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Be Prepared For When the Cloud Really Fails

Everything works well in the cloud, until it doesn’t.

Consider the Microsoft so-called “Leap year” bug that crippled that company’s Azure cloud services last month. Bill Laing, vice president for Microsoft’s server and cloud division, described the system failure in a blog post and said that Microsoft will overhaul its disaster recovery efforts, as well as other aspects of the business.

Fortunately, in this case, services were restored and the outage was (relatively) short-lived.

Nonetheless, it’s a certain reminder of how things can — and will — go wrong in cloud services and that each organization is responsible for their own business continuity.

Also see “The cloud security survival guide”

Until recently, that was a concern of David Wellington, IT specialist at TAPS.org. Since 1994, TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) has offered support to more than 35,000 surviving family members of fallen U.S. servicemen and women with casualty assistance officers and military chaplains. As TAPS moved increasingly to cloud-based services, it wanted to make sure it had reliable access to its data — even if the cloud services provider went down.

About a year ago, TAPS began moving away from its on-premise productivity and office software to Google’s Gmail and Google Apps. “We were relying on our own services and virtual private networks, but it was clunky and sometimes the connection simply didn’t work. Switching to cloud services made sense and is easier for our people to use,” says Wellington.

“We want all of our employees, wherever they are, whenever they need it, to be able to access the information they need. We also wanted to know that it’s backed-up, so that we’re always ready to help family members and serve those survivors,” he says.

Having access to their data “no matter what” meant having backups that were not reliant on the cloud services provider itself being available. While it may seem strange, at first, backing up applications and data that are in the cloud — where service providers are widely expected to take care of backups and security for their customers — Wellington and TAPs aren’t taking any chances.

To back up their cloud-based data, TAPS turned to startup Backupify, a provider of cloud-based data archiving, search and restore services for online services such as Google Apps, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Late last month, Backupify also released its Snapshot for Salesforce, which saves a copy of one’s Salesforce backup on Backupify servers and also provides the ability to download the Salesforce.com data for onsite backup.

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NetSTAR Announces Secure Web Browsers For iPhones, iPads, And Android Devices

SAN MATEO, Calif., March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — NetSTAR, Inc., a global leader in secure web-filtering, today announced the release of the safe and secure web browsers for the iOS and Android operating environments. The web browsers interface with NetSTAR’s Cloud servers and utilize NetSTAR inCompass 4th Generation Web-Filtering technology – the first 4th generation Internet content and categorization filter specifically designed for the OEM market. NetSTAR will make the browsers available to their OEM Partners that want to provide a safe and secure Internet experience for their customers on iOS and Android devices.

“With the explosion in popularity of smart devices in recent years, our OEM Partners’ customers, both in the consumer space as well as the enterprise space, have asked for a safe and secure web browser experience on both iOS and Android operating environments,” said Akira Nakayama, Vice President for NetSTAR, Inc. “Our inCompass Mobile Browsers provide our OEM Partners with a way to quickly and seamlessly provide this capability to their customers.”

Policy-based user management can be configured and controlled in the inCompass Cloud, which provides for a full policy management solution. In addition, an API interface is available that allows device management from an OEM vendor’s own solution.

Utilizing NetSTAR’s Cloud infrastructure along with the inCompass technology is a web-browsing experience that provides four layers of URL filtering classification and security, including a true real-time dynamic filtering engine (iCCE) capable of filtering and categorizing URLs in sub-second time, providing end-users with a safe and secure browsing experience with virtually no perceived latency.

For further information:

About NetSTAR Incorporated

NetSTAR is a global leader in OEM secure web filtering. Originally founded in Tokyo, Japan as a joint-venture between Trend Micro and ALSI, NetSTAR has become a global technology provider to hardware and software vendors, SaaS providers, AV vendors, service providers, and mobile operators, with offices located in San Mateo, California; Tokyo, Japan; and London, England.

More information about NetSTAR and inCompass can be found at http://inCompass.NetSTAR-inc.com.

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Amazon Cloud Powered by 'Almost 500,000 Servers'

Amazon’s beautiful Sterling, Virginia, data center. Photo: Eric Hunsaker/Flickr

Its one of Amazons best-kept secrets. How many computers does it take to keep its Elastic Compute Cloud platform afloat?

And now, a researcher with Accenture thinks he has the answer: 445,000. Thats the number that Huan Liu came up with when he did a bit of internet sleuthing. Its a fairly big site; its pretty impressive, he says of the entire EC2 operation.

EC2 is Amazons pay-as-you-go computing service. Its become a popular way to spin up computing power for a corporate skunkworks project or a startup, but its also the back-end for serious online sites, including Netflix and Dropbox.

