Category Archives: Tools

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 2

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 2

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 2

Cloud services like Amazon Elastic Cloud and IBM SmartCloud are revolutionizing the way IT organizations deal with online infrastructure. There are many benefits to cloud computing, but there are also serious security concerns. Yesterday, I revealed 5 helpful tools for enhancing cloud security.

Here are 5 more tools to round out my top 10 list:

Metasploit

metasploit

Complied in the Ruby programming language and developed by H.D. Moore, Metasploit framework has made significant contributions to the pen testing tools community. It gives you the capability of adding your own modules. By default, Metasploit is embedded in popular pen testing distributions with a streamlined user interface.

It can pen test with just an IP address. Therefore, if you have your data on the cloud then all you need is your actual cloud IP address to test security. Just be sure that the IP you are using actually belong to your assets, because in many cases vendors will change IP addresses. If you are using cloud services from Amazon, then using Metasploit Pro will provide you with additional Amazon Machine Images. You can install the available Metasploit package on Amazon EC2 like other packages and run it normally. You cannot receive updates until you get it registered, though.

Nessus

Nessus is an open source, comprehensive vulnerability scanner developed by Tenable Network Security, and has the designation of being the most popular vulnerability assessment tool. In its most recent update in March, it added cloud management and multi support through the Nessus Perimeter Service.

infographic-host-cloud

This scanner is capable of controlling internal and external scanners through the cloud. According to Ron Gula, CEO of Tenable Network Security, the multi-scanning management capability will allow users to benefit from the robust capabilities of Nessus to manage internal and external scanners from a single point, which will save time and resources.

Nmap

Nmap stands for “Network Mapper”; this tool is the gold standard for network scanning. Originally written by Gordon Lyon (Fyodor Vaskovich), it is a must have in any pen testers arsenal. Use it to scan networks, even if congestion or latency has been occurring on these networks.

Nmap can be effectively used for scanning cloud networks. The only condition is that your cloud network is on an OS supported by Nmap. These include Unix, Linux, Solaris, Windows, Mac, OS X, BSD and some other environments. Also, you would want to scan your original IP instead of that hidden behind NAT or firewalls. Be sure to have permission from the IaaS provider before scanning the networks, because it is prohibited to scan without authenticity, for obvious reasons.

Kismet

Freely distributed as an open source program, Kismet uses 802.11 standard layer 2 tools which can be used for packet sniffing, network detection and also as an intrusion detection system. It supports any wireless card which is capable of raw monitoring.

Kismet is capable of scanning public, private or hybrid cloud servers. Its distinguishing feature is that it leaves no logs of scans done in victim machines. It accomplishes this by working passively and sending no traceable packets to the victim network. Due to stealth functionality, it is the most widely used wireless scanning tool to date. On a cloud server, Kismet can be used for preventing any active wireless sniffing programs like Netstumbler through its IDS capability. Kismet supports channel hopping that aids it in finding as many networks as possible through non sequential functioning.

Wireshark

Wireshark has been around for ages and has proven to be an excellent cloud monitoring tool. Although it can help network administrators in scanning enterprise networks, it cannot be used as a stand-alone tool in large environments like cloud servers. In cloud networks, Wireshark is used for scanning a single entity of the whole infrastructure. It can be aided by other tools, or multiple instances can run to serve the purpose.

Wireshark can apply to the cloud the same way it applies to any home network. It is used for troubleshooting network issues by digging through the weeds of the network. Wireshark can also be applied for analyzing packets between cloud service provider and the end user. But as Wireshark is basically a desktop based network monitoring tool, QA Café has developed “CloudShark” for making captured files accessible on cloud environments.

On Conclusion

Traditional network monitoring tools are now being used as cloud monitoring tools. This is due to the fact that the cloud is also a network with larger boundaries and more complications than standard networks. Today, organizations can buy an online service by instantiating any image service on the cloud. Cloud computing has emerged as a pay-as-you-go service, which organizations can use without having to go deeper into the details how cloud infrastructure works.

