Posts tagged cloud

Moving your business' data to the cloud can be daunting, so understanding the benefits and security measures of cloud computing services is important.

The Cloud: Understanding More About Its Benefits and Security

Moving your business' data to the cloud can be daunting, so understanding the benefits and security measures of cloud computing services is important.

The cloud is a convenient and cost-effective means of elevating your business’ resource allocation processes.

What Is the Cloud?

“The cloud” is one of those popular tech topics people talk about but can’t always define.  The cloud is essentially a network of servers that does two types of things.  One kind of cloud server stores data and while the other uses its computing power to help applications run.

We all come across the cloud frequently in everyday life, especially for storage.  Every time you use an app like Instagram, a cloud server is what holds the pictures uploaded to your account.  These photos are not saved in your phone’s internal memory, but rather in Instagram’s network of servers.  Dropbox is also an example of a cloud server. Every time you save something on your computer that doesn’t take up your computer’s memory, you are using the cloud.

Other companies like Adobe use the cloud to deliver services.  Previously you could buy the Adobe Creative Suite™ in a physical box.  Now, all of these tools exist in the cloud and users pay a subscription fee to access them in the Adobe Creative Cloud™.

How the Cloud Benefits You

When businesses decide to move their resources to the cloud, overhead costs can be reduced.  Before cloud technology became widespread, businesses would have to purchase hardware and computer applications that lost their value over time.  With the cloud, applications previously downloaded on physical computers are now run and updated through the Internet.

Businesses can also be more flexible with their resources.  The cloud allows them to pay for only what they use since cloud computing is a subscription-based service.  It can also accommodate for businesses that have growing bandwidth demands since cloud capacity can be scaled up and down easily.  This kind of agility makes these services cost-effective and adaptive.

The cloud can make your business more secure in a variety of ways.  Lost laptops are a security breach for companies every year because many of them contain highly sensitive information. Not only that, valuable documents may be lost forever when devices are misplaced.

With cloud computing, you can access files at any time via your Internet connection.  This allows you to remotely wipe the memory of lost devices and not have to worry about information falling into the wrong hands.

The cloud benefits the environment by decreasing your carbon footprint, by reducing unnecessary hardware and only using the required amount of cloud storage.  Even in the digital age where more and more companies are going paperless, sustainability is important.

This image shows three different types of cloud securities, "private," "hybrid," and "public." How secure the cloud is depends on the measures you take to protect your data.

How secure the cloud is depends on the security measures you take to protect your data.

Is the Cloud Secure?

Contrary to popular belief, the cloud is quite secure.  However, it requires you to take measures to personally secure your company’s data.  When businesses “move to the cloud,” it requires that you have knowledgeable security staff that understands what that entails.  Your team must know that the data you are moving is sensitive, and apply end-to-end encryption to the data during both storage and transfer process.

A recent study found that 82% of public databases are not encrypted.  Make sure the cloud provider you are using suits your data needs and has what it takes to keep your files secure. Whatever service you choose, it is still the job of the user to define who can access the data, move it, add data, etc., and how those permissions change with each cloud provider.  Defining these terms is known as Identity Access Management (IAM).

In addition to these steps, it is wise to back up your data in separate fault domains.  Fault domains are basically stacks of servers.  They include features that, in the case of a network failure, make sure only the server with the failure would stop working.  This means you have multiple copies of your data, achieving maximum file resiliency.

Cloud Computing Creates a Level Playing Field

Anyone can utilize cloud computing services since they are inexpensive and require only an Internet connection to access.  It also allows small and growing companies to use enterprise-level technology, and even make faster business decisions than larger, more established companies.

Cloud networks facilitate collaboration from your team members, meaning that they can work and share files with everyone, from anywhere.  Cloud-based workflow applications allow real-time remote collaboration and streamline communication.  Gone are the days of attaching files to emails and ending up with incompatible file formats, and ineffective version-control.

Moving data to the cloud means that even the smallest companies are becoming more globally involved. Since growing businesses can be financially nimble using cloud computing services, they can now disrupt a market dominated by Fortune 500 corporations.

If you need assistance in moving data to the cloud, don’t hesitate to contact Geek-Aid. We’re here for all of your technology needs and computer repair questions.

Is a DNS Redirect Still a Viable Way to Protect Your Website?

If you are using a cloud-based provider for your website security, then the primary line of defense against incoming attacks may be a DNS redirect. It’s the most common practice for keeping your site’s IP address out of the reach of hackers. There’s just one problem. Recent research shows this method is nowhere near as effective as once thought.