Lius analysis found that Amazons main cluster of data centers, located in northern Virginia, is truly massive: he guesses that Virginia is home to about 322,000 servers. But he also found that Amazon has a relatively small footprint in other parts of the world. For example, he guesses that there are only 1,600 EC2 servers in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Its hard to compete with Amazon on scale in the US, but in other regions, the entry barrier is lower. For example, Sao Paulo has only 25 racks of servers, Liu wrote in a blog post discussing his findings.

Liu, a research manager with Accenture Technology Labs, took advantage of the way that Amazon organizes its EC2 domains to come up with his estimate, which strikes us here at Wired as a bit of a lowball guess.

Because Amazon relies heavily on virtual computing that is, it can host several software-based virtual servers on a each computer figuring out the number of machines in Amazons data center is a very tough task.

But Liu used a few tricks to link all of Amazons Domain Name System and IP addresses to actual server racks used by the Internet giant. Then, by guessing that each server rack has 64 machines in it, he came up with his total numbers.

He tells Wired that hes pretty confident about the number of racks that Amazon uses. As to whether the company crams 64 or 128 servers in each rack? Well that, nobody knows for sure. Its an educated guess, he admits.

The estimate also leaves out the servers that are powering Amazons Virtual Private Cloud, a hosting service for servers that are kept off the Internet, and which couldnt be measured using Lius techniques.

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Lokahi Expands Cloud Offering to Include Managed Security Services Through Partnership With StillSecure

SUPERIOR, CO–(Marketwire -03/14/12)- Leading cloud infrastructure and hosting provider Lokahi Solutions today announced a partnership with StillSecure, a leading managed security services and certified compliance company, to significantly expand its cloud hosting solutions and include a new suite of managed security services for their customers.

Lokahi’s managed security solutions for the cloud are available immediately to new and existing customers. Lokahi customers can select any or all of the following services:

“We understand the value and importance of providing each customer with security that is not only customizable, but also reliable and scalable,” said Jeffrey Dahn, Founder and CEO of Lokahi. “Over the past year there has been a significant increase in cloud adoption and with that an increase in concerns around cloud security. By partnering with StillSecure, we are able to expand our existing cloud hosting services, and take them to the next level. In addition to cloud hosting services, we can now offer our customers the tools needed for securing their cloud instances. These new services will clearly set us apart in the marketplace and we are confident that our customers will find tremendous value in our partnership with StillSecure.”

“Our managed security services will let Lokahi customers sleep soundly because they know their systems and data are monitored and protected by multiple levels of security. The combination of Lokahi’s cloud and hosting services with StillSecure’s security and compliance solutions, provides customers with a solid technology platform that frees them to focus on their core business,” said James Brown, the Chief Technology Officer with StillSecure. “For example, PCI Complete lets organizations, big and small, automate the compliance process, while protecting information, addressing threats quickly and reducing the costs and risks associated with the payment card industry.”

About LokahiLokahi Solutions, LLC is a leading provider of enterprise class, comprehensive cloud solutions for small, medium and large organizations. Based in Hawaii, Lokahi’s platform, the Lokahi Infrastructure Virtualization Engine, is dually located in each market it serves to offer customers a superior form of network security, high-reliability, redundancy and flexibility. Lokahi has created a hardware-independent, virtualization solution and a bundle of complementary products, including dedicated and multi-user computing and storage; virtual desktop infrastructure; and network management services. These services are provided in a standards-compliant, highly enabled environment to provide customers with a seamless transition onto the Lokahi platform and high-touch, high-visibility implementation management. Lokahi’s aim is to help its customers reduce capital expenses while enhancing operational and service efficiencies. For more information, call (808) 791-1046, visit http://www.lokahi.net, or follow http://twitter.com/lokahisolutions

About StillSecureStillSecure designs and delivers managed network security solutions and certified compliance solutions for IT executives facing escalating security threats and evolving compliance requirements, as well as data centers looking to cement long-term customer relationships. Unlike vendors with uncertified partial fixes or self-audited solutions, StillSecure unites security experts, certified processes and innovative technologies to provide holistic solutions that eliminate the need to juggle multiple vendors, products and requirements. For more information, call (303) 381-3830, visit http://www.stillsecure.com or the StillSecure blog at http://www.thesecuritysamurai.com, or follow http://twitter.com/securitysamurai and http://twitter.com/stillsecure.

