Tag Archives: cloud_computing

Google Launches IoT Service for Managing Devices at Scale

Google today announced a fully-managed Google Cloud Platform (GCP) service called Google Cloud IoT Core, aimed at allowing companies to securely connect and manage IoT devices at scale. Indranil Chakraborty, Google Cloud Product Manager says: “Many enterprises that rely on industrial devices such as sensors, conveyor belts, farming equipment, medical equipment and pumps — particularly, globally distributed ones — are struggling to monitor and manage those devices for several reasons.” Those reasons Chakraborty says include: operational cost and complexity, patchwork security, and data fragmentation. “Cloud IoT Core is designed to help resolve these problems by removing risk, complexity and data silos from the device monitoring and management process.”

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How Aruba is Using Racing Sponsorship to Make Itself a Premium Brand

Sitting in the Aruba hospitality at the Italian round of the Superbike World Championship in Imola, CEO Stefano Cecconi exudes passion. The love he has for motorcycles in general, and racing in particular, is evident.

Less so is the rational behind Aruba’s multi-million-euro-a-year spend to be the title sponsor for the factory Ducati World Superbike team. For Internet industry onlookers at least.

To Cecconi, it’s obvious. This sponsorship provides a golden opportunity for Aruba to bask in Ducati’s glory.

Making an emotion connection to the customers

As a provider of web services, Aruba exists in a highly competitive and price sensitive market which is devoid of emotional customer attachment. Ducati, on the other hand, is a maker of premium motorcycles and often spoken of as the 2-wheeled equivalent of Ferrari. Now the property of the Volkswagen group, Ducati commands the same level of fervour and uses the same signature red as the Italian sportscar maker. Associating its image with Ducati’s means Aruba is no long just another IT company.

The results seem to speak for themselves. Aruba is a market leader in Italy, and also very active in Eastern Europe (primarily the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also in Poland and Hungary). It is expanding in the West (it already operates in the UK, France and Germany). The company claims 2.5 million domain names under management and over 3 million websites hosted. “Yes the racing team is expensive,” says 38-year old Cecconi who founded the family-run business when he was 18 as an ISP and then had the foresight to switch focus to web content services in 2000. “But what we get back in visibility and brand recognition is immense. To get the same results through advertising would have cost us much more.”

Although a self-confessed bike fanatic, Cecconi refutes the notion that his company’s involvement with Ducati is the result of a CEO whim. “We thought about doing PR through sponsorship almost from day 1,” he explains. “Once we had the budget to actually make it happen, we started looking at football. We sponsored the national league in Italy, but we really wanted to reach a more international audience. So we looked for the best place to do this.”

The World Superbike championship wasn’t the obvious choice. In the world of bike racing, the premier league is the MotoGP series. But just like Formula 1 car racing, the number of teams in MotoGP is capped, meaning that Aruba would’ve had to settle for being a secondary sponsor. “We’ve always liked to execute our projects ourselves,” says Cecconi. “That’s what we did when we built our own datacenters for example. So we wanted our own team, whatever the sport.”

Putting the cloud first

Then Aruba started talking to Ducati, and to his surprise, the factory were interested in more than just a sponsor, they wanted a partner. “A unique opportunity to run a team jointly with Ducati, an extremely powerful brand in Italy,” beams Cecconi.

Also, a way to display the company’s strong focus on cloud services.

The Aruba bikes show two of the company’s brands: its own name of course, and DotCloud. Aruba acquired the new gTLD in a private auction for an estimated $12 million. Here again, the rationale for paying so much would be lost on some, but Cecconi seems to have found a way to make it work.

A year after launch, it has over 105,000 domains under management. “Just like the Ducati sponsorship deal, DotCloud was a huge bet for us,” admits Cecconi. “And just like our Superbike venture, this TLD is a reflection of our passion. The cloud is what our company’s about. It’s what’s driving where we want to be.”

So from the get-go, Aruba made a conscious choice to go for that TLD, and only that one. When ICANN announced the round 1 applicants in 2012, Aruba found itself facing stiff competition. There were 6 other applicants for DotCloud, and some of them were quite daunting. Names like Google, Amazon and Symantec should have been enough to put Aruba off. “But for us, DotCloud was the only focus. Many of the people we were up against had other new gTLD interests as well. So perhaps we just wanted it more than everyone else…”

Once it had the TLD, Aruba took it to market with the same no-discount approach that brought it to motorsports sponsorship rather than betting on price reductions for the services it offers. “We didn’t want to go low-cost like XYZ for example,” says the CEO. “The name has value, so we adopted a standard-pricing model.”