As cloud networks are providing more and more to IT services, its security has been a chief concern for most customers. For ensuring security and privacy of your data, there are tools and methodologies through which you can pen test your cloud provider. Using the aforementioned tools will enhance reliability in cloud service.

By Chetan Soni

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 1

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 1

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 1

Cloud computing has become a business solution for many organizational problems. But there are security risks involved with using cloud servers: service providers generally only take responsibility of keeping systems up, and they neglect security at many ends. Therefore, it is important that clouds are properly penetration (pen) tested and secured to ensure proper security of user data.

There are many tools available that can be used to automate the process of pen testing. Most of them can be found with pen testing distributions like Backtrack or Blackbox. Here is a list of recommended tools for pen testing cloud security:

Acunetix – Web Vulnerability Scanner

acunetix 

This information gathering tool scans web applications on the cloud and lists possible vulnerabilities that might be present in the given web application. Most of the scanning is focused on finding SQL injection and cross site scripting vulnerabilities. It has both free and paid versions, with paid versions including added functionalities. After scanning, it generates a detailed report describing vulnerabilities along with the suitable action that can be taken to remedy the loophole.

This tool can be used for scanning cloud applications. Beware: there is always a chance of false positives. Any security flaw, if discovered through scanning, should be verified. The latest version of this software, Acunetix WVS version 8, has a report template for checking compliance with ISO 27001, and can also scan for HTTP denial of service attacks.

Aircrack-ng – A Tool for Wi-Fi Pen Testers

This is a comprehensive suite of tools designed specifically for network pen testing and security. This tool is useful for scanning Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) models. Having no firewall, or a weak firewall, makes it very easy for malicious users to exploit your network on the cloud through virtual machines. This suite consists of many tools with different functionalities, which can be used for monitoring the network for any kind of malicious activity over the cloud.

Its main functions include:

  • Aircrack-ng – Cracks WEP or WPA encryption keys with dictionary attacks
  • Airdecap-ng – Decrypts captured packet files of WEP and WPA keys
  • Airmon-ng – Puts your network interface card, like Alfa card, into monitoring mode
  • Aireplay-ng – This is packet injector tool
  • Airodump-ng – Acts as a packet sniffer on networks
  • Airtun-ng – Can be used for virtual tunnel interfaces
  • Airolib-ng – Acts as a library for storing captured passwords and ESSID
  • Packetforge-ng – Creates forged packets, which are used for packet injection
  • Airbase-ng – Used for attacking clients through various techniques.
  • Airdecloak-ng – Capable of removing WEP clocking.

Several others tools are also available in this suite, including esside-ng, wesside-ng and tkiptun-ng. Aircrack-ng can be used on both command line interfaces and on graphical interfaces. In GUI, it is named Gerix Wi-Fi Cracker, which is a freely available network security tool licensed to GNU.

Cain & Abel

This is a password recovery tool. Cain is used by penetration testers for recovering passwords by sniffing networks, brute forcing and decrypting passwords. This also allows pen testers to intercept VoIP conversations that might be occurring through cloud. This multi functionality tool can decode Wi-Fi network keys, unscramble passwords, discover cached passwords, etc. An expert pen tester can analyze routing protocols as well, thereby detecting any flaws in protocols governing cloud security. The feature that separates Cain from similar tools is that it identifies security flaws in protocol standards rather than exploiting software vulnerabilities. This tool is very helpful for recovering lost passwords.

In the latest version of Cain, the ‘sniffer’ feature allows for analyzing encrypted protocols such as SSH-1 and HTTPS. This tool can be utilized for ARP cache poisoning, enabling sniffing of switched LAN devices, thereby performing Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks. Further functionalities have been added in the latest version, including authentication monitors for routing protocols, brute-force for most of the popular algorithms and cryptanalysis attacks.

