HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage

Is Cloud Hosting the Future of Business?

It’s often difficult to tell if a technology is really taking hold, or if news of its trendiness is mostly industry chatter of businesses that are invested and trying to sell their biased perspective. Is cloud the future, or is it just hype?

  • What is Cloud Computing or Cloud Hosting?
  • How Fast is the Rise of Cloud, Especially IaaS?
  • Pros & Cons of Cloud
  • Strong Cloud Hosting for Your Business

When you search for “cloud computing” on Google, you get 74 million results. Compare that to “dedicated server,” which has only 569,000 results. That gives you a sense of the massiveness of this tech concept. Of course the cloud transcends the datacenter to be a major topic in consumer computing, such as iCloud storage, as well.

To what extent, though, does cloud go beyond being a trend? Is cloud hosting the future of business? Let’s look at what cloud computing is; forecasts on its growth; and pros and cons of this form of computing.

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5 Ways Cloud Big Data Solves Business Challenges

Over the first half of this decade, big data grew massively in business. During the second half of the decade, we’re seeing a global migration of big data to the cloud. Here is why that transition is happening.

  • The Early Days of Big Data
  • Why are cloud data analytics now pivotal?
  • #1 Argument – More open-source-friendly
  • #2 Argument – Strong focus on ease-of-use
  • #3 Argument – Collaborative approach to analytic challenges
  • #4 Argument – Cloud a good place to assess cloud
  • #5 Argument – Most reasonable location for data pipeline
  • Onward & Upward

The Early Days of Big Data

Every company likes the basic idea of using big data to their advantage. That’s why there has been such a surge to adopt tools to do so. Look back a half-decade ago, and we see enterprises from retail to insurance to telecom all taking forward steps with these initiatives. Those were essentially the early days on the big data frontier. The experiences of those firms, and the developing services of their providers, bolstered the understanding of big data and how companies can work through obstacles.

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Why the Cloud is Now Central to Business Computing

Big companies used to be unsure about the security of cloud. In 2015, there was a noticeable shift as enterprises became increasingly convinced that the safeguards of cloud providers trumped those of their own in-house datacenters.

  • From Worried to Confident
  • Changing Perception Fueling Rapid Cloud Growth
  • Cloud in a Single Step

The affordability and easiness of cloud computing have really never been in question. That’s made it hugely popular among startups and other SMBs, while enterprises have been skeptical about the risk of moving more of their data and systems off-site.

However, times have changed, after big companies began to realize they were falling behind and making their market position vulnerable through their aversion to cloud. Enterprise cloud started to really gain steam in 2015, according to Kevin Kelleher of Time.

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How Can Cloud Computing Make Your Business More Productive?

Everyone in business management wants to leverage the best possible tools to complete tasks simply and affordably. Cloud is such a strong tool for business that failing to fully adopt it has cost the US government billions of dollars. Cloud isn’t just about cost, though. There are many different ways in which the cloud enhances productivity.

  • Cloud: avoid at Your Own Risk
  • A Multi-Billion-Dollar Improvement
  • Why is Cloud Good for Productivity & Growth?
  • Even Faster Cloud

Cloud: Avoid at Your Own Risk

Anyone in business, especially those who own or manage a company, always wants to use the best, most robust tools at a friendly price. One example is cloud-computing environments.

Cloud computing is becoming more prominent all the time, in some cases to the point of being the standard. As an example, industry analysts expect an incredible 90% of mobile traffic to be handled through cloud applications in 2019, up from 81% in 2014, notes Forbes. That may sound like a small amount of growth, but not when you consider that cloud traffic is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 60% between 2014 and 2019.

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What are the Signs that a Company Should Move to the Cloud?

Companies are increasingly moving to the cloud, with 95% now using at least one cloud-based service. Let’s look at three top benefits and how to gauge if it’s time for you to migrate.

  • Is Cloud Worth it?
  • Cloud Benefit: Peace of Mind
  • Cloud Benefit: Scalability
  • Cloud Benefit: Cost
  • Is it Time to Migrate?
  • The Question of Cloud

Is Cloud Worth it?

Did you ever get asked to an event related to cloud and felt unsure if it would be a waste of your time? It’s easy to see the cloud as irrelevant if you have your IT systems already established. The essential thing you need to understand is the extent to which cloud might benefit your business: will it be worth it?

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Advantages of Having a Cloud Server Rather Than Buying Your Own

Increasingly, business is moving from the physical servers of onsite data centers to the virtual servers of the public cloud.

