Author: Adnan Raja

How BYOD is Changing Technology in the Workplace

Adnan Raja October 17, 2013 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Without a doubt, you probably own a smartphone, tablet or laptop. You may also own two or all three of these devices. With the introduction of smarter mobile technology comes smarter ways of conducting business, and companies are beginning to see the correlation and implementing its benefits like never before.

How has the concept of bringing  your own device (BYOD) impacted the corporate world? What benefits can employers reap from the BYOD policy? How does BYOD merge with cloud computing technologies?

What is BYOD?

Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to the policy of allowing employees to bring and regularly use personally-­‐owned mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, to their respective workplaces and utilize those devices to access controlled and privileged company information and applications.

For employers, understanding how the transition to a BYOD policy will affect your business and your employees is extremely vital.

Why incorporate a BYOD policy?

In a recent study conducted by IBM, 82 percent of respondents expect smartphones to play a “critical role in business productivity in the next two years,” and 36 percent of those surveyed deemed laptops critical to overall productivity.

Alone, Cloud Server Hosting and the concept of BYOD offer some real advantages. But when combined, cloud computing and the establishment of BYOD becomes an even more useful means of conducting business.

Sensitive information and the BYOD model. 

Although, the BYOD model is not without its faults: security is one of the biggest objections employers have with the use of personal devices. If a worker’s smartphone, tablet or laptop falls into the wrong hands—whether accidentally or on purpose—employers fear that their sensitive corporate information will fall into those hands as well.

There is hope, however; even if this sensitive information is accessed from an employee’s device, it can still be safe and secure within a cloud environment, and the employee can quickly and easily access the data from their next device. With all vital data stored within a cloud environment, this process is seamless.  Employees will be held more accountable for their personal devices—they don’t want to have to shell out a thousand dollars for a new laptop! Since they’re held more responsible for their devices, they are likely to take better care of them, saving you both time and a headache down the road.

Through the cloud, all storage and data processing occurs on the mobile devices, but the data isn’t actually stored on the employees’ local hard drives, ensuring supreme levels of security.

Mobile device management.

Perhaps you’re worried about these mobile devices obtaining a virus. Mobile device management, a service offered by many of the cloud hosting providers, helps secure worker’s devices from outside malicious attacks by using the cloud as a centralized headquarters. Additionally, mobile device management tools allow IT team members to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices to ensure the security of sensitive information.

Mobile device management tools are extremely important when establishing a BYOD policy because personal devices are viewed by hackers as incredibly easy access points. These tools aid in preventing data breaches that could otherwise bring a company down to its knees.

Other BYOD benefits.

Another benefit of utilizing the cloud for employee’s devices is that it can minimize time-­‐wasting behaviors, such as online messaging, surfing and playing games, as it provides a greater visibility into employee activity. Additionally, some cloud server hosting plans provide URL filtering, which can keep track of the websites employees visit in real time.

Of course, organizations should always maintain open lines of communication with their employees. Discuss appropriate workplace activities when on the business network and provide information regarding monitoring measures in place to ensure productivity. And the open workplace is an efficient one!

As your employees’ devices age, you continue to save money, as you no longer need to shell out copious sums of money maintaining, updating and repairing these devices. There is no need for complex in-­‐house architecture, so there is no need for an extensive IT department. Simply hire a few individuals to maintain day-­‐to-­‐day operations, and you’ll be set.

The cloud enables your employees to store all necessary files and other information in a secure storage center. Since they can access this information from any device in practically any location, they won’t need to waste paper and ink by printing out large documents. If you have ever bought printer ink, you know that this means significant savings!

Conclusion.

Together, the BYOD and a cloud computing solution have the potential to save companies unbelievable amounts of money. Employers no longer need to worry about investing in expensive mobile technology—that responsibility now lies on the employee, although you may want to implement a reimbursement program to keep your employees happy.

Employees love using their own devices, and happy employees mean productive employees. If you have not yet considered the bring your own device method, you may want to think again. When combined with the power of cloud computing, BYOD can maintain a productive, positive workplace.

If you are interested in learning more about how Cloud Server Hosting can help your business, contact Atlantic.Net today. We also offer managed and HIPAA compliant hosting solutions.

 


Security Considerations when Adopting the Cloud

Adnan Raja October 14, 2013 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

The issue of security within a Cloud Server environment may no longer be the issue it once was, but it never hurts to be cautious when incorporating preventative measures into your business strategy. Here are some guidelines for maximizing the stability and security of your information within the cloud.

One of the biggest challenges that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are facing today is learning how to define the appropriate control measures to classify and secure data entering the cloud. There isn’t an official set of rules regarding what information to put in the cloud and what data to leave on a local hard drive, so the details can be pretty ambiguous.