Ettercap

Ettercap is a free and open source tool for network security, designed for analyzing computer network protocols and detecting MITM attacks. It is usually accompanied with Cain. This tool can be used for pen testing cloud networks and verifying leakage of information to an unauthorized third party. It has four methods of functionality:

  • IP-based Scanning – Network security is scanned by filtering IP based packets.
  • Mac-based Scanning – Here packets are filtered based on MAC addresses. This is used for sniffing connections through channels.
  • ARP-based functionality – ARP poisoning is used for sniffing into switched LAN through an MITM attack operating between two hosts (full duplex).
  • Public-ARP based functionality – In this functionality mode, ettercap uses one victim host to sniff all other hosts on a switched LAN network (half duplex).

John the Ripper

The name for this tool was inspired by the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. This tool was written by Black Hat Pwnie winner Alexander Peslyak. Usually abbreviated to just “John”, this is freeware which has very powerful password cracking capabilities; it is highly popular among information security researchers as a password testing and breaking program tool. This tool has the capability of brute forcing cloud panels. If any security breach is found, then a security patch can be applied to secure enterprise data.

Originally created for UNIX platforms, John now has supported versions for all major operating systems. Numerous password cracking techniques are embedded into this pen testing tool to create a concise package that is capable of identifying hashes through its own cracker algorithm.

Cloud providing vendors need to embed security within their infrastructure. They should not emphasize keeping high uptime at the expense of security.

By Chetan Soni

Why You Need ITSM Onboard Before You Take Off To The Cloud

Why You Need ITSM Onboard Before You Take Off To The Cloud

Why You Need ITSM Onboard Before You Take Off To The Cloud

Before strapping themselves into the cockpit of a jet airplane, most reasonable people would want to have a pretty detailed idea of what was involved in flying a plane. They’d want to know how the controls worked and how to respond to the variety of situations they could expect to encounter in flight. They would understand that once airborne, things happen much too fast to study up on what to do in an emergency.

The same could be said about cloud computing: like jet airplanes, cloud computing involves many interrelated systems that need to perform within very exact parameters or risk zooming out of control at extremely high speeds. Unfortunately, there are IT directors today who are strapping themselves into a cloud computing strategies without fully understanding what has to happen to deliver IT services to their business users without falling out of the sky.

cloud humor

Go Fast Safely

Cloud computing technology today makes it possible for pools of IT resources to respond intelligently and dynamically to each other and to the changing demands of business requirements. But, as advanced as it is, there is no intelligence inherent in any cloud computing technology. The intelligence to inform the millions of interactions involved in a typical cloud environment needs to come from the people who design, manage and support it.

An ITIL-based ITSM strategy is the most effective framework to upload your collective intelligence into the increasingly educatable technologies in your extended IT environment. The faster you go, the more critical it is to be able to view and govern where you’re headed.

Based on our experience with a range of organizations, here are five reasons ITSM should be a part of every cloud strategy:

1. IT Efficiency – As the delivery of IT services is increasingly pushed to the cloud by business units with tailored needs – often distributed to different service providers or service models – the governance of incident and change management becomes critical to creating a cloud strategy that maintains the efficiencies and speed gained by moving to the new model in the first place.

2. Business Alignment With more service providers targeting individual business units rather than the IT department, IT must be able to quickly assess the impact of new service offerings and how they can be tied into the company’s overall IT strategy.

3. Automated Service Management – IT must manage what it cannot automate, therefore, the automation of key processes in governing the evolution of a company’s service delivery options is critical. Without an ITSM strategy, IT, while trying to control chaos, can become the very bottleneck that its new delivery model exists to resolve.

4. Change Management – IT pros are accustomed to being the controllers of their technology kingdoms, but as cloud models evolve, direct control over every portion of the service delivery landscape lessens. As a result, it is even more critical today to be able to manage and track changes to ensure that what’s working in an in-house data center and what’s being delivered by a host of disparate service providers is all working seamlessly, catching and correcting issues that could cause serious performance degradations or other significant problems before they occur.

5. Self Service – Making it possible for end users to request IT services for themselves is a key component of the cloud computing model. Self-service does not mean instant gratification, however. You need to have things like chargeback and/or show back so you can demonstrate that you are spending money by serving yourself these corporate assets. Without appropriate parameters built into an ITSM strategy, self service provisioning can be like the wild West all over again.

