Posts Tagged Cloud Computing

Things To Consider While Upgrading Office Network

Business-grade office networking solutions has crucial productivity, security, and functional characteristics that make the solutions a preferred choice for all enterprises. As the organization grows or there is an advent of newer technology, businesses should consider upgrading their office networks.

While upgrading their office network, businesses should invest in high-quality network equipment that features: –

  1. Intelligent Networking – Networks aided by RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and machine learning provide maximum performance on applications and services. The intelligent system can adapt, learn, and defend itself is an AI-enabled network.
  2. Multiple Wireless Network Support – A single wireless network is often supported by consumer access points. Multi-wireless networks, often known as SSIDs (Service Set IDentifiers), are supported by business-grade access points. This allows versatility and protection. Inbound-outbound rules, encryption, authentication, and other features can be applied to such SSIDs to provide an extra layer of protection. Additional dedicated SSIDs guaranteeing network isolation and congestion-free communications channel are formed for IP cameras and wireless speakers. Office owners can also utilize dual-band routers with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
  3. NAS (Network Attached Storage) – A NAS is a data storage device. It’s a box with many hard drives configured in a RAID array to defend against hardware failures and faults. A network interface card connects directly to a switch or router and allows data to be accessed through a network. Data may be accessed using a shared drive from desktops, laptops, and servers. With NAS, there is no need to store copies of your papers on all of your assets and devices. It allows operators and business owners to deploy virtual computers and set up a media server that can stream to any device in real time.
  4. Network Security – Physical network security is the initial layer, and it should keep unauthorized people out of physical network components. Access to network components must be logged, controlled, with mandatory biometric verification requirement. Technical network security is the second layer, which safeguards data in transit as well as data at rest. External threat actors as well as harmful insider activities can be mitigated implementing a VPN and/or two-factor and multi-factor authentication techniques. Antivirus and firewall software must be updated to only allow access to authorized staff. The administrative network security layer is the last layer, and it comprises of security rules and processes that regulate network user behavior. Unauthorized network access to specific applications and devices is limited by unified endpoint management.
  5. Cloud Computing – The distribution of services through the internet is referred to as cloud computing. Software, storage, analytics, and servers are all examples of internet services that are referred to as “the Cloud.” A cloud provider will host and keep the data for all of these services in the end. Access to applications, servers, and data is no longer restricted locally, making remote work easier. Threat actors finds it more difficult to infiltrate the network on the cloud. Both employees and the corporation benefit from a cloud-based network as they can utilize file sharing, screen sharing, and team messaging over the cloud network. When deciding on a team collaboration tool, compare the benefits and drawbacks of the vendor products shortlisted. Another advantage for employees is that cloud computing decreases the workload of the network administrators and allows them to focus on other activities.

Centex Technologies provide complete IT and computer networking solutions for businesses. For upgradation and for conducting an IT audit of office network, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Cloud Computing Security: Challenges & Solutions

Cloud computing is a vast term that covers a wide range of technology resources that are delivered “as-a-service” via an internet connection. The cloud services include software-as-a-Service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). All these cloud computing models provide a different level of service, control, and responsibility.

When switching to a cloud computing model, business organizations need to be aware of the following cloud computing challenges:

  • Potential Loss Or Theft Of Intellectual Property: IP represents competitive advantages for a business, so a loss of IP may have a tangible impact on the business’s market share. Fraudsters may use this IP information to create fake products and cheaper processes since they don’t cover research & development costs.
  • Regulatory Compliance Violations: Cloud computing service providers may not meet the strict regulatory compliance standards of the industry. It can lead to compliance violations for businesses availing these services.
  • Reduced Visibility Of Cloud Environment: Some Cloud Service Providers do not provide visibility into the cloud environment. This problem is more intense in SaaS solutions because PaaS and IaaS solutions offer more visibility. After all, in these cases, users are expected to do their configuration and management for the cloud environment.
  • Lateral Attack Spread: If defense-in-depth controls of a cloud environment are not strong enough, it can be easier for an attacker to spread from one workload on the cloud to the next. Thus, multiple databases or apps can be compromised quickly during a breach.
  • Increased Complexity Of Security: Businesses that work with multiple cloud service providers have to face several different complicated cloud security processes. For example, one CSP may require multi-factor authentication using text messages, while another CSP may use a different authentication method. It increases process complexity making it difficult for users to access various cloud solutions in their day-to-day workflows.