  • Away from On-Premises
  • The Need for Change in Business
  • 11 Advantages of Cloud Servers
  • Switching Your Business to a Cloud Server

Away from On-Premises

The era of companies having their own data centers is quickly drawing to a close. As business increasingly finds its technological home in the cloud, IT departments are having to rapidly adjust. In fact, nearly 2 in 5 small businesses (37%) have completely transitioned to the cloud. There is a lot of growth ahead, though. According to a 2014 report from Intuit, 80% of businesses will be cloud-based by 2020.

There has been a recent trend in which businesses are shifting from capital expenses (CAPEX), the realm of an on-premises datacenter, to operating expenses (OPEX), the realm of public cloud computing. OPEX is the route that more and more companies choose – especially since month-to-month and even moment-to-moment agility has become so valuable to business. Plus, cloud allows you to cut your power usage by optimizing your server efficiency.

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There’s Nothing to Fear in Migrating to the Cloud

More and more businesses are adopting cloud infrastructure and services. However, some people still feel a little nervous about the idea of entrusting their data to an outside entity. Let’s look at why companies are taking this route, along with one executive’s argument that cloud is no longer optional but necessary.

  • 87% Either Using or Open to Cloud
  • Why Businesses are Choosing Cloud
  • Why Cloud is a Secure Necessity for SMBs
  • Secure IaaS Cloud Hosting

87% Either Using or Open to Cloud

Cloud is now a day-to-day part of the modern world. Massive, widely used systems such as iTunes, along with websites and databases of all sorts, use the cloud to allow for reliable real-time delivery, with account accessibility from any device.

Although the cloud has become a part of our lives as consumers, many business leaders still remain skeptical about whether it’s the right choice for their organization. That’s clear from the 2015 Pulse Survey by The Alternative Board (TAB), which found that one-third of business owners have not implemented any cloud solutions for their firms. A smaller percentage, 13%, said that they would not explore the technology for use in the future.

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How to Install Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP) stack on Ubuntu 16.04

NGINX Car by Walker Cahall

NGINX Car by Walker Cahall

Verified and Tested 03/3/15


This how-to will show you how to install LEMP on a Ubuntu 16.04 cloud server. LEMP is a web service stack that consists of a Linux operating system, Nginx (pronounced “engine-x”), MySQL, and PHP. The main difference between LAMP and LEMP is that LAMP uses Apache, and LEMP uses Nginx. LEMP has been gaining popularity in the last few years because it excels in speed and scalability.


A server with Ubuntu 16.04 installed.  If you do not have a server, consider cloud hosting from Atlantic.Net – we even offer specialized cloud hosting like HIPAA-compliant cloud storage solutions.

Installing LEMP on a Ubuntu 16.04  Cloud Server

First we want to make sure that your server is up to date by running the commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Note: Depending on your installation you may need to remove apache2. You can do that by running the commands:

sudo apt remove apache2*

Followed by:

sudo apt autoremove


Installing Nginx on Ubuntu 16.04

To install Nginx, use the command:

sudo apt install nginx

When it asks “Do you want to continue?”, hit Enter.

Start the Nginx service with the following command:

sudo service nginx start

We can now test Nginx by going to your hostname or IP address in your browser’s address bar. If you do not know your server’s IP address, you can run the following command:


You should get a result similar to the image below.

An example of ifconfig showing the IP address

An example of ifconfig showing the IP address

In our example, is the IP address. So in our browser we would go to

You should see a web page that looks like the image below.

This example is the default nginx web page on Ubuntu 16.04

This example is the default nginx web page on Ubuntu 16.04

Now that Nginx is installed, we can move on to installing MySQL.

Installing MySQL on Ubuntu 16.04

Install MySQL with the command:

sudo apt install mysql-server

When it asks “Do you want to continue?”, hit Enter.

Shortly after, a screen similar to the image below will appear.  You need enter a password for your MySQL root user. It should be a strong password.

Insert your secure password for your new MySQL root password

Insert your secure password for your new MySQL root password

Hit enter to continue. Once you have hit enter, a new screen will appear prompting you to re-enter the password you just picked.

Retype your MySQL password

Retype your MySQL password

Now that MySQL is installed we need to do the MySQL secure installation by running the command:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Enter your MySQL root password. When it asks “Change the root password?”, type “N” followed by Enter. The rest of the questions are up to you. For standard installations, you can hit Enter for the defaults. It will look similar to the code box below.


In order to log into MySQL to secure it, we'll need the current
password for the root user.  If you've just installed MySQL, and
you haven't set the root password yet, the password will be blank,
so you should just press enter here.

Enter current password for root (enter for none):
OK, successfully used password, moving on...

Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MySQL
root user without the proper authorisation.

You already have a root password set, so you can safely answer 'n'.

