Category Archives: Technology

5 Tips For A Worry-free Cloud Storage Backup

5 Tips for a Worry-free Cloud Storage backup

With so many cloud storage backup services available on the market today, people can sometimes become complacent with their data and assume that because they are already having a cloud backup, all their data is safe and secured. Well, this is usually the case, but problems can still arise due to negligence. Here are some tips and best practices that will ensure you will get the maximum benefit from your cloud storage backup.

  1. Determine Service Accessibility. What would be the point of having backup if you can’t actually access it? This should be the first thing to consider. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive have desktop applications that allow you to sync data with any computer, making it available even when there is no internet connection. All backup services offer web-based file management but not all of them offer the desktop application yet.

  2. Scalability. Most backup services offer free subscription for a very limited amount of space and if you want more, you would have to pay tiered pricing. The ability to increase storage capacity is not the only thing we mean by scalability. Its pricing should scale as well, meaning it should increase proportionally and not exponentially as storage needs grow.

  3. Security is king. We have debunked that cloud computing is less secure than traditional enterprise computing and established that it is just as secure if not more so. But that is not an excuse to turn your attention from overseeing the security of your backup. Make sure that the service provider highlights their security measures and if you happen to get into an SLA with them, make sure that security the will provide is on par with industry standards or to your own.

  4. Disaster recovery. One of the purposes of online backup is for disaster recovery, you know just in case. But your service provider is not immune to disasters so also make sure that you know exactly how and when you can get your backup in case both you and your provider are hit with disaster. If you have valuable data that needs to be restored in a moment’s notice when something fails, you should be able to work with your provider on how to do this automatically and quickly so you will not have to worry about extended downtime.

  5. Determine data permissions. If you have multiple kinds of users, make sure to have a clear understanding of who is able to access what and who cares for what. This makes things easier to manage when you know exactly who to go to when something needs to be done or needs fixing.

These are not absolute rules but will be essential in managing your data backups. Most of them are “industry common sense”, yes I made that up, meaning that those who are in this line of work do not need to be told these things because you should have already come up of this on your own. But in case you need a reminder, here they are.

By Walter Bailey

 

Russia May End Imminent Cloud’s ‘Ides of March’

Russia May End Imminent Cloud’s ‘Ides of March’

Russia May End Imminent Cloud’s ‘Ides of March’ as it Improves on International Scoreboard

Russia has a cloud and big data conference this October, in the central-European nation of Austria, just marches away from Latvia. The latter is the destination at which most Moscow cloud companies have set base for their cloud servers, to eschew persecution at home. Indeed, Latvia has been the telltale sign of where the legendary Ides of March, which signaled the end of a king in Shakespearian lore, would have come from, were it not for the encouraging news of an improvement in Russia. The large country that stretches from Eastern Europe to the far lands of Asia currently ranks highly, on the global cloud scoreboard.

Forbes.com recently ranked the country position 14, ten slots down from the United States, signaling a great improvement. This means that despite the close watch at home of what cloud computing companies are doing, Russia is also relaxing its grip on the various resources that power the operations of server-based technology.

The improvement is due to a consciousness about IP. The report stated that Russia was instrumental in ratifying Internet Protocol concessions, thus expanding the horizon of identity for would-be users of the cloud in the country. It is worth to find the Russia’s story quite progressive, in contrast to half-a-dozen other continental nations that had negative growth, in the same report.

scorecard-cloud

The latest news, however, May 12, points out to a continuing erosion of major firms from the country that are working from within but whose servers are in, mainly, Latvia. A single data warehouse in the latter nation says that it has five hundred projects, from Russia and its scion, Ukraine.

The above development is easy to confirm. Over the weekend of May 11-12, the web went awash with how Russian law enforcement personnel visited a cloud center and demanded to have a chat with the staff, before confiscating equipment. This, however, does not prevent work from continuing for most of the nation’s cloud resources, including servers, software, and apps, all have infrastructural base in neighboring nations.

The saving hand of cloud technology in the last remaining bastion of the former USSR, where policy matters may steal a march on technology, is manifest in the ease of forfeiting capital-intensive machinery. Cloud requires none of the common bulky hardware to enable one operate from a typical work base. What matters is a data center, which can be external, an email service, file-sharing applications and storage-scaling equipment, all of which need not be in-house. At least this is how most Russian kingpins of the cloud do in order to keep their data secure.

Russia Cloud Conference

In spite of these policy distractions, the country’s tech community is still on the fast lane of technological commitment. The best epiphany is the Russia Conference, for big data and cloud computing that will occur in Central Europe on the seventh day of October of the year. The major focus will be on the issue of security, advantages of the cloud, as well as, limitations of computing, and the entrepreneurial appropriation via the cloud, among others. The conference, interestingly, also has the helping hand of the authorities since the national and local administrations will be in attendance, besides Chief Technology Officers.

By John Omwamba

(Image Source: http://cloudscorecard.bsa.org/)

Cloud Infographic: Hosting Your Clinical Applications

Cloud Infographic: Hosting Your Clinical Applications

Cloud Infographic: Hosting Your Clinical Applications

Like any kind of outsourcing, hosting clinical and pharmacovigilance systems in the cloud with an experienced service provider allows pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, in addition to clinical research organizations and academic institutions, to reduce costs and operate more efficiently.

View this infographic to learn:

  • How hosting helps you be efficient with your money
  • How hosting helps you save your resources
  • Which applications you can host in the cloud
  • Additional features and benefits of hosting

clinical-pharmacovigilance-hosting

Infographic Source: BioPharm

Cloud Infographic: The Cloud Is Here To Stay

Cloud Infographic: The Cloud Is Here To Stay

Cloud Infographic: The Cloud Is Here To Stay

Three factors were individually tested to measure server performance – processor, memory and storage – and each were evaluated working jointly during workloads for an overall server performance grade. A bare-metal dedicated server was used as a benchmark control. Read More

Edit: An infographic provided by Firehost with statistical sources from Cisco, Gartner and Forbes…

-60%  business workload report in the cloud by 2016 can be found at  Cisco Global Cloud Index.

– “Forecast Overview: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2011 – 2016 (Q4 Update published Feb. 8, 2013) as well as Forbes

FireHost-Performance-Infographic copy

Infographic Source: Firehost

 

5 Cloud Computing Trends For 2013

5 Cloud Computing Trends For 2013

In 2012, cloud computing became a much bigger trend in the business and networking world. IDC have predicted a 130% increase in cloud computing by 2016, meaning an increase to $43 billion. Here are some of the five trends to look out for that are coming in 2013 which are going to help boost cloud computing in the long term;

Subscription

With more and more companies beginning to look into cloud computing, the hype is growing every day and more businesses are using it. Colleges are using it more and more to help store lecture data for easy access to the class. Businesses are using it to work from home, pick up easy access to documents and for sharing important company information. One of the big changes expected to appear in 2013 is the subscription model for Cloud computing. The idea is that you will only pay for how much data you need, rather than buying bulk for space that may never be used. It gives you a powerful security measure as well, knowing that your paid-up data is protected and accessible at any given time.

Recovery Services

Cloud computing gives you so much freedom, it could eventually start to replace backup companies as a cost-effective and easy to use way to back-up your whole company. Using resources that are only stored on the company intranet, it would be very good to be able to have important company documents stored online, saved and updated regularly. There has been more and more talk and actual action of smaller to medium businesses moving toward the cheaper cloud alternative, and the trends are showing that larger businesses are beginning to see the potential in cloud computing, too.

Security

The one hold-back of cloud computing at this moment in time, is the lack of – or perceived lack of – quality in the defense it offers you and your data. Cloud computing however is improving all the time, and there is a continued effort to bring in new clients with more and more companies that provide cloud computing to produce a top quality safety structure. This is essential as cloud computing is all about protection and privacy anyway, so getting this right could really detonate the niche. This is surprising because you would imagine that a software as important as cloud computing would already have top-grade security.

