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An In-depth Into Cloud Computing Security

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cloud computing security

Cloud computing security, also known as cloud security is considered to be a set of technologies, policies, and controls that are deployed for the protection of applications, data and the related infrastructure of cloud computing. It is recognized to be a sub domain of network security, computer security, and information security.

Security problems that are related to the cloud

Cloud computing, as well as storage, confers users with the capabilities for the storage and processing of data in third-party data centers. Organizations make use of cloud in a wide variety of service models and deployment models. Cloud computing security issues and challenges are classified into two main categories: security issues that are encountered by customers and security issues that are encountered by the service providers of cloud computing. The service providers need to make sure that the infrastructure is secure and they render the best protection to the applications and data of the clients. The users should be taking measures for fortifying the application and making use of authentic measures and stronger passwords.

Here is a list of the top security cloud computing issues and challenges:

  • Theft or loss of intellectual property

Business organizations are preferring the storage of sensitive data in the cloud. In accordance with an analysis by Skyhigh, 21% of files that are contained in the cloud comprises of sensitive data which are inclusive of intellectual property. With the breaching of cloud services, the sensitive data can be accessed by cyber criminals. In the absence of the breach, there may be a risk to specific services in case the ownership of the data uploaded is claimed by the terms and conditions.

  • Regulatory actions as well as compliance violations

In the present days, several businesses operate under some type of regulatory control of information. Some of them are inclusive of HIPAA for controlling private health details, FERPA for controlling confidential student information. Under these regulatory controls, companies should have an idea where the data is located, who can gain access to it and how the data is protected.

  • Losing control over the actions of end user

If the companies do not have the idea about the workers who are using the cloud services, there many be associated security risks of cloud computing. The employees can use the same however they like and no one will come to know till it is very late. For example, a person who is going to put down papers, may download the report of customer contacts and upload the same to the personal storage and confer access to the details to the competitors.

  • Malware infections which unleash the targeted attack

It is possible to use cloud services as the vector of exfiltration of the vector. In novel data exfiltration procedure, attackers have the capability of encoding sensitive data into the video files and uploading the same to YouTube. Malware may be present which may exfiltrate important data with the aid of a private Twitter account. This malware count to be responsible for security issues in cloud computing. Cyber criminals make use of file sharing services for the delivery of malware to targets by using phishing attacks.

  • Data breach that requires notification and disclosure to victims

In case regulated or sensitive data is put into the cloud and breaching happen, the company may need to disclose the breach and sending notifications to victims. Specific regulations like HITECH and HIPAA within the healthcare industry and EU Data Protection Directive needs these type of disclosures. Customers who have gone with the breach disclosure may levy heavy fines in case their data are comprised.

While cloud computing is gaining high popularity in these days and the storage of data has become much easy, there are certain risks associated with it.

Here is a list of the challenges and security solutions for cloud computing:

  • Waterhole attacks

While business organizations are becoming better for fighting phishing and spam, waterhole attacks are recognized to be the latest tricks of the attackers which comprise all the users of trusted web applications with the aid of web browsers. The water hole attack is considered to be a 3 step procedure. Initially, the attacker performs research and reconnaissance on the target and look for trusted websites that are visited by the employees of the company. As the employees will pay a visit to these trusted sites, the exploit will be taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of the system:

Solution: For the data security in cloud computing, vulnerability shielding is the right solution to the problems. Here, all the software are updated and patched on a regular basis for limiting the possible access points.

  • Government and different spices

If a government entity is willing to access data, they should come and tell you they require it. As they move to the cloud, all the visibility is lost. For solving this, it is recommended to make use of the cloud in a wide manner and procure the benefits. However, you should not allow any person to gain access to the encryption keys. Thus even in the case, the Government asks for getting access to the information of the cloud, they will not be yours.

  • Complying with data privacy laws in different geographical locations

The cloud confers the right powers to the business for achieving the cloud which will be crossing the borders. The reality is that in several cases, the varied laws that require being compiled across the globe may reduce the capability of the business to take total advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.

  • Solution

Key happens to be the architecture of cloud environment. You need to have the prerequisite understanding of the data storage regulation of the specific country in which you are operating. You should be looking for cloud security solutions which are compliant with regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, laws of EU data protection laws or whatever applies to you. To be precise, encryption for security in cloud computing makes several things much easier. Making use of cloud encryption solution is one of the top security solutions for cloud computing which reveals that the data does not leave home, not at least in readable form.

  • Liability for Breaches

It is recommended that you should be making use of split key technologies for cloud computing data security and making sure that only you are controlling the data. The cloud provider will be sharing the responsibility of infrastructure whereas you will be responsible for your own data and apps.

