Compliance Biggest Cloud Security Challenge

cloud-regulatory-complianceAccording to a new report by cloud security company CipherCloud, compliance is the single biggest concern for large organizations looking at cloud adoption.

The company surveyed its 100-plus large global customers and found that, for 64 percent, compliance was their top cloud security obstacle, followed by unprotected data for 32 percent.

Of those concerned most about compliance, 58 percent said that cloud services violated data protection laws in their country, 31 percent said they violated internal security policies, and 11 percent said they violated laws against moving sensitive data out of a country.

As a result of the data residency laws in particular, there were significant geographical differences in whether companies opted for encryption or tokenization.

CipherCloud’s technology allows companies to use platforms such as Salesforce, Office 365 and Gmail while encrypting sensitive data and allowing the companies to control the encryption keys. And the encryption mechanism used still allows for some functionality to be preserved, including searching and sorting while the data is still in encrypted form.

However, some countries don’t allow even encrypted data to leave their borders, and the solution there is tokenization, where the data is replaced by a random string of characters based on a look-up table retained by the company. However, this approach preserves less functionality.

In North America, tokenization is used for 15 percent of the data, while customers in Europe and the Middle East opt for it for 22 percent of protected fields, and Asia Pacific takes the lead

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Cloud Lives Up To The Hype

cloud-computing-hype-enterpriseA recent survey by communications and enterprise IT service provider Tata Communications found that enterprise organizations with more than 500 employees saw tangible benefits to their cloud computing efforts.

The survey results included 85 percent of the respondents saying that the cloud had lived up to the industry hype, while 23 percent said it had exceeded their expectations.

According to the global survey, 83 percent of the enterprises felt they had experienced benefits they didn’t expect to see. The highest-ranking benefits cited by respondents included: increased productivity (69 percent), better access to data (65 percent), and reductions in costs (63 percent.)

“This independent research shows that the cloud has exited the hype cycle and entered the real adoption phase for businesses globally,” said Julie Woods-Moss, CMO and CEO of next generation business at Tata Communications. “It is now a strategic investment and a competitive differentiator.”

The results also said that by 2014 off-premise storage will have overtaken on-premises options. On average, enterprises were forecast to have 58 percent of their computer and data storage located in the cloud in 10 year’s time compared with the current 28 percent.

On the private-cloud front, when asked how much of their IT provisions would be stored in a private cloud specifically by 2024 respondents predicted 52 percent. By contrast, 94 percent of the respondents said they would be more likely to adopt a hybrid-cloud computing model if connections with the public cloud were more predictable.

The research also suggested that

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Risks Of Shadow IT

shadow-IT-risksAs bank executives continue to debate, hesitate and worry over the security issues related to using applications that connect to the cloud, their employees are using cloud-based apps by the hundreds — often without banks’ knowledge.

The average bank had 844 cloud services in use throughout its network in the third quarter of this year, according to an analysis conducted by Skyhigh Networks, far higher than bank IT departments estimated.

“If you did a survey where you asked the financial services companies themselves [how many cloud services they use], the answer would be somewhere between 32 and 34, because you approved those,” said Rajiv Gupta, CEO of Skyhigh, which provides cloud security software.

The gap is because many employees are quietly downloading cloud services like Dropbox and Gmail, in the interest of being more productive, while a bank’s IT department is not even aware it’s happening or the potential security problems that could result. Indeed, many IT departments distrust cloud services because they do not view them as secure.

“There’s a big disconnect, and it’s frightening,” said David Albertazzi, who is senior analyst, retail banking and payments at the Aite Group. “It’s not so much about cloud computing. It’s about a failure in vendor risk management programs and overall risk assessment of the institution.”

Vendor management can often be overwhelming. Many banks deal with 500 to 1,000 venders, but only a handful are considered mission critical. But Albertazzi said it’s important that all vendors be included

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Five Steps To Implement Cloud Computing

steps-implement-cloud-computingCloud computing is no longer just the realm of experimenters. Research suggests about 86 per cent of Australian companies now use a cloud service of some type, while the rest are more than likely to deploy a service in the coming years.

Companies are finding cloud services provide the agility, flexibility and scalability they need to reduce the cost of doing business, or even completely changing the way they do it.

Although cloud services are now ‘business as usual’, each organization is at a different stage in their transition to these services. Though some companies may have already put everything and the kitchen sink on the cloud, others are still dipping their toes in the water.

At each step of the cloud journey, there are significant business decisions, obstacles and potential pitfalls that companies must consider. Here are some of the most popular steps and their considerations.

Test & development

A company’s development environment is an obvious candidate to move from in-house servers to the cloud. Due to its quickly–changing nature, the ability to rent a virtual server for hours at a time to test an application in a variety of operating systems and environments is vastly superior to purchasing bespoke hardware that may only be used for a short amount of time.

The risk is low, too, and allows IT departments to get their first taste of cloud services, and how to establish them. For many companies, this has been a business case for several years

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When Cloud Computing Goes Wrong

cloud-computing-failure-outageTechnical things go wrong. So what should businesses think about to ensure reliable and consistent operations with an added layer of complexity? The first step is recognizing that things will go wrong. Whether operations are in an in-house data center, an external commercial collocation data center, or in a hybrid cloud arrangement with workload split between in-house and cloud, the principles are the same.