Generally, it is best to view the cloud as a separate environment out of your organization’s control. Your data and applications may not necessarily be protected against malicious attacks to your cloud server. So, it would be best to store very sensitive information, such as tax documentation, employee information and other human resources-­‐related documents on a secure local drive.

Different providers may interpret the cloud in different ways: some may build state-­‐ of-­‐the-­‐art redundant data centers with appropriate security measures while others may build a server on a shelf on a dirty porch. Do your research before you make any agreements with a provider: tour the facilities, read the fine print and talk to others to gain their impressions.

When it comes to the security of your sensitive information, it is best to be extremely cautious. If it’s personally identifiable, don’t put it in the cloud!  If the provider isn’t willing to show you where your server is located, don’t use them! Use rational judgment and your information will remain safe and sound.   Atlantic.Net offers industry-leading Cloud Hosting services as well as managed, dedicated and HIPAA compliant solutions.   Please contact us today!

 


More Healthcare Organizations are Embracing Cloud Computing

As we all know very well by now, A Cloud Server relies on the concept of economies of scale to provide massive resources for storage and computing power to any and all users who sign up for such services. Google’s multitude of services, from Gmail to Hangout, are examples of extremely popular cloud-based applications.

Cloud technology is continuously evolving and improving as new products are released onto the market, but the health information technology industry has already greatly benefited from cloud solutions. In what ways has the healthcare industry used cloud solutions? How will cloud technologies continue to transform the healthcare industry over the coming years?

Resiliency in data security.

According to Greg Arnette, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Sonian, a reputable cloud solution provider, “The cloud infrastructure offers durability and up-time that far exceed what any hospital’s IT department could offer.”

Why is the cloud so much more durable and resilient than in-house architecture? Large cloud service providers have both the monetary and physical resources to build large and secure redundant data centers that place backup, data resiliency and uptime as main priorities.

Since these resources are so powerful and are available in such large quantities, HIPAA compliant cloud computing solutions can be extremely budget-friendly: cloud storage can start at as little as 10 cents a month, even for the most premiere services.

Cloud hosting service providers typically strive for a higher bar of excellence when compared to traditional hosting providers since the technology is newer; this only benefits you as a customer.

Resiliency in privacy.

Obviously, privacy within the healthcare industry is of upmost importance. More often than not, sensitive information in a hospital’s storage room is often separated from the public (and prying eyes) by just a simple door lock.

When data is located in a cloud server, it is a completely encrypted blob that not even the cloud provider has direct access to. Additionally, cloud providers are required to adhere to strict industry privacy standards such as those outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

“The levels of security [in a cloud environment] are much higher than what you see in a local IT department,” says Arnette.

Rapid innovation.

Cloud customers can upgrade or downgrade the services they receive with just a few clicks, with minimal or no interruption to service and at an affordable cost.

Cloud technologies are also evolving at a surprisingly rapid pace. When discussing Amazon’s S3 cloud service, Arnette explains, “In the first five years [of its service] there were ten price drops and fifty new major features. In the last year there were ten price drops and 75 new features.”

Before the cloud was introduced, healthcare providers would be hassled by being forced to install and implement new software on an unforeseeable basis. Now, all they have to do is upgrade with each new major release, which occurs about every two or so years.

Cloud providers are continuously beefing up data processes and implementing new products to improve computing power, thus freeing up in-house IT staff to work on routine maintenance and basic administration.

Mobile applications. 

We are living in an age where practically anything we do or see is powered by mobile applications. And, according to Arnette, “Every great mobile application is backed by some cloud infrastructure.”

When they store all of their data within HIPAA compliant cloud storage, healthcare providers have the ability to access that information anywhere they need to.

By transitioning to a cloud service, healthcare providers will witness greater speed and access to information, ultimately improving the patient’s overall experience and optimizing productivity.

Some major healthcare providers are even developing their own mobile applications to ease patient’s experience with their services. These applications now allow you to check emergency room waiting times, schedule appointments with your general practitioner and even analyze the severity of your symptoms to predict the necessity of an appointment with your doctor.

Developing industry trends.

The ultimate goal of cloud providers is to integrate their products and services into existing architecture, eventually replacing these architectures altogether and empower more people and systems in the long-term.

“Cloud service providers have been good about pushing open formats instead of closed formats, meaning that the structures and file systems employed are open and easily adaptable to,” says Arnette. This makes adopting cloud technologies as a replacement for existing ones much easier, more efficient and surprisingly cheaper.

Conclusion.

It just makes sense to transition to cloud-based services, especially for those within the healthcare industry. The cloud enables them to remove current inefficiencies in their IT infrastructure, improve collaboration among employees, reform the patient experience and increment their IT budget, while mainting it all on a HIPPA Compliant Hosting company.