Specific Designs

Much like when phone apps became big, more companies started to spend money on having a mobile app designed to complement the website. Restaurants perhaps seen the most use from this, as it gave them a new dimension and something to hook in potential customers with. Businesses are beginning to view cloud computing in the same light. It can be shifted and edited to make your organization more powerful and to give you a top of the range service which is very unique at present. As the trends show, more and more businesses are looking to leverage the power of the internet and using a modified version of cloud computing could be an extremely valuable tool for certain niches.

Hoarding

This may sound odd, but the term hoarders refers to people who just pile up crazy amounts of junk in their house and hold onto it for years, believing all of it to be extremely valuable. Well, cloud computing has been shown to be heading toward a budding trend of hoarders getting involved. More people are filling up their cloud compartments with random old files, and sentimental objects, that remind them of a previous time in their life. They do not want to delete these files permanently, but they don’t really intend on looking at them or using them ever again.

By Robert Smith

Cloud Infographic: Startup Toolkit

Cloud Infographic: Startup Toolkit

Cloud infographic: Startup Toolkit

There are numerous startups of all varieties of purpose and goals. We have seen great successes and great failures. We have seen a lot of money being made on fabulous exits, but also seen a lot of money lost as well.

Things are changing for startups, and in turn, they are changing for investors as well. What affects how startups must work affects how investors must forecast chances of success, and which ponies they want to back. Of course, with progress, change is inevitable and ubiquitous, but the past couple of years have seen the steepest change in this industry’s history.

What is this culprit? Cloud computing.  Read more...

We have included an insightful infographic provided by BestVendor called the “The Startup’s Toolkit” which illustrates some of the most utilized cloud based tools on the planet.

startup-cloud

 

Infographic Source:  BestVendor

Cloud Infographic: BYOD Security And Policies

Cloud Infographic: BYOD Security And Policies

Cloud Infographic: BYOD Security and Policies

AccelOps Cloud Security Survey Report surveyed some 176 IT security personnel and they ranked BYOD as the top source for fear of incurring data loss and having the need for heightened data control. This is the traditional topic or cloud worriers and opponents of cloud computing which only helps in propagating the myth that cloud computing in not secure. ISC2’s January research shows that explicitly linked cloud computing to the creation of personal device policies. But the take away from the research is that companies who support BYOD have happier employees while also needing to increase their cloud security knowledge and skills. The same research survey shows that 78% of the participants consider BYOD as a “somewhat or very significant risk”.  Read More

BYOD Policy Implementation Guide

We have included an excellent research paper that provides Three simple steps to legally secure and manage employee-owned devices within a corporate environment. Download To Review

BYOD-infographic

Infographic Source: Marion Structure Technologies

Virtualization + Cloud Equals Perfect Storm For Disaster Recovery Services

Virtualization + Cloud Equals Perfect Storm For Disaster Recovery Services

Not very long ago disaster recovery was a luxury afforded by only the very large companies due to the prohibitive cost and effort required. Frequently even these large companies were unable to justify the investment and went without a disaster recovery plan. Today, virtualization and cloud enables companies of all sizes to implement a scalable, highly efficient disaster recovery plan without a huge investment.

COSTLY AND RESOURCE-INTENSIVE DISASTER RECOVERY OF YESTERDAY

At one time, investment in disaster recovery came in one of two forms: build a replica or subset of the production- computing environment at a secondary site or contract with a disaster recovery provider. These disaster recovery providers maintained data centers equipped with compatible computing platforms upon which a company could restore their environments when a disaster was declared. The latter was often the more feasible solution since the service provider was able to leverage their hardware investment over a pool of customers thereby lowering their per unit cost and passing some of the savings along to their customers. Though, I have heard many companies complain over their $50,000-$400,000 monthly costs to maintain their contract for a secondary site disaster recovery location. These exorbitant fees did not even cover the customer’s annual testing costs to simulate a disaster and test their recovery process that often included IT staff members rolling through airports with cases of backup tapes.

