Cloud News & Insights

Do Mid-sized Businesses Benefit More From the Cloud?

Cloud computing technology has created an exciting and vibrant revolution in the IT industry. While every industry had the opportunity to be transformed by moving to the cloud, the IT sector has benefited like no other.

Scalability, agility, and high-end security are some of the features that attracted the IT industry to the cloud. This transition is not complete yet. Large enterprises enjoy the benefits offered by IaaS and SaaS cloud models. However, there are other processes that face compliance issues; standardization of processes is a concern. On the other hand, mid-sized businesses operate with fewer processes. So, they can enjoy the maximum benefit from scaled resources. Here are some things that mid-sized businesses need to consider while migrating to a cloud environment.

Optimizing infrastructure

A high-priority goal for mid-sized businesses is to optimize infrastructure. With shrinking IT budgets, this is even more important. The majority of people moving to the cloud think that it automatically saves costs. However, cost saving is not the case with every business model. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the most popular form of cloud computing business models. When you choose an IaaS model, you still need to manage and configure your computing resources. So, mid-sized businesses need to assess the present and future expenses of their networking infrastructure. By properly implementing a cloud-based network strategy, businesses can leverage resources and increase revenues rapidly.

Business improvement in the cloud

Before implementing a cloud-based service, mid-sized businesses need to check out service levels and performance offered by the cloud vendor. One of the primary reasons for moving to the cloud is to avoid network outages. To provide consistent services to your customers, your cloud network should run with little to no outages. So higher performance and twenty-four-hour support should be a major priorities when choosing a cloud vendor.

Network security and data integrity

As data travels through third-party networks, businesses have a concern about data privacy and network security. However, security measures implemented by cloud vendors are far superior to those regularly used in mid-sized business networks. With limited resources, mid-sized businesses cannot afford to purchase cutting-edge security applications. By moving to the cloud, they can enjoy world-class security software at affordable prices. One example would be GMO Cloud’s Multi-level security strategy.

Business compliance and guidelines

While large enterprises work with huge volumes of disparate data moving across heterogeneous networks, mid-sized businesses have less data to manage. Still, they need to work in compliance with local governing authorities. So businesses need to check out where the data is stored, what the nearest data center is and how transparent the process is. By looking at these aspects, mid-sized businesses can ensure that cloud-based solutions meet their business needs.

While large enterprises are thinking about moving on-premise networks to the cloud, mid-sized businesses have flexible options. You can combine on-premise networks with public and private clouds or move entire processes to the cloud. The key to success for businesses lies in understanding how cloud computing technologies address your business requirements, customer needs and infrastructure optimization. At the same time, identifying the right cloud vendor is a vital concern. Businesses that take full advantage of the cloud are sure to profit from that decision both now and in future years.

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About the Guest Author:

Kaushik Das

Kaushik Das is an engineer, research analyst and a technical writer in the areas wireless, IT, enterprise software, next-generation hosting, storage and renewable energy. He specializes in competitive analysis, market research, industry insights, white paper and actionable web content development.

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FISMA Compliance for Cloud Service Providers

Any cloud service provider knows that compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is a complex issue. Nevertheless, it has to be met if your business is to handle any government data. While many would be tempted to steer away from government contracts due to the complexities involved, such business does provide long and stable revenue. However, there are two aspects that need to be discussed even if you are not yet working with government contracts.

The first issue is being able to meet FISMA standards even if you are not working with the government. If you are able to show compliance to FISMA standards, then your service becomes that much more attractive to the industry. After all, stability, redundancy, disaster recovery, etc are all part of the normal range of cloud offerings. As CMM level 5 was a few years ago, meeting FISMA means you have reached a level of maturity that puts your service ahead of the pack. It is natural for this to lead to better revenues and bottom lines.

The second issue to discuss here is the continuous monitoring that FISMA advocates.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) lays down nine steps that required to ensure FISMA compliance. The last of these is that you “monitor the security controls on a continuous basis”. This is what makes some cloud service providers unhappy. Monitoring on a continuous basis implies additional manpower, tools and controls and eventually raises the cost of their services. NIST points out that unless the monitoring is on a continuous basis, any protocols and procedures you put in place for FISMA compliance will soon get outdated and attackers could easily bypass them.

NIST is right. FISMA is not about documentation, it is about making serious, results-driven improvement to existing procedures and methods. It requires proper tools, testing, training, reporting and corrective action. A monitoring program that is taken seriously will transform static security procedures into dynamic security. Service providers who take this seriously will find it much easier to demonstrate compliance with HIPAA, SOX, HITECH and PCI requirements.   Service that meet these standards are the ones that are most valued by the industry.

Since demonstration compliance with FISMA requirements is a complex process, cloud service providers are increasingly turning to third party vendors who specialize in the process. These third parties will take you through the process and ensure that service providers put in place systems to manage their security continuously. While this does appear to be an additional expenditure, it has been observed that improving security certification levels are a powerful way to attract higher paying clients and greater business.

