Upcoming Cloud Technology Trends For 2016

Written by Mike McNaughton on . Posted in S2D Blog

Cloud technology is becoming increasingly popular. All types of data and software can be stored and easily accessed on the Cloud. It is quickly becoming an integral part of many companies.

Cloud Technology

But what is it? The Cloud is a network of servers. These servers can provide a service or they can store data. Essentially, the Cloud allows you to store data online as opposed to on hard drives. The Cloud can help companies be cost effective. This is because Cloud computing allows you to use applications over the internet; you don’t have to install software, thus minimizing the amount of hardware required for applications or storage.

And now that you know what it is, here are some upcoming trends you should expect to see in 2016.

Cloud growth

The principle, and perhaps most obvious, trend we should expect to see in 2016 is the continued increase in Cloud usage. Because smartphones have now become the number one tool people use to access the internet, people are relying less on hardware for storage and software and more on the Cloud. According to RightScale, 93 percent of businesses now use the Cloud. We should expect that number to increase still further and see Cloud services for everything.

Hybrid Cloud Computing

Hybrid Cloud Computing uses a combination of physical application infrastructure and services and public or private Cloud services. Hybrid cloud computing looks set to be an imperative, in the form of a unified integrated cloud model, with both internal and external cloud platforms which can be leveraged based on specific business requirements.

Cloud-optimized application design

Traditionally, the approach to cloud computing is essentially just to transfer workloads to the cloud or an application infrastructure. This is a good approach for certain situations. But to fully extract the potential of your cloud model and deliver the best applications you possibly can, you need to design applications that are cloud-optimized from their conceptual beginning.

Security

With the growing utilisation of Cloud services, Cloud security will also be a major issue. If you’re concerned about the security of your Cloud data, we at Stage2Data are dedicated to providing the highest level of Cloud security, recovery, and backup possible. To learn more, click here.

If your company uses Cloud computing, we have the answers to your security questions. Contact us today to discuss your security options.

Tips For Sorting Your Cloud Data

Written by Mike McNaughton on . Posted in S2D Blog

More and more companies are looking to the Cloud to store their data. Contracts, customer lists, financial transactions of all kinds, and much more can be stored and easily accessed on the Cloud. But what is the Cloud, exactly?

 Sort Your Cloud Data

The Cloud is a network of servers. These servers can provide a service or they can store data. Essentially, the Cloud allows you to store data online as opposed to on hard drives. Many companies find that using the Cloud is remarkably cost effective. This is because Cloud computing allows you to use applications over the internet; you don’t have to install software. This minimizes the amount of hardware required for applications or storage.

Now that you understand a little more about the Cloud, here are some tips for sorting your Cloud data.

Transparency

When switching over your data storage systems and software to the Cloud, it is important to be as clear and forthright with your employees and stakeholders as possible. Share your plans for data storage and projects with all concerned parties. Discuss what you hope to get out of using the Cloud and how it will benefit your company.

Let go of old systems

The previous way of doing business, planning projects, and storing data may have been fine before, but it’s important to move with the times and recognize that you’re embracing the Cloud for a reason. Updating the technology you use will help modernize your company and keep it current, but it can be a tricky transition.

Your organization may have become dependant upon customized human resources or accounting processes that will have to change with Cloud software. But keep in mind the ultimate goal and work through it to create a streamlined and more efficient data organizing system.

Make sure your data is up to snuff

The Cloud might be a great way to store and organize data, but it won’t help you if your data is no good. You will need to scan through your data and identify those items which are no longer relevant or necessary to the day-to-day operations of your company.

Security

If you’re concerned about the security of your Cloud data, we at Stage2Data are dedicated to providing the highest level of Cloud security, recovery, and backup possible. To learn more, click here.

If your company uses Cloud computing, don’t hesitate to contact us with any security questions or concerns.

Why IT Security Is Important To Business

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

No business would dream of hiring an office that didn’t have a lock on the door – and likewise, no company should ever think of operating without IT security measures in place. One data leak can make the difference between a business staying afloat or going under.

IT Security

A weak password or an unchanged one (you’d be amazed at how many businesses have simple sequences like ‘1234’ guarding important data) could result in the leakage of customer details, hurting if not destroying the trust that hundreds of customers have placed in you.

You may not hear about small companies falling victim to data breaches; generally only when it happens to big companies like TalkTalk does it tend to make the news. However, in 2012 Verizon revealed that over half of small businesses fall prey to data breaches. You need to take steps to ensure that you’re not in that half.

Some things you should consider while setting up a good IT security system include:
  • Do all the staff working for me know the importance of a strong password?
  • Are they likely to need extra training about passwords and IT security?
  • Which of my employees need access to the most sensitive data? How can I ensure that as few as possible do?
  • What data protection laws apply to my business?
  • How often do passwords need to be changed? Once a week, once a month?
  • Do I have a reliable Cloud service provider?
  • What virus protection program should I use?
  • How much money needs to be spent on IT security?

