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29Aug 2014

By gaining clearance to host the most sensitive unclassified US Department of Defense data, Amazon Web Services has scored a first in the cloud computing industry. AWS had already been cleared to host level 1 and 2 information in March of this year. It can now host level 3-5 data.

The new clearance allows Amazon to host the bulk of the data that the Department of Defense handles, thereby giving the company a competitive advantage over rival providers. The only DoD data that can’t be handled by Amazon is level 6 classified data.

Teresa Carlson, AWS’ world vice president for the public sector, told NextGov, “In a nutshell, we’re very excited to announce we’ve received the DOD provisional ATO through impact levels 3-5 – we’re the first commercial cloud provider to achieve this. I think it highlights our continued commitment to being a leader in cloud computing. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for DOD to do what other groups have been doing.”

The AWS GovCloud is a region of the Amazon cloud service that is entirely dedicated for United States Government use. It is this region that can now be used by the Department of Defense and its contractors via a private connection, giving them the option of using the cloud for the first time. One of Amazon’s new customers is the Central Intelligence Agency.

Amazon was already one of three companies that had been given clearance to host data at levels 1 and 2. AWS and other cloud computing providers have been winning contracts across the civilian US Government. The additional security requirements of the Department of Defense meant that they had lagged behind the rest of the government in moving towards the cloud. AWS are allowing them to catch up.

The Department of Defense currently plans to introduce five pilots for hosting cloud data by this September. AWS is now well placed to be at the centre of this work.

Carlson hinted that level 6 might be next for Amazon, saying that their goal is to “meet every standard the federal government has for their data.”

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

23Aug 2014

Good business sense means keeping costs down and increasing productivity so the company is more profitable. Companies struggle with this simple but vital formula all the time – but one sure-fire way of doing it is with cloud computing.

Migrating your on-site infrastructure and systems to the cloud saves a whole host of costly resources, while dramatically increasing the efficiency of operations. Due to the large economy of scale in running enormous numbers of server banks in data centres, costs for clients are driven down right across the board.

Take staff, for instance. Having your own in-house network means hiring expensive IT personnel to operate it; their salaries are high, along with benefits and incentives. Operating in the cloud means you don’t need your own information technology personnel because it’s all handled by IT staff at the cloud centre.

Plus, there’s the added bonus of not having to deal with the time-consuming issue of recruitment to find the right IT people, and if they suddenly leave you could be left high and dry and having to recruit all over again.

Many small and medium-sized companies around the world, from the United States to Europe and South-East Asia and beyond, are turning to enterprise cloud services such as those provided by Amazon Web Services, a leader in the field and hosting many firms’ online operations, because of far lower power costs, which can be a big issue as the bills roll in.

With cloud computing, servers, or parts of them, are optimised to run only when needed and maximised to provide the best computing ratio per server. They are therefore vastly more power-efficient than servers running firms’ in-house operations that are always on and frequently idling and needlessly gobbling up electricity. In addition to that, many good data centres guarantee high levels of uptime, due to several layers of power supply in case the main one goes out.

Other money-saving features of transitioning to the cloud include guarantees of security as the server banks are often housed in extremely secure locations, as well as excellent disaster management plans and updates of software and hardware.

It makes financial sense to leap into the cloud.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

21Aug 2014

Cloud computing can assist medium and small businesses in a plethora of ways – from preventing large-scale and expensive data loss to facilitating easy collaboration between different individuals and groups. However, some can be wary of security risks with this relatively recent form of technology, especially when dealing with sensitive data. Whilst the security of cloud computing is at the forefront of developer’s minds, for total peace of mind we’ve come up with some tips to help ensure your business is protected.

1. Know how your data is protected and where it is

Make sure you know what data encryption services and firewalls are used. Also by knowing where your data is stored, you have a much better idea of what to do if problems are encountered later down the line.

2. Always back up your data

This covers the business’s back more than anything else. Having a secure backup copy of, for example customer’s data, then the risk of losing vital information is reduced.

3. If in doubt, test

Expert hackers can be hired by businesses to test their security. These hackers can attempt to reach your documents and then advise you about gaps in security. This is a good way of testing your security measures, but internal scanning and assessments within the cloud is important as well. You getting unauthorised access to your data is an indication that others could too.

4. Take advantage of Amazon’s Trusted Advisor

This programme carries out 33 different tests including tests related to malware or hacking attempts. 4 of these tests are now available for free for all users. Make the most of this great service!