Change the root password? [Y/n] n
 ... skipping.

By default, a MySQL installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MySQL without having to have a user account created for
them.  This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother.  You should remove them before moving into a
production environment.

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]
 ... Success!

Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost'.  This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.

Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]
 ... Success!

By default, MySQL comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can
access.  This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.

Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]
 - Dropping test database...
ERROR 1008 (HY000) at line 1: Can't drop database 'test'; database doesn't exist
 ... Failed!  Not critical, keep moving...
 - Removing privileges on test database...
 ... Success!

Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.

Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]
 ... Success!

All done!  If you've completed all of the above steps, your MySQL
installation should now be secure.

Thanks for using MySQL!


Now that MySQL is installed, we can now install PHP.

Installing PHP on Ubuntu 16.04

Install PHP with the following command:

sudo apt install php php-fpm php7.0-mysql

When it asks “Do you want to continue?”, hit Enter.

For Nginx to work with PHP correctly, we need to edit an Nginx configuration file. In this how-to, we are going to use a simple Nginx config file.

First, we need to move the original configuration file to a new file name. Run the command:

sudo mv /etc/nginx/sites-available/default /etc/nginx/sites-available/default.old

Using a text editor of your choice, we are going to make a file called default in /etc/nginx/sites-available. For nano use the command:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

Copy the following into your text editor:

server {
        listen       80;
        server_name  your_site_name.com;
        root /usr/share/nginx/html;
        index index.php index.html;

        location / {
                try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

        error_page 404 /404.html;
        error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;

        location = /50x.html {
                root /var/www/html;

        location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;
                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
                include fastcgi_params;

In nano, to exit and save, hit Ctrl+x , type “y”, and then Enter.

Since we made changes to the configuration file, we need to restart Nginx, by running the command:

sudo service nginx restart

We are now going to make a simple PHP page to test.

Using a text editor of your choice, we are going create a file called info.php in /usr/share/nginx/html/.

sudo nano /usr/share/nginx/html/info.php

Copy the following into your text editor.


In your browser, you can go to http://Your-Hostname/info.php or http://Your-IP-Address/info.php. As above, in this example, we would use

You should see a web page similar to the one below.

An example of the info.php web page

An example of the info.php web page

Once you are done testing, it is a good idea to remove the info.php file, since it may give a potential attacker information that can be used to craft a specific attack against your server. To do that run the command:

sudo rm /usr/share/nginx/html/info.php

Congratulations, you have installed LEMP on Ubuntu 16.04. Thank you for following this how-to. Please check back for more updates, or take a look at our how-to on Installing WordPress on Ubuntu 16.04!

How to Use the Linux Find and Locate Commands on a Linux Cloud Server

Verified and Tested 2/22/16


The Linux find command allows you to find files or directories using fields such as age, group, name, last modified, size, type, and many others. This is very useful when you’re working on a Linux system which you are not familiar with. We will go over the basic and most commonly used flags you’ll run into in our Find section.

The Linux locate command comes paired with its partner updatedb. The locate command allows you to locate files that contain your searching criteria and displays them out for you. The updatedb partner it has is what keeps the locate command up to date on the files in your system. It can essentially be seen as a directory list and your locate command helps you sort through for locations/files that have what your searching for in the path or name.


A Linux server with find and locate installed. Try our Linux Cloud Hosting if you don’t have one – we even offer HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting and cloud storage. The find command typically comes installed on Linux operating systems by default. If it does not, you can use your operating system’s package manager(yum, apt-get, pkg_add) to install it. Depending on your operating system, locate may be installed as well. If it is not, you can install it via your operating system’s package manager and installing its containing package. This package is typically called “mlocate.”


Let’s Find something!

If at any time you are confused by find and it’s command or you wish to know even more about it, you can bring up its manual with the below command. The manual contains all information regarding using the find command in great detail.

# man find

When using find, you would follow the syntax below.

find [options] [path] [expression]

options: This is optional. You can leave this out most of the time. You can read the manual page for all the options the find command has.

path: This is the directory you want to search.

expression: This is where you place your search criteria for what you want to find whether by name, or size etc.


With the below we will be going over multiple ways on using find.

Let’s find any files named index.html without knowing the directories the files may be in.

#find / -name 'index.html'


/ : This is the “/” directory which causes you to search the entire “slash” directory.

-name : This is the flag telling “find” to search for a pattern, in this case, the name pattern which compares the names of files with your expression.

‘index.html’ : This is the expression you’re searching for.


Now we’ll find a file call index.html in a specified directory.

#find /var/www/html -name 'index.html'


This will cause find to search only the /var/www/html directory for any files named ‘index.html’.