I would suggest that you approach FISMA as companies once approached CMM. Think of it as steps in a security ladder. Every requirement with which you comply makes your services safer and more attractive. It at least gets the low hanging fruit into your basket. Perhaps the additional revenue will pay for the more complex processes.

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About the Guest Author:

Sanjay SrivastavaSanjay Srivastava has been active in computing infrastructure and has participated in major projects on cloud computing, networking, VoIP and in creation of applications running over distributed databases. Due to a military background, his focus has always been on stability and availability of infrastructure. Sanjay was the Director of Information Technology in a major enterprise and managed the transition from legacy software to fully networked operations using private cloud infrastructure. He now writes extensively on cloud computing and networking and is about to move to his farm in Central India where he plans to use cloud computing and modern technology to improve the lives of rural folk in India.

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The Cloud Computing Era: How to Build Effective Cloud Management

Cloud computing technology has ushered in a new era in the IT industry. Recently several internet marketing white papers have discussed the agility that cloud computing networks bring to business processes. So lavish is the praise these papers heap on cloud technology that it might lead some people to believe that the cloud can do everything! However, implementing cloud solutions into your business processes does not automatically bring agility. There are steps the organization needs to take to ensure maximum utilization of cloud computing.

Untrained / Underpowered employees

Though you implement cutting edge technologies into business processes, “un-empowered” or untrained employees can hinder the performance of that technology. To achieve the highest levels of process agility from cloud computing technology, business processes and employees must work in perfect coordination. Otherwise cloud computing technologies may run into difficulties in bringing agility to work flow procedures.

Empowering employees

It has often bee said that the infrastructure or resources of a company are not the real asset; the real assets are the employees. To achieve higher levels of production, organizations need to train employees, empower them, and motivate them effectively. It is the same with cloud computing technologies.

Organizations need to train their employees to understand new innovations. To leverage the cloud, management skills needs to be more effective. If not, cloud computing technologies cannot significantly impact the business performance of an organization.

Proper design and architecture

While cloud computing technology offers the ability to manage resources centrally, organizations need to design the architecture of work flow procedures effectively. Proper governance augmented with the right structure and knowledgeable staffing is the key. Again, leadership skills and proper coordination with the team is essential.

Overcoming cloud challenges

In today’s highly volatile economy, companies are challenged to retain employees. Every organization experiences some turnover. But in a cloud-based environment, businesses need to recruit people who are adept at working with cloud technology. The goal is to integrate employees into the organization work flow system quickly. It can be even more important to retain trained employees.

Empowering new staffers on present work flow procedures and technologies is difficult and time-consuming. There is lost revenue for the company each time new employee training takes place. Companies need to develop cloud management skills to anticipate business growth and move forward accordingly. Once this is achieved, organizations can be more business-focused.

Cloud computing technology brings great levels of scalability and agility to business processes. But at the same time, cloud technology brings new challenges. Whether it is setting up cloud networks or effectively managing them, organizations need to focus on employee empowerment to achieve success.

You can start small. Identify processes that do not pose risks and check out your capabilities. Assess the cost per application and offer flexibility to employees to understand and get comfortable with new innovations. Do not be deluded that the cloud automatic brings agility to business processes. Cloud technology shows the right way to optimize resources and improve productivity levels. And companies that take full advantage of the cloud are ensured greater success.

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Our articles are written to provide you with tools and information to meet your IT and cloud solution needs. Join us on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Guest Author:

Kaushik Das

Kaushik Das is an engineer, research analyst and a technical writer in the areas wireless, IT, enterprise software, next-generation hosting, storage and renewable energy. He specializes in competitive analysis, market research, industry insights, white paper and actionable web content development.

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Is the Cloud Hastening Web 2.0 Implementation?

There can be no doubt that technological developments lead to changes in the way we work and play. The invention of the wheel was a major milestone in human civilization. Though I would not put cloud computing in the same footing, it still remains a significant development.

Web 2.0 is a powerful concept which has had a perceptible impact on organizational behavior. Institutions, both private and government, are fast moving towards a Web 2.0 environment, if they have already not done so. Web 2.0 fosters a collaborative environment leading to enhanced productivity and quicker launch for new products. Embracing Web 2.0 is not an option today but an imperative.

The two technologies, Web 2.0 and cloud computing foster a rich and fertile ground for creating of a truly collaborative and productive work environment.

The modern office and Web 2.0

Closed organizational structures have given way to open communication. Collaboration and openness leads to innovation which in turn results in increased productivity and profitability.  Employees have become stakeholders and enjoy freedom, unheard of a few years back. Different organizational structures are being experimented with. Working from home is a definite option. For that matter, the whole world is an office. Employees not only work from different locations, but also use diverse devices to communicate. Laptops have now become passé. Tablets, handhelds, communicators and such mobile tools have permeated the office.