Solutions To Cloud Computing Security Challenges

  • Limit Cloud Computing Vendors: Different Cloud Service Providers may have different security tools and processes, making it difficult for businesses to manage their cloud solutions. This challenge can be handled by trying to limit the cloud computing vendors. Companies should try to source as many cloud solutions from a single vendor as possible.
  • Verify Your Access To Information: Visibility into the cloud environment is vital for ensuring cybersecurity. So, verify the level of access to information that Cloud Service Provider would offer. With greater visibility into the cloud environment, businesses can more easily track and control security.
  • Verify Security SLAs: Verifying security SLAs (Service Level Agreements) before signing an agreement with CSP helps to ensure that the service provider will meet the industry’s cybersecurity standards and protect the business from extended service disruptions.
  • Consult A Cybersecurity Expert: Get assistance from cybersecurity experts before switching to the cloud computing model.

We, at Centex Technologies, help businesses in switching to cloud computing. We offer IT consulting services for educating businesses on their cloud computing requirements and ensuring cybersecurity. For more details on challenges & solutions related to cloud computing security, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Comprehensive Guide To Cloud Migration For Businesses

In order to build an understanding of Cloud Migration for businesses, let us first acquaint ourselves to the term. The term Cloud Migration is used to define the process of moving & organizing different applications, organizational data and other resources from an on-premises data center to the cloud. Cloud is a computing model which stores the data on internet through a third-party cloud computing provider who manages & operates data storage as a service.

Once a business decides to migrate its data to cloud, the foremost step is to choose an appropriate strategy. Different strategies suit different situations/businesses. Here are the strategies a business can choose from:

  • Rehost Or Lift-And-Shift Model: It is the simplest model where an existing application is shifted to a new environment without making any modifications to its integrity. It is suitable for businesses that are new to cloud storage as it offers quick implementation & low cost benefits.
  • Re-Platform Or Lift-And-Optimize: It requires the business to make minimum changes to an application’s code or architecture when moving it to cloud. It allows businesses to make few optimizations while maintain the integrity of the application.
  • Repurchase Or Drop-And-Shop: Under this strategy, a business replaces its existing applications with new ones available on the system. It saves the cost for developing a unique system, as businesses can integrate into an established system for a seamless migration.
  • Refractor Or Re-Architect: It is a time-consuming but long term solution as businesses are required to rebuild their applications. It could involve automatically scaling certain apps or integrating new features such as server-less computing.
  • Retain Or Hybrid Model: Applications and data can be split up between two sources (cloud & on-premises for an increased security. However, it requires training on new applications or splitting of teams.

After choosing a suitable strategy, businesses can start with the stepwise process of cloud migration.

  • Assess: Businesses should analyze the resources (including time & money) required for cloud migration. It is important to consider if any training would be required after cloud migration, costs involved and if it would make sense for the business.
  • Pilot Testing: Start by implementing cloud migration to a small amount of sample data and test this system with a small team. Use the feedback to decide if it would be beneficial to scale the system to multiple teams or to the entire organization.
  • Initiate: Once the testing phase succeeds, it is time to start the actual migration process. The time consumed in cloud migration depends upon the type of strategy chosen by the business.
  • Organize: After the data movement is complete, it is important to know how much data has been moved and how to keep it organized. This helps in preventing any data loss.
  • Optimize: Identify if any immediate steps can be taken to improve the system and how will they impact the business.

For more information on cloud migration for businesses, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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The Risks Of Cloud-Hosted Data

With the increasing need of improving efficiency and reducing latency, most organizations are opting for cloud-based services. However, there are some risks associated with using third party cloud hosting services. These risks may have an impact on various aspects of business which could have financial, legal and technical implications.