In this example, we’ll have “find” find a file call index.html in a specific directory ignoring the casing of the name.

#find /var/www/html -iname 'index.html'


-iname : This is the flag telling “find” to search for an expression, while ignoring the case of the text.


Now we’ll search and “find” a directory’s name while ignoring the case of the directory.

#find / -type d -iname 'www'


-type d : This tells find to look only for directories, not files. If you change the “d” to “f” you will get the opposite and find files instead.


And now we’ll find every file on the system that ends in .php.

# find / -type f -iname "*.php"


*.php : The * in the expression stands for a wildcard. A wildcard will grab any file it finds as long as it ends with what follows it. In this case it is “.php”


We will continue with an example of finding a file ending with .cgi that has 755 permissions and we’ll ignore the case.

# find / -type f -iname "*.cgi" -perm 755


-perm 755 : The flag ‘-perm’ searches permissions in the directory specified. In our case it searches for files with ‘755’ permissions.


Now we’ll get time specific. We’ll search for files which have been modified between now and 10 days ago.

# find / -type f -mtime -10

(we don't have any)

-mtime -10 : Find any file that’s been modified between now and 10 days ago in the specified directory. As you can see the from 10 days ago til now is signified by the “-” in front of the 10. If you wanted to find anything older than 10 days, you can change the “-” to a “+”. This will have the search only list files that were changed 10 days ago and onward. If you wanted to find a file changed in the last 24 hours, you can actually use “-mtime 0” as it has not been a full 24 hours.


We can find files by size.

# find / -type f -size +50M -size -100M


-size +50M -size -100M : With “-size” you tell find to search by size. In our case +50M which would be files more than 50 megabytes in size. We limit the search with a -100M which means the maximum file size can only be 100 megabytes. You can specify other file sizes such as bytes(c), kilobytes(k), and gigabytes(G). Case does count in this situation as not using the correct notation can lead you searching for the wrong information.


And finally, find can not only be used to search for files or directories, but you can also execute and run commands for each item found. Please note that executing a command while using find can lead to dangerous results if you do not know exactly what you are doing.


# find / -type f -size +50M -size -100M -exec du -lsh {} \;

70M     /usr/sbin/mysqld-debug
84M     /usr/sbin/mysqld
62M     /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-
95M     /usr/lib/locale/locale-archive
65M     /var/log/messages
54M     /var/lib/rpm/Packages

-exec : This flag tells find that for each item found, run the following command

du -lsh : This command prints in a more readily human readable format that size of a file.

{} : This serves as a placeholder. Each time an item is found, the item is placed in place of these brackets and executes the command preceding these brackets. So in the example find will execute a “du -lsh” on it item found.

\; : This finishes the “-exec” statement. You must end every find command containing “-exec” with a ‘\;’ or it will fail.


And that’s the basics of using the Linux command “find”. There are many more flags to explore such as “printf” for output formatting, “max/min depth” which limit how deep find will dive into a directory, and “newer” which compares if a file was modified more recently than another file. Keep using find and soon you’ll be able to “find” anything.


Let’s Locate some files!

Locate in a few ways is like “find” discussed above in that it is another method of searching your operating system to find a file. One of the key differences with locate is that it will discern between a directory or file. It will always look for both. Locate comes paired with it’s partner command “updatedb” which, as it looks like, updates the DB or database of files it has that locate can parse through. Locate will not provide you with full, accurate results unless you run it’s partner, “updatedb” first.

When using locate, you’d want to follow the syntax below.


[OPTION] : Would be any and all options that locate can use. For a full list of the options, you can see the manual page (#man locate).

PATTERN : This is what you would be searching for.


So getting started, lets first run updatedb.


Updatedb will not give any output but will simply drop the shell to the next line once it has completed. Now lets try to locate any .repo file.

# locate *.repo


*.repo : This again is a wildcard search which allows us to find any and all files that end in .repo


You can use locate to find directories as well. In this case, we only want to look for the www directory, so we restrain the search to looking only for “www”.

# locate -b www


-b : This option tells locate only to pull files/directories that contain or end with www and nothing else. The opposite of this is -w which is what locate does by default and will find absolutely anything with your pattern in it.


We can also tell locate to search for a file or directory and ignore any casing.

# locate -bi noindex.html


-bi : The -b option is explained above but this time we tacked on -i as well. -i is what allows you to ignore casing in your search.


Now lets say you want to limit your locate results to only a few. We’ll use the *.repo search early and search for only three results.

# locate -il 3 *.repo


-il 3 : The new tack on this time is -l #. -l tells locate to limit the search to the number of results you put after it. If you use -l, remember to always use it last on your options list if you are combining options or to separate it (in this case -i -l 3) otherwise you will get an error.