No Excuse

It used to be that only large organizations could justify the cost of implementing ITSM. The available tools were expensive to install and often overwhelming to implement. A new wave of system management toolsets available as software-as-a-service (SaaS), however, has now made developing and implementing an ITSM strategy as doable as it is critical. The current front runner among SaaS ITSM toolsets is ServiceNow, but there are others like Cherwell, and EarlyVista, as well as SaaS applications from the more traditional service management vendors like BMC, HP and IBM.

A key advantage of the new generation of ITSM toolsets is that all the necessary functions are available within a fully integrated application. An ITIL-based framework already exists. You don’t have to spend all your time, and money building it. You can begin by adopting appropriate best practices in phases and tweak them as your strategy evolves.

A key hazard in the development of ITSM strategy is the tendency of IT professionals to seek out technical detail and dive in. Loosing the forest for the trees is probably the most common source of failure of ITSM strategies. The goal of a well designed ITSM strategy is not just to keep technologies interacting intelligently. The ultimate goal is delivery IT services that directly support and enhance an organization’s business objectives, or, in the case of governmental agencies, their mission to serve. ITSM is not just for IT.

This is where having a clear vision of where you want to go and the leadership to execute it is critical. It takes a resolute, guiding hand to steer an ITSM strategy through the inevitable turbulence of special interests as IT and business stakeholders pursue their own objectives.

On the positive side, the challenge of developing a comprehensive ITSM strategy has within it a unique opportunity to develop an environment of active collaboration between business and IT stakeholders that reflects the intelligent, interactive, collaboration you are creating between technologies within your extended IT environment.

In my next column, I would like to map out the stages you need to complete to design and implement an ITSM strategy that will ensure that when you take off for the cloud, you know where you are going and how to get there safely, securely and effectively.

mike-alley

By Mike Alley, Logicalis Director of ITSM

Mike Alley is the resident evangelist at Logicalis for ITSM solutions and has nearly 30 years of experience in the technology industry. Mike joined Logicalis in 2006 through the acquisition of Carotek, a top HP partner in the Southeast. Prior to Carotek, Mike worked as a consulting manager at HP. 

Visit www.unlikeanycloud.com to learn more about the IT Transformation Journey

An Antidote To Overprovisioning

An Antidote To Overprovisioning

 Overprovisioning

There are many situations in this world – both the virtual world of computing, and the real world, where preparedness means having more than you need. Stocking up on food, medicines, or printer paper and toner makes it easy to get things done in a timely fashion rather than having to run back out to the store.

But this preparedness comes with a price. Materials that sit on shelves waiting to be used occupy space and devour available funds. They must have great and tangible value to justify their existence, which is why so many large manufacturers rely instead on just-in-time delivery and lean techniques to ensure a smooth flow of supplies without the costly overhead.

These same efficiencies are also essential in maintaining virtual systems, but this still feels uncomfortable to administrators charged with the responsibility of keeping systems both functional and up-to-date. In the days when much of a network depended on hard physical assets such as servers and memory, it was common for admins to over-purchase as a practical alternative to the cost in labor, time and funds to buy and install upgrades on spec, or the danger involved in keeping extra parts on the shelf. It was much easier to simply buy more than needed and install it all at once.

1 Overprovisioning

Well, five points for Griffindor for proactivity perhaps, but minus several million for devouring the IT budget in one pragmatic shopping spree.

Today, upgrading, and maintaining efficiencies is much easier. Data is king, and useful information on optimum use of servers and systems is now available by the second, allowing administrators to maintain a far more dynamic and ideal system in which resources are allocated in sync with actual requirements. This means time and money saved.

Mike Raab, VP of customer service at CopperEgg , puts some numbers to this: “Let’s look at the Amazon Web Service (AWS) pricing model, for example. If you choose the US east region, you will see a 25 cent difference in the per hour charge for a small versus large instance. That is over $183 a month if it were to run full time. For Extra Large to Large it’s even worse, over $300 per month difference. Even the difference between a micro and small adds up to be over $60 per month. No small amount any way you slice it for a single instance. Now multiply that by 5, 10 or 20 instances?

For clients using the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) platform, there is no longer any need to guess or to overprovision,” Raab says, “when the data is clearly available.” Server benchmarking, for example, allows an admin to ensure the best corresponding EC2 instance recommendation by running over a 24-hour period and measuring performance against the actual application and user load. CopperEgg’s Cloud Sizing tool is unique in the industry for allowing admins to benchmark their servers for an AWS EC2 recommendation. This results in specialized reporting that recommends instances by name, and custom-tailors EC2 instances prior to migration.

CopperEgg LogoEric Anderson, CTO and co-founder of CopperEgg summarizes this neatly: “The tools that many IT managers currently have are not built for the dynamic nature of cloud, or for the new way developers are building applications. Admins need to be ready for a new wave of application architectures that do not fit well with traditional monitoring and performance tools.” He adds, “admins are getting more pressure to see more fine grained visibility into the applications they are keeping alive, and their systems are becoming more complex, driving them to need higher frequency and more detailed tools to bring clarity when there are application level issues.”

Capitalizing on highly specific data is a technique that allows for the lean functioning of an IT department that at once saves money and optimizes performance, both internally and of course for the enhanced convenience of the end user. CopperEgg offers a free trial of their monitoring and optimization solutions here.

By Steve Prentice

Post Sponsored By Copperegg

4 Tools To Help Enable A Successful Cloud Computing Experience

4 Tools To Help Enable A Successful Cloud Computing Experience

4 Tools To Help Enable A Successful Cloud Computing Experience

Since the introduction of the cloud, “business as usual” has transformed. This technology has allowed companies to better their IT performances, and ultimately, their services for consumers.

Just a few years ago, the cloud was a nearly incomprehensible concept to the world. Now, nearly every business uses the cloud and some even sell cloud computing services to other enterprises. Most recently, Verizon Internet and IBM announced their cloud computing services. And other major companies, like Cisco and Amazon have been in the business for several years.

tools-cloud

Image Source: Shutterstock)

With the right tool, you can manage the cloud, cut costs and use your resources most efficiently. Here are four tools your company can use for a successful cloud computing experience:

1. Cloudyn

Cloudyn offers several tools exclusively focused on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud but will soon include Microsoft Azure, GoGrid and Rackspace. The tools help corporate IT gain financial intelligence in cloud investments while improving performance.

The average user saves approximately 40% of cloud-related costs. Use the Reserved Instance Navigator to purchase EC2 and RDS instances, reduce spending, manage RI inventory and simulate RI costs. Use the S3 Tracker to analyze how your storage is used so you can better your efficiency. In addition to these tools, four other tools are available to help save you money and enhance your business.

2. Enstratius

Whether your business has a public, private or a hybrid cloud, Enstratius can help. The tool can be aligned with the governance and security requirements of a business. With Enstratius, you can easily manage each enterprise-class application in an effective manner.

The many features make this one of the best cross-platform cloud management tools. Login just once to manage every cloud resource.  According to computerworld.com, “Features include self-service provision/de-provisioning; multi-currency cost/chargeback tracking; [and] customizable role-based access control.”

3. RightScale

RightScale has many other tools beat in experience. It’s been around since 2006 and has helped launch millions of servers. According to computerweekly.com, there are four main parts of RightScale. The first is a cloud management environment. You’ll also find a multi-cloud engine as well as an adaptable automation engine. Last, RightScale offers a cloud-ready ServerTemplate and Best Practice Deployment Library.

The cloud workload management service has a popular tool, PlanForCloud, that uses statistics to estimate cloud spending and to help companies save. Best of all, there is a free edition of RightScale that includes a web-based dashboard and can aid with configuration and management.

4. Puppet Enterprise

This IT automation software allows for the ultimate management experiences in the cloud or on-premises. According to its website, Puppet Enterprise “gives system administrators the power to easily automate repetitive tasks, quickly deploy critical applications, and proactively manage infrastructure.”

This tool helps out from the start of the IT infrastructure lifecycle to the end. It allows users to discover cloud nodes, to reuse previously-used configuration modules, deploy updates across multiple servers at once and even more! There is a free version of this software that allows you to manage 10 nodes.

By Elizabeth Phillips,

Elizabeth is a former IT professional who is currently freelance writing. She can be found reading about the latest and greatest trends in the IT world and typing away on her laptop in Philadelphia, PA. 

Promises, Promises: Has The ERP Promise Finally Become A Reality?

Promises, Promises: Has The ERP Promise Finally Become A Reality?

Promises, Promises: Has the ERP Promise Finally Become a Reality?

You made me promises, promises you knew you’d never keep. Promises, promises why do I believe?”Cloud ERP

Those of us fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to enjoy the 80’s may remember these lyrics.  The lyrics could have been about the state of ERP before Cloud ERP came around. Before the Cloud, ERP promise was just that, a promise.  The benefits touted by ERP Vendors, such as connecting everyone and every function and every location in the organization, were largely out of reach for small to mid-sized companies.

ERP: Then and Now

Twenty plus years ago, ERP wasn’t a widely known term. From 1980-1990, Enterprise Resource Planning took its first steps in evolution. However, the overall goal of ERP technology has always been the same: Connect all the people in an organization from every function at every location.

As time progressed, large companies caught onto the concept of connecting all parts of their business. However, technology still wasn’t innovative enough to support all the potential ERP had to offer.

Common pay-per-user pricing made it difficult and expensive to have everyone in the system.  People also might not have owned their own computer or been able to access company servers so they couldn’t access the ERP software.  Every location wasn’t connected due to costly implementation costs.  There was also not a way to securely include partners and customers.

The new millennium brought on the invention of the Internet. Users had the ability to access ERP from any web-accessible computer. However, security issues still remained and it was hard to integrate cloud technology with on-premises systems.

Now in 2013, the latest and greatest in cloud ERP technology has arrived. The time to process reports has changed from days to minutes. All the obstacles standing in the way of the ERP vision are being combated thanks to these solutions:

1.  Pricing

Companies pay a flat rate for unlimited users. So if your company grows and you need to add more users, you will not have to worry about increasing costs.

2. Accessibility

You can check up on the ERP system on your laptop, smart phone, tablet, or just about any device with internet access.

3. Data Storage

Data is stored in secure and scalable data centers so from the infrastructure point of view, the solution is economically sustainable.

4. Security

Lack of security measures of past ERP systems made it nearly impossible for businesses to share data with external parties but thanks to advancements in encryption technology, businesses can now share data with anyone (partners, customers, employees, etc.) without having to worry about security.

In a sense, ERP was an idea that was far ahead of its time when first introduced. The technology at the time could not properly accommodate all the functions that an ERP system was expected to perform. Although there is still work to be done, the original vision of what an ERP system should be is slowly but surely beginning to become a reality. Considering the advancements in technology and the ERP industry, it certainly seems like not only is ERP here to stay, but with expected future technological advancements, it has a distinctively bright future.

stijn-hendrikse

By Stijn Hendrikse,

Stijn is the Chief Marketing Officer at Acumatica. He has over 20 years of experience in the software business.

Why The Cloud Is Emerging As A Leader In Employee And Partner Training

Why The Cloud Is Emerging As A Leader In Employee And Partner Training

Why the Cloud is Emerging as a Leader in Employee and Partner Training

Employee training is an art not yet perfected. The days of sitting in a classroom and getting lectured about the company product/s are over. Technology is revolutionizing the way companies are able to train employees and channel partners. Videos, documents, webpages, photos and other training material can be accessed through the cloud to enable a smoother training process. Not only is the cloud a place for managers to train, but they also have the ability to set standards for their employees and partners.

