Category Archives: Security

Security And Mobile Cloud Computing?

Security And Mobile Cloud Computing?

Mobile Cloud Computing

Where does security stand on mobile cloud computing? Arguably, security is still one most significant concerns of Cloud customers. As more and more businesses continue to transition their mainstream Cloud-based I.T operations on Mobile-ready applications, it has opened the lid for security vulnerabilities in organizations.

Although, the adoption of Cloud and Mobile computing is getting bigger, with the majority of organizations and enterprises adopting this trend, it is, still, of immense importance for the general public to understand the consequences of any cyber-attack, as well as plan ahead to out-maneuver any such incidents.

mobile-cloud-computing

The Verdict

Although, organizations seem to be quite concerned about the impeding security threats in the background of Mobile Cloud Computing, they fear such incidents may incur via non-sanctioned Mobile apps used by the I.T departments at organizations. But there are other factors besides the role that I.T can play here. Reckless actions by employees, as well as involuntary decisions by a Cloud Service Provider, can also damage an organization’s reputation, in spite of the many security control points in place. The Cloud and the Mobile can seriously affect organizations if not played on with caution.

In the U.K alone, financial losses from cyber -attacks has been estimated to be £27bn a year. With such high figures, corporate brands, business leaders, and entrepreneurs need to address this issue with extreme urgency, and put measures in place in order to be able to respond quickly and swiftly.

The Mobile Cloud Computing environment

While facts draw a scarier picture of Mobile Cloud Computing environment, there have been many happily-ever-afters. By nature, the Cloud is no Oliver Twist. It is easier to adopt the Cloud, and with Mobile First strategies making successful rounds, the two had to offer something beyond independent solutions. The consonant relationship between the Cloud and the Mobile is an ode to that idea. However, the ease that Mobile adoption of Cloud offers to organizations, makes it one appealing prospect for them. Various organizations are now planning to move up their usage of Mobile-ready Cloud applications. Still, seventy percent of such businesses admit that they use applications that are sanctioned by their own I.T departments. This was found out via a survey of two hundred I.T business professionals on the adoption and relying security issues of Mobile-ready Cloud applications, and was conducted by OneLogic and FlyingPenguin.

The Present Era

We are all indulged in Cloud Computing today in one way or other, without even realizing it. For emails, messaging, online gaming and social networking and even for online tax forms, transactions, credit card payments and what not, this all has been a revolution that now has made “Mobility” a synonym with “Cloud”. However, this is only just beginning.

It is also known that usage of Cloud applications is carried out from nearly 80 percent of the smart phones, 71 percent of tablets and again 80 percent through non-organizational computers. Apart from hacks, data interceptions, it is high time for such masses to cite concerns regarding identity theft, governance or complexity.

Various companies do admit that their employees share credentials with co-workers for various Cloud ready apps through smart phones, and they experience employees being able to log in even after leaving the premises.

We know that the future is going to be held by virtual reins, all accessible through smart handheld devices. It is essential for organizations to inhibit the usage of unsanctioned apps and restrict the sharing of valuable credentials via Smartphones quickly.

It is no secret that organizations need to improve the security for their Cloud apps -not to mention, eliminating the usage of Cloud apps without their consent- and find solutions that are flexible and allow the on-premise addition of more Cloud apps.

The Solution

With constantly emerging new security threats, certain companies have also evolved their methodology in dealing with these risks. Now it is all about “digital hygiene” and according to research most of the companies are now employing a full time security teams. In the past, only 43% of businesses had adequate security measures. However, now more companies are heading to re-examine Cloud security in a more systematic way. However, many organizations still implement such security policies after an incident or because of a new regulation.

