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NCSAM Tