10 episodes

In just a few short years, cloud computing has evolved from being a technology buzz word to an essential asset in many organizations’ IT portfolios. While companies of all sizes are shifting production workloads, applications and sensitive data to cloud-based environments, IT executives continue to have questions regarding which cloud solution will best meet their needs. The HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series brings together the cloud industry’s top experts to share their insights on the current and future state of cloud computing. Join us to learn how the cloud can help accelerate your business – whether you are new to the cloud, or are an early adopter of it.

The HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series HOSTING

    • Business

In just a few short years, cloud computing has evolved from being a technology buzz word to an essential asset in many organizations’ IT portfolios. While companies of all sizes are shifting production workloads, applications and sensitive data to cloud-based environments, IT executives continue to have questions regarding which cloud solution will best meet their needs. The HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series brings together the cloud industry’s top experts to share their insights on the current and future state of cloud computing. Join us to learn how the cloud can help accelerate your business – whether you are new to the cloud, or are an early adopter of it.

    Podcast: Protecting Against Disaster With Brian Frank

    Podcast: Protecting Against Disaster With Brian Frank

    In the latest episode of the HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series, we caught up with Brian Frank, our intrepid Cloud Services Manager, to discuss ways in which organizations can protect themselves against disaster. Brian is no stranger to disaster recovery (DR) planning, having personally overseen more than 100 disaster recovery solutions – including some during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. You can listen to our entire podcast on-demand. In the meantime, we’ve listed a few highlights below.

    Realize that disasters encompass more than what Mother Nature dishes out
    While the word “disaster” often brings up images of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes, it encompasses much more. As Brian explains, disasters can include basic power outages, human errors, or even a squirrel chewing up outside wires – causing your building to go dark. It’s important to take into account what Mother Nature typically dishes out in your area – whether your organization is based in a high flood zone or on a fault line. However, don’t discount other potential activities that can lead to an outage, causing you to declare a disaster.

    Implement baseline activities to lessen your risk of a disaster
    While DR planning can seem overwhelming at first, Brian emphasized that there are some key steps that organizations can take immediately to reduce their risk of a disaster. First and foremost, he recommends conducting a business continuity (BC) assessment. This assessment includes the following:

    Step 1 – Define your high-value assets
    Assess what data, applications and other IT assets you need to have in a recovery environment. Prioritize them and list their locations.

    Step 2 – Define your Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
    Your RTO is a target for when you want your systems to be up and running again. Determine how long you can actually go without your high-value assets – whether it’s 12 hours, 24 hours or longer – without experiencing serious consequences to your business.

    Step 3 – Define your Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
    Your RPO tells you how old the data is in your recovery environment. You need to define your RPO according to your specific business needs. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce site with customer data such as credit card information, you will want a faster RPO than that for your older, legacy data.

    Make sure your DR plan is complete and testable
    In the podcast, Brian ticks off a few elements in a DR plan that many organizations often neglect to factor in, including:

    Run books – these outline the steps organizations need to take in order to declare a disaster and bring their environments back online
    Information on what applications need to be brought online and in what order – for example, your databases may need to be brought online before your applications.

    Finally, Brian emphasizes the importance of testing recovery environments. “All the planning in the world won’t take the place of testing,” Brian emphasizes.

    Listen to the entire podcast on-demand for more of Brian’s DR tips. And contact HOSTING anytime to learn more about our “white gl

    • 10 min
    Podcast: Why The Cloud Matters to the C-suite

    Podcast: Why The Cloud Matters to the C-suite

    Sure the cloud started out as a nifty technology a few short years ago. And as many IT leaders can attest, it has rapidly evolved into an essential element of their technology portfolios. But why does the cloud matter to the C-suite? In the most recent HOSTING podcast, we asked HOSTING Founder Art Zeile that exact question (among many others!). Having spent 25+ years building companies and bringing game-changing technologies to enterprise customers, Art shared his insights regarding the current and future state of the cloud. You can listen to the entire podcast on-demand. In the meantime, we’ve included a few highlights below.

    The economic impact of the cloud
    As Art recounts, the cloud was initially made possible by the advent of two important technologies:

    Ubiquitous access to broadband which resulted in connectivity to someone else’s data center
    Virtualization that effectively allows organizations to split compute (i.e., computers and servers) resources into smaller, more economically efficient segments

    Over the past few years, the cloud has evolved into an accepted tool for business owners and IT users to radically change the economics of how they consume applications and technology resources.

    “Things don’t become tectonic changes unless they change the basic economics of how consumers use technology,” says Art. “By outsourcing the management of data and applications to a cloud service provider, organizations can realize 30 – 70% savings versus internally leveraging internal resources and technologies.”

    Speed of innovation
    While cost was an early differentiator for the cloud, Art notes that speed of innovation is a key reason why so many C-level executives are green-lighting cloud-based solutions. According to a recent state of the market report on the cloud, 88% of enterprises are leveraging the cloud for improving their responsiveness to business needs.

    “The essence of the cloud world today is that developers can essentially very quickly code and implement their technologies in a cloud-based format,” Art explains. “Whereas in the past it took months to get a solution to market; today it can take a matter of hours or even minutes.”

    Top reasons for moving mission-critical workloads to the cloud

    Improving responsiveness to business needs – 88%
    Improving operations – 65%
    Saving money – 41%
    Keeping pace/responding to competition – 35%
    Addressing lack of internal skills – 29%
    Simplifying regulatory compliance – 18%
    Improving security – 18%

    – Verizon State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016

    Closing the IT skills gap
    Anyone in the U.S. who is charged with hiring top IT talent will tell you – the IT skills gap is real. According to 451 Research, IT security managers in the U.S. and EMEA reported significant obstacles in implementing desired security projects due to lack of staff expertise (34.5%) and inadequate staffing (26.4%).

    Art acknowledges that there is an “enormous skills gap.” At the same time, the beauty of the cloud is that IT leaders can leverage it to maximize their limited resources. As Art notes by investing in cloud-based solutions, IT leaders can shift their technology resources from handling “the plumbing behind the scenes” and have them focus on customer facing and customer impacting activities.

    By 2020, the cloud will be . . .
    Tune into our podcast an

    • 13 min
    Podcast: Harnessing New Cloud Technologies

    Podcast: Harnessing New Cloud Technologies

    In our latest HOSTING 360 Cloud Podcast, we caught up with Mike McCracken, Senior Director of Professional Services. In addition to managing the HOSTING team of cloud solution consultants, Mike spends much of his time advising clients to leverage different cloud technologies to gain business advantages. We sat down with Mike to ask about the latest cloud computing trends and technologies. You can listen to the entire podcast on-demand. In the meantime, we’ve included some highlights below.

    More companies are “going all in” with the cloud
    Just a few short years ago, companies learned about the cloud by seeing charges on their Amazon invoices. Truth be told, “Shadow IT” groups within a company were the first to adopt cloud computing solutions. For example, a marketing department would set up their own cloud solution to store finished deliverables. Most of the time these cloud environments were outside the company’s firewall and lacked the same security and compliance measures than what their IT teams would implement.

    Fast forward a few years, and cloud use is becoming more widespread. Initially the cloud was relegated to low-risk test/dev or “sandbox” workloads. Today, organizations are moving both edge applications (i.e., e-commerce sites or company websites) as well as core applications containing sensitive data to the cloud. They are also taking advantage of the cloud’s scalability. Rather than purchase additional servers or virtual machines, companies are leveraging the cloud for seasonal workloads where they need to scale resources quickly for events such as Tax Day, Black Friday, etc.

    Cloud migrations are a team effort
    Mike emphasizes that while cloud migrations are a team effort between the customer and their cloud service provider (CSP), some things are best left to the experts.

    “Cloud migrations are complex,” Mike notes. “Everyone comes into it thinking, ‘I understand my server or application’ but they’re not doing migrations on a day-to-day basis.”

    Mike compares cloud migrations to working on your car. You may know how to change the oil in it, but doing a complete engine rebuild is probably outside your expertise.

    So what can companies do to help ensure a successful migration? Mike offers a few tips:

    Understand your environment including the dependencies between applications and different infrastructure layers.
    Realize that migrating to the cloud impacts many departments; not just your own. Communicate with all stakeholders involved to understand their business requirements from a time and outage perspective, and how much risk are they willing to take.
    Establish well-documented “go- no-go” criteria and rollback strategies with your cloud provider. The decision to migrate to the cloud is yours, not the CSP’s, so know in advance what factors are working successfully before you pull the trigger. Also have a roll back strategy. As Mike shared, “It’s difficult, but not impossible to roll back. No one at 3 am on a Saturday wants to want to be worried about, ‘How are we going to get back to where we were because this didn’t work.’”

