanting to be (and I can’t stress enough of how much I do not want to use this word, but the internet is holding my Netflix account hostage until I mention it in an article) adorkable. One thing is for certain you are the kind of person who has three different Pinterest accounts so you can organize your fun crafts for kids, exotic recipes, and adorable dresses in an easy way. You are the one who always has some new goal to reach, and everyone knows that, yes I did crochet all my children’s sweaters with chopsticks. So let me guess what is only being stored on your cloud? Your cloud is only filled with food recipes for a rainy day, fashion tips when it is cold in the morning but hot in the afternoon, and how to build a herb garden with nothing but recycled wine bottles. You are the crafter, the maker, the trend setter of fashion of the PTA whose cloud would always smell of lemon grass and pine needles if you could make it so. Since you can’t do that you will settle with only uploading the entire Pinterest page to your cloud.

2. The Business Tycoon

No, I am pretty sure you can only store TPS Reports on the cloud.”

You are all work and no play when it comes to what you use the cloud for. Before you skip this sectioning thinking you aren’t this kind of person let me ask you something. Do you understand this next sentence? “We need the TPS reports ASAP before we get into the meeting with the CEO on our next B2C campaign so we know how the EPS estimates compared to the MSRP, but before we do all this we need you to sign a NDA so you can’t discuss anything until the IPO.” So now that you realized that sentence made sense to you and that your childhood is dead, it might be time to put a funny picture or song on the cloud. Look you are old now, and your taxes are the most used document for cloud storage. It is fine, but just remember to spice it up a bit. Because you know what happened to Jack with all that work and nothing to play with? He went crazy, so throw a cat picture on the cloud to show that new client that you are a fun loving girl or guy.

3. The Social Know it All.

I was just at jitters with some friends, but it got lame, so we went to the Red Door, then the Majestic, then to my friend Kyle’s place for jello shots, and then we broke into a rave in an abandoned warehouse, until sun up when we hoped the Line to get brunch and now we are having mimosa to end the night . . . err morning. Oh I got so many pictures to upload!”

You are the one with an event’s list a mile long and an hour wide. You are the one with a head full of liquor and a phone full of pictures of you having a head full of liquor with others. You always pop up at the most trendy spots and people call you for something to do on the town. Now for those who skipped the business tycoon one for this section thinking you are the socialite of the year let me knock you down a notch. So what is it that makes you the social know it all? Unless you said a fully charged smart phone with a two sided camera, red bull, facial hair and a writer’s wit for men, and preferring the television show Girls over Sex in the City for women. Then maybe you might want to go read the business tycoon section one again. Honestly, you are the type of cloud user who will only have pictures of wild nights, dance music, and a full calendar on your cloud. Of course, you know what happened to Jack with all play and no work? I hear he is at an African art and music festival until 7 pm, but then he is going to see his friend’s band play at 9pm and who knows after that, I can never get a hold of him.

4. The Nerd

My other Dungeon Master is the Cloud.

Oh my, my, my, my, my, I wonder how many people who get on CloudTweaks fit under this category. You are the type of person who understands how the cloud actually works. Now when I say actually works I do not mean you know it stores and secures files across your devices, no you know how and why it happened based on how the hardware works together. If that was confusing let me make it simple, you might be a cloud nerd if you store a manual on how to build or operate a cloud networking system. Of course, maybe you aren’t a tech nerd and you have that one picture of you at Comic Con with your hand floating an inch above the pretty cosplay lady’s shoulder. I know for me . . . ummm I mean I know for some that storing your Dungeons and Dragons score cards on a network cloud allows everyone to access the cards without anyone afraid of it being lost or changed. Of course, that is just what some other people do. Definitely not me though. . .


5. The most wonderful, caring, attractive, popular people in the world

I am so awesome.

So apart from being a supporter of CloudTweaks and an avid reader of my articles there still is one more thing one must do to truly be part of the most wonder, caring, attractive, popular people in the world cloud type user. If you click here, yes right here, you will find my new novel The Road Trip by Chris Kenealy on Amazon. Now the real neat thing about buying my new novel is that you can store it on the Kindle Cloud Reader. Have I blown you away yet? You can actually purchase a full length novel of adventure and excitement and store it on Amazon’s Kindle cloud or your cloud to break from the traditional files you store on your cloud. Okay, this maybe a shameful plug of epic proportions, but I am a shameful writer who is giving you gold and a chance to exercise your cloud storage muscles when you buy The Road Trip. That sounds like a good opportunity to me, and you get to be the most wonderful, caring, attractive, popular person in the world!