Obviously, operating, managing, storing and retrieving huge amounts of data which gush out of these devices is a tricky issue. Organizations which have to grapple with such situations need more than their existing traditional online infrastructure. This is where cloud computing steps in. By its very nature, cloud infrastructure is agile and omnipresent. Moving to the cloud automatically bestows huge advantage when dealing with data flow from multiple devices and platforms.

Threat perception and Web 2.0

The efficacy of cloud computing has been well established and documented. At the same time, threat perceptions about cloud environment in Web 2.0 work space, remains unresolved. Each device which enters this work space and the device it communicates with, brings along its individual vulnerabilities. Mobile devices have a heightened vulnerability which has to be effectively handled. The work flow becomes complex and difficult to effectively track and manage. Imagine an employee working from outside the guarded office environment and that too with his own personal device? The threat of data being compromised is mindboggling.

Designing an effective security blueprint

There is a need to differentiate between compromise of individual data and that of the entire organization. In so far as the cloud infrastructure is concerned, there are specific and proven systems and processes which can be put in place to obviate such a disaster. Choosing and implementing security policies is an important part of the process. For more on securing your data in the cloud, please click here. Securing individual devices can still pose a huge problem and can only be resolved by ensuring strict user policies.


Cloud computing and Web 2.0 go hand in hand. As we move ahead, Web 2.0 would completely permeate the office. The complex data flow and work environment arising from it would need flexible infrastructure which can only be provided by the cloud. Cloud vendors would do well to address the security issues which emanate from Web 2.0 work space. If a protocol to manage and handle multiple devices can be put in place, the value of such cloud property would rocket tremendously.

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Our articles are written to provide you with tools and information to meet your IT and cloud solution needs. Join us on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Guest Author:

Sankarambadi SrinivasanSankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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How Can Organizations Effectively Secure Their Cloud-Based Networks?

The cloud computing revolution has changed the face of the IT industry, as companies can greatly improve business productivity levels. While scalability, agility, and load balancing aspects improve the speed and efficacy of business processes, they are of no use if you cannot effectively handle them. For that matter, any new technology can be effective only when it is properly managed.

Today businesses are moving rapidly to the cloud. And at this pace, businesses have to be more attentive in planning the transition. Cloud-based networks and their security are a big concern for businesses of all sizes. Here are certain areas will require extra attention during any move to the cloud.

BYOD concerns

The increased trend toward Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments has brought a new revolution to the IT segment. While speed and efficacy of business processes is improved, mobility solutions increase service levels of businesses. However, network security may be at risk as a consequence. When employees use devices of different models, types and configurations, bringing them into group policies is a headache. Creating a mobile policy that effectively controls personal data and corporate data is highly recommended. Administrative controls need to be strong enough to ensure that corporate data is not leaked.

BYOC concerns

While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is still a relatively new term, Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) is becoming popular. As companies implement cloud computing networks, employees bring their own personal clouds into the office. For instance, cyber lockers offer online space for users to store personal materials like photos, videos and data. It is easy for employees to share data with friends. At the same time, corporate data cannot be allowed to leak through these cyber lockers.

Typically such cyber lockers come with powerful encryption technologies. At times, companies might not have the required technology to decrypt these data. This is an important area that needs to be sealed. A good option is to label company data. By doing so, you can track corporate data when leaked or stolen. Using different levels of labeling enables you to apply additional controls for sensitive data instead of grouping data. To gain a better understanding, check out GMO Cloud’s Managed Security Service where we explain the particulars of the service scope such as access restriction, investigation of unauthorized access, security updates and more.

Top-down perspective

Organizations are comprised of thousands of employees working at various levels. While giving access to cloud networks, businesses need to work with a top-down perspective. By creating comprehensive controls and access policies, companies can implement specific guidelines for top-level management, middle managers, developers, IT staff and users.

In addition, linking of internal and external data and monitoring data transmission (irrespective of ports and protocols) is recommended. At the same time, security policies should not slow down the agility of business processes. Larger enterprises face bigger challenges in handling significant amounts of data. The right top-down perspective takes care of this issue.

Business continuity and disaster management

Data security is not a one-time process, but an ongoing effort. From physical infrastructure security to data management, a secure environment needs to be built from the ground up. Business continuity is critical to achieve a 100% SLA rate. If an entire data center fails, data needs to be balanced over other facilities. In addition, automatic backups and recovery management programs need to be in force to ensure data integrity and security.

People have a misconception that public clouds are not secure. However, in-house networks are no better and often much worse. Today, cloud vendors are prioritizing data integrity and network security. By implementing a proper cloud migration program, companies are assured of staying ahead of competition.

About the Guest Author:

Kaushik Das

Kaushik Das is an engineer, research analyst and a technical writer in the areas wireless, IT, enterprise software, next-generation hosting, storage and renewable energy. He specializes in competitive analysis, market research, industry insights, white paper and actionable web content development.

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