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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

 

Cloud risk assessments critical to keeping resources safe

Friday, May 3rd, 2013 by

As businesses around the world continue to pursue mobile, social and cloud computing technologies in an effort to improve operations and stay competitive, more organizations are falling victim to sophisticated digital threats that are being reengineered with next-generation infrastructure environments in mind. To keep mission-critical resources safe, decision-makers will need to be vigilant and implement innovative solutions to reduce risk.

Cloud risk assessments critical to keeping resources safe

Cloud risk assessments critical to keeping resources safe

Unfortunately, the cloud risk landscape is not standardized, meaning organizations are often on their own when it comes to assessing and guarding against potential threats. A recent TechTarget report highlighted how a variety of consulting agencies have come forward during the past several years with documents containing information about the potential cloud threat landscape, although these resources may not provide companies with all the information they need to truly mitigate risk.

Understanding cloud security risk assessments
Enterprise executives need to develop a robust cloud risk assessment framework if they are to migrate mission-critical resources to the hosted environment without exposing those assets to malicious cybercriminals who are targeting the private sector with more enthusiasm than ever. For the most part, Cloud service providers are aware of the expanding threat landscape, however, and have adjusted their offerings to make them more defensive against problems, TechTarget said. Still, the overall risk of doing anything digital is growing, forcing companies to take initiative.

To begin, IT directors should develop a model that defines potential risks and the relationship between those incidents and the data center, the news source stated. This is an important first step because it enables decision-makers to understand what potential threats are associated with using a particular cloud infrastructure model or solution. This approach also allows IT managers to evaluate the residual risk after any controls have been implemented to reduce challenges.

Because every organization is different, each will have its own unique definitions and problems to be on the lookout for. Retailers, for example, need to be aware of payment card industry compliance requirements and how cybercriminals will be on the prowl for financial data. Meanwhile, healthcare institutions must be vigilant when protecting personally identifiable information, as failing to do so will leave existing and prospective patients at risk.

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Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities

Friday, April 12th, 2013 by

In most cases, cloud computing can replace traditional data center infrastructure solutions for less money, making them an affordable alternative for maintaining and potentially improving operations in today’s unpredictable economy. However, these financial benefits are only achieved when decision-makers take the time to plan the deployments carefully and understand the fundamentals of how their organizations carry out mission-critical tasks.

Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities

Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities

A recent InformationWeek report highlighted how many cloud implementations are underutilized, largely because executives impulsively migrate to the hosted environments without first identifying best practices for optimizing the services. This means that many of the cloud’s potential financial opportunities are discarded, making the technology less efficient than it can be.

Several technology evangelists told InformationWeek that cloud vendors love charging less than traditional service providers, as doing so gives them the opportunity to reach new customers and introduce significant improvements to internal operations. When executives over​-provision the hosted services, however, organizations are forced to pay for unused resources, diminishing some of the cost-saving opportunities. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent these challenges.

Ensuring the cloud delivers financial benefits
Understanding and monitoring usage is among the best ways to ensure a cloud infrastructure is able to capitalize on all of the financial perks the technology is widely known for, InformationWeek stated. Decision-makers should not simply pick a random budget and assume each month is the same. Instead, IT directors should observe how the environments are used and whether certain months or time periods require individuals to consume more resources. If a company is using fewer tools than initially expected, executives need to understand why.

In addition to consolidating all cloud services through a single provider, which may qualify for some price breaks, organizations should think about how they can use the cloud to optimize servers, according to the news source. Many cloud vendors today offer automated scaling services, which enable firms to use more infrastructure tools when they are needed and deactivate those same assets when they are not necessary. This means many solutions will no longer be running 24-hours a day, allowing businesses to reduce maintenance expenses.

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Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 by

In the past, small businesses and large enterprises both solely used on-premise data centers because they were the only real technology available for decision-makers looking to improve operations through the use of digital technologies. Today is much different, as many organizations are now migrating massive workloads to external cloud computing environments in an attempt to reduce costs, relieve internal stress and ensure individuals have access to mission-critical resources from virtually anywhere at any time.

Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers

Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers

Yet decision-makers are still unsure which route to take in their deployment of the “next-generation data center.” In some cases, executives will continue migrating operations to external cloud-based environments, while others will keep sensitive information on internal clouds. Others still will adopt a hybrid approach, in which both internal and external clouds are used. The question remains, which method will be the most effective for 21st century companies?

In reality, this question can only be answered when decision-makers understand how their organization works. If an enterprise is pursuing teleworking trends, which enable employees to work from anywhere, the public cloud can introduce significant benefits. Because the hosted environments are managed by a third party, they are accessible via any device from any location. This means individuals in a coffee shop down the street can access the same resources as colleagues working inside the office – if they are authorized to view the same content, that is.

Conversely, if an organization is charged with managing highly sensitive information that can cause substantial problems if released, the private cloud may be a better option. Private services are not multi-tenant environments like their public counterparts, making it less likely that confidential data will be exposed.

Still, companies often take various approaches when augmenting their data center.

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Convincing the Workforce to Get On Board with Cloud

Thursday, March 28th, 2013 by

As the cloud computing market grows, business decision-makers around the world are recognizing the potential benefits associated with leveraging the services in the workplace. By using the cloud, companies of all sizes can reduce costs, improve operations and enhance collaboration between off-site employees, road warriors and the increasingly popular teleworkers. Despite these advantages, some individuals are still hesitant to adopt the cloud, largely because it is unfamiliar territory.

Convincing the workforce to get on board with cloud

Convincing the workforce to get on board with cloud

The cloud represents major change for all businesses, enabling organizations to do more with less. While some companies experience implementation challenges, many of these obstacles are associated with people and processes, not necessarily the technology itself, according to a report by ReadWriteWeb. This means that the cloud is relatively easy to deploy in the workplace – once executives get employees on board.

Overcoming resistance to change can sometimes be difficult. By demonstrating to individuals that the way they currently work is outdated and inefficient, decision-makers may have better luck convincing the workforce that implementing a cloud infrastructure can be extremely effective.

The old ways no longer work
The saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” rings true in the enterprise, as many employees cling to outdated practices, despite the presence of advanced technologies capable of improving efficiency. The emergence of cloud services in particular offers businesses the chance to automate processes and implement new best practices that will augment operations, ReadWriteWeb noted.

Other employees will stick with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” routine, noting that the presence of tools used to improve efficiency doesn’t mean companies have to conform. Unfortunately, the real problems lie with apathy and not doing anything, the news source said. If an organization neglects the cloud, it will become increasingly difficult to stay competitive in today’s economy, especially because that firm will have trouble capturing, storing and analyzing big data – one of the key differentiators between a successful enterprise and one that is doomed to experience challenges.

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Why SMBs love the private cloud

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 by

The emergence of cloud computing has forever changed IT, allowing decision-makers to have more control over their infrastructure than ever before. In the past, teams had to wait weeks for a new application to be developed, tested and launched throughout the company. This delay meant mission-critical tasks may not be completed in time and executives were forced to pay out of pocket for projects that didn’t meet deadlines.

Fortunately, the private cloud has changed all of that by giving internal IT departments more robust administrative capabilities and the ability to perform critical tasks more efficiently without interruption. Today, end users are given the power to manage applications moving between servers without those solutions being impaired or experiencing a decrease in performance, according to a report by the Aberdeen Group.

Why SMBs love the private cloud

Why SMBs love the private cloud

Analysts said this ability to reduce the complexities associated with traditionally challenging tasks has made it easier for firms to compete, reduce costs and meet short- and long-term demands. For this reason, organizations of all sizes are making the migration to the cloud to experience a wide variety of benefits and introduce new growth opportunities.

The current private cloud landscape
The Aberdeen Group said more organizations than ever before have implemented cloud servers and server virtualization. Although only about 40 percent of applications were implemented on virtual servers in 2010, approximately 55 percent were in 2012. In many cases, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are deploying the cloud more than larger enterprises because the hosted technology gives the former group the unique ability to gain a competitive advantage over rival firms that have more exhaustible resources.

A separate report by IDC noted that spending on global private cloud computing services will increase at a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent between 2012 and 2016, eventually exceeding $24 billion. Organizations are deploying the private cloud to have more choices with access control and resource allocation.

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