Atlantic.Net Blog

5 Security Tips for Cloud Computing

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.

Atlantic.Net offers HIPAA compliant cloud storage solutions. Contact us today for a consultation.


What is Server Load Balancing? The Function of a Load Balancer

Kent Roberts September 10, 2013 by under HIPAA Data Centers 0 Comments
English: SMLT mesh with nine 1Gig paths (all c...

Lets get technical: Nine 1Gig paths (all connections active and load balancing traffic) 9Gb/s full duplex mesh providing 18Gb/s of bandwidth between core switches. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reliability of a system is measured in uptime, the percentage of time throughout a given window that a site is up and fully operational.  Network reliability and high uptime figures are crucial to keeping users happy. One important way reliability is enhanced is with redundancies – safeguards so that if anything fails, the client still won’t experience a problem. A strong system will always have multiple redundancies in place.

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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 Illiteracy?

Adnan Raja August 12, 2013 by under VPS 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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Cloud Advisory Council One-Year Anniversary: Mission Overview

English: Diagram showing overview of cloud com...

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing including Google, Salesforce, Amazon, Axios Systems, Microsoft, Yahoo & Zoho

At Atlantic.Net, we hold various certifications (such as SSAE 16, Type II), titles (such as Official Server Host of Disaster Recovery Journal), and organizational memberships (such as the Cloud Advisory Council). Our history of Atlantic.Net accolades and achievements is not just an effort to show credibility. Integrating ourselves with the hosting world, general IT world, and overall marketplace helps us learn and grow synergistically with expertise from our industry and all walks of life.

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The History of Cloud Computing

Believe it or not, the concept of cloud computing technologies has actually been around since the mid-1990s; back then, it had a more complex name: “on-demand infrastructure.” How has this technology evolved over the past two decades to become the immensely powerful phenomenon it is today?

From basic web server architecture to simple database management and from less-than-technical email applications to minimal disk space, the original web hosting services we born around the 1990s and exploded in popularity during the dot-com era (1995-2001). Some of the earliest shared hosting companies included ValueWeb, Interland and HostGator.

The first shared hosting solutions offered multi-tenancy capability, automated provisioning, a monthly billing cycle and an easy-to-use interface for maintaining resources. However, these solutions did not inherently provide infrastructure on demand, resource-size flexibility or scalability. It was a simplistic offering but helped to create the foundation for the cloud hosting industry.

Around 1998, virtual private servers (VPS) arrived on the scene. By offering some more flexibility and administrative root access, VPS solutions offered a significant step up from shared hosting capabilities of the past.

Early VPS hosting companies provided servers that offered occasional infrastructure on demand, slight resource-size flexibility, multi-tenancy, automated provisioning and the convenience of monthly, quarterly or annual billing cycles.

For businesses that needed stricter security measures and more stable resources, dedicated hosting solutions that were developed soon after the release of VPS did the trick. These servers offered more power along will complete administrative access and control of server resources.

These dedicated servers did not provide multi-tenancy, network flexibility or scalability. However, providers supplied both managed and unmanaged dedicated hosting options, giving customers the ability to choose between relying on professionals to maintain the architecture, or employing an IT department to handle it.

The launch of Amazon Web Services in 2006 really began to change the industry. Between 2007 and 2010, several managed hosting companies developed and released a more scalable and more virtualized Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering. Today, this is referred to as grid/utility computing.

IaaS providers offer computers—whether physical or virtual—and other resources to customers. The earliest providers of utility computing included Layered Technologies, NaviSite and Savvis. These hosts offered infrastructure on demand, partial resource-size flexibility, multi-tenancy, occasional automated provisioning, partial scalability, a monthly, quarterly or annual billing rate and a slightly easy-to-use interface.

As discussed before, the development of Amazon’s Web Services really kicked things off in the way of cloud computing. In fact, the AWS system transitioned from a grid/utility computing model and moved toward what we can only call “Public Cloud Computing 1.0.”

Between 2008 and 2009, developers and startup hosting companies alike had the ability to compute and store data like never before, and, with time, they were able to eventually scale this data and infrastructure resources at a whim. Along with Amazon, Rackspace Hosting was the main component of this transition.

Cloud servers infrastructure on demand, partial resource size flexibility, multi-tenancy, automated provisioning, slight scalability, hourly billing (the first of its kind!) and a fairly easy-to-use interface.

The introduction of hourly billing in cloud computing 1.0 was a big deal, for both providers and customers. This model gave customers the ability to pay what they really should—not some previously agreed-upon subscription price. By narrowing the billing down to the hour, customers saved money, and this made them happy.

Today, we are witnessing a progression into the Cloud Computing 2.0 era. The next generation of cloud computing will need to be easier, more flexible and billed based upon a true utility model (like that of electricity and water) in order to provide customers with the services and products they need.

Current cloud 2.0 companies, such as Atlantic.Net, offer infrastructure on demand, fully customizable resource-size flexibility, multi-tenancy, applications on demand, network flexibility, automated provisioning, complete scalability, billing down to the minute or second and a simple drag-and-drop interface control for ease of use. Sure, cloud computing 2.0 companies are offering services that speak truer to the definition of the cloud than ever before, but we’re still not quite there.

In the future, the Cloud and the technologies serving as the backbone of the Cloud will need to cross the metaphorical river of development to attract a wider audience beyond that of organizations and enterprises. Small successful startups are driving innovation today, and cloud computing will need to become more saleable, more flexible and more based upon a true utility model in order to drive this innovation even further.

Since 1994, Atlantic.Net has stayed above the competition to fuel innovation and move technologies to new environments never previously imaginable. As the technology continues to evolve from 2.0 into 3.0 and beyond, you can rest assured knowing that you are relying on the most up-to-date architecture and standards in the business.

To learn more about the Atlantic.Net business model, see our full line of one-click cloud applications and to see how transitioning to a cloud hosting service can help transform your business, contact us today.

We also offer HIPAA cloud hosting solutions – contact us for a consultation.



A Broad View of Redundancy

Eddie July 26, 2013 by under HIPAA Disaster Recovery 0 Comments

 

No one wants to be redundant in conversation, but everyone wants a redundant network. Redundancy allows your system to keep operating smoothly even if something goes wrong. By creating additional instances – through active-active or active-passive networking mechanisms – you can make your network more solid and less prone to being knocked offline due to failure. Redundancy of HLR, case: two HLRs, both are active, every HLR uses half capacity for own data and a half for backup of data of second HLR.

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