Archive | CLOUD Computing

Cloud Computing Provider

Cloud Computing has been a hot buzz word for a while now and is getting hotter and hotter.

I have 3 important suggestions for anyone considering storing their data in the cloud.

#1 Before you spend a single penny with a cloud service provider first and foremost call their tech support and verify you are not stuck in an endless loop of being transferred around and make sure your call is not transferred over seas to India or elsewhere outside of the United States.

#2 Verify the strength of the company and how long they have been in business.

#3 If the provider you choose passes the above tests to your own satisfaction go ahead and sign up and pay for 1 month of service then upload some “test data” then wait a few days then log back in and delete your test data then call their tech support and tell them you accidentally deleted your data and see for yourself how fast they are able to restore your data from a backup.

You may be surprised at how good the  cloud provider you are testing really is or isn’t is or you may be disgusted but it’s your data and you owe it to yourself to test the cloud hosting provide you consider before you store real data on a server located who knows where that you can not physically touch.

I will be testing some cloud hosting providers and will provide a complete rating on my personal experiences later on for my blog readers to see themselves.

In the mean time I wrote an article in 2010 that explains exactly what cloud computing really is.

CLICK HERE to read that article.

Posted in CLOUD Computing, Data Storage0 Comments

Real Security Threats Facing Organizations Everywhere

In our day and age organizations of all sizes from large to small all face real security threats that are not to be taken lightly. Some of the more common everyday network threats network administrators’ deal with on a day to day basis are social engineering threats that are used to trick non technical computer users into downloading malware and other threats such as computer viruses. These threats are not new and are not going to go away. An alarming number of small and medium sized businesses not only in Orlando Florida but everywhere have fallen victim having their neglected computer network being compromised – hacked which leads to many dangerous activities such as data theft, computer network penetration and compromise which ultimately leads to having servers, desktop computers and other devices infected and potentially destroyed. One of the biggest problems I see is lax computer access by not having a computer / network policy in place which easily enables unauthorized users to access data that should be kept under lock and key and not available for all employees to have access to.

This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses in Orlando Florida that may not have the budget to hire a qualified network administrator on a full time basis which leads many small organizations to fall short of having a professional designed, build and properly maintained computer network.

Some other common computer, network, data theft and other cyber attacks are caused by:

Excessive Internal Data Access Privileges:
Employees with complete access to servers and data pose a tremendous internal threat if they turn against the company. So does anyone (including executives) who maintains inappropriate access rights to information after changing positions within a company.

Third Party Computer – Network Access:
Employees of third parties may have access to unencrypted data. Data stored in the cloud can be very dangerous especially for small and medium sized businesses.  If you are storing your data on a cloud do you know where your data is physically located and do you know who has access to your data? I promise you, you are not the only person to have access to your data if it is stored on a cloud. While the physical servers you rent or lease may be owned and operated by one cloud hosting company I can assure you the servers are likely to be housed in multiple data centers or facilities the United States and even overseas and are physically and virtually accessed by many other people which puts your data at risk of being seen, shared and or stolen from you. If you are going to use a cloud I highly recommend you get to know the company that will be hosting your cloud. Ideally if you can afford it would be in your best interest to own your own cloud and have it maintained by a local network administrator that you can meet in person and get to know.

Political Hactivism:
Political motivated hacking is on the rise, as illustrated by organizations such as Anonymous and Lulz-Sec. However, they assert that much of their success comes from finding easy targets, not because of any particular technical expertise. While you may or may not have control over whether you are hacked or not, you can make it far more difficult for an attacker to succeed.

Social Engineering:

Using lies, deception, manipulation and more to gain sufficient knowledge to dupe an unwary company (and any unintentionally yielding employee) is an age old technique. But it’s no longer limited to just the phone; it can be done over a social media network. Posting the details on FaceBook of every aspect of your upcoming “unplugged vacation” may just be the weak link of information that a scammer needs to take advantage of you and or your organization.

Internal Negligence:
Negligence is typically an offense committed by management when “they should have known better.”
Most successful data security breaches have some element of managerial negligence associated with them.

Lack of Transparency in Cloud Service Offering:
Never, never, never leave it up to blind trust that cloud service providers are implementing appropriate security measures and looking out for their customers.  Check cloud service providers thoroughly and as mentioned before, get to know whoever you are considering to be your cloud service provider.
As mentioned before, ideally if you can afford it would be in your best interest to own your own cloud and have it maintained by a local network administrator that you can meet in person and get to know.

Rogue Certificates:
Many whilelisting and application control systems depend on valid digital systems, which basically tell the systems, which basically tell the operating system, “You can trust me, because I am valid.” Using rogue or fake digital certificates that are in circulation, attackers and computer – network hackers can engage in almost undetectable attacks.

