Category Archives: Cloud computing

Email In Security Hot Seat

As technology evolves with the rise of the cloud and BYOD, so does the debate on keeping corporate information secure.

Many companies also require remote wiping capability on employee devices in case they are lost or stolen, plus communication encryption software. They also require employees not to use a single password for multiple sites, and some are forbidding passwords of a single word.

But Parris, who formerly held technical and sales management positions at Boeing Computer Services and founded Intercede, argues that securing email also requires identity management — a system that creates a digital identity for employees and other third parties connected to an enterprise, which will then track, “who is sending which email and information to whom, when and protecting it in transit and at rest.”

Even that will not ensure protection of the email, he said. “It must also be run on a secure platform that delivers tightly controlled policy to enforce data labeling, digital message signing, encryption and checking of the actual content.”

Jeff Wilson, principal analyst for security at Infonetics, agrees that an email management platform would help, since “most people are getting email on [multiple] mobile devices that could be lost, stolen, or compromised.”

But he noted a more basic problem for many companies: “They don’t even have an accurate inventory of devices connecting to their network or a framework for building a security policy and buying appropriate security solutions.”

Since email is the primary method of information sharing, enterprises must keep it secure, “to protect intellectual property and to compete in the global business environment,” Parris said.

Source: Email in security hot seat with rise of cloud, BYOD | Consumerization Of It – InfoWorld.

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Innovations Continue At Symform

 

Symform, a revolutionary cloud storage and backup service, today announced enhancements to its Cloud Storage Network that improve the performance, security and international capabilities of Symform’s innovative peer-to-peer backup model. The new version accelerates data upload times for large data sets, offers more options for privacy control and supports long file path names and international characters. These features are in direct response to the global adoption of Symform’s Cloud Network by small and medium businesses in 150 countries and the continued explosive growth of digital data needing to be protected and stored.”At Symform, we are constantly searching for new and better ways to serve our fast-growing global customer base by offering a solution that is widely accessible and more affordable than costly, traditional cloud storage models,” said Praerit Garg, president and co-founder of Symform. “We take pride in offering the industry’s first decentralized cloud back-up and storage solution, and are continuing to innovate and perfect that model with each new release.”In a recent Symform survey, respondents overwhelmingly cited the cost of cloud storage as a top concern, particularly among resource-strapped small and mid-sized businesses SMBs. Symform offers a dramatic alternative to traditional ‘data center-reliant’ cloud storage models, using a peer-to-peer network of contributors and consumers that keeps costs to a minimum while ensuring the highest levels of security and reliability.

Source: Symform Continues to Innovate Cloud Storage Network and Peer-to-Peer Model With Faster Data Backup and Enhanced Security & Privacy | Virtual-Strategy Magazine.

One of the keys with technology is to improve and enhance while remaining secure and reliable.  It looks as if Symform is doing that while also keeping their service cost-effective.  Check the source to see what innovations came with the latest release.

 

Ticketmaster Books a Private Cloud with Cisco

The third largest e-commerce company in North America is moving much of its operations to the cloud.

Live Nation Entertainment, which operates online ticket sales site Ticketmaster and three other entertainment-related businesses, is clouding up its Ticketmaster and Live Nation Concert and Network operations to achieve the efficiencies of virtualization and speed time-to-market with new offerings. The company is in the very early stages of its private cloud implementation, however, so efficiencies are currently difficult to quantify.

But it’s a sizable undertaking. Live Nation has 7,000 employees in 153 offices spread across 18 countries. Its revenue in 2011 was $5.4 billion, of which Ticketmaster accounted for $1.56 billion and other Live Nation operations $3.8 billion.

Source:  Ticketmaster Books a Private Cloud with Cisco CIO.com.

It will be interesting to see the efficiencies once the implementation has been completed.

“Cybercrime moves to the cloud”

Proof that there is always risk with technology despite advances.

The same flexibility and freedom companies get from having their software and services hosted in the cloud is enabling cybercriminals to conduct highly automated online banking theft — without doing much of the necessary information processing on their victims’ own computers.Security and privacy experts have long worried that criminals would launch attacks on the servers storing the data in cloud environments. But, a report released this week from McAfee and Guardian Analytics shows that criminals are now using the cloud infrastructure itself to get more capability out of their campaigns.”They are leveraging the cloud,” Brian Contos, senior director of emerging markets at McAfee, said in an interview. “This is the first time we’ve ever seen this.”

Read all the details:  Cybercrime moves to the cloud | Security & Privacy – CNET News.

Google Docs goes offline

Great news if you use Google Docs.

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

The Google word-processing service is a Web-based alternative to programs such as Microsoft Word. Because Google Docs is a Web-based service, people who use the application have not been able to use it unless they have an Internet connection. But now that will be changing. And people will now be able to work in Google Docs on airplanes and other places where a Web connection may not be available.

Google said that other services, like Google Presentations and Spreadsheets will soon go offline as well. The company demonstrated how the offline Google Doc feature worked in Chrome.

via Google Docs goes offline | Internet & Media – CNET News.

New Network+ Exam Strengthens Objectives

It’s that time again where CompTIA updates its’ Network+ exam.

CompTIA released its updated CompTIA Network+ exam (English only, initially) on Dec. 1. The revised Network+ objectives address virtual networking and give increased attention to network security and coverage of the seven-layer OSI (Open System Interconnection) model. Click here to download a breakdown of exactly what is covered on the new exam.

Here’s what ComTIA’s research showed:

CompTIA research on US Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) found that network efficiency and robustness were among the top items SMBs plan to address immediately, paving the way for other strategies such as cloud computing or unified communications.

Forty-eight percent of server technicians surveyed by CompTIA say that deeper networking knowledge is required when supporting servers in a cloud environment.

