Category Archives: Security

Factors Making Cloud Computing Difficult To Convert Into A Utility For Small Businesses

Factors Making Cloud Computing Difficult To Convert Into A Utility For Small Businesses

Cloud computing use has increased phenomenally over the last years. Businesses use it for different functions and the results are tremendous benefits in efficiency and cost incentives. However, managing expectations remains a challenge to cloud computing. Compared to other services—like electricity, water, and other utilities—the adoption of cloud computing is different.

While businesses can easily switch providers for the above utilities, they cannot do the same with cloud computing service providers. This could be a reason for the slow adoption of this technology despite its many benefits for businesses. Other factors that impede cloud computing from becoming a utility for businesses are discussed next.

1. The nature of the service

The nature of cloud computing and other business utilities like electricity is itself the leading cause of the divide. The demand for cloud computing services, according to many cloud analysts, would be higher if businesses bought it like a utility. However, cloud computing has not yet developed to a level where it can be accessed like other services.

2. Different cloud services

Cloud computing involves many services, applications, and functions that can be accessed remotely, some of them being complex. This is why commoditizing cloud computing and selling it as a utility is difficult. If the cloud was a single function, it would be easy for businesses to deal with it like a utility.

3. Making cloud computing a utility is expensive

Naturally, each cloud computing service costs money, just like any other local service. The only difference is that it’s on someone else’s server. The costs of customization are high. Sudden shifts would require specialized skills, new infrastructure, and many other changes that would increase costs for the providers. Customers getting in and out of the service would imply extra costs. As such, small businesses have to buy into the cloud when they need it. This makes the service slightly more rigid than regular utilities.

4. Different provider needs

There are many cloud computing services and vendors. Some of the providers have packaged their offers as utilities for cloud consumers. This is because some services can be offered with customizations that are close in operation to utilities. However, the majority of cloud computing services are yet to be scaled up to commodity levels.

Even with the fast growth rates witnessed in by cloud computing services, turning the cloud into a utility may still require time before it can happen.

By Walter Bailey

3 Security Principles To Keep Your Cloud Information Secure

3 Security Principles To Keep Your Cloud Information Secure

The increased security risk of having your files and programs on someone else’s server is one of the main reasons why so few people and businesses are making the move to cloud computing. And while hackers serve an essential role of showing programmers the fragile spots in their security systems, it is never a good feeling when they do so by accessing your data. Still, truth be told, many times hackers do not need to crack the security systems of cloud servers,—those are very well protected and have a team of experts keeping an eye on them 24/7—instead they will go for the weak links that the users themselves create. So here are three essential security concepts that you need to keep in mind whenever accessing your cloud data.

1. Take Good Care of Your Passwords

The simplest way for a hacker to access your cloud information is to find out your password, and there are many ways they can do that. First, many of us tend to set simple passwords, but there are many software solutions that store and test the most used passwords. Second, even when we do set a strong password, if we set a simple answer for the security question, it will be just as easy for anyone else to find the answer to that question and recover your password. Third, we use password managing software. The debate about how secure these programs really are is way too long to explore here, but the gist of it is that as useful as these programs may be, the best solution will always be to rely solely on your memory.

2. Whenever Possible, Go Beyond Simple User/Password Security

No matter how elaborate and secure your user and password combination may be, there will always be the chance that a virus or worm program will make its way into your computer and monitor and send back anything that you type in on your keyboard. So take the time to learn how to use a firewall software because, as complicated as they may seem, firewalls are really the best security you have against other people trying to access your computer. And also there are many cloud services that provide you with a two-step authentication method: you need to fill in your user and password, which others may gain access to, but then they will send you a message on your cell with a random security code that is the best way to keep your authentication method secure.

3. Keep Your Cloud Secret

Ultimately, the best way to make sure that other people don’t try to access your sensitive information on the cloud is to not let them know there is anything to be accessed. In other words, make the fact that you have a cloud a secret of its own, and so there will be fewer people interested in hacking it. Finally, you may have the best security systems protecting your own network but free public networks may not be as secure, so be very careful when accessing your cloud via free hotspots or other terminals.

By Luchi Gabriel Manescu

How Modern Access Control Software Is Improving Security In The Cloud

How Modern Access Control Software Is Improving Security In The Cloud

There used to be a time when checking new entrants into an office block could only happen via separate CCTV cameras. Taking a broader tack, there were times when access to information on the web was slip-shoddy since organizations could not install the expensive programs necessary to restrict accessibility. Now, the two aspects of security approach, namely the physical workplaces and the documents, have altered for good thanks to new cloud access control software.