Beyond the expense, disaster recovery services were also very resource intensive with long recovery point and recovery time objectives. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the maximum tolerable period in which data might be lost from an IT service. Often the nightly backup tapes were used for disaster recovery purposes so the RPO could be as long as 24 hours. The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the duration of time and a service level within which a business process must be restored after a disaster (or disruption) in order to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity. Time could easily exceed 48-72 hours with travel to the recovery site required, following what may be out-of-date documentation and shuffling tapes recovery. Due to the cost and effort, these tests were normally performed on an annual basis and were not frequent enough to keep the plans up-to-date.

MORE AFFORDABLE AND EFFICIENT DISASTER RECOVERY OF TODAY

Virtualization, now a prevalent technology in the data center, has led to a major consolidation of server hardware. It is not uncommon to see 10 or more virtual servers running one a single physical server acting as a host. This disruptive technology has not only changed the way our data centers are designed but has also laid the ground work for a more effective, efficient disaster recovery solution. No longer does a secondary data recovery center require a one-to-one physical inventory that mirrors the production site. A data center with 100 physical servers may now be running 100 virtual servers across 10 physical servers. As you can imagine, equipping a secondary data center with 10 physical servers versus 100 physical servers is a huge cost savings. Not to mention the additional cost savings derived from the reduced footprint for rack space and decreased consumption of power and cooling.

ROBUST, FLEXIBLE DISASTER RECOVERY WITH VIRTUALIZATION

The ecosystem built around virtualization, specifically backup and replication software, has assisted in creating a more affordable and efficient disaster recovery plan. There are many new back up and replications solutions to choose from, but some of the most interesting are the ones that operate at the hypervisor level.

Hypervisor-based replication offers the following benefits:

  • Hardware-agnostic—Hypervisor-based replication supports all storage arrays so organizations can replicate from anything to anything. In today’s increasingly heterogeneous IT environment, this allows users to mix

VIRTUALIZATION + CLOUD EQUALS PERFECT STORM FOR DISASTER RECOVERY SERVICES

Storage technologies such as Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network-Attached Storage (NAS), and virtual disk types such as Raw Device Mapping (RDM) and VMware File System (VMFS).

  • Faster and More Efficient—Hypervisor-based replication solution achieves RPO in seconds and RTO in minutes.
  • Centralized Management—With no guest-host requirements or additional hardware footprint, a hypervisor- based solution is easy to manage. It simply resides in the hypervisor, enabling centralized management.

By combining virtualization and hypervisor-based replication a very robust, flexible and cost effective disaster recovery solution was waiting to be born. The missing component was a platform to deploy on which equaled in flexibility, cost effectiveness. And then there was the Cloud.

SCALABLE, ON-DEMAND DISASTER RECOVERY AS A SERVICE

Cloud Computing as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology is “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

Cloud Computing or more accurately the delivery model of Infrastructure as a Service has enabled companies to cost effectively set up a secondary data center to which they can replicate their mission critical systems in a scalable, flexible and on demand manner.

By leveraging Cloud services, customers remove many of the remaining high costs associated with disaster recovery services. Namely, there is no longer a large capital expense to purchase physical servers, storage and network hardware required to build a secondary data center or pay a disaster recovery providers to do so. Companies can now fulfill this hardware need with a Cloud provider or DRaaS. These providers deliver virtual servers, storage, replication software, management services and provide a comprehensive disaster recovery solution which is scalable, up or down, on demand for a monthly cost.

By Marc Malizia,

Marc is the Chief Technology Office and a founding partner for RKON Inc.  As the CTO, he has responsibilities for designing and enhancing both RKON’s Professional and Cloud Service offerings.  During his 15 years growing RKON, Marc served as a pre-sales subject matter expert on technologies ranging from application delivery and security to Cloud and managed services.  Marc earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in 1987 and a M.S. in Telecommunication from DePaul University in 1992.

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