Among server technicians and managers of server technicians, 28% say that virtualization is a current focus, but 60% say that it is becoming a larger focus.

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Hackers to expand cybercrime activity

After a successful 2011 by those who exploit cybersecurity for a living, consumers and businesses need to be mindful of these potential security issues in 2012 according to security software provider Cenzic.

Top Cybersecurity Issues and Themes for 2012

1. Social Networking Threats Social networking security threats will continue to persist, but login information won’t be the target for hackers. Instead, hackers will use social networks like Facebook to mine the data of company employees. Using this information, cybercriminals will devise more sophisticated phishing attacks in order to infiltrate corporate environments to steal private data.

2. Mobile Threats Digital wallets will gain greater acceptance in 2012, making them a bigger target for hackers. Most mobile phones have built-in safeguards against data theft, but improvement is needed in the way mobile-payment information is transmitted from mobile phones to the Web. The expansion of mobile apps with potential security flaws will also lead to increased risk.

3. Cloud Threats Cloud technology has transformed from a buzzword into reality. As the growth rate continues in 2012, hackers will focus on companies storing data in the cloud. Organizations that hand off customer data to cloud providers will find themselves most at risk.

4. Cybercrime Policy For Victims Companies will face additional scrutiny from legislature designed to make disclosures around cybercrime a priority. New laws will be made to give businesses strict guidelines for disclosing when they have been hacked, the type of data stolen, and what their customers need to do to protect themselves.

5. Hacktivists Mature More hacker groups like Anonymous will begin to ally themselves to political causes. As protesters march for and against causes in the real world, hackers will form “digital marches” that cause chaos for their opposing parties.

These are just five area of concern.  What additional  ways do you think hackers  will “take advantage of” to gain access to business and consumer information?

 

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“Private cloud” skills

Diagram showing three main types of cloud comp...

Image via Wikipedia

Great piece over at the CompTia blog regarding the “private cloud”:

What is the “private cloud?” Well, it’s where the IT department is where the company itself provides all of the cloud-based services, but from within its own firewall. Remember when the term “Intranet” was coined to describe how IT could provide the best Internet-based services behind the firewall? Private cloud computing is basically the same sort of approach. Again, some folks think that private cloud computing is an oxymoron. Like Eric Knorr over at InfoWorld, I think the definition of the “private cloud” is a bit fuzzy, but it’s worth talking about.

The private cloud involves virtualized services offered as a service independent of any single hardware platform, usually through a Web browser. When offered privately, cloud services remain behind the firewall, and they are offered on a metered basis. This means that the IT department becomes the “X as a service” provider.

As well as skills that one should have to be an expert in the “cloud”:

If you want to become a private cloud computing expert, check out the following skills you should learn:

  • Understand business issues, including the concepts of the Service Level Agreement (SLA), and chargeback. Yes, chargeback. Yeah, it’s kind of a weird word. The first time I heard it back in 1997, I thought someone was talking about some sort of new defensive lineman position for the NFL. Basically, chargeback means metering services and then charging departments, making your IT department a business within your business. This way, your IT department becomes less of a cost center and more of a revenue generator, in a sense. Pretty cool idea if you can get it to work.
  • Know how to read a bill from a cloud provider, no matter which side of the firewall it comes from. From the people I’ve talked to, the numbers change pretty radically
  • Learn virtualization.
  • Get some consulting skills.

 

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Dump IT assets and move to cloud?

An interesting prediction by Gartner.

Cloud computing will become so pervasive that by 2012, one out of five businesses will own no IT assets at all, the analyst firm Gartner is predicting.

The shift toward cloud services hosted outside the enterprise’s firewall will necessitate a major shift in the IT hardware markets, and shrink IT staff, Gartner said.

“The need for computing hardware, either in a data center or on an employee‘s desk, will not go away,” Gartner said. “However, if the ownership of hardware shifts to third parties, then there will be major shifts throughout every facet of the IT hardware industry. For example, enterprise IT budgets will either be shrunk or reallocated to more-strategic projects; enterprise IT staff will either be reduced or reskilled to meet new requirements, and/or hardware distribution will have to change radically to meet the requirements of the new IT hardware buying points.”

If Gartner is correct, the shift will have serious implications for IT professionals, but presumably many new jobs would be created in order to build the next wave of cloud services.

But it’s not just cloud computing that is driving a movement toward “decreased IT hardware assets,” in Gartner’s words. Virtualization and employees running personal desktops and laptops on corporate networks are also reducing the need for company-owned hardware. (Source: InfoWorld)

Check the source link above to see other Gartner predictions.

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Securing Gmail

Google Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

The best way may be encryption.

Well, if you want to take a significant step in keeping prying eyes away from your electronic correspondence, one good encryption technology that predates Google altogether is worth looking at. It’s called public key encryption, and I’m sharing some instructions on how to get it working if you want try it.

Unfortunately, better security typically goes hand in hand with increased inconvenience. But some human rights activists who used Gmail right now likely wish they’d put up with a little hardship to help keep hackers at bay. I’m not going so far as to recommend you use e-mail encryption, but I think this is a good time to take a close look at it.

Just be prepared for a major drawback.

Weighed against the encryption advantages of privacy and message signing is the fact that you’ll lose access to service you may like or depend on.

When you see an encrypted e-mail in the Web-based Gmail, it’s gibberish. Google doesn’t index it, so Gmail search doesn’t work. And the strong points of cloud computing–reading your e-mail from your mobile phone, your friend’s computer, a computer kiosk on the airport–isn’t possible. You’re once again anchored to your PC with the encryption software installed. (Source: CNET)

In the end it all depends on the importance of the data.

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