5. Take passwords seriously

According to Deloitte, 90% of user-created passwords can be cracked within 90 seconds. The old rule of including numbers, capitals and lowercase and keep the length at a minimum of 8 letters doesn’t cut it anymore. There is a lot of advice out there for developing more secure passwords – be mindful of the risks and use this advice to develop safer passwords.

We hope these tips will set you in good stead for making secure use of cloud technology.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

16Aug 2014

If you’re seriously considering integrating cloud computing services in your existing IT infrastructure, but are worried about security, you’re not the only one. In fact, data security is the paramount concern for most IT professionals, and making such a bold move can seem intimidating, especially when you have little control over where your data actually is. Because of this fact, many IT professionals are adopting private cloud hosting rather than public cloud services. Still concerned? In order to reassure you, we’ve put together five important security tips to consider when making the move to the cloud.

Know where your data resides

Knowing where your data is and where it goes when you terminate your cloud service is important. We may have things like data encryption, firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection in place to protect our valuable information, but simply being able to identify a machine and knowing that’s where your data is really says a lot in the cloud computing world, and inspires trust. The key to most cloud services to pass strict security guidelines really comes from using dedicated hardware.

Always back-up your data

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Embracing new information technology is great, and to be applauded, however, it’s easy to overlook the fact that having your own secure data back-up system in place will ensure your data will never be lost, if worst comes to worst. It certainly can’t hurt to have a back-up plan, can it? Even big companies such as T-Mobile have lost customers’ data, simply by not backing up.

Check if your data centre is secure

You should be able to ask which data centre and server is storing your data, before checking which security measures are in place and up-to-scratch. Check if they are SOC 2, SSAE 16 and SAS 70 audited, and if their clients are PCI or HIPAA certified, along with managed services like antivirus, firewalls and intrusion detection for increased security.

Get client references

What other clients are currently with your cloud computing company? Organisations that require a lot of security, in sectors such as insurance, financial, healthcare, or even government organisations, indicate the services provided will be secure and trustworthy. If possible, see if you can contact these clients for references.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

29Jul 2014

“Nobody likes change except a wet baby,” said Mark Twain. Yet, change, such as migrating to the Cloud, is necessary for businesses to progress effectively. While companies prioritise the technical aspects of moving processes and data to the Cloud, the emotional side of the upgrade can often be underestimated, putting the success of the move at risk.

Here are eight essentials to ensure a happier and smoother move to the Cloud for your organisation and your people.

Loop HR in from the start

It’s definitely not news to you; your organisation’s best assets are its people. And as the department that exists to optimise your human resource capital, HR must be engaged in all meetings from the get-go. With all the new skills and responsibilities that will come with the migration, HR will provide a unique people-perspective that will anchor the success of your move.

Plan early

Draw up a plan – early – on how the migration is expected to happen. This helps everyone know what needs changing, why and how the process will take place. Keep on track with targeted milestones and responsibilities in place.

Educate your staff

Sell the idea to your staff by educating them on the features and benefits of the Cloud. Remind them that ultimately, people come first, and technology is only here to help them and the business grow. Set their expectations. Half the battle is won when they’re convinced that migrating is the right way to go.

Address fears, including your own

Some employees may perceive that new technology can take away their jobs, rendering them redundant. Assure them that while migrating to the Cloud does ultimately cut down on manpower costs, what it really means is streamlining business processes so that employees can be better engaged in higher valued skills and services. On top of that, management may find, in engaging employees in this dialogue, that its own fears and anxieties can be allayed.

Make opinions count

Get key users involved early in the implementation process and take their feedback into account. By doing so, it gives them a sense of ownership to ensuring a successful migration.

Update stakeholders frequently

Communication is key. Let users know if they will be affected by any downtime as a result of the migration, so that they’ll be able to work as smoothly as possible.

Be mindful that change takes time

Any kind of change takes time to get used to. Ensure that your IT department remains as patient in addressing any users’ concerns or queries, or even in the face of frustration.

Choose your Cloud Migration specialist wisely

Finally, when looking for a cloud solutions provider, engage one that effectively understands both hardware and heartware for a successful migration to aid your business.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

22Jul 2014

It’s no secret that businesses are embracing and migrating to cloud computing. But the reality is that it is hard to break away from the technology and infrastructure you’re used to. Leaping straight into the world of enterprise cloud computing is a decision not to be taken lightly, and it’s good to know there are options available that could ease the transition for you.

