Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cloud Computing: Are you Ready for the Cloud?

Cloud Computing: Are you Ready for the Cloud?

Most technology analysts agree Cloud Computing is a fast growing area of technology and is being widely adopted by small, medium and large businesses. According to Gartner Research 2012 forecast Cloud Computing spending will grow from $39.2 billion in 2011 to $45.9 billion in 2012. Gartner expects spending on Cloud Computing and related Cloud Services to reach $207 billion by 2016. Another technology research firm, IDC reported in 2012, that they expect sales of cloud storage to reach $11.7 billion by 2015. In fact, the Computer Technology Industry Association, CompTIA reported in their July 2012 “Third Annual Trends in Cloud Computing“ that 93% of companies report using some form of cloud solution.

So why are companies moving to the cloud? According to CompTIA, survey respondents reported the following top three reasons for moving to the Cloud; the desire to cut costs, to reduce capital expense and the cloud is simply a better solution than their current one. With all of these benefits, your business should get ready to take advantage of the cloud. Here are a few things to consider:

Network Reliability and Internet Bandwidth

Cloud Applications and Cloud Services require high availability of internet connectivity. If your network is outdated or you have limited internet bandwidth outages, these may cause you to lose access to your cloud services. In particular, mission critical applications may require high internet and bandwidth availability. Make sure your firewall, gateway, routers and wifi are in tip top shape. Check your internet bandwidth to ensure it can handle the requirements to access your cloud applications.

Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

Security and privacy are top concerns for companies evaluating the cloud. While many banks offer cloud access to on-line banking and other sensitive information complying with PCI, HIPPA and other regulations may require additional security requirements not provided by the public cloud. Private cloud options may provide the availability, security and privacy required to insure you comply with your industry regulations

Cloud-to-Cloud and Cloud-to-On-Premise Integration

Not all of your systems may be candidates for the cloud. Some of your cloud applications including customer relationship management, email and collaboration applications may require integration. Plan out your migration to ensure your cloud services have compatibility with one another. This will provide increased productivity for your employees, in addition to the cost savings and reduce capital outlay for cloud based services.

If you are planning a move to the cloud and are uncertain if your business is ready for the cloud, contact your trusted IT Professional to assess your IT infrastructure and business requirements to make sure your business is cloud ready.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring your own device (BOYD) is a recent trend where employees use their personal mobile devices including: iPhones, iPads, tablets computers and smartphones to access company information including your network, email, files and critical business applications. This policy can make your employees more productive. BYOD may save you the expense of buying mobile devices for your employees. However, if not managed appropriately, BYOD may open up security risks in your data protection strategy.

Due to their mobile nature, these mobile devices are susceptible to theft and loss. Also, mobile devices may infect your network with viruses and malware, if they are not properly maintained. Here are some tips to minimize your exposure to employees who BYOD:

Require Passcode to Unlock Device

Requiring a passcode will prevent unintended access to your network or application data in case a user’s mobile device is lost or stolen.

Keep OS/apps Up To Date

To avoid virus and malware attacks on your mobile devices, it is a good policy to keep the operating system up to date with the latest security patches. It is also a good idea to keep your applications up to date to avoid a network security breach.

Don’t Allow “Jailbreaking” of Operating Systems

Some employees may “jailbreak” their iPhones or iPads so they can install additional applications and extensions that may not be available through the Apple Store. Jailbreaking may expose security breaches on these devices creating a weak link in your data protection plan.

Services for Tracking and Wiping

Most mobile devices will automatically check in to their geo-location when they are turned on. There are services that will track a lost or stolen device and even allow you to wipe critical data and applications from the device to disable any unauthorized access to applications and data.

BYOD can make your employees productive and save business expense. If you take advantage of this trend make sure your employees are properly educated and knowledgeable about the risks. Minimize your risks by having a plan and policy for managing these devices if they are connecting to your network in order to avoid security risks.