HR-CloudSelf-Service

Nowadays, we are growing up as more independent individuals than ever before and there has been a shift towards self-service in all aspects of life. Grocery store self-checkout suppliers predict growth of 84% over the next 5 years. Powerful banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and USAA now allow you to deposit a check just by taking a photo on your smartphone. Employee training has also entered this era. The cloud provides a platform in which employees and resellers can learn on their own and at a pace they feel comfortable with. They don’t have to show up at a certain time and follow a designated path. These people know better than anyone else what they need more training on. With all of this information up in the cloud, they can spend more time on what is important to their own unique learning needs. As an extension of this shift to self-service, the cloud is a training mechanism that provides an individualized experience.

Anywhere, Anytime

Employees and resellers may travel, work from home, work at a different location or be meeting with a client. Wherever they may be, it’s important that they are always prepared. The ability to access material anywhere and at anytime is becoming a necessity. With use of the cloud, employees and partners are able to pull up information at the touch of their fingertips and from any device. The cloud stores their valuable resources so that whenever there is a question, it can be answered on the spot. We’re all busy and the cloud enables us to keep our flexibility.

Highly Secure

Most businesses need the utmost privacy for their training files. There could be confidential information, passwords, unreleased press coverage and many other materials that need to be kept secure. On the managers’ single machine, these files could be damaged and lost forever. In the cloud, they can’t be. With better privacy settings and less infringing Terms of Service Agreements, companies using cloud software to train employees and channel partners are in good hands. The training manager will have permissions over content in the cloud so only the people that need to see material will have the ability to access it.

Expectations Made Clear

By placing training material up in the cloud, managers have the ability to track who is most engaged, thereby setting an activity threshold. If an employee or partner isn’t performing up-to-speed it’s easy to get to the root of the problem. The manager expects all of his/her content to be read and processed in a timely fashion. These expectations can be made clear by how often the manager cycles through material. A standard is set by the manager for how the training material should be accessed and put to use. In turn, sales should correlate.

Relaying all of the information that an employee or partner needs to know is a difficult task. Employing the use of cloud software can only make this easier. Your training will be personalized, mobile and secure. Even better, it becomes easier to set and track goals. For good reasons, cloud technology is now a leading phenomenon for company training programs.

By Laura Lilyquist,

Laura is currently the Vice President of Marketing at LiveHive, where she is responsible for global marketing strategy, communications, and business planning.  Laura has led marketing endeavors at world-renowned companies, including most recently at Symantec, where she served as the Global Director of Emerging Business. She has also led marketing and business development groups at tech giants, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, and built teams from the ground up at numerous early-stage companies.

How CloudCheckr Is Leading The Cloud Analytics Charge

How CloudCheckr Is Leading The Cloud Analytics Charge

How CloudCheckr Is Leading the Cloud Analytics Charge 

Over the past few years, there has been an explosive growth in cloud computing, mainly due to the cost efficiencies of its pay-as-you-go model as compared to legacy IT. However, many companies that have migrated to the cloud have done so for more than cost savings; for them, performance has been the deciding factor. Whatever be the reason, these companies want to know what they are getting for their money.

cloud-checkr

(Image Source: Cloudcheckr)

This is where the specialized field of cloud analytics comes in to deliver answers. From utilization and cost analytics that are more important in the pay-as-you-go model, to performance and security analytics that are the focus of different cloud architectures, cloud analytics is a field that has attracted a number of players.

Among the leading contenders is CloudCheckr, a company that has carved a niche for itself by concentrating on the most popular public cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS). Unlike many of its competitors that focus solely on cost analytics, CloudCheckr places equal importance on performance analytics. As CloudCheckr founder Aaron Klein explained, “Cost is a major consideration for public cloud users, but it is not the only one. Users need tools for control beyond cost. Both SMBs and enterprises need visibility into performance. This means tracking resources, utilization and deployment changes. This means alerts around security and best practices. CloudCheckr’s goal is to deliver all of these capabilities while still retaining its best in class cost and utilization analytics.”

The company recently announced major service improvements that address the aforementioned user needs. It has added change monitoring alerts, map overlays, and utilization heat maps for both Glacier and ElastiCache, and usage predictors for services such as S3. While all these allow public cloud users to improve performance, CloudCheckr has given cost analytics equal importance by expanding its cost predictors for EC2, RDS and other AWS services. Additionally, to cater to the needs of growing SMBs and enterprises, it has added multiple sorting, tagging and cost allocation features.