Many companies feel more comfortable working with their own, private solution rather than following the trend into publicly hosted clouds. But there may be a way to explore the benefits of the public cloud without losing control over the private infrastructure you have grown so fond of.

Hybrid cloud computing runs a public and private cloud in parallel, and is a popular choice for medium and large businesses taking on cloud computing. This method allows you to enjoy the security of a private cloud, and the flexibility of a public solution together. To help you better understand if going hybrid could work for you, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros

 

Flexibility
Your network could gain more flexibility and scale by sharing its load across a public and private cloud solution.

Save money
A private cloud solution can be pricey, so going hybrid could be an affordable solution for a medium size enterprise.

Go green
A hybrid cloud solution will add to your green credentials with its environment friendly infrastructure.

Cons

Security
In some cases (in the financial sector, for example) where information is considered confidential, a public cloud could increase security risks.

Complicated networks
Hybrid cloud computing could lead to a messy and complicated network if not taken care of properly.

Complex Service Level Agreement
A detailed Service Level Agreement for both your private and public cloud providers will ensure its performance meets your expectations.

Now is the right time to invest in enterprise cloud computing, and with the support of experts like Amazon Web Services, you’re in good hands. Explore the benefits of enterprise cloud computing by going hybrid, and see how it could help you take your business forward, fast.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

16Jul 2014

Switching from a traditional information technology setup, with data and applications stored on servers that are managed in-house, to a cloud-based solution, is becoming a reality for an increasing number of large and medium-sized companies around the world. According to a new survey carried out by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, firms that have decided to make the leap wholesale and adopt a no-holds-barred approach to switching are the ones that are reaping the biggest benefits, in terms of increased agility and competitive advantage.

From Singapore to Seattle, firms are recognising the many benefits of cloud-based solutions, which can range from savings in terms of costs and time, through to increased stability and improved security.A total of 527 Harvard Business Review readers from large and medium-sized companies based across the globe were interviewed as part of the survey. More than two-thirds (70%) said they had adopted cloud-based computing in some form. A similar number said they believed the move would reduce unnecessary complexity in their business.The fact that data is not only securely held off-site, but also that it can be accessed anytime, from anywhere, has revolutionised how some companies operate. It is in this way that cloud computing can make firms more agile, providing opportunities for closer collaboration and improved communication between colleagues, and between businesses and their clients. This is especially true if there are geographical boundaries to contend with – something faced by a considerable number of organisations in today’s market.

Asked if cloud computing had provided their company with some form of competitive advantage, 74 per cent said it had, with almost a third stating it had provided a significant advantage. Only about a fifth of survey respondents (22%) said they were cautious about adopting cloud computing technology, although they were still taking steps in that direction. Fewer than one in 10 said they had made no move so far towards the cloud.Quite how quickly companies will continue to adopt these new ways of working remains to be seen. However, with an increasing number of options such as Amazon Web Services to choose from, it seems likely that enterprises across all sectors will be keen to make their firms more agile and benefit from the competitive advantages on offer.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

07Jul 2014

The market for cloud-based services has developed immensely in recent years, and this has enabled businesses to periodically assess whether or not their current provider is best suited to their needs. Any service in this area is only going to be as good as the level of hardware that has been put in place, and this make cloud migration an attractive move for any organisation that wants to expand or improve their overall product. In a similar manner to any other type of transition, there are a number of factors to consider – the biggest concern will always be that any ‘downtime’ needs to be kept to an absolute minimum. Effective planning will always be the best method of avoiding any undesirable knock-on effects.

Carrying out a thorough value assessment is vital at an early stage, and this information can be used to decide whether or not migration is a cost-effective option. Additionally, the same process can also determine the best provider to move across to, and this process takes in a number of different factors. Businesses need to ask themselves how long it will take to recover the costs of migration, and clients need to be assured that the new cloud provider will enhance their own experience.

There will always be some kind of outlay involved, and this assessment will be linked to a study of the potential return on investment. It may be necessary to calculate financial projections for both the current setup and a number of other scenarios that involve migrating to a different provider. If the desired destination for a business also leads to new capabilities, increased client revenues can be factored into this analysis. As an example at the most basic level, an increase in storage capacity could translate into enhanced file backup solutions for existing and new customers – a benefit that could attract a higher monthly/annual fee.