Steven Hansen is a founder of Techeries. He is a specialist in digital security solution business design and development, virtualization and cloud computing R&D projects, establishment and management of software research direction. He also loves writing about data management and cyber security.

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Cloud Computing

IoT Trends to Watch Out for In Mobile App Development

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Today, the impact of technology on the way we live and work is all-pervasive. Having a mobile presence has become ubiquitous, with an increasing number of organizations recognizing mobile apps as a necessity.

Mobile app industry has become one of the fastest evolving arenas, and the mobile app market is replete with all kinds of apps- lifestyle, health & fitness, gaming, social media, and many more. While all the medium and small-scale organizations are looking to enter this highly competitive market, most of the large companies are already harnessing the potential of these apps to improve their marketing and augment customer engagement.

With new technologies being introduced every day, the power of these apps is on the rise. Presently, the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is tremendously revolutionizing the mobile app development industry by proffering highly scalable benefits. Let’s have a look.

The Pronounced Impact of IoT in Mobile App Development

The concept of IoT is quickly gaining prominence, and the technology behind smart homes and smart cities has begun to flourish. In such a scenario, smartphones play the most vital role as they act as the primary interface through which the user interacts with the IoT-enabled devices. The mobile devices being launched now are empowered with sensors and apps that enable them to communicate with other sensors and devices.

The IoT technology enables a smartphone to execute a wide array of tasks by controlling numerous appliances, for instance, switching the lights on/off, altering their illumination levels, opening/closing the doors, etc. This reduces the human effort and helps in performing all tasks with high precision.

Moving on, IoT has created a massive demand for the development of apps for them. As the number of smart objects increase, a greater number of apps are required to be developed to connect with them. Therefore, the adaptability of apps becomes more widespread. This has also enabled world’s greatest app developers to come together and co-create apps that ensure seamless IoT connectivity.

Developing IoT Apps

The amazing technology of IoT is all set to bring about a new era in the arena of mobile app development by introducing IoT apps. These apps have the potential to combine several elements such as internet-enabled devices, sensors, networks, and the cloud. However, the only concern related to developing these apps is the level of complexity involved. But both Google and Apple have introduced their own specific toolkits, known as Brillo, and HomeKit respectively, to help app developers take up IoT application development with better skills and know-how.

Few Pointers to Be Borne in Mind:

There are a few pointers that must be kept in mind while developing IoT apps for your business.

  • App Development in Different Tiers

The process of software development usually involves different tiers. Similarly, in case of IoT, the development process includes five different tiers, and the app developers must possess adequate knowledge of these. The five tiers include Device, Gateway, Data, Analytics, and Application. Consequently, they all need to be seamlessly incorporated into the development phase in order to create proficient IoT apps.

  • Niche-Oriented IoT Mobile App Development

According to the prevailing market scenario, there are various mobile app development platforms, and the app developers work separately to create apps for different platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, etc. However, IoT is anticipated to be a unified platform, and hence, the developers need to be adept at developing apps in the IoT niche.

  • Development of Platform from Scratch

The concept of IoT is comparatively novel, and as of now, there is no proper developing platform for the same. This is one of the reasons why developing an IoT app is not easy. New software needs to be developed, as there are no web-based solutions to build mobile apps.

  • Take care of security

Since now all the devices will be connected by the IoT and above that users will be transmitting tons of data via these devices for accomplishing various activities, thus making apps secure is really very imperative. In the current scenario, where actually security is taking a serious shape with every passing day, thus make sure that all the encryption, authentication and the safeguarding protocols are applied to the app for making it highly sophisticated and reliable.

  • Plan the process of development

IoT apps carry a different genre, right from the wireframing till the app deployment, all the steps are harder to implement and requires a little extra brainstorming. These apps, since are different from the mainstream apps, thus are required to be processed in the right way and with the aid of appropriate tools and platforms.

  • Try something extraordinary

Well, the smartphones and the other digital devices are solely controlled by the user touch and perspective gestures, but if we talk about the IoT, the IoT app developers have a more vast opportunity to connect with the user in unique ways and can proffer them rich interfaces. For instance, there is a leap motion that uses the infrared camera to identify the fingers and hand movements of the users, thus eliminating the requirement of touch screens. Now the aforementioned idea can be used in the other domains as well as helping the users to accomplish day to day activities.

Final Words

IoT is a broad spectrum which is still in its infancy. Before building an IoT app, the app developers must try to learn all that they can about IoT and understand the humongous potential of this technology.

Also, because the concept is new, it will take a lot of in-depth research and analysis to develop IoT apps. The developers might come across a lot of difficulties related to IoT platforms, connectivity, etc. Although, presently, the IoT technology leverages protocols like WiFi, Bluetooth, and other cellular services, the best protocol to connect to IoT apps may be invented later on. Developers need to work hard on developing robust IoT apps in order to gain an edge and at the same time, harness the full potential of this amazing technology.

