Archive for June, 2011

Organizations Leveraging the Cloud

In a recent poll by CDW, it found that nearly 28 % of all US based companies are leveraging the cloud, while almost 75% said that their first access to the cloud was through a simple cloud application.

The Cloud Computing Tracking Poll was conducted as a review of the current and future use of the cloud by business organizations and  government offices which was based on a survey of nearly 1,200 IT professionals.

About 84% of the organizations said that they have deployed at least one cloud application, while some others are not aware if they are a part of the users who are in the cloud.

“Many organizations are carefully – and selectively – moving into cloud computing, as well they should, because it represents a significant shift in how computing resources are provided and managed,” said David Cottingham, senior director, CDW. “With thoughtful planning, organizations can realize benefits that align directly with their organizational goals: consolidated IT infrastructure, reduced IT energy and capital costs, and ‘anywhere’ access to documents and applications.”

CDW mentioned that applications most frequently run in the cloud are service applications, such as email or docs, which have about half of the cloud users, file storage has 39 % of users, web and video conferencing has 36 and 32 % respectively, and 34 % of the respondents are the ones conducting online training programs.

Among those currently leveraging the cloud, almost 85 % said they cut application costs by moving to the cloud. On an average, users said, they save 21 % annually on those applications which are migrated to a cloud platform.

“The potential to cut costs while maintaining or even enhancing computing capabilities for end users presents a compelling case for investment in cloud computing,” Cottingham said. “The fact that even current cloud users anticipate spending just a third of their IT budget on cloud computing within five years suggests that before wide-scale implementation, IT managers are taking a hard look at their IT governance, architecture, security and other prerequisites for cloud computing, in order to ensure that their implementations are successful.”

This survey included 150 individuals from various industries who thought of themselves as familiar with their organization’s use of, or plans for cloud computing, a report on the CDW website said.

To learn more about how your organization can leverage cloud applications, visit Nubifer.com.

5 Recommendations to Keep your Personal Data Secure in the Cloud

Apple’s iCloud offering  is additional evidence of the unmitigated flow of data to the cloud. Despite the latest breaches of security at various organizations, including the issues that have affected many Sony customers, more and more of us are casting personal or business assets to the cloud.

Yet many of us remain uneducated about the required steps we should employ to keep our online data safe. Adhering to these five guidelines will go a long way towards aiding the average person keep online threats at a distance.

1. Don’t Take Security for Granted
There are two ways to your online data. One is through the cloud provider’s environment, and the second route is even more potent, and it’s much closer to home. The easiest and most available way for an intruder to get to your online records is through your login credentials. Of course you want the provider to be secure, but don’t let that make you listless about your personal log-in creds.

2. Use Strong, Memorable Passwords
The problem with having complicated passwords is that they are usually hard to remember. Thekey is to start with something notable and then merge it into a strong password — this entails mixing numbers, letters, lower and upper case, and symbols as well. Start with an address, car license numbers, telephone numbers, date of birth. Don’t use your own — use those you know; friends, kids, parents, partners, previous addresses; or old addresses you were at and cars you drove a decade ago. Choose something that can’t be linked to your online personality but always mix it up — half an area code, a name with half of a zip code, parts of an old address. Then add in a $, an !, or an @ sign to mix it up even more.

3. Guard your Inbox
You are going to recycle passwords, mostly for sites where you are not keeping  important information like your credit card numbers, DOB, address or SSN. There’s one place where you should never neglect to use a unique password — your email inbox. Because this is the primary location where all your other logins come back to when you reset a password. This one location is the portal to all your other online personas.

Although it’s a bit of a hassle, you should opt for double-protecting your inbox with a two-factor authentication, which means you have to enter a second password in order to gain access. This is especially crucial if you have a habit of going to malicious websites, you don’t keep your anti-malware software up to date, or you have a habit of failing to identify phishing emails.

4. Don’t Leave the Password Recovery Backdoor Open
Quite often, users take many precautions to protect their personal information but make it very easy to reset their password through the password recovery service. If your user ID is simple to guess (it’s often your email) then do not use something easy to figure out for your password reset, such as your DOB, wife’s maiden name or some other easily accessible piece of personal information.

5. Have an Alternate to Fall Back on
Security is mostly about risk avoidance, and however careful your execution, you can’t eliminate all risk. So give yourself a fallback option. Don’t put all your money in one account, have a separate emergency email address, make sure you’ve got local coffee shop with WiFi you can resort to if your main Internet connection disappears. Knowing that you’ve got a second option if something bad happens helps you remain calm in an emergency, which gives you a better chance of surviving a crisis.

For more information regarding the security of your online data, visit Nubifer.com.

Fujitsu to Deliver First Windows Azure Appliance This Summer

The “private cloud” Windows Azure appliances that Microsoft announced a year ago are here. There’s an August, 2011 ship date slated for the first of them.

Fujitsu, one of three OEMs that announced initial support for the Azure Appliance concept, is going to deliver its first Azure Appliance in August 2011, Fujitsu and Microsoft announced on June 7. Fujitsu’s offering is known as the Fujitsu Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform, FGCP/A5, and will be running in Fujitsu’s datacenter in Japan. Fujitsu has been running a trial of the service since April 21, 2011, with 20 companies, according to the press release.

Microsoft officials had no further updates on the whereabouts of appliances from Dell or Hewlett-Packard. Originally, Microsoft told customers to expect Azure Appliances to be in production and available for sale by the end of 2010.

Windows Azure Appliances, as initially described, were designed to be pre-configured containers with between hundreds and thousands of servers running the Windows Azure platform. These containers will be housed, at first, at Dell’s, HP’s and Fujitsu’s datacenters, with Microsoft providing the Azure infrastructure and services for these containers.

In the longer term, Microsoft officials said they expected some large enterprises, like eBay, to house the containers in their own data-centers on site — in other words, to run their own “customer-hosted clouds.” Over time, smaller service providers also will be authorized to make Azure Appliances available to their customers as well.

Fujitsu’s goal with the new Azure-based offering is to sign up 400 enterprise companies, plus 5,000 small/medium enterprise customers and ISVs, in the five-year period following launch, a recent Fujitsu press release noted.

For more information regarding the Azure Appliances, and how they can provide you with a turn-key private cloud solution, visit Nubifer.com/azure.