When all of these considerations have been taken into account by key decision makers, the total cost of ownership may be the most influential factor. Although a cloud migration could bring any number of benefits going forward, there also has to be the reassurance that the overall costs of the business will not spiral out of control. Most cloud-based solutions are scalable in nature, and this means that companies can simply increase their capabilities when client numbers increase accordingly. When ‘running before you can walk,’ there is always the potential for financial hardship in the meantime.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

07Jul 2014

There are a great many benefits to cloud computing, and cloud services are at an all-time high – however, there isn’t much you can do when clouds suddenly cease, which is occasionally known to happen. Providers will draft comprehensive service level agreements to help cover your back, but what else can you do to ensure maximum cloud cover should the worst happen and you’re faced with unexpected down-time?

Data centres explained

Your cloud resides in one or more data centres based anywhere in the world. Not all clouds offer optimal security, but even the most vigilant and secure providers cannot always prevent data centre down-time caused by natural events such as storm damage, a fire or power outage. Many providers also rely on third party data centres for business hosting solutions, making things even more complicated.

To ensure your cloud provider is offering the most reliable and secure service, there are a few questions you can ask about the data centre behind your cloud. These include:

Location

Where is the data centre located?

Continued access

If your cloud provider or relevant data centre organisation should go into administration, it is crucial there will be steps in place to ensure you can still access or retrieve your data, such as an escrow agreement. Check what options are available should this happen.

Disaster recovery

If the worst should happen, are there sufficient fail-safe measures and back-up systems in place? Data centres should be at least ‘Tier 3’ in this regard.

Security

Is the data centre located near flood plains, or where natural disasters are known to happen? Any one of these should trigger alarm bells.

Power

Your data centre should be well-equipped to power the latest high density racks for sufficient cloud hosting; think 10KW minimum, or up to 60KW per rack. Is the mains supply powered directly off the national grid to reduce any surges or spikes in electricity?

Connectivity

Which carriers and ISPs are associated with your data centre? In the event of failure, a variety of networks with competitive prices will allow for continued access to your data.

Amazon Web Services

One of the most reliable and trustworthy cloud computing systems is offered by Amazon Web Services. To find out more about how AWS could benefit you, contact Cloud Comrade today.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

01Jul 2014

Many businesses are waking up to the various benefits of moving to the cloud, such as reliability, saving money, not having to worry about hardware, and being able to access data securely from any location – but what about the cloud systems themselves? Amazon Web Services has established itself as one of the clear leaders when it comes to cloud computing systems in the world of information technology, and we’re going to take a look at why.

The early years

As the first major player in the lead-up to the battle for the cloud, Amazon has maintained itself as the leader above other large corporations such as Google and Microsoft, all of which have poured billions of dollars into their own competing platforms. By getting a lot of the essentials right, it seems Amazon can do no wrong. For instance, by starting early it stayed ahead of the game with developers who were more than happy to experiment and see what worked and what didn’t. The company was then able to respond to requests for more features, allowing AWS to grow and expand its functionality.

Next, AWS focused on scale along with data centre automation, leading to a very efficient infrastructure that is essentially resistant to rising cost pressures. Its education and subsequent certification services has allowed Amazon to cultivate a rich talent pool filled with skilled workers who are able to demonstrate a wide range of knowledge in their use of AWS, expanding the system beyond their initial developer base and into all sectors of the market.

Competition

As the battle for the cloud becomes more cut-throat, companies are slashing their prices in order to establish themselves in the market, so how does Amazon stay on top? By constantly evolving and adding a plethora of new, customer-driven features every year, Amazon expands with the times and continues to meet its customers’ needs at every level. Not only does AWS listen to its customers, its scale also allows its prices to drop at a consistent rate with its competitors.

Future

Although there will be future hurdles, Amazon Web Services has remained one of the leading cloud systems with no sign of letting up. AWS offers state-of-the-art server technology and enterprise-class storage solutions, allowing for clear savings and peace of mind for your business.

Speak to the cloud computing experts at Cloud Comrade

At Cloud Comrade, we specialise in providing our clients in Singapore and South East Asia with best in class cloud technology solutions that put them ahead of their competitors and which keep their critical data highly accessible and secure. Ready to take your business forward? So are we:www.cloudcomrade.com/

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