If you are a healthcare provider and you are curious to learn more about how the cloud can help improve your current practices, give Atlantic.Net a call today.

 


Improving Collaboration with the Cloud

Adnan Raja September 30, 2013 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Years ago, managing projects used to consist of executives overseeing a group of teammates working together to achieve a common goal—a new innovation or improved process. Not anymore!

Now, project management is very much a social system. According to Mattias Hallstrom, author at The Guardian, the social approach to running companies, process and projects are here to stay. And just what is powering these social applications of management? You won’t have to look much farther than the highly popular Cloud Hosting.

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Why the Cloud is Raising Climate Questions

Adnan Raja September 26, 2013 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

As we all are very well aware by now, the architecture behind the cloud consists of extremely complex and technically evolved data centers that serve to store, process and deliver information instantaneously over the Internet.

The cloud also allows users to access information that would have previously been stored locally; instead of being forced to access a critical file from a work computer, employees have access to all of the information they need from their favorite library or coffee show.

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5 Security Tips for Cloud Computing

Adnan Raja September 11, 2013 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Cloud adoption has been growing over the last couple of years primarily driven by cost reduction and speed of adoption. However, according to a survey performed by KPMG, the top barriers to cloud adoption remain to be related to security and compliance.  Data security is projected to remain the most important SLA parameter in 3 years. Fundamentally, the data and network security is about three control objectives i.e. confidentiality, integrity and availability.

Know Where Your Data Lives

Being able to know where your data physically, goes a long way in establishing your cloud security and risk assessment. Some cloud providers could have data centers in international locations and which may be subject to laws and policies of that jurisdiction. The data center location is also critical in evaluating latency impacts on your application that you are communicating with. International data centers often suffer a reduced latency that may pose a risk for your business applications on the cloud.

Have a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan

In 2009, a lightning strike triggered Amazon EC2 outage and the cloud services were offline for about 4 hours as an aftermath. Data backup and availability are critical and one of the main challenges facing the service providers. Take a long term view on your hosting services and make sure that you backup your data at appropriate times to ensure that the customer data is not lost. Understand the risks associated with data availability and disaster recovery issues that may impact your business. Big companies have lost their data due to improper backup procedures and it is one of the growing concerns for moving your services to the cloud.

Understand How Your Data is Protected

Understand and solicit clear information around how your cloud server hosting provider protects your data with encryption and firewall security, especially if you need HIPAA compliant cloud server hosting. Encryption is a must-have on public cloud SaaS solutions and the need to be secure and encrypted. Cloud computing resources should be sheltered with a mandatory inbound firewall. Devise plans for how you are going to monitoring network attacks or hostile system activity even if you are on the cloud. You are only going to be able to understand the sufficiency of your security if your cloud provider is willing to disclose their security practices. Some providers treat the security practices as confidential which can become more challenging.

Third Party Audits: Service Organization Control Reports

Curious if your provider is serious about security? Research to see if they have been audited by third parties to build trust and confidence with the customers. In February 2013, Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released their position paper stating the purpose of SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports for cloud service providers appropriating SOC 2 as the de facto standard for cloud security.   SOC 2 audits conducted in accordance of AT 101 cover controls relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, or privacy. In 2013, the number of data centers and CSPs which underwent a SOC 2 attestation increased by 100% YOY from 7% in 2012 to 14% in 2013. Aside from SOC 2, PCI Compliance, HIPAA Compliance and ISO certifications are important indicators for dedication your cloud service provider has for security.

Hassan Sultan is a partner at Reckenen, which provides accounting and assurance services to privately held companies.  Atlantic.net offers reliable and cost-effective Cloud Server hosting for a wide range of business opportunities.

We also offer HIPAA compliant hosting solutions. Contact us today for a consultation.


Hosting Voice and Data is Beneficial for Small Businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses need to be adaptable in order to stay competitive and grow. The ability to change and adapt due to economic or market changes is a characteristic of a smart business, which allows for economic growth and new opportunities. A fast- growing trend is enabling organizations to move their server infrastructure and telecommunication services to a hosted environment. The rate at which SMB is adapting new voice and data technologies is growing at a phenomenal rate. The trend is to move data and voice into a data center environment, most recently into a cloud or virtual server, commonly referred to as cloud computing or VPS Hosting.

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What is Digital Digital Illiteracy?

Adnan Raja August 12, 2013 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

I know I have become a bit lazy these days in regards to my computing skills.   It’s a housekeeping attitude, if you don’t do it regularly, things start to get murky on your laptop. So what is the problem exactly?  Well here’s where Marc Scott highlights what seems to be a real growing problem… Digital illiteracy:

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