These days, many smart organizations are pursuing a rather three-dimensional approach in securing their Cloud architecture from breaches. Previously, businesses felt that only installing technical devices would suffice their security needs but they ended up being by passed all at once. However, now the key to security is diversified by 25% being the technical aspects, 50% being the internal organizational aspects and the rest being regulatory and legal. Here, utilization of various VPN services may also shine in securing your Cloud architectures when it is accessed via Mobiles, tablets etc. The high level encryptions that VPN provides are ideal to safeguard data transition via Mobile phones.  This 3d security protocol is what businesses need to rely on.

Afterwards, businesses also need to encourage training sessions for their employees to make them aware of underlying security threats and vulnerabilities. Organizations also need to manufacture stern I.T security rules, where they would be able to set parameters that could not be bypassed by human resource. Security management here, also need to be in complete coordination with their general management, and they must also remember to consistently update their existing security procedures.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Mobile Cloud computing is not without any risks. However, with scrutiny and effort taken by the companies involved in this profitable prospect, these risks are addressable and manageable. Once such issues are solved, and companies empower themselves with the three legged security methodology, there I.T processes are sure to go smooth, in so doing, providing numerous benefits to the company.

By Pere Hospital:

Pere Hospital (CISSP & OSCP) is the CTO and co-founder of Cloudways Ltd. He has over two decades of experience in IT Security, Risk Analysis and Virtualization Technologies. You can follow Pere on Twitter at @phospital, or learn more about Cloudways at www.Cloudways.com

Cloud Infographic:  Critical Role In The Enterprise

Cloud Infographic: Critical Role In The Enterprise

Cloud Infographic:  Critical Role In The Enterprise

Cloud Computing has been around for a awhile now, but until recent years, it has expanded exponentially.  Different studies suggest that more than 4.4 million jobs will be created in the area of big-data by the year 2015, and the adoption rate of cloud computing application and services is much higher as compared to a few years back. More than 36% of customers have already adopted for the public cloud, and thus, they are opting for cheap as well as large spaces for their valuable data to be stored. This trend verifies that results achieved from varied research suggest that more than 15% of enterprises will adjust their IT capabilities and capacities for big data.

Included is an infographic provide by Aryaka which includes addition survey results from over 1300 companies worldwide.

Infographic-IT

Infographic Source: http://www.aryaka.com

By Walter Bailey

 

Top 10 Myths Of Cloud Computing

Top 10 Myths Of Cloud Computing

Myths Of Cloud Computing

Myth 1: You still don’t know what the cloud is

Yes, you do, most likely. Some of the cloud technologies that the majority of businesses have used at some stage include Dropbox, Office 365 and Facebook and LinkedIn. And if you have had experience of using these systems and their storage services, then you will know that they are easy to use and often increase productivity and help to reduce costs.

Myth 2: I should make the move to reduce costs

If you are a business then you will likely be able to save money, depending on the current and future requirements of your business, but you need to understand that it’s not all about cutting costs. There are many other benefits that should not be ignored, including reliability, scalability, security and remote access.

Myth 3: The public cloud is the cheapest means of obtaining IT services

This may seem like a good idea because you are meant to pay for what you use and it’s seen as being easy and inexpensive to set up. But what if we take a closer look? When resources are needed frequently other models can be more appropriate. This includes shared resources through a private cloud, which could be more cost-effective since your core requirements, such as security, performance, and availability, will be implemented.

Myth 4: My critical applications and the cloud won’t mix

Businesses require more and more from their IT infrastructure in order to cover the development of their business models. They want to cut costs, be able to adjust their service levels and deliver applications at greater speeds. But what is to be done with applications critical to the running of a business? When choosing a cloud system it is essential that you outline your needs for transition and future developments.

Myth 5: It’s unreliable and insecure

If the data isn’t stored on your PC then it’s at risk because of lack of security and reliability. But wait, no, in actual fact, if you lose that PC then it really is all the important data lost. But with cloud the data will be remotely accessible and protected by a service-level agreement, with strict security protocols in place to keep it secure.

Myth 6: Productivity will be reduced

No, in actual fact, business owners are able to take advantage of advanced applications and servers, with support from experts who will maintain their data through the latest security and hardware. Data becomes accessible remotely and provides greater access capabilities, thus working to actually improve productivity.