For it to be modern, this kind of set up would call for the following features:

1. It is open source, or if not, can integrate two systems from different brands. The latter is a popular option among today’s innovators who are bringing together their workplace systems for greater utility.
2. They are cloud-based, meaning that one need not install them but can pay as they use.
3. They can be document encryption or physical access controls.

Document encryption technology helps developers, especially in the private cloud, to invalidate networks that they feel may compromise their information. There are also internal set ups within organizations that allow only their personnel to download files and share them in real-time. The more technology evolves, the more the private cloud is moving away from mere passwords and proxies: it is now embracing models that help security personnel to oversee exactly who is getting data, together with their IP addresses and other identity details. This makes it possible to restrict information in certain quarters while opening it in safe ones.

Integral software is most popular through workplace access controls, making it possible to bring audiovisual observatories together from even a remote locale. A company may no longer need to invest on expensive surveillance equipment when it can access the same remotely. It will just need display cameras to show what is taking place around its core interests, inside gates, passageways and staff quarters. Other than improving security and doing away with the number of physical personnel to oversee security, one can also benefit from an economical angle. Staff become easier to monitor and because they know that ‘Big Brother’ is watching, they stick to their commitments.

With heightened focus on access controls and relevant software, it is a bet that physical offices will become virtually connected. Besides, security will have won, which would be good news for all concerned parties.

By John Omwamba

Free eBook: HP Converged Infrastructure For Dummies

Free eBook: HP Converged Infrastructure For Dummies

Free eBook: HP Converged Infrastructure For Dummies

Are you ready to accelerate the value of IT in your business? Would you like to simplify your data center and your IT processes so you can focus on innovating for the future rather than being mired in the past? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Everyone in the IT arena understands that the speed and scale of business have been pushing traditional IT to the breaking point. Compounding this pressure are the new challenges CEOs are facing to meet the new wave of customer, partner, and employee expectations due to mobility, social media, and the information explosion. These constituencies are smart, savvy, and connected. They have little patience for businesses that can’t respond to their needs right now.

To compete in this instant age, organizations need an IT infrastructure that enables agile and rapid service delivery. They expect their IT organization to deliver applications and services that are fast, always available,  scalable, and interoperable while driving down costs. With all the complexity in today’s data centers, that’s a tough proposition when you consider the new wave of evolving business models and the changing workforce.  Things simply have to happen much faster.

About Infrastructure Convergence

Before you dive into the book, we want to offer a simplified definition of infrastructure convergence: Infrastructure convergence enables organizations to accelerate time to business value. This is achieved by turning today’s rigid technology silos into adaptive pools of assets that can be shared by many applications and managed as a service. The result is greater IT speed and agility, the ability to shift more resources from operations to innovation, and better alignment with the growing demands of the business.

The Era of Convergence

Leading industry analysts agree that converged technologies will deliver tremendous value and savings — in other words, they feel that the whole is better than the sum of the parts. What’s more, these analysts support the idea that mobile, cloud, and pervasive computing technologies will fundamentally shift the expectations and roles of IT in the enterprise. The role of IT will move from one of managing physical assets to that of being a broker of IT services from inside and outside to satisfy business needs.

Over the past couple of years, technology vendors have started pitching a convergence story; key analysts support the trend and businesses understand they need to embrace the concept. The cost, speed, and efficiency advantages are just all too real. But convergence means you’re being confronted with seemingly endless technology choices and confusing messages. All this makes it difficult to understand how best to get started and with which vendor — and which convergence solution is best aligned to your specific needs. This book will make it easier for you to understand convergence and the ways you can move forward with it quickly and safely.

Free Registration To Access Full eBook

 

Cloud Computing Security – 10 Tips For Keeping Your Cloud Data Safe

Cloud Computing Security – 10 Tips For Keeping Your Cloud Data Safe

Cloud Computing Security 

While we are all very happy about the entire cloud data storage concept and feel that it’s a breath of relief from the constant battle against malware, key loggers, PC monitoring software, and whatnot, we tend to forget that there are steps which we need to take to ensure cloud computing security even after we have shifted all our digital luggage into the cloud.

It’s not as difficult as putting security barriers on an Android but sometimes it isn’t a walk through the park either. So to cut down the confusion and help the technologically helpless, here are ten steps that will make your life on the cloud a smooth experience.