Synergies

Here again, Cecconi’s approach is to piggy-back on its sponsorship strategy to develop Aruba’s business lines, such as DotCloud. Registrar partners and potential large B2B clients get invited to races and can revel in the luxury of Aruba’s sprawling 2-trailer hospitality whilst watching some of the best bike racing on the planet.

Aruba’s numbers say this strategy of building bridges between the company’s traditional business and its sponsorship is working.

Cecconi won’t be drawn on exact figures and as Aruba is privately owned, the actual cost of putting the company’s name next to Ducati’s can’t be verified, but it’s clearly reaping the kind of benefits Cecconi is looking for.

“We started the Aruba Racing Team in 2015,” he smiles. “So we’re now in our third season, and we’ve just inked a new deal with Ducati for 3 more years…”

Written by Stéphane Van Gelder, Consultant

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The Sysadmin’s Guide to Securing Your SaaS Apps

As an admin, app security should be a top priority – but SaaS apps represent a difficult challenge in that regard. How can you protect your business from their risks, while enjoying all their rewards?

Within the average enterprise, there are 508 unique cloud applications in use. That number’s overwhelming enough on its own without considering that 88% of those applications aren’t enterprise ready, or the fact that one in five cloud applications has data sharing as a core functionality. Allowing your employees to use these apps freely is like installing a screen door on the side of a boat – sure, it might not sink your organization, but it’s still a huge risk.

Of course, the challenge is that where SaaS apps are concerned, you as an administrator have very little control. People are going to rely on the functionality these apps offer in an effort to get their jobs done. That’s inevitable.

The only thing you can control is whether or not your data is protected as they do so. At its core, that’s tied to whether or not your users look upon you as a productivity enabler or just another obstruction. Let’s talk about how you can be the former.

Talk To Your Users

If your users are employing third-party, consumer-grade SaaS apps in the workplace, then it’s blindingly clear that they’ve some productivity need your business’s standard tools aren’t meeting for them. You have to find out what that need is – determine the functionality your users require in order to effectively do their jobs. I guarantee that for every single unsecure app your users employ, there’s an enterprise-ready alternative just waiting to be implemented. And it’s up to you to find them.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Improve Your Authentication Process

There’s a simple term I’d like you to familiarize yourself with: Single Sign On. Your end goal here is to make your entire SaaS application suite part of one platform, in a sense – to allow your users to access every single application they need to get their job done while only requiring them to authenticate once. On the surface, that may sound like a huge security breach waiting to happen.

Improperly-implemented, it most assuredly is. But here’s the thing – single sign on can actually be incredibly secure if you make use of multi-factor authentication. Consider the following authentication process, which makes use of several ‘security barricades,’ but nevertheless remains secure:

  • An employee wishes to access their business’s SharePoint repository via smartphone. When they attempt to access the system, it immediately recognizes the device they’re using – it’s been registered as ‘trusted.’
  • Said employee is then prompted for their fingerprint. They use the fingerprint scanner on their smartphone.
  • Finally, they’re prompted to enter a four-digit PIN or username/password.
  • Once they’ve done all this, they can access not only the SharePoint repository, but every other SaaS app employed by their organization until the authentication period expires (something which can be controlled by IT).

That’s actually a pretty barebones process – you can makes things even more complex by introducing features such as access time and access location into the mix. But from the employee’s perspective, it’s pretty seamless. They simply log-in, swipe their fingerprint, enter their PIN, and they’re done.

Better yet, the multiple checks and balances ensures that if someone does try to crack your system, they need to not only possess the employee’s physical device (which can easily be reported as lost or stolen), but also their fingerprint and their login info.

Sure beats using RSA Tokens and Smartcard Readers, doesn’t it?

Rethink Your Protocols

According to Search Cloud Computing, insecure access protocols are one of the most significant security risks facing SaaS applications in enterprise. With that in mind…what are you doing to protect your remote employees? Are you using Telnet or FTP? Have you neglected to set up a secure tunnel or VPN?

You’d best answer those questions before going further — because even if your applications are secure, they can still leak data over an unsecured connection.

Containerize Critical Applications

Given how many employees want to use their personal devices in the workplace, I’d strongly advise that you look into some form of containerization solution – some way to lock off business applications and accounts from personal ones on a user’s smartphone. App-based containerization’s actually come a long way in recent years, and there are several solutions on the market that are completely managed by IT, and rely solely on centralized security controls.

That means no on-device encryption for hackers to break through, and no need for you to worry about a consumer app leaking critical data from an enterprise app (though admittedly, this risk is relatively minor with SaaS applications compared to traditional mobility).