    Mobile devices are driving cloud computing growth
    In 2010, personal computers (PCs) were still the primary vehicle for people to work, shop and access information over the Internet. IDC predicts that by 2015, 90% of devices shipped will be smartphones and tablets versus 10% for PCs. The explosion of mobile devices has

    • 24 min
    Podcast: How to Avoid Cloud Sprawl

    Podcast: How to Avoid Cloud Sprawl

    Cloud sprawl is a regular – and expensive – occurrence within many organizations. In the latest HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast, Cloud Control – How to Avoid Cloud Sprawl, we sat down with Jonathan Arena, Vice President of Infrastructure for HOSTING. Jon discussed ways in which organizations can avoid cloud sprawl, as well as best practices for scaling their cloud environments. You can listen to the entire podcast on-demand. In the meantime, we’ve listed some highlights.

    Common causes of cloud sprawl
    Cloud sprawl occurs when individual departments within an organization deploy their own applications in the cloud. Oftentimes these applications are managed by departments outside IT, which can lead to security vulnerabilities as well as additional costs. Jonathan listed several ways in which cloud sprawl can occur include the following.

    Internal teams utilize the cloud for test/dev activities, without setting a completion date. As a result, cloud resources remain “on” indefinitely.
    Individual departments (AKA – “Shadow IT”) are lured by the ease in which they can purchase and deploy applications. In many cases, all it takes is a swipe of a credit card and suddenly they’re “in the cloud.”

    A key issue for companies experiencing cloud sprawl is that there is no single “cloud ambassador” who has control over cloud costs. This is often coupled by a lack of adequate reporting on cloud usage from the organization’s cloud service provider (CSP).

    Cloud sprawl risks
    Departments that “go rogue” in the cloud, typically host applications haven’t been vetted by their IT department to ensure the organization’s security and compliance standards are met. As a result, sensitive information ends up being stored outside the company’s firewall and outside the IT department’s control. Existing cloud resources that IT has already invested in end up being underutilized, costing organizations unnecessary expense.

    Two ways to control cloud sprawl
    In order to control cloud sprawl and scale resources effectively, Jonathan recommends that organizations create a strategic plan that outlines and allocates existing cloud resources. Assets should be inventoried according to which department is utilizing them. They should also be categorized by usage – are they earmarked for a permanent or temporary initiative.

    Jonathan also suggests that organizations creating cloud governance policies.

    “Organizations need to determine where their cloud solutions will reside, and how they will be operated,” Jonathan recommends. “There should also be a designated person who has authority to request changes, order additional capacity or add/remove users.”

    Don’t let cloud sprawl impact your bottom line. Log onto our podcast for more tips on how to effectively scale your cloud investments. You can also contact HOSTING anytime for help in streamlining your cloud assets so you can maximize your IT spend.

    • 5 min
    Podcast: Myth of Cloud Compliance

    Podcast: Myth of Cloud Compliance

    The explosion of data generated within the healthcare, retail and financial services industries has led to a tightening of regulations designed to safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) including Social Security numbers, credit card information, birthdates and more. In the latest installment of the HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series, we sat down with Johan Hybinette, Chief Information Security Officer for HOSTING. Johan commented on the “myth of cloud compliance” as well as what companies need to know before engaging with compliant cloud hosting providers. You can listen to the entire podcast on-demand. In the meantime, we’ve listed some highlights.

    Companies can achieve cloud compliance 
    Companies that haven’t invested in cloud-based solutions often cite compliance and security as reasons for remaining on the sidelines. However, Johan emphasizes that compliance in the cloud is attainable. As a compliant cloud hosting provider, HOSTING offers a secure, compliant cloud environment for organizations to store their sensitive information. And while companies are responsible for the security and compliance of their applications, HOSTING offers managed services to alleviate their compliance burdens.

    Key compliance questions companies should ask potential cloud providers
    “There is no true HIPAA certification,” emphasizes Johan. Therefore, organizations should be wary of any cloud provider that promotes themselves as being “HIPAA-certified.” During the podcast, Johan listed some key compliance questions companies should ask when evaluating cloud providers, including:

    Have your data centers been audited for compliance by an independent, third-party?