1. Password First.

If we are talking about ideal scenarios, then your username and password should be unique for every service or site you have to use credentials for. The reason is simple enough: if one gets compromised, so do the rest of your accounts.

2. Security Question, Check.

Try your best to avoid questions to which answers can be found just by taking one glance online, for instance, on your Facebook profile. Best way to go about this is to choose a question and answer it with another question’s answer. For instance if you choose the question where did you live as a kid, answer with ‘yellow’.

3. Try Out Encryption.

Whenever this is possible, this is a great idea. Encryption software does require some effort on the part of the user but it will also scramble and code your credentials so that no one will be able to procure them easily.

4. Manage Passwords.

By this time you will have a lot of passwords and usernames to be tracking and taking care of. So to manage this get your hands on an app or software that will do this for you. A great option is the LastPass utility.

5. Two Factor Authentication.

This means that there are two modes which are being used by the site before allowing the user entry. So instead of just username and password, a unique code will also be required which is available through a text message to your phone at the time of log in. This way even if someone gets your credentials, they won’t have the unique code and hence access will be denied.

6. Don’t Think, Just Backup.

It may be strange to be told to backup data on a physical drive when it comes to securing cloud computing data, but that is what you need to do. This is why you shouldn’t think over it; you should simply backup your data on an external drive and keep it with you.

7. Delete When Done.

Again, why bother deleting anything when there are limitless data storage options around? The reason is that you never know how much data can later become potentially dangerous for you. If an e-mail or a warning message from some bank account has outlived its worth, simply delete it.

8. Be Careful Where You Log In.

Many times we end up logging in from devices other than our own. And of course we tend to forget that these other devices may be saving our information via web browsers.

9. Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Spy Software.

The reason for this, despite having to do with cloud data, is that all the access to the cloud is from your system first. Hence if your system is at risk, so is your online data. If you forget to encrypt then a key logger may get to your cloud vendor password and hence all may be lost anyway.

10. Keep Your Mouth Shut. 

Never share any information regarding your cloud storage with anyone. Keeping passwords a secret is a must but lay low on telling people which vendor or service you use too for extra security.

By James Clark

James has been playing with his words and spinning out one informative piece after another on computer monitoring software along with keyloggers for a while now. His work is about all things technology related, especially when it comes to pcs. For more details, please visit him at Mobistealth

What Is Hindering Cloud Computing Uptake?

What Is Hindering Cloud Computing Uptake?

Cloud computing is still young, but everybody is talking about it. It’s great for businesses and individuals at different levels of society. Despite these advantages, cloud computing uptake remains low. Some businesses have adopted it partly, whereas the rest have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. The overall attitude is that people are not enthusiastic about moving their business into the cloud. And whereas individual preferences might explain this slow uptake, there are other possible reasons.

1. IT functionalities

IT functionalities are to blame for the slow uptake of the cloud. Matters to do with control, security, and privacy remain a deadlock to cloud penetration. Many IT departments are waiting to see what will happen to those who are already on board before making a decision.

2. Infrastructure problems

Infrastructure is a collective name for all computers and networks powering an organization. Businesses have to consume different cloud services. However, many of their systems are getting old. They lack the capacity that will enable them perform optimally with cloud products. What it takes for these businesses to benefit from these services is a complete overhaul of present infrastructure. Upgrading present systems can also work. However, many businesses are not willing to do this, making infrastructure a leading hindrance to the growth of cloud computing uptake.

3. Talent shortage

There is a clear talent shortage for cloud computing functions. Many IT managers were in school long time ago. They learned different things and are many of them may not be willing to go ‘back to school’ and learn new skills. They are not willing to give up the control they have over business IT functions. Also, very few cloud qualified experts exist in the marketplace.

4. Budget and cost implications

Cloud computing infrastructure can be costly. Businesses may need to acquire new infrastructure before they can start getting the functional cloud benefits. Considering that many businesses have tight budgets and spending constraints in place, cloud computing investment is challenging.

5. Pooling of resources

Cloud computing works by pooling resources. Instead of operating with individual servers, one server is used for all tasks. This has been the premise cloud computing marketing has used to promote their services. Whereas this is amazing, it’s working against the technology. Businesses need resources they can depend on. They want to measure individual output, capabilities, and capacities. With as-pooled resources, businesses have little ability for individual control and measuring of individual effectiveness.