Myth 7: Virtualisation is the first step

Virtualisation can improve the utilisation of existing resources and provide greater flexibility. However, cloud computing has the potential to reduce overheads and improve infrastructure, providing the ability to reduce time-consuming tasks and automate workflows without taking this initial step.

Myth 8: 100 per cent, all the time

Once you get the cloud there will be no worries and everything will run smoothly and there will be no downtime. But we all know technology and that it can never be relied upon entirely. With that in mind you need to make sure that there is a service-level agreement in place to cover the occurrence of any downtime. And, also, remember to structure the SLA to a level that makes most sense for your business. So, if a supplier guarantees 99 per cent uptime be aware that this could mean your system or application process is unavailable for several hours a month.

Myth 9: The cloud is too complex

There are different types of systems out there and they have differing levels of complexity. There are models that simplify management and require little change of how you do things, while others offer more control and will lead to further change in application architecture.

Myth 10: Security is the same for all cloud systems

Not necessarily. There are different types of systems and as a result the levels and types of security will differ. Just think about how businesses have to follow varied guidelines in order to handle their sensitive data. As a result a private system may seem like the best solution, but it still has vulnerabilities if there is an Internet connection. Insider attacks are also not to be ignored.

By Nick John

Nick is the managing director of FCP Internet Limited, providers of Evolve recruitment software via the Cloud, used across the globe within the employment and recruitment sectors.

Cloud Enterprise Content Management: Syncplicity

Cloud Enterprise Content Management: Syncplicity

Cloud Enterprise Content Management: Syncplicity

cloud-enterprise-syncplicity

Though online content management and sharing does not necessarily equals to cloud computing, it can be implemented without cloud computing, yet it is an integral feature of IaaS. A lot of users and companies are now using some sort of content management system in-house and are probably looking for a way to bring move that to the cloud. Cloud content management however is not new to people used to dealing with distributed team members, an ECM becomes a necessity at that situation and cloud ECM would be the most logical way to go. Services like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive are all exceptionally well suited to small teams that share and work with smaller files. The biggest benefit of all is that these are free for those users with small space requirements; otherwise the pay per use policy comes into play for some of them.

But for enterprise-sized organizations, these solutions would not be enough as they need to transfer and keep track of hundreds of files totaling to hundreds of gigabytes per day. This makes ECM managers struggle to keep corporate information assets safe and compliant while also making users quite happy with the workflow. The problem with the latter is that individual employees have different tastes and they may be accustomed to user-grade services like the ones mentioned above, and the currently offered by the IT department might not be doing the job for them, at least in the way that they like. This places IT in a particularly unfavourable position where they have to restrict and block access to these sharing services, acting as a gatekeeper, because they have no control over and no policies for these services. This prevents the users who are currently outside the company network from accessing vital work data and preventing work to be accomplished.

Syncplicity is here to change that. It’s Enterprise Edition introduces “frictionless file sharing” that your users will actually want to adopt for their personal use. This is nowhere like those tedious and hard to use apps that IT has been forcing down the throats of its users. But with Syncplicity, users will be pleasantly surprised with the ease of use and the look of its interface and it will make the work activities involving it easier and more efficient, hence removing the “friction” with IT, the user experience will be pleasant overall. And IT will complete control over security, policies and storage. Everybody wins.

Symplicity Enterprise Edition has the following features:

  • There is a choice to use cloud storage or on-premise storage using EMC’s other offerings, EMC Atmos object storage or EMC Isilon Scale-out NAS.
  • Access to files at local speeds using geo-replication capabilities. Supports for “Adaptive Authorization” which allows IT to require different levels of authentication based on the location of the IP addresses.
  • Allows for 2-factor authentication, single sign on (SSO) with Active Directory or any SAML-based authentication services.