Keep Your Head Out Of The Clouds Where Security’s Concerned

SaaS applications have become central to the workplace. As an administrator, it’s your job to ensure that they don’t represent a security risk. Because your employees are going to use them no matter what you do.

Written by Tim Mullahy, General Manager of Liberty Center One

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The Sysadmin’s Guide to Securing Your SaaS Apps

As an admin, app security should be a top priority – but SaaS apps represent a difficult challenge in that regard. How can you protect your business from their risks, while enjoying all their rewards?

Within the average enterprise, there are 508 unique cloud applications in use. That number’s overwhelming enough on its own without considering that 88% of those applications aren’t enterprise ready, or the fact that one in five cloud applications has data sharing as a core functionality. Allowing your employees to use these apps freely is like installing a screen door on the side of a boat – sure, it might not sink your organization, but it’s still a huge risk.

Of course, the challenge is that where SaaS apps are concerned, you as an administrator have very little control. People are going to rely on the functionality these apps offer in an effort to get their jobs done. That’s inevitable.

The only thing you can control is whether or not your data is protected as they do so. At its core, that’s tied to whether or not your users look upon you as a productivity enabler or just another obstruction. Let’s talk about how you can be the former.

Talk To Your Users

If your users are employing third-party, consumer-grade SaaS apps in the workplace, then it’s blindingly clear that they’ve some productivity need your business’s standard tools aren’t meeting for them. You have to find out what that need is – determine the functionality your users require in order to effectively do their jobs. I guarantee that for every single unsecure app your users employ, there’s an enterprise-ready alternative just waiting to be implemented. And it’s up to you to find them.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Improve Your Authentication Process

There’s a simple term I’d like you to familiarize yourself with: Single Sign On. Your end goal here is to make your entire SaaS application suite part of one platform, in a sense – to allow your users to access every single application they need to get their job done while only requiring them to authenticate once. On the surface, that may sound like a huge security breach waiting to happen.

Improperly-implemented, it most assuredly is. But here’s the thing – single sign on can actually be incredibly secure if you make use of multi-factor authentication. Consider the following authentication process, which makes use of several ‘security barricades,’ but nevertheless remains secure:

  • An employee wishes to access their business’s SharePoint repository via smartphone. When they attempt to access the system, it immediately recognizes the device they’re using – it’s been registered as ‘trusted.’
  • Said employee is then prompted for their fingerprint. They use the fingerprint scanner on their smartphone.
  • Finally, they’re prompted to enter a four-digit PIN or username/password.
  • Once they’ve done all this, they can access not only the SharePoint repository, but every other SaaS app employed by their organization until the authentication period expires (something which can be controlled by IT).

That’s actually a pretty barebones process – you can makes things even more complex by introducing features such as access time and access location into the mix. But from the employee’s perspective, it’s pretty seamless. They simply log-in, swipe their fingerprint, enter their PIN, and they’re done.

Better yet, the multiple checks and balances ensures that if someone does try to crack your system, they need to not only possess the employee’s physical device (which can easily be reported as lost or stolen), but also their fingerprint and their login info.

Sure beats using RSA Tokens and Smartcard Readers, doesn’t it?

Rethink Your Protocols

According to Search Cloud Computing, insecure access protocols are one of the most significant security risks facing SaaS applications in enterprise. With that in mind…what are you doing to protect your remote employees? Are you using Telnet or FTP? Have you neglected to set up a secure tunnel or VPN?

You’d best answer those questions before going further — because even if your applications are secure, they can still leak data over an unsecured connection.

Containerize Critical Applications

Given how many employees want to use their personal devices in the workplace, I’d strongly advise that you look into some form of containerization solution – some way to lock off business applications and accounts from personal ones on a user’s smartphone. App-based containerization’s actually come a long way in recent years, and there are several solutions on the market that are completely managed by IT, and rely solely on centralized security controls.

That means no on-device encryption for hackers to break through, and no need for you to worry about a consumer app leaking critical data from an enterprise app (though admittedly, this risk is relatively minor with SaaS applications compared to traditional mobility).

Keep Your Head Out Of The Clouds Where Security’s Concerned

SaaS applications have become central to the workplace. As an administrator, it’s your job to ensure that they don’t represent a security risk. Because your employees are going to use them no matter what you do.

Written by Tim Mullahy, General Manager of Liberty Center One

Follow CircleID on Twitter

More under: Cloud Computing, Security

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Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Spend Grew 9.2% to $32.6 Billion in 2016, Reports IDC

Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Top Cloud Vendors 2016 Q4 vs 2015 Q4 – Source: Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, Q4 2016

Vendor revenue from sales of infrastructure products (server, storage, and Ethernet switch) for cloud … Continue reading

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