By Walter Bailey

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Apps (A Buyers Guide)

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Apps (A Buyers Guide)

Cloud Apps (A Buyers Guide)

SaaS has gained huge popularity over the last few years, with an increasing number of enterprises adopting it mainly due to the benefits like pay per use and on demand service. Cloud applications entail thorough testing for their integrity, different from that of on-premise applications. This involves testing of business logic, security, data integration, performance, and scalability, among others.

Infographic Source: Veracode

Cloud Computing Myths Explained: Part 2

Cloud Computing Myths Explained: Part 2

OWNERSHIP: Cloud would make me lose control and ownership over my data

A common feeling – I would lose control over my data. Because you are not storing your data physically with you it’s obvious to feel like this. You don’t know about the data storage, security mechanism and legal terms at the storage location (if it is a different country). Well this is actually a precaution you need to take care while negotiating SLA. Usually good cloud providers explain ownership in the service agreement and store and protect data as per your requirement and specifications. In case you don’t see this clause, you should ask your provider for the ownership clarification.

If you have a feeling of getting locked in with one vendor, simply ask for a plan in advance about the process of data and application transfer if you choose to migrate to another vendor later or back to in –house. It may sound asking about the divorce process even before engagement but to avoid any doubts you should discuss with your provider.

MIGRATION: Cloud migration is complex

Your cloud migration is dependent on the applications you choose to deploy and use of tools and strategies to deploy cloud architecture. So it would not always true to say that cloud migration is quite complex. To be specific service oriented applications are simple to adopt as compared to non-service applications. With the continuous advancements and innovations going on this field there are robust tools available for simpler deployment and management of cloud applications. So cloud is not tough to integrate. Also good service providers take care of migration and provide necessary information and tools to make the process painless for you.

SME friendly: Cloud is good for SMEs only

This is definitely not true. As large companies can afford to have their own infrastructure and man power to run the latest applications and servers, it’s often heard that cloud is good for small and medium businesses only. Of course today cloud has changed the game by enabling SMEs to deploy best business class facilities like large enterprises without spending huge upfront costs but cloud services are equally useful for large companies too. Cloud enables scalability, agility, collaboration and pain less management of social applications which is useful for large companies too.

VIRTUALIZATION: I already deploy virtualization, so I don’t need Cloud Computing

Because both virtualization and cloud aim to enhance the computing power, they are often thought as same phenomena. Virtualization is a part of your physical infrastructure and cloud is a complete service. Cloud computing is much more than virtualization. You can achieve virtualization in-house but that is not comparable to effects of cloud computing. Cloud is strategic deployment of infrastructure and software to create a customized service architecture which can be scaled on demand. Virtualization is a key component of cloud but cannot replace the cloud for sure.

FUTURE CONCERN: There is no future of Cloud , it’s just a short-lived craze

Future is often a judgment criteria associated with a newly launched object or phenomenon. Honestly cloud is not a new thing, though it is evolving from many years. Only the nomenclature is new – Cloud computing. So on reality ground something which is already in use and undergoing new developments and innovations has already passed the tests of longevity.

Definitely cloud is here to stay. Gartner published some findings regarding this, you may be aware of those but listing those could be a good way to explain the myth related to cloud future:

  • Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012 summarizes that businesses adopting cloud as their strategic business component would realize its full potential and achieve performance acceleration as compared to those who wouldn’t go for this or adopt it just for IT cost reduction.
  • Cloud computing is chosen the high interest area in Gartner Polls and more than 70% of participants have indicated their plans for reviewing Cloud computing solutions.
  • Based on the research Gartner forecasted that more than 50% businesses would adopt and implement some kind of SaaS based applications by the end of 2015.
  • Not only B2B, Gartner has predicted the huge impact of cloud computing on consumers too. They forecasted that cloud would dominate the digital lives of consumer by 2014 replacing the personal computer.

These are few myths related to cloud computing, if you feel something remains please add comment regarding it. As the computing needs of businesses are increasing and companies are heavily dependent on mobile technologies cloud computing is surely a worth business strategy to learn and adopt. You always don’t need to take everything to the cloud and this is the beauty of cloud.

Above all communication and team work are an essential part of business regardless of industry and nature of business. Cloud support effective and timely communication, collaboration and networking which makes it a powerful and promising.

By Richa Pokhriyal

This post is contributed by Richa Pokhriyal , Digital Media Specialist @ Egocentrix. Egocentrix is specialized in SaaS services like Microsoft Exchange 2010 Hosting, Online Microsoft SharePoint Hosting, Antispam Solution, BlackBerry Exchange Server Synchronization Services, Dedicated Server, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Online Backup & Data Protection, Website Hosting and many more!

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