By Abdul Salam

Moving To The Cloud, A Short Rundown

Moving to the Cloud, a Short Rundown

Planning to move systems and resources to the cloud is one of the most common business moves in today’s IT industry, and all the players are facing the same problems but with different elements. And that is why there can be no one definitive way for everyone to use in order to complete a move to the cloud. Each problem is fundamentally the same as everybody else’s, but it varies wildly in the details.

But first thing’s first you should know what to expect during this transition. First is that this transition is an emotional experience, people react to change mostly on the negative. They abhor change especially in terms of work where they have already gotten so used at doing something that it becomes easy and second nature. Give them something new and they will fumble and make mistakes. That is why training and conditioning are extremely essential during transition. Users should be actively getting used with the new methods while still actively using the old one. When the time comes to finally transition, it will come smoothly.

With that, here are some steps to take in order to facilitate the move. These are generalizations of the various phases involved which will vary depending on the type of systems and business needs of the organization.

1. Analyze your current system – check all your security settings and permissions and find out which ones work and which does not by interviewing people and asking for their opinions. Also ask them what process could help them be more efficient.

2. Migrate in phases – it should already be common sense to take things in strides. Doing everything at once will only lead to confusion and a bunch of unforeseen problems, not to mention long down times.

3. Create a trial team – select the best candidates to act as your beta testers of the system. The best candidates are those who already collaborate a lot with others even outside of the company, those who are knowledgeable with technical parts of cloud systems. These people would be the best one to notice real problems because they would be the ones who have actually used systems like these.

4. Communicate – this is particularly crucial. People hate surprises especially if it greatly involves changing their daily routine. Rally your people, tell them exactly what you want to do and how each of them can help or how they can be trained for the transition so that when the time comes everyone will be ready. You may even ask your cloud provider to provide the training themselves.

5. Have a move plan – since you will be transitioning in phases, it will be very important to let everyone know when exactly it is their turn to be unplugged and moved to the cloud. In this way, people can have time to adapt and change their routine and even finally start practicing whatever training they got.

By Abdul Salam

Cloud Startup Of The Week – TagMy Doc

Cloud Startup Of The Week – TagMy Doc

Cloud Startup Of The Week – TagMy Doc

TagMyDoc is a cloud startup document collaboration service based on cloud computing technology; this service is provided with the help of quick response code or QRC for receiving any document shared by the sender through the TagMyDoc service. This is the first such type of cloud-based service that substantially reduces the consumption of printing papers while easily allowing for efficient circulation and the collaboration of any document in a large group or an organization.

tag-my-doc-2

TagMyDoc offers both free and paid services – the paid services are more featured as compared to free one, but still, free service possesses sufficient features to work with for normal users like student, lecturers, seminar presenters, and small group or club member.

The sharing and receiving the each virtual copy of the document is very simple and easy – it is a “scan-and-get” service for each copy of any document. For scanning a QR code, a scanner application called ‘ScanMyDoc’ is required to install on your mobile device for scanning the QR code shared by the sender. Both the tagging and sharing of each virtual copy of the document is just a couple of step process with excellent security and reliability features.

Introduction to TagMyDoc 

There are many attractive features of this document sharing service; a few of them are provided below:

  • Very quick and easy to share documents among a large group of people quickly
  • Excellent security of the documents with the help of password and access keys
  • Very environment friendly service that reduces the use of papers
  • Option for adding comments and suggestions by the viewer
  • Support for multiple versions of the documents
  • Access to your tagged documents from anywhere across the globe
  • Free of charge account up to 50 documents of 2MB data
  • Very reasonable prices for premium and premium plus accounts – these accounts have access to many additional features of the service.
  • Tagging the documents directly from MS office applications is supported
  • Support for various mobile operating systems like Android, is and blackberry
  • Auto synchronization service is supported for cloud storage services of DropBox, box, and Google Drive – now, you can directly synch the your documents from these cloud storage services
  • Some new features have also been added recently; these services are email collector of the receiver, document access keys, instant-Get, and attractive new-look.