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The 10 Best Cloud Storage Solutions for Small Businesses

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The cloud has quickly superseded local storage as the best way to store the data for your business, but it is not without its risks. If you choose the wrong provider, your data may end up getting compromised, so you need to find the best cloud storage for small business, luckily, we’re here to help you out.

Cloud Computing for Small Business: Best Options Around

1. Google Drive

As always, you will find few better options than Google Drive if you are looking for the most reliable cloud storage service on the internet. There is a reason for Google Drive being one of the most popular options, and they are not prone to the outages and info leaks that you will sometimes see from others.

Small business cloud storage is a big deal for Google Drive, as that is where the bulk of their revenue comes from. The average user does not need more than the 15 GB of storage space that is allotted by Google Drive, so it makes sense to opt for a choice that has your business’ best interests at heart.

2. Dropbox

While some may consider Dropbox less professional than Google Drive, its accessibility is what makes it such a popular option. As you may have guessed by now, more popular small business cloud storage options are often a better choice because they see more frequent support as well as stricter security updates.

For only around $8 per month, you can have 1 TB of storage from Dropbox, beating most of the rates of the other large competitors. Of course, you will want to keep in mind that Dropbox is a little simpler than some of the other options on this list, so they are ideal if storage is all you will need.

3. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

S3 is Amazon’s solution to cloud storage, and as usual, they have put their own twist on it, and it has worked out for the better. If your company is looking for cloud storage that is effective yet reliable, there are few better options than S3, though it is a little pricier than some other options.

You may not know that S3 is just as secure and reliable as the cloud storage that Amazon provides to some of the largest corporations in America. If you want superior-quality cloud storage for a much better price than much of the competition will provide it for, you should opt for Amazon S3 small business cloud services.

4. OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive has the advantage of being optionally packaged with its Office 365 service, which helps you consolidate your office programs and cloud services for small business into one set of credentials. Of course, there are more benefits to OneDrive than this small convenience.

You will find that this cloud storage service gives you more options when you are deciding on just how much storage you will need for your files. Your business cloud will also need to be secure, and Microsoft is known for having better protocols to deal with information breaches than most other providers.

5. Carbonite

We are not getting into the best cloud storage for small business options that are more specialized and meant to be used specifically by companies and businesses. Carbonite has the advantage of being significantly more secure than many of the other options on the market without making sacrifices in other areas.

In addition to improved security, you’ll find that Carbonite has plenty of features that will make things easier for business owners, like automatic backups and more. Carbonite also has the advantage of being more affordable than most other services, offering plans from $60 to $600 per year.

6. SOS Backup

Much like Carbonite, SOS Online Backup combines your small business cloud with a backup service so that they can provide everything that you will need related to storage. Keep in mind that SOS is a little more barebones than what you can expect to get from Carbonite, which makes it ideal for even smaller businesses.

If you’re looking to reduce your operating costs when it comes to storage, SOS is an excellent option that will provide the security that you need while still offering a reasonable number of features. The business use plan for SOS Online Backup is priced at $30 per month.

7. IDrive

IDrive is much like Dropbox in that it gives you expanded file-sharing abilities, making it easier for your employees to work with each other. This service is much more affordable than most of the other options on this list when it comes to cloud storage for small businesses.

While IDrive may be affordable, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to constantly be worrying about your data. In spite of budget cloud storage services often having problems with remaining secure and reliable, you will find that IDrive boasts a very impressive track record.

8. Bitcasa

If you value security more than anything when it comes to your small business cloud services, then Bitcasa will be the perfect option for you. While they may not offer anything too fancy when compared to the bigger players in the storage industry, Bitcasa is renowned for their excellent security.

Since your files will be encrypted before they even reach Bitcasa, you can rest assured that even people snooping on your network won’t be able to see them. Of course, if you have a security breach of that type, you likely have more significant issues, but it is always good to have more security.

9. Hightail

Hightail is a perfect small business cloud storage provider for those who love the sharing functionality of Google Drive but don’t want to deal with Google’s prices. While this service is more affordable than some other options, you won’t notice much of a loss in functionality.

Of course, Hightail can’t hope to compete with Google when it comes to security, but they are not known for any significant breaches or other issues when it comes to that matter. If you have workers who are more spread out than most businesses, you will find that Hightail is an excellent choice for cloud computing for small business.

10. OpenDrive

Last but not least, let’s look at one of the most affordable options for companies where the bottom line matters more than it will for other businesses. OpenDrive provides a storage solution for those of you who do not want to spend a cent more than they have to, and they are still both reliable and secure.