Mobile Devices in the Workplace:
A balancing act of convenience versus security, the growing use of personal mobile devices puts organizations at risk and leaves the company vulnerable to attacks. This is an especially sensitive area for companies that have yet to create and enforce a strong “Bring Your Own Devise” policy. Most have not.

Misuse (Malicious or Non malicious):
Misuse of entrusted organizational resources or privileges is exclusive to parties that are trusted by an organization, such as insiders and business partners. This also happens when policies are not clearly defined and enforced. Abuse flourishes when boundaries are not well established.

Physical Attacks:
Tampering, surveillance and a theft can be caused by a disgruntled former employee. Terminated employees who still have their security badges can easily gain access if the badge system was not updated upon termination.

Posted in Blogs, CLOUD Computing, Computer Viruses, Facebook, Malware, Security0 Comments

What is CLOUD computing?

What exactly is CLOUD computing? or CLOUD hosting?

Maybe you overheard  someone mention CLOUD computing or CLOUD hosting and now you are curious?
Maybe somebody you know uses a CLOUD and now you want to know more about CLOUD Computing or CLOUD hosting? Whatever the reason may be you want to know more about this hot topic and we are going to discuss the facts and the myths about CLOUD computing – CLOUD hosting.

So what exactly is CLOUD computing? and how does it work?
Are there any benefits to CLOUD computing? or is it just a bunch of hype?
These are all good questions so lets get started.

The name  ‘CLOUD” is just a nickname or slang for the internet.

CLOUD computing is another word for Virtual Server or Virtual Hosting or Virtual Private Server or Server Consolidation. As you can see this one technology has many different nick names.
Ok so what is a virtual server or virtual web hosting anyways?

First lets make sure you know what a server or web server / web hosting is.
A server is a special computer used to control a network, access control, store data – files, host email, host websites and many other services or roles. A web server or web hosting is a special computer usually stored in a data center which stores your website and must remain connected to the internet 24-7 in order for your website to be visible 24-7.
Most small businesses rent or lease web hosting and pay a monthly fee to host their website.

Years ago before CLOUD computing aka server virtualization came along one physical server would host 1 single website. So if you had 3 websites you would need to have 3 physical servers. Renting 3 web servers is not cheap especially for the small business owner.

Now if you have or had lets pretend and say 3 servers in your office for your business network.
And assuming each of your servers is doing something different such as server #1 is your office file server or primary domain controller and server #2 hosts your companies database and server #3 hosts something else for you.

So now you have a vague understanding of what a server does.
Remember this is a simple explanation of CLOUD computing and is not a technical how to guide.
Detailed information on how to design, configure, manage, etc virtual servers is a long and complex topic in itself.

Server virtualization allows you to combine several servers into one physical server.
So instead of having the 3 physical servers in your office you can have everything combined on 1 physical server using server virtualization technology. Imagine 1 physical server that has several operating systems running at the same time just as if they were  different physical servers. You can reboot one virtual server without rebooting all the virtual servers running on the same physical server. This can also describes as server consolidation.

What are the benefits of CLOUD computing, CLOUD hosting, Virtual servers, server consolidation?
You get the idea there are many names for this.

Some of the many benefits are.

Cost savings
One physical server costs less then several physical servers.
It costs less to share a physical server with others……vs paying to rent an entire web server just for yourself.

Physical foot print – physical space
One physical server uses less physical space then several physical servers.

One server uses less electricity then several servers.
One server does not generate as much heat as several servers.

What are the cons? are there any? One that comes to mind is hardware failure.
If the server physically shuts off whether it be a blown power supply of physical hard drive failure you can count on all the virtual servers shutting down because remember the virtual servers are running on the one physical server.

Before you choose whether or not CLOUD computing is right for you, your website or your office – environment consult with a professional network administrator – computer and network expert that has extensive real world experience with virtual servers AKA CLOUDS. A CLOUD or virtual server may or may not be beneficial to you. There are many technical and financial factors that go into deciding whether or not a virtual server will be beneficial to your business or organization.

We know of one local company located in Orlando Florida that has been specializing in CLOUD computing – virtual hosting since 2004.

Infinitum Technologies, Inc which offers turn key virtual web servers and custom designed CLOUD hosting systems, dedicated servers, server clusters and all kinds of custom server systems and configurations to suite a wide variety of needs from hosting websites, email, databases , remote backup solutions and much more.  Infintium Technologies is really a pioneer in virtual hosting technology and custom virtualized server systems. There are a gazillion hosting companies out there that re-sell or market CLOUD hosting as the new hot technology to have when in fact this technology isn’t new and the only thing new about this technology is the name CLOUD computing.

We have provided professional support to Infintium Technologies when they expanded and setup another network in Orlando Florida. We were there day and night with owners Sean Faircloth and Richard Blundell and know first hand these guys specialize in CLOUD computing, know what they are doing and are serious about CLOUD computing.

So there you have it.
Now you know what CLOUD computing is.

Posted in CLOUD Computing, Servers0 Comments