Is Cloud Computing Secure?

In the early days of Cloud computing, the common perception was that the Cloud automatically opens systems to new, catastrophic risks. When weighing the pros and cons of moving to the Cloud, business owners assumed they were sacrificing security for the business agility that comes with using Cloud systems. Yet, as Cloud adoption becomes more universal, these high levels of adoption are actually seeing an increased level of trust in Cloud computing systems, which begs the question: Can the Cloud lead to more secure computing? Traditional Network Security Traditionally, organizations have used on-premises security solutions or contracted with network security experts to protect their network, data, and applications. Data centers imbue a sense of security and control for businesses – feeling more secure is likened to locking down a warehouse and visualizing that anything within the walls of the organization is safe. There’s no question, then that businesses feel an inherent unease with the Cloud concept, because the approach itself seems insecure; your data is stored on servers and systems you don’t own or control. Yet, does control necessarily equate to security? The Cloud is Just as Safe as On-Premises Security IT security experts are claiming that fears of the Cloud being unsafe can largely be put to rest. In fact, the Cloud may actually be able to improve the state of IT security. Many Cloud  security experts dispel the Cloud insecurity myth. Many believe the Cloud is  more secure than traditional systems. So, can your business trust your Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to also handle network security? Which Platform is Right for Your Business? The answer depends on...

Technology Outlook for 2015

There are many things on our minds as we enter the New Year. For those of you running a business, a question on the forefront of your mind should be: What can we expect from the world of technology in the coming year? Because technology changes so fast these days, it’s important to be ahead of the game and be ready to adapt to changing times. Here is what to expect from the biggest technology trends in 2015: Continued Need for Network Security Mobile applications and mobile search adoption and usage continue to drive the need for network security. Smartphone and tablet shipments are expected to outpace traditional desktops during 2015.  With mobile devices on the rise, businesses need to ensure the security of these devices and prevent business networks from being compromised. Network security, endpoint protection, and other IT Security technologies will be a focus for 2015. The End of Windows Server Support Although Server 2003 currently accounts for about 20% of total Windows Server installations, on July 14, 2015, all Windows Server 2003 extended support will end. Therefore, companies transitioning from Windows 2003 in the coming year must be prepared for the move. Due to the end of Windows Server support, many small to medium sized businesses are migrating to the Cloud, which offers backups, better security, regulatory compliance, and the comfort of knowing that your company is always up to date without having to continually invest more time and money. Server migrations require a lot of planning and ample forethought, so make sure to do your research well before July 14. Cloud Adoption on the Rise...

Do You Fully Understand the Cloud?

In just the past few years, it has become evident that the topic of cloud computing has shifted from a potential game changer to an essential ingredient of modern IT. For those moving down the path of business transformation, the cloud is the primary driver. The International Data Corporation estimates the public cloud market to grow at 23% CAGR through 2018, and they estimate that worldwide spending on hosted private cloud services will exceed $24 billion by 2016. If your organization is not implementing the cloud, you’re already behind. Just the Beginning Even though adoption rates are high, there is still a lot of confusion related to cloud computing. 28% of survey respondents did not know whether their business used a private or public cloud model, which demonstrates the confusion over terminology or lack thereof. Previous eras of IT have lasted for over 20 years; so, after five years, the era of cloud computing is just getting started. CompTIA predicts the next decade will see cloud computing becoming even more accepted as a foundational building block. Cloud Options After these initial five years of cloud computing, the industry is no longer talking generally about the cloud market. Many companies are considering public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud options.  Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service change the way that businesses buy IT goods and services. With many businesses shifting their computing infrastructure to the Cloud, companies continue to take advantage of the flexibility and simpler way of managing their applications and data.  If your organization needs guidance learning more about the cloud,...

Do You Have an Effective BYOD Policy?

According to new IDC data, vendors shipped 327.6 million smartphones in the third quarter, an increase of 25.2%, when compared to the same quarter last year. This means that global smartphone shipments have topped 300 million shipments for the second quarter in a row. Although there have been rumors of a slowing market, the data clearly states otherwise. As technology pushes small to medium sized businesses towards smartphones and other mobile devices in the workplace, it is more important than ever to establish an effective BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. 1.     Decide What Mobile Devices Are Allowed  If your company allows your employees to bring their own devices to work, it can be a nightmare for IT to have to support multiple platforms. Therefore, it is important to decide what devices are allowed to be used for work. Decide whether it is more cost-effective to purchase your own company devices to hand out to employees. 2.     Establish BYOD Security Policies It is important for your company to establish an “acceptable use policy” for their mobile devices. This will curb employee distractions and reduce risks for harmful viruses and malware. Your company should also develop a monitoring system and disciplinary action for employees who disobey the policy. Although this may seem harsh, it may avoid a security breach down the road. 3.     Employee Exit Policy In addition to creating an acceptable use policy, it is equally important to come up with an exit policy for when employees leave the company. Document in your employee exit checklist to ensure you remove the employee from access to information on the network,...

Costs of Data Breaches Up 23% from Last Year

A new report from the Ponemon Institute, an organization that publishes the annual “Global Report on the Cost of Cyber Crime,” recently announced that the cost of a data breach has jumped 23% from last year. Here’s what your small to medium sized business needs to know about being prepared in case of a data breach. The Data Breach by the Numbers The report revealed that a data breach will cost a large company about $640,000. This price tag includes hefty costs, such as business disruption, information loss, and detection. The report also revealed that it takes a company an average of 31 days to recover, yet experts advise that the time to remediate from a breach should only be less than one week. Interestingly, small organizations have a higher per-capita cost than large organizations. So, what can your business do to be more prepared? Have a Data Breach Incident Response Plan An Incident Response is an organized approach to responding to and managing the aftermath of a security breach or attack. The goal of such a plan is to limit damage and reduce recovery time and costs. An Incident Recovery plan should include a clear-cut definition of what your company constitutes as an incident and a subsequent step-by-step process that should be followed carefully after an incident occurs. Consider Hiring an Information Security Firm If you contact an Information Security firm after a data breach occurs, your organization will have to pay more money and wait longer to recover. You may not be prepared to remediate and respond in time. Knowing who to call helps your organization avoid...
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