What Computer Scientists Have Learned About a DNS Redirect

Those conducting the study found that over 70 percent of the time, the IP address could still be retrieved despite the efforts to hide it with a DNS redirect. Once an IP address is obtained, hackers can produce attacks such as denial-of-service (DoS) and wreak havoc on a website.

The problem is that dedicated in-house hardware, set up specifically to rebuff cyberattacks, is expensive and out of reach for many small- to medium-sized businesses. As a result, cloud security companies are often hired. But these services have now been shown to be lacking when it comes to a genuine ability to keep a website’s original IP from falling into the hands of a skilled hacker.

How the Study Was Conducted

The research was very extensive. Almost 18,000 sites were a part of the study. Five different online security providers were tested. The researchers developed a tool that would automatically try to obtain the IP address of the websites to see if the DNS redirects could stop the attack.

When the research was completed, the results were shared with the cloud security teams. This will allow them to see what went wrong—and to develop more secure defense systems for clients. For now, the important thing to remember is that when you trust your cloud security to a third party, you need to make sure they know what they are doing.

Preventing the IP Address from Being Obtained

The study showed that two things could help prevent attacks from being successful. One tactic was to change the website firewall settings. When traffic is only allowed to the site via the security provider, this delivers additional defense. Second, changing the IP address on initiation with the security provider produces positive results.

In short, protecting a website is a team effort between the site owner and the security company.

Cloud Storage Privacy

Cloud Storage Privacy: Safely Navigating the Cloud

You may have had enough security concerns about your data being stored digitally. Now you know that it’s out there in the cloud, and for many, that is an even greater concern. Sure, we love having access to our saved data from any location and on any device. The tradeoff is privacy vulnerability. How can you improve cloud storage privacy and protect your personal data? Here are a few tips.

First of all, let’s talk about photos. Before you use any app or social networking site, you need to check the TOS to see how your photos are stored and used. Some companies maintain a copy of your photo—even if you delete it from your profile or device. See if there is a setting that disables that function. The same holds true for your device backup. Many backup services such as iCloud, Google Drive, or OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage service) may hang onto copies of pics that you have deleted from your device. Check the settings on your cloud backup. You don’t want that picture you take at the bar over the weekend to end up floating around the web for years to come.

Another major security must for cloud computing is two-factor authentication. This requires something other than just your password (like a security question, or a place to enter a code you request via text) in order to log in. It’s available on most popular services such as Dropbox and those mentioned above. But this is never the standard option, so if you want a second step to logging in, you need to turn the option on from the settings. It’s a tradeoff in convenience for some extra peace of mind.

Finally, stick to the basics. Make sure your passwords are all strong. Maintain a secondary backup for vital data in case the cloud server goes down for your primary service. Finally, don’t put anything in the cloud that you absolutely can’t afford to have hacked. Remember, cloud storage privacy is partly oxymoronic, as nothing is absolutely protected in the digital world.

Protecting Cloud Storage

Protecting Cloud Storage in the Event of a Disaster

Our society is increasingly dependent on the Internet. A lot of people spend much of their time checking email, watching YouTube videos, and networking on the web or interacting with other people on social media networks. Much of online data required for us to use the Internet effectively is stored in what is called “the cloud.” This “cloud” consists of buildings filled with servers that are constantly running. These servers are linked to other sites that have the same setup, and when a disaster strikes—man-made or natural—these connections can be damaged, entirely cutting us off from our daily internet fix. Hence, protecting cloud storage now becomes a priority.

To combat the possibility of these disasters from causing data loss, researchers are looking at the risk to these servers that a disaster holds. Using this data, they are coming up with a formula that can detect danger to a data center and then protect the information by moving it from the affected area to another center in a different location that is not at risk. This information will help networks to have disaster-proof cloud storage.

The key to this change will be integrating wireless and fiber optic connections between servers. These fiber optic cables connect servers over great distances, allowing the different networks to reach each other worldwide. These same cables, however, are more susceptible to damage in a disaster than their wireless counterparts. For this reason, should a disaster destroy the optical connection, wireless connections could protect the data for a time by transferring it to a safer location. If these two types of connections could be used in tandem, it would combine the processing speed of the cables and the range of wireless. In order to accomplish this, researchers are working on an antenna that would create an uncomplicated, fast wireless-optical combination. Using two polarized antennae, they have been able to reach previously unattained speeds. This could also be applied to in-home networks where the signal arrives through a cable and is then dispersed wirelessly.

Protecting cloud storage in the event of a disaster is key to still being connected when most needed, as well as retaining the pleasure and amusement we derive from the Internet.

Go to Top