The company is also growing on the ground, as evidenced by a fresh $2 million of funding in April and additions to its workforce. CloudCheckr offers new customers a full-featured free trial (https://app.cloudcheckr.com/), a permanent free tier of service, along with a competitively-priced $179/month professional tier. With more and more businesses moving to the cloud and looking to optimize their deployments, CloudCheckr should continue to grow aggressively.

By Sourya Biswas

CloudTweaks Comics
Comparing Cloud Hosting Services

Comparing Cloud Hosting Services

Cloud Hosting Services Cloud hosting service providers are abundant and varied, with typical structures affording the reliability of virtual partitions, drawing resources externally; secure data centers; scalability and flexibility not limited by physical constraints; pay-per-use costing; and responsive load balancing for changing demands. While high end (and high price) services offer an extensive range of…

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud With the results of Cisco Global Could Index: 2013-2018 and Hosting and Cloud Study 2014, predictions for the future of cloud computing are notable. Forbes reported that spending on infrastructure-related services has increased as public cloud computing uptake spreads, and reflected on Gartner’s Public Cloud Services Forecast. The public cloud service…

Who’s Who In The Booming World Of Data Science

Who’s Who In The Booming World Of Data Science

The World of Data Science The nature of work and business in today’s super-connected world means that every second of every day, the world produces an astonishing amount of data. Consider some of these statistics; every minute, Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content, YouTube users upload over 72 hours of content, Apple…

Will Your Internet of Things Device Testify Against You?

Will Your Internet of Things Device Testify Against You?

Will Your Internet of Things Device Testify Imagine this:  Your wearable device is subpoenaed to testify against you.  You were driving when you were over the legal alcohol limit and data from a smart Breathalyzer device is used against you. Some might argue that such a use case could potentially safeguard society. However, it poses…

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

The Internet of Things Is About To Explode By 2020, Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion worldwide. It’s an astoundingly large figure given that the sector barely existed three years ago. We are now rapidly evolving toward a world in which just about everything will become…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most Cloud computing is rapidly revolutionizing the way we do business. Instead of being a blurry buzzword, it has become a facet of everyday life. Most people may not quite understand how the cloud works, but electricity is quite difficult to fathom as well. Anyway, regardless of…

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth The Internet of Things is the latest term to describe the interconnectivity of all our devices and home appliances. The goal of the internet of things is to create universal applications that are connected to all of the lights, TVs, door locks, air conditioning, and…

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing Despite the rapid growth of cloud computing, the cloud still commands a small portion of overall enterprise IT spending. Estimates I’ve seen put the percentage between 5% and 10% of the slightly more than $2 trillion (not including telco) spent worldwide in 2014 on enterprise IT. Yet growth projections…

Explosive Growth Of Data-Driven Marketing

Explosive Growth Of Data-Driven Marketing

Data-Driven Marketing There is an absolute endless amount of data that is being accumulated, dissected, analyzed with the important bits extracted and used for a number of purposes. With the amount of data in the world has already reached into multiple zettabytes annually. A Zettabyte is one million petabytes or one thousand exabytes. With data…

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap You’re out of your mind if you think blocking access to file sharing services is filling a security gap. You’re out of your mind if you think making people jump through hoops like Citrix and VPNs to get at content is secure. You’re out of your mind if you think putting your…

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups Cloud platforms have become a necessary part of modern business with the benefits far outweighing the risks. However, the risks are real and account for billions of dollars in losses across the globe per year. If you’ve been hacked, you’re not alone. Here are some other companies in the past…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

Online Data Data storage is often a real headache for businesses. Additionally, the shift to the cloud in response to storage challenges has caused security teams to struggle to reorient, leaving 49 percent of organizations doubting their experts’ ability to adapt. Even so, decision makers should not put off moving from old legacy systems to…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

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.…