Small business cloud storage does not always have to be a complicated matter with all sorts of different functions that are hardly ever used. If you won’t end up needing most of the extras that come packaged with other cloud storage services, then you will likely want to choose OpenDrive.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has been able to provide you with the best cloud storage for small business options on the market. There are far too many of them to cover them all, but the ones that are on this list are typically a cut above many of the other choices that you have at your disposal.

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Cloud Computing

10 Stupid Mistakes Businesses Do In the Cloud

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“Sky is the limit”. We enjoy telling this adage. However, what we fail to mention is that underneath those clouds, there hides lightning, thunderstorms, torrential rains and heavy gushes of winds, to name a few.

Same goes for cloud computing as well. On the brighter side, cloud technology provides us with the ample number of benefits including scalability, flexibility, and agility. However, on the other side, even a slightest of mistake or slip-up can result in utter chaos and remorse.
Here are 10 such silly mistakes:

1. Migrating all applications to cloud

Yes, several enterprise applications still aren’t cloud friendly. Businesses can incur fatal damages in terms of application performance and user experience if they move applications that are difficult to integrate with legacy systems. Thus, it is advisable to understand and validate all the applications that you intend to move to the cloud.

2. Firing people on legacy solutions

One of the biggest mistakes businesses do in the cloud is firing employees on the legacy systems in advance, often to compensate for the migration expenses before they actually begin the exodus. Migration to the cloud may take anything from a few months to the year. Therefore, enterprises would require their legacy system and the respective staff during the entire transition. For example, going for a cloud-based CRM software doesn’t mean that you should fire the staff handling your in-house customer data immediately, since this may lead to loss of data. 

3. Flying to cloud without a robust plan

Many enterprises fail to have a robust plan in place when moving to the cloud. They overlook understanding as who in the organization will administer specific cloud-related operations such as data backups, security, access controls, etc. Any blunder here could land your business into troubled waters.

4. Neglecting security

Security undoubtedly has to be the topmost priority when dealing with the cloud. The type of security you wish to have for a specific cloud application must depend on the type of data (sensitivity) that the application handles. For instance, CRM software solutions that deal with crucial customer data should always be encrypted and authenticated with stringent access controls.

5. Believing that on-premise and cloud are the same things

One of the costliest mistakes is treating cloud ecosystem like the way you treat an on-premise data center. Though cloud can offer excellent cost savings, it requires a completely different set of resources and management practices/processes. Failing to do so might lead to waste of efforts, time and money instead of saving.

6. Moving with an amateur or untrained staff

Unfortunately, many IT personnel are still clueless about cloud technology and its mechanisms, especially if it’s their first encounter with cloud technology. On the other hand, finding and recruiting cloud-savvy staff is still a daunting and challenging thing. Migrating to cloud without sufficient knowledge and training can make the process tiring and extensive. This is the reason IT experts and staffs need proper cloud training prior to taking the giant leap.

7. Incompatible move

Another frustrating mistake is migrating to cloud with incompatible operating systems (OS) and/or platforms. The journey to the cloud can be much smoother if your cloud vendor provides you with the same OS and middleware that you already have been using for your on-premise setting. This would eliminate the need for extensive tweaks and rewrites saving tons of efforts and time.

8. Setting unrealistic expectations

Many CIOs and business owners often tend to have larger than life or rather unrealistic expectations when it comes to cloud migration and its infra. For example, hosting documents, email and database apps on cloud-based CRM software solutions shouldn’t be a problem, but running intense videos, graphics and related applications might require specific or additional hardware as per needs. Therefore, it is advisable to rope in a consultant when it comes to understanding and setting realistic expectations from the cloud.

9. Giving service performance analysis a miss

Failing to analyze your cloud service against the expectations you have set will only lead to utter wastage of money and time. Businesses should regularly evaluate the KPIs and undertake appropriate actions to deal with potential discrepancies if any.   

10. Ignoring disaster recovery

All that you move to cloud is 100% safe and secure, right? Well, it is, if you do your part and do it right. For instance, if moving all your critical customer data to a cloud-based CRM software, you ought to acknowledge the uptime from your cloud vendor before you actually initiate the move. Though most of the cloud-based CRM software services offer automatic data recovery and disaster plans, it is still advisable to have a backup strategy of your own ready. What if some dissatisfied admin or a hacker deletes all your critical customer data? This calls to have a robust backup plan in place.         

Takeaway

Cloud computing is a boon when it comes to streamlining critical business operations and getting more productive in today’s cutthroat business ecosystem, but it is highly important that you understand the cloud’s mechanisms in order to reap the most out of it.

Lastly, yet importantly, a foolproof way to mitigate cloud mistakes is to rope in the services of an established and reliable cloud vendor. It is always a smart thing to have a skilled cloud partner onboard for a smooth and trouble-free migration experience.

 

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