Some of the common risks associated with cloud-hosted data are:

  • Consumer Visibility & Control: As the operations of an organization are transitioned to the cloud, it results in shifting of some responsibilities to CSP (Content Security Policy), which may lead to organization losing visibility or control over certain operations and assets. For example, network based monitoring and logging, limits an organization from accessing the details about its own application or data which should otherwise be easily accessible to the IT department. Thus, it is important to thoroughly ask the cloud service provider about various cloud hosting models and the level of control available before transitioning the operations.
  • Unauthorized Use: In order to inculcate user-friendly approach, some cloud hosting service providers may allow self-service to the users. This gives end users the authority to add more services without seeking necessary permission from the IT department of the organization. The lack of extra security increases the chances of addition of malicious links or code in the application and use of unsupported software, which can lead to enormous security breaches. This makes it important to understand access levels and service specifications provided by cloud hosting company.
  • Cloud Data May Be Compromised: Most of the business applications use APIs (Application Programming Interface) to manage and interact with the cloud services. If there are any vulnerabilities in API security, hackers may access and attack cloud resources and data of an organization. Compromised organization assets can be further used to perpetrate attack against other linked customers.
  • Exploitation Of Software Vulnerabilities: A shared cloud hosting service is simultaneously used by different organizations. Thus, it is important for the service provider to maintain clear separation between the resources of different cloud hosting users. If the infrastructure fails to maintain this separation, it leads to the risk of cloud data leakage. This loophole provides the hackers a chance to access the cloud resources and assets of an organization to launch a successful data breach.
  • Stolen Credentials: If organization’s credentials are compromised, hackers can easily take over the entire application which could result in Identity Theft attacks, deleted information, defamation of application interface, etc.

The risks associated with cloud-hosted data may lead to financial losses. Also, the cyber-attacks resulting from these risks mark a blow to the reputation of an organization. Thus, it is important to choose a cloud-hosting model and service provider after thorough diligence.

For more information on managing the risks of cloud-hosted data, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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How Healthcare Industry Can Benefit From Cloud Computing

Most industries are progressing towards cloud technology, so why should healthcare industry lag behind. This technology has brought a revolution in the field of healthcare resulting in improved outcomes. As per a recent survey by HIMSS Analytics, over 83 % of healthcare organizations are using cloud technology.

The technology is being used to store and process patient’s information which has thereby resulted in a decreased capital expenditure for healthcare organizations. Here are some ways in which cloud computing benefits healthcare industry.

  • Better Collaboration – It has provided extreme benefit to healthcare industry by allowing experts and doctors to store as well as access patient’s data & apply necessary care without delay. Also, remote conferencing has allowed doctors in saving precious lives.
  • Greater Reach At The Time Of Disaster – Getting doctors and necessary information on board at the time of an unforeseen circumstance or disaster often gets very difficult and many people die due to the lack of medical care on time. Cloud computing on the other hand allow field doctors to access medical information and getting connected with an expert for providing treatment & medical aid as per need of the hour.
  • Lower Storage Costs – It allows hospitals to hold more patient information at a lower cost and that too in a more systematic way.
  • Better Use Of Big Data To Treat Patients – Cloud computing allows healthcare organizations to make better use of big data to treat patients. It allows doctors to collect complete information about the ailments which a patient suffers from along with their medical history to form better inferences about the treatment to be offered.
  • Improved Medical Research – The research process speeds up due to easy storing and sharing of data through cloud technology. Data is collected from multiple fields, data analysts then use cloud to pool the data and summarize it to form conclusions. The results of the research helps professionals in curing diseases and designing better healthcare technologies.
  • Improved Patient Care – Internet of Things (IoT) can help in saving lives too by reaching out to people residing in remote areas. Cloud makes it possible for such people to get access to quality healthcare services. Mobile devices can be used to monitor a patient’s condition and keep the doctors at far of places updated with a patient’s medical condition. Also, this way patients can get access to healthcare services round the clock.

Cloud services ensure complete flexibility. Healthcare providers only pay for what they use. Also cloud provides simple anytime & anywhere access to healthcare applications and resources. As per a report by MarketsandMarkets, healthcare cloud computing market is expected to increase to $9.48 billion by 2020.

It will provide a twin benefit by not only improving the quality levels of healthcare services but also by helping them cut their costs. The sooner healthcare industry embraces cloud technology, the better it will be for them.

For more information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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