Unfortunately locate does not have a built-in ability to execute commands per result found like find does. But like “find” and most any commands in Linux, you can pipe the results to narrow out your results. “find” allows you to do a lot of limiting with the options it provides but locate doesn’t have that innate ability. So to limit our results we’ll “pipe” them to “grep” which is a command that prints lines only for the results containing the pattern given to it.

# locate -i index.html | grep www


| : This is the pipe command

grep www : This limits out the results to only list the results that have a www in them whether in the name or part of the directory.

And those are the basics of the locate command. While it doesn’t have the flexibility that the find command may have, it is another searching tool and doesn’t require you to know much about Linux to use it. There are options to provide more results like -L which will follow symbolic links, -e which only lists files that exist at the time locate is run, and -c which provides a count for how many results are found, and more. The very best thing to remember about using locate is to always make sure that you do an updated before running locate to get accurate, up-to-date results.

What Is File Compression?

Target audience

This article is good for general audiences and provides an introduction to data compression techniques and uses.


File compression is a technique for “squeezing” data files so that they take up less storage space, whether on a hard drive or other media. Many different kinds of software, including backup programs, operating systems, media apps, and file management utilities, use this technique. While the type of source file and the type of compression algorithm determines how well compression works, a compressed set of an average mix of files typically takes about 50 percent less space than the originals. This technology has applications ranging from archives and backups to media and software distribution.


Most compression techniques work by reducing the space redundant information in a file takes up. The more redundancy the compression algorithm detects, the smaller the compressed file becomes. Text files, for example, may have many repeated words or letter combinations that can produce significant compression–as much as 80%, in some cases.

Databases and spreadsheets often also make good candidates for file compression because they, too, typically have repeated content. Conversely, files that have already been compressed, such as MP3s and JPEGs, have low redundancy. Compressing them further yields results only a few percent smaller than the originals–in some cases, they may become slightly larger when compressed, since the compression can add a small amount of management data to the file.

Lossless vs. Lossy Compression

Compression comes in two basic types, lossless and lossy. A lossless compressed file retains all information so that decompressing it restores the original file in its entirety. Most lossless compression algorithms build upon the work Abraham Lempel and Jacov Ziv pioneered in the late 1970s in creating the algorithms that would be called LZ (many subsequent compression algorithms build upon this work, so their names begin with this pattern: LZO, LZW, LSWL, LZX, LZJB, etc.). The algorithm uses an adaptive technique that analyzes the source file for strings of characters that repeat. The larger the string it can find, and the more often that string recurs through the file, the more it can compress the output file. Documents, spreadsheets, and similar other files are often compressed with lossless techniques like these LZ-based algorithms.

Lossy compression can often produce more compact results by discarding data that may not affect the final resolution of the file. Files relying upon human perception often utilize lossy compression, since the source material may have more resolution than we can realistically perceive. For example, a photo in its raw form may take 5MB, but if you want to use it on a web page, using that photo would cause the page to load more slowly. Using an image editor and lossy compression, you might create a compressed version of that photo that is 200KB. It may lose some of the clarity of the original but is still perfectly usable and is far quicker to download.


It is frequently convenient to package many files and/or folders into a single compressed file, such as for emailing a collection of files or distributing a complex software application. This packaged collection of files is called an archive. Some compression programs also let you combine multiple files together, providing the dual benefit of smaller space and archival packaging. Other programs, particularly in the Linux/Unix domain, only handle compression of one file at a time. Archiving usually requires a separate program.

Windows Compression Software

PKZIP, a commercially-available utility program first introduced in the late 1980s, has become a de facto compression standard for the Microsoft Windows environment. PKZIP compresses, decompresses, and allows the creation of complex archives, saving them with the file extension .zip. In recent years, Microsoft has bundled PKZIP technology into Windows, allowing the operating system to automatically recognize and open most zip files. Open-source compression utilities are also available, such as Peazip, 7-Zip, and gzip. Windows has its own built-in software that lets you designate files, folders, and entire drives as compressed, extending the capacity of storage media.

Linux Compression Software

Linux has several different useful utilities for file compression, such as bzip2, gzip, and xz. These utilities are single-purpose and compress single files only–they do not by themselves create archives. The tar package (from “Tape ARchive”) often does archiving in conjunction with other utilities. Linux, like Windows, uses the combination of compression and archiving to reduce the space some files (such as log files) take up.


File compression lets you pack more data into a given amount of storage space. In addition to saving space on hard drives and other media, compression can dramatically improve the speed of file downloads. The technology is available as an integral part of most modern operating systems or as stand-alone programs.



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