Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

What makes Cloud Computing different?

The siloed nature of traditional data center architectures has produced “you-can’t-get-there-from-here” IT environments. Too often applications, data, and storage devices don’t interact, resources are wasted (e.g., one workload per server), and complex management hassles often lead to risky administrative lapses that result in security vulnerabilities.

The result: IT infrastructures that are too unwieldy, too expensive, and too slow at a time when agility and responsiveness are essential for success.

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Cloud Computing, beginning with what it is and why

Whiteboard explanation of cloud services set against a blue sky.

We’re seeing more and more interest in Cloud Computing of late — and some lingering confusion about both what it is and what Cloud options a small-to-midsize business really has these days.

So buckle your seatbelts. I’m going to discuss Cloud, and in the process, I’ll lay out what I see as the benefits of Cloud Computing — especially when it’s done right. (And yes, I’ll get to that, too, so keep dropping by…)

OK, so in the beginning there was Cloud Computing. Last year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was kind enough to offer up a definition, which has since become something of a standard:

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What DLP can do: Identifying sensitive data

Keyboard with the word sensitive where the enter key normally is.

The first part of a data loss prevention (DLP) implementation involves inventory. Of your data, that is — because, quite simply, you can’t protect it if you don’t know it’s there.

So the first thing DLP does is discover where your sensitive data resides. The right DLP capability can sift through file servers, databases, documents, email, and Web content to discover sensitive data wherever it resides and tag it so it can be tracked wherever it goes.

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Data loss prevention’s 3 fronts

a closeup of an eye with scanner lines on the picture.

As I described last time, data loss prevention (DLP) technology discovers and identifies sensitive data in order to monitor, control, and secure it. This occurs on three fronts:

  • On the network (data in motion). These types of DLP solutions are installed at network egress points and analyze network traffic to detect transmission of sensitive data that violates corporate security policy.
  • In storage environments (data at rest), where the DLP solution discovers the presence of sensitive data in the wrong places, notably unsecured locations (e.g., open file shares).
  • At endpoints like desktops, notebooks, or other end-user systems (data in use). Endpoint DLP can control the movement of sensitive data between users and the transmission and storage of email and instant messages. They can also monitor and control access to physical devices, such as mobile device data stores, and provide application controls that will block attempted transmissions of sensitive data.

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When threats come from the inside

Eliminate the Risk of Internal Data Theft using DLP (Data Loss Prevention)

Don’t underestimate the threat to your business posed by insider data theft. The risk is real and you are not being paranoid if you worry about it.

Consider, for instance, these disturbing factoids from a Symantec-sponsored 2011 study ominously entitled Behavioral Risk Indicators of Malicious Insider Theft of Intellectual Property: Misreading the Writing on the Wall, which closely examined 50 insider thefts:

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Beware of FUD

Combine Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt — and you get FUD, which has been on my mind lately because it so often involves attempts to thwart adoption of newly-emerging, better solutions. Consider these two tales of FUD:

The first tale, from the late 1880s, is often referred to as the War of Currents. It’s about a powerful group of direct current (DC) supporters who fought fiercely against the new, more cost-effective alternating current (AC) with a range of FUD stunts, from electrocuting animals to building the first electric chair. DC’s supporters eventually lost — because FUD can slow, but not stop, real progress.

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Corporate data loss: How bad is it? (Part 2 of 2)

Impact of Data Loss on Business Organizations

We have spent over 12 years building our reputation and trust; it is painful to see us take so many steps back due to a single incident.
—Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos, after the company suffered a data breach in which 24 million customer records were stolen

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Corporate data loss: How bad is it? (Part 1 of 2)

Loss of Sensitive Corporate Data

In the wrong hands, the sensitive data your business depends on becomes a weapon wielded against it. And it’s happening more often every day.

Reports of intellectual property theft and hacktivism abound, and 2011 has been widely described as “the year of the data breach.”

It’s not hard to see why.

In 2011 alone, according to the nonprofit Online Trust Alliance, 126 million data records were compromised in the United States.

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