Cloud Isn’t New

No matter what marketing would have us believe, cloud is not a new concept. It is simply remote hosting of some or all of the workload in a data center, and is not dissimilar in principle to 1960’s time-sharing services. The difference between 1964 and 2014 is the speed and data capacity of fiber optic cables, which open up a whole host of new possibilities to business owners.. But the principle remains the same as do the principles of resilient design. As some or all of the workload can be hosted remotely, the most critical new consideration is the communication between the user and data centers where cloud operations take place.

Securing The Right Data Partner

It is important that businesses choose a high quality data center, with strong data communications and cloud experience to help minimize risks. Any data center which says it has never had an outage of any sort is either too new to have a track record or is not training its sales staff to be honest. Even major players, with more money to

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Clientless VDI In Healthcare

healthcare-clientless-VDIThe entire architecture around the modern endpoint has changed. This is truly become evident within the healthcare field. Associates, doctors and administrators are all processing healthcare information in completely new ways. IT consumerization and mobility have certainly played a big part through all of this.

The evolution of the healthcare environment, however, is never truly complete unless we take a look at security considerations. How has the endpoint evolved to simplify security? How are we delivering workloads and applications much more efficiently? Finally – how has virtualization created the next-generation endpoint environment?

In working with some of the country’s largest healthcare providers – we’ve see a new trend evolve. IT and security directors are looking at desktop and application virtualization from a new perspective. We’re going from virtual desktop delivery – to virtual “workload” delivery. The difference? The desktop doesn’t really matter.

You’ve got an employee workstation with a nurse who just signed in. She’s using a Sasmsung Chromebox where she has direct access to:

– Web applications
– Legacy applications
– Cloud storage and data
– Windows desktops
– Windows applications

Here’s the amazing part – she doesn’t need a single client to launch any of this. Technologies from both Citrix and VMware are now enabling the direct use of HTML5 solutions. Citrix, for example, allows you to deliver entire applications and even desktops through a browser. A user is presented their resources through a unified web portal, and then a new tab is simply

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SMBs Struggle With Data Protection’s Rising Complexity

A survey of 401 global small and midsize businesses (SMBs) conducted by IDC on behalf of data protection specialist Acronis found that IT organizations are struggling with backup and recovery, thanks to the rise of virtualization and cloud computing. Backup and recovery becomes more problematic with each new platform added. Most IT organizations now routinely run multiple types of hypervisors in and out of the cloud, but these platforms are increasing the cost and complexity of backing up and recovering data, the study found. In addition, the cost of downtime is on the rise and expectations for both recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives are tightening. The result is increasing pressure on IT organizations to seek outside assistance from solution providers in the channel. Here’s a look at a few key takeaways from the research:







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The Need For Speed And The Cloud

Need-For-Speed-cloud-computingThere can be a tendency to think too simplistically about the benefits of moving applications to the cloud. Traditional logic centres around the cost savings that companies can make out of the shift from on-premise deployments but there is another, more important element of the cloud that should be given more credence – speed. The need for speed amongst enterprise organisations is critical, and, with growing understanding and competence, enterprise organisations are harnessing the potential of operating mission-critical applications in the cloud.

More Than Meets The Eye

When thinking of speed and the cloud, raw compute power tends to immediately spring to mind. The cloud can provide an environment where existing applications can run up to seven times faster than they would on-premise, giving enterprises the chance to work in real-time, completing tasks in minutes that would otherwise have taken hours. But in fact this is one of the least important benefits of speed that cloud can bring, there are more types of speed in cloud computing that large businesses can take advantage of.

There is an increasing level of knowledge around cloud that means that the key question is no longer “should we follow the cloud model?” but “how can cloud computing best serve the business’ needs”. What are the significant improvements to business performance? This is where the other layers of speed come into play. The speed of deployment is the first key factor to consider. New and existing applications can be

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Sunny Forecast For Clouds

cloud-computing-forecastImprovements in hardware, software, and networking have combined with the secular trend toward outsourcing to usher in the era of cloud computing. The economies of scale offered by remote data centers managed by third parties allow enterprises to offload or outsource some or all of their computing and storage workloads. Cloud adoption is particularly cost-effective for smaller and midsize users that lack the capital, manpower, or expertise to build and maintain their own data centers.

Startup costs for a data center include real estate, power, software licenses, servers, specialized infrastructure (racks, HVAC, raised floors, fire suppression, and so on), networking equipment, IT professionals, and recurring maintenance and upgrade costs that would start at tens of thousands of dollars for a small on-site data center to tens of millions and higher for a large facility. Users that periodically experience extremely high computing workloads also find it effective to use cloud services for those peak loads (retailers during holiday times, for example), rather than building and maintaining IT infrastructure that would lie dormant for long periods. Finally, the third parties that build and maintain cloud data centers have purchasing power, scale, and expertise that are unavailable to most users. As a result, these third parties can pass along some of the cost savings from their equipment and staffing spending to their customers. Increased competition among the third-party data center providers has resulted in price wars among the major vendors even as their services and

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