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Lokahi Expands Cloud Offering to Include Managed Security Services Through Partnership With StillSecure

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NetSTAR, Inc. Announces Safe and Secure Web Browsers for iPhones, iPads, and Android Devices

SAN MATEO, Calif., March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –NetSTAR, Inc., a global leader in secure web-filtering, today announced the release of the safe and secure web browsers for the iOS and Android operating environments. The web browsers interface with NetSTAR’s Cloud servers and utilize NetSTAR inCompass 4th Generation Web-Filtering technology – the first 4th generation Internet content and categorization filter specifically designed for the OEM market. NetSTAR will make the browsers available to their OEM Partners that want to provide a safe and secure Internet experience for their customers on iOS and Android devices.

“With the explosion in popularity of smart devices in recent years, our OEM Partners’ customers, both in the consumer space as well as the enterprise space, have asked for a safe and secure web browser experience on both iOS and Android operating environments,” said Akira Nakayama, Vice President for NetSTAR, Inc. “Our inCompass Mobile Browsers provide our OEM Partners with a way to quickly and seamlessly provide this capability to their customers.”

Policy-based user management can be configured and controlled in the inCompass Cloud, which provides for a full policy management solution. In addition, an API interface is available that allows device management from an OEM vendor’s own solution.

Utilizing NetSTAR’s Cloud infrastructure along with the inCompass technology is a web-browsing experience that provides four layers of URL filtering classification and security, including a true real-time dynamic filtering engine (iCCE) capable of filtering and categorizing URLs in sub-second time, providing end-users with a safe and secure browsing experience with virtually no perceived latency.

For further information:

About NetSTAR Incorporated

NetSTAR is a global leader in OEM secure web filtering. Originally founded in Tokyo, Japan as a joint-venture between Trend Micro and ALSI, NetSTAR has become a global technology provider to hardware and software vendors, SaaS providers, AV vendors, service providers, and mobile operators, with offices located in San Mateo, California; Tokyo, Japan; and London, England.

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Panda Security Launches New Channel Partner Recruitment Campaign: "Security to the Power of the Cloud"

ORLANDO, Fla., March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Panda Security, The Cloud Security Company, today announced the launch of its new channel partner recruitment campaign, “Security to the Power of the Cloud.” The campaign includes a webinar series demonstrating the benefits that the company’s cloud-based solutions offer to resellers. Partners can sign up for the online seminars at http://securitytothecloud.pandasecurity.com.

The training sessions will mainly focus on Panda Cloud Partner Center, a new management console for partners, with a demo of the product. These seminars will run in both the morning and afternoon at 6:00 AM EDT and Noon EDT, respectively. The first webinars will be held on March 15th, April 3rd and April 5th.

“Our concept of ‘Security to the Power of the Cloud’ is based on three major pillars for channel partners: Simplicity, Margin and Control,” said Paula Quiros, Director of International Marketing and Communication at Panda Security. “Partners demand easy-to-use tools that make their jobs simpler, return the expected margins and help keep sales processes under control.”

With Panda Cloud Partner Center, partners can manage all channel activity online in real-time, while remotely enabling protection for customers’ email and endpoints, such as servers, PCs and laptops.

Additionally, the Panda Cloud Partner Center lets partners manage and monitor customers’ lifecycles and take better advantage of new business opportunities through better insight into license extension and cross-selling opportunities. It also simplifies the renewal process for service providers with customizable tools to streamline channel management, enabling them to assign new and existing customers trial versions of new products.

Partners interested in attending these free webinars can sign up at: http://securitytothecloud.pandasecurity.com.

About Panda SecurityFounded in 1990, Panda Security is the world’s leading provider of cloud-based security solutions, with products available in more than 23 languages and millions of users located in 195 countries around the World. Panda Security was the first IT security company to harness the power of cloud computing with its Collective Intelligence technology. This innovative security model can automatically analyze and classify thousands of new malware samples every day, guaranteeing corporate customers and home users the most effective protection against Internet threats with minimum impact on system performance. Panda Security has 61 offices throughout the globe with US headquarters in Florida and European headquarters in Spain.

Panda Security collaborates with Special Olympics, WWF and Invest for Children as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

For more information, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

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Panda Security Launches New Channel Partner Recruitment Campaign: "Security to the Power of the Cloud"

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FireHost Launches Secure Cloud Data Center in Phoenix, Arizona

DALLAS, TX–(Marketwire -03/14/12)- As part of FireHost’s global expansion, which saw the secure cloud host launch operations in Europe earlier this year, the company is now offering services at a state-of-the-art data center in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix facility mirrors the innovative, secure cloud hosting environments FireHost has established in Dallas and London, and will allow customers an additional option in choosing where their servers reside. This is another step in a line of offerings the company provides to ensure customers have the flexibility and control they want for their environments. New and existing clients can now deploy secure cloud servers in any of the three locations directly through their MyFireHost customer portal.