    Any cloud provider that claims to offer compliance hosting services for HIPAA or PCI should readily produce a copy of their audit reports. A PCI compliance report should be based on the results of an audit conducted by a qualified security assessor (QSA) approved by PCI DSS. A HIPPA compliance report should be based on OCR (Office of Civil Rights) HIPAA Audit Protocol.

    Read our blog post on PCI Compliant Hosting Data Center Requirements

    Are your employees trained in HIPAA/HITECH and PCI security and compliance standards?

    We can’t emphasize this enough – technology is only part of the compliance and security equation – people and processes play crucial roles as well. Johan recommends that organizations understand how potential cloud providers train their staff on security and compliance standards. For example, HIPAA requires all employees to be trained in security policies, physical security, risk response and reporting, password use, data protection and so forth.

    View our on-demand webinar, How to Spend Your Cloud Security Dollar.

    Do you have a thorough Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

    Having a well-documented BAA in place is essential for companies that are responsible for safeguarding protected health information (PHI). Under HIPAA’s standards for penalties, the lack of a BAA implies negligence, which may fall under Willful Neglect. This can result in fines ranging from $10,000 – $50,000 for each incident, along with potential criminal charges.

    View our on-demand webinar, Understanding You

    • 11 min
    PODCAST: Cloud Migration: Tales from the Trenches

    PODCAST: Cloud Migration: Tales from the Trenches

    In our latest installment of the HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series, we asked Catherine Roy, Senior Manager, Project Management Office for HOSTING, to share her expert tips and tales gained from overseeing hundreds of cloud migrations. Missed it? You can listen to the entire podcast on-demand. We’ve listed a few highlights below.

    Global cloud computing continues to rise, yet the majority of cloud migrations fail
    According to research firm Forrester, the global cloud computing market is expected to grow 22% annually to approximately US$241 billion by 2020. Yet Gartner points out that 83% of all data migration projects either fail outright of suffer significant cost overruns and/or delays. While Catherine lists many reasons behind this poor performance, a key factor is that most IT departments don’t have deep experience in cloud migrations. As a result, they don’t know all the factors to consider when developing a cloud migration plan. This can ultimately lead to aggressive time frames, unrealistic budget expectations and a lack of testing – all which can culminate to a botched migration effort.

    Common cloud migration mistakes
    Catherine shared several “gotcha’s” that organizations stumble upon during a cloud migration including:

    1) Sprinting through a cloud migration
    It’s easy to get excited about all the new, cool things that can be accomplished via cloud computing solutions. However, many organizations want to “speed up” the process, bypassing the planning and testing needed to ensure a successful cloud migration.

    2) Avoiding responsibility for data protection or disaster recovery
    As we emphasized in our recent webinar covering the Alert Logic 2015 Cloud Security Report, a common mistake that companies make is to assume that their cloud service provider will take on the entire burden of safeguarding their data assets and implementing disaster recovery (DR) plans. The reality is that while some CSP offer managed services that include data security, the customer must also share responsibility for ensuring their data and applications are secure and compliant.

    3) Assuming a cloud migration will provide immediate cost savings
    While cloud computing solutions offer many benefits including the ability for organizations to shift from incurring fixed capital expenses (CapEx) to recurring operating expenses (OpEx), it’s unrealistic to expect immediate cost savings. Organizations need to have a realistic idea of what they want to achieve through the cloud and work closely with an experienced CSP to develop and execute a cloud migration that helps achieve those goals.

    Steps for a successful cloud migration
    Catherine advocates that organizations have a detailed, collaborative approach to planning their cloud migration. This means getting feedback and buy-in from key stakeholders and having a detailed cloud migration plan in place. As Catherine emphasizes to all of our clients, “You really can’t test enough.” Organizations should factor in adequate time to test the cloud migration before pulling the trigger.

    And finally . . .

    HOSTING clients that engage with us for cloud migrations know that it is ultimately their decision as to whether or not to launch a cloud migration. A CSP shouldn’t dictate if or when a cloud migration goes live. Only when a customer has all their questions answered and feels confident about the cloud migration plan should the CSP “pull the trigger.”

    Contact the HOSTING cloud experts anytime for exp

    • 5 min

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