It is a nice service for both normal users with a small number of files and business users with bigger size and large numbers of files to tag and share the documents. TagMyDoc is providing an innovative and creative form of document collaboration and sharing services based on cloud computing.

By Walter Bailey

Cloud Infographic: Tablet Total Cost Of Ownership

Cloud Infographic: Tablet Total Cost Of Ownership

Cloud Infographic: Tablet Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO)

The medical establishment has made some efforts toward digitizing its record keeping, and Cloud based applications would seem like a natural fit. Until recently, however, the move to a Medical Cloud has been hampered by concerns of security and patient privacy. Recent trends seem to indicate that the efficiency of Cloud Based record keeping services are becoming a more attractive use of dwindling resources.

The Medical industry has been slow to move to the Cloud, in part due to security and privacy concerns. The biggest inertial factor seems to be that Medical IT personnel are simply not familiar with Cloud procedures and benefits. As exposure increases, Medical IT is finding that the Cloud provides not only greater and more efficient tools, but increased security. Continue Reading

tablet-tco-healthcare-infographic

Infographic Source: Dell

Cloud Computing May Fast-Track Road Operability

Cloud Computing May Fast-Track Road Operability

Road Operability

Cloud computing is making infrastructural breakthroughs on the roads even as the term ‘infrastructure’ becomes more tech and virtual than its original meaning. Even if one hears of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in computer matters, pretty often, it might be soon possible to think out of the box and attach it to the physical tarmac. In Europe, for example, plans are under way to ensure that the operability of transcontinental routes improves. Small operators will be able to collaborate with large consortiums to make use of every means of transport possible be it road or rail.

Surface travel that makes use of trucks or locomotives to convey bulky merchandise, in a single trip, can help enhance operability. Several small-scale suppliers can convene to use a single stretch of road without paying undue duties to transport the same by various means. This is because cloud computing will enable them to select a given route on the map, as well as help to bring together various suppliers who can decide on a given large carrier to convey their goods in one volley. This will echo economies of scale: where many large containers that are almost empty are on the road, simultaneously, one can have several suppliers communicate and collaborate on a single trailer to do a job that many half-empty carriers will do expensively.
Cloud computing is also helping to improve safety concerns on the road. The latest breakthrough is in Ireland where a student grouping has received recognition for its efforts to alert reckless drivers via an innovative gadget. It uses the same mechanics of storing data and displaying it like the conventional cloud. The gadget’s sensors on the engine of the vehicle can relay information about possible crossings (in an area where intersections number 29 in a stretch of 7KM) and thus reduce casualties.

Maps such as those on Google may also be quite handy at evangelizing the rules of the road. When drivers are faced with route decisions, they only have to consort the maps to get data about the most convenient to use. The same case applies to situations where an emergency has occurred on the only way that the chauffeur knows while gridlocked in a traffic jam. It will only take an eye tour of the map, on display, to study the inner streets to negotiate the way out of the snarl up and thus reach the destination in time.

Finally, roads may no longer have to be a headache to chauffeurs if driverless vehicles make it big time. There are now California-based manufacturers who are testing these on public routes. The premise of their possible mass use in the future is that they will overcome traffic because they will keep in tandem with each other, thus shunning human-inspired overlapping. Needless to say, they may even overcome the problem of over-speeding, waiting at termini and the like habits of the modern vehicle possible to cause passengers migraine. Their sophisticated road-smart technologies will help them book appointments with passengers and drive at an optimal speed.

If infrastructure will ever return to its original meaning, namely the road network, it will be courtesy of breakthroughs in cloud computing. However, that will only come to be if the WHO prediction that by 2020 monthly accident figures in the globe will have reached one hundred and fifty thousand, does not turn into a reality. This will also happen when mileage and carrier information will be as comprehensively documented, all over the world, as the United States currently does.

By John Omwamba

CloudTweaks Comics
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