“Phoenix is an ideal location for data centers due to the extremely low incidence of natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding and earthquakes. This new location gives our customers another secure option for primary or disaster recovery environments,” said Jason Rieger, CTO of FireHost. “The main benefits of this addition are that FireHost is widening its data center footprint and giving our customers more freedom and options.”

“We host thousands of WordPress sites with FireHost. The fact that we can make strategic decisions about where our servers reside, including disaster recovery, brings peace of mind,” said Joshua Strebel, co-founder of Page.ly, a Phoenix-based business. “From the beginning, FireHost has focused on securing our client data. Offering a new data center in this location is another example of the steps the company has taken to maintain that commitment. I love now having my data in my own backyard.”

FireHost’s mission is to provide the most secure, scalable cloud hosting possible. The company offers its customers more control within their secure environment than any other cloud host, from scaling, to storage. FireHost is the first public cloud host to offer three tiers of secure storage: SATA, SAS and SSD. Additionally, FireHost offers three scaling options to manage costs and server resources: auto-scale, manual and scheduled scaling. All of these options can be controlled by the customers themselves within the MyFireHost customer portal.

About FireHostFireHost is a secure cloud hosting company focused on protecting sensitive data and companies’ brand reputation with an architecture built for security, scalability and performance. Customers with specific compliance or performance needs subscribe to FireHost’s PCI, HIPAA or high traffic solutions, including some of the largest companies in the world, as well as many fast growing eCommerce, SaaS and healthcare IT providers. FireHost provides services from Dallas, Phoenix, London and Amsterdam.

Helpful links: http://www.firehost.com http://www.firehost.co.uk http://www.fireblog.com http://twitter.com/firehost

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TCWH Announces New InMotion Hosting Review 2012

Top-Cheap-Web-Hosting.com releases the new review to InMotion Hosting in 2012 on its Max Speed Zone enabled web hosting designed and optimized for small businesses.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 14, 2012

Typically, most of budget web hosts only utilizes one cheap data center. That means clients may be 2000 miles far away from the location of web server where to host their websites. Loading the content from the server in east coast to the end user from the west coast or aboard may need to be routed over 20 times, which certainly doesn’t make sense for any web hosting clients.

InMotion hosting makes the hosting solution quite different by utilizing multiple data centers and network connection peering technology. The technology is similar to cloud hosting, which allows users to get direct network connections to the web server in a much better efficient and faster way.

# Multiple Data Center #

InMotion hosting has multiple data centers in US, from the east coast to the west coast. The web hosting clients can choose the closest data center of InMotion due to the targeting area of potential readers. All InMotion data centers utilize multiple network providers and BGP4 network, which is the highest rated network standard, to prevent downtime in the case of hardware damage or network interruption.

# Peering Technology #

In addition to the multiple data centers and network providers, InMotion hosting works with some of the largest ISPs and peering exchanges to create direct data connections for site visits. Eventually, the sites hosted with InMotion hosting almost have an outstanding fast connectivity.

The peering technology is widely used in the cloud hosting solutions. The Nowadays well-known content delivery network (CDN) is developed from the former technology which is provided in InMotion web hosting. Read more about cloud hosting service at web hosting price.

InMotion Hosting

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The Hidden Risk of a Meltdown in the Cloud

The cloud is essentially a metaphor for a network of computers in which computational tasks and resources can be shared.

The big idea here is that users simply rent the computing power, the storage or an application for as long as they need it without having to invest in the infrastructure behind it.

That makes computing cheaper, easier and more efficient.

There are well known problems of course. The most obvious relates to guaranteeing the security of data when it is stored on computers that that a user does not own and that many others can also access. But various solutions have emerged such as encrypting data before it is sent to the cloud. For that reason, the migration to the cloud is proceeding at full speed in many places.

That may be folly. Today, Bryan Ford at Yale University in New Haven says that the full risks of this migration have yet to be properly explored. He points out that complex systems can fail in many unexpected ways and outlines various simple scenarios in which a cloud could come unstuck.

In the worst case scenario, a cloud could experience a full meltdown that could seriously threaten any business that relies on it.

Ford identifies a number of different possibilities. One example involves an application provider who bases its services in the cloud, such as a cloud -based advertising service.

He imagines a simple scenario in which the cloud operator distributes the service between two virtual servers, using a power balancing program to switch the load from one server to the other as conditions demand.

However, the application provider may also have a load balancing program that distributes the customer load.

Now Ford imagines the scenario in which both load balancing programs operate with the same refresh period, say once a minute. When these periods coincide, the control loops start sending the load back and forth between the virtual servers in a positive feedback loop.

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