Budgeting for IT security is one of the most important things you as a company can spend your money on. The cost of a data breach will almost certainly have a much, much greater monetary cost than the security system did.

Extra staff training and a clear security policy can be big boons to a company that deals in data. You need to make sure that everyone who works for you understands the importance of keeping information safe, and that there are clear guidelines regarding passwords, employee access to sensitive data, and the use of computers in general.

Stage2Data can help your company with many of the most vital aspects of IT security. Our Security-As-A-Service (SaaS) cost-effective service can offer advanced security tools that protect data even when in the cloud, as well as 24×7 monitoring to ensure that your company never has to suffer the consequences of a data breach. Talk to our team for more information!

5 Privacy Laws You Need To Know Before Using The Cloud

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

The Cloud is not the dangerous, privacy-free concept many people assume it is – despite some high-profile data breaches, it’s still safe to use and many countries have strict laws governing it.

Cloud Privacy Laws

Canada has the Digital Privacy Act (DPA), which amended the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in 2015. This protects people from having their data used unethically.

If your customer’s data is going to the Cloud, here are some things you should know beforehand regarding the safety and privacy of your customers.

  1. Certain data counts as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and is subject to PIPEDA

    The data that counts as PII under Canadian law is:

    • Name and age
    • Any ID numbers
    • Income
    • Ethnicity
    • Blood type
    • Any comments made by the person
    • Any employee files, including evaluations and disciplinary actions
    • Credit records
    • Loan records
    • Medical records
  2. It is a crime to disclose any of this data without permission.

  3. When an organization collects PII data, it is fully responsible for that data
  4. This means that in the case of a data leak, it is you – the company – who will be held responsible. This is why it’s so important to have strict data protection measures in place.

  5. Public bodies in some provinces need to ensure that all PII data remains in Canada
  6. Most companies are free to store their data in whatever place they choose, but there are some exceptions. Public bodies (medical facilities, for example) in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec are required to make sure all their data remains in Canada.

  7. PII needs to be collected within reason
  8. PIPEDA states that data needs to be “used and disclosed for the limited purpose for which it was collected.” This means that any information that isn’t required to be kept needs to be erased.

  9. Safeguards need to be implemented for the protection of the data
  10. PIDEDA says that companies must adopt safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the data. Since your company is legally responsible for ensuring the data isn’t stolen, you need services like Security-As-A-Service (SaaS) provided by Stage2Data in order to keep all information under lock and key.

Bear in mind that there can be harsh penalties if customer information is stolen, lost or otherwise mistreated. In addition to your company losing customers and income due to loss of trust, you could also face fines of up to $100,000.

Everything You Need to Know Before Creating a Data Recovery Plan

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

Data loss. Those two words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of many. Unfortunately, data loss does happen, even when precautions are taken. The best solution to data loss is to be prepared. Creating a data recovery plan can save your important and/ or sensitive information should disaster strike, as well as providing you with peace of mind!

Data Recovery Plan

Prevention

You know the saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

If you’re using Cloud computing, all important or sensitive documents should be physically stored somewhere, ideally an external hard drive, though hard copies never hurt either! At Stage2Data, we offer private Cloud backup services. Our backup storage uses military grade AES256 encryption, and a SSL encapsulated 1024 bit secure connection between Agent and your Private Cloud. All your data is stored in security hardened data centres in Canada.

Once you’re ready to draft a Data Recovery Plan, here are the factors you should consider:

What Are The Risks?

Firstly, a thorough risk analysis of your computer and Cloud systems should be performed. Identify all possible risks, such as data deletions, viruses, hackers, and even physical risks such as power outages or floods.

Gain an understanding of exactly how these risks will affect your data. It helps to prioritize risks by likelihood and severity.

Once you’ve determined what the risks are, plan what measures can be taken to suppress, prevent, minimize, or reverse them.

What’s Realistic?

Once you’ve established what the risks are, and what you can do should they occur, it’s time to see what kind of budget is reasonable for your company. Take into account what each risk would cost your company, in downtime, and data loss.

Assemble Your Team

There are many benefits to hiring a Cloud recovery provider, such as:

  • Simple installation, handled by professionals.
  • Greater peace of mind.
  • Money saved in IT support costs.
  • Professionals will handle all data recovery.

Hiring a good recovery provider will leave you confident that, should disaster strike, your data will be recovered at minimal hassle and stress to you!

Test It!

Once your data recovery plan is in place, make sure to test it regularly! Make sure all the systems work, and address any flaws. As your IT infrastructure changes, so too should your recovery plan.

If you hire a recovery provider, they should provide at least one recovery test, so you can be confident in their security systems.

To learn more about Stage2Data’s Cloud Disaster Recovery, and to find out what we can do for you, contact us today!