(A quick warning The Trip has adult language and adult content that may or may not be suitable for all ages. Then again that tantalizing little warning might be the very thing you need to start those rebellious years you’ve been looking for. Happy reading folks.)

By Chris Kenealy

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Down The Drain

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Down The Drain

By David Fletcher

Are you looking to supercharge your Newsletter, Powerpoint presentation, Social media campaign or Website? Our universally recognized tech related comics can help you. Contact us for information on our commercial licensing rates.

Using Cloud Computing To Increase Employee Productivity And Contentment

Using Cloud Computing To Increase Employee Productivity And Contentment

Employee Productivity and Contentment

Every supervisor, manager, or HR officer knows that a content employee is a productive employee. So in this regard many companies implement some form of employee recognition and awarding scheme to facilitate productivity and contentment, and also add some bit of healthy competition –which we know for a fact does not always mean friendly. But rarely is it an effect of the work environment and tools that make the employees content and happy. Well cloud computing is one of those rare things that helps with employee contentment and productivity.

First on our list are Remote Access and collaboration capabilities. These bring a lot of flexibility for the employee, which makes their time, even in the office less boring and monotonous. What I mean is when a person has the option to work anywhere within the premises, we often get somebody who is more productive and happy. Like for example if a person likes to work around nature or with a friend who does not happen to be in the same room, then that person should have the option to do so. And it will not help if he is tethered to a desktop. This can be done through remote access and a bunch of cloud computing applications and collaboration tools. Now imagine if people are allowed to work from anywhere, not just within the office building, they could even work even when on vacation or even when they are sick and cannot come to the office. This extends productivity well beyond the office and will help with employee contentment as well.

Another thing that cloud computing will help solve around the office is the storage media anxiety or the flash drive anxiety. Has it ever happened to you or someone you know who has worked so hard on a report or something, and is already running late to a meeting some ten floors from their office floor then suddenly realize that they forgot the laptop or flash drive containing the report? Well you can bet that a good fifteen minutes will have been wasted running back and forth and seeds frustration thrown around. With cloud storage and backup, this is definitely a problem that we can bury in the past. It will not matter where the meeting will occur or if you forgot to bring your laptop or flash drive, employees will be confident that they will be able to access important files wherever they are. Again, all of these facilitate flexibility and also gives peace of mind which in the end would create less stress and create a general aura of contentment among the employee population.

These are some very basic things you can do with cloud computing, and there are so many possibilities and things you can try to use cloud computing to help employee productivity and help them get the job done easier. All it really takes is vision, some creativity, and the guts to move out of the familiar and do something new.

By Abdul Salam

CloudTweaks Comics
Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things. One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various…

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

A New Era for Cyber Crime Last September, the website of a well-known security journalist was hit by a massive DDoS attack. The site’s host stated it was the largest attack of that type they had ever seen. Rather than originating at an identifiable location, the attack seemed to come from everywhere, and it seemed…

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

Botnets and DDoS Attacks There’s just so much that seems as though it could go wrong with closed-circuit television cameras, a.k.a. video surveillance. With an ever-increasing number of digital eyes on the average person at all times, people can hardly be blamed for feeling like they’re one misfortune away from joining the ranks of Don’t…

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms Above DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms, malware is the most common incident that security teams reported responding to in 2014, according to a recent survey from SANS Institute and late-stage security startup AlienVault. The average cost of a data breach? $3.5 million, or $145 per sensitive…

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks! So we are all cheering as the FCC last week made the right choice in upholding the principle of net neutrality! For the general public it is a given that an ISP should be allowed to charge for bandwidth and Internet access but never to block or somehow…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Connected Vehicles From cars to combines, the IoT market potential of connected vehicles is so expansive that it will even eclipse that of the mobile phone. Connected personal vehicles will be the final link in a fully connected IoT ecosystem. This is an incredibly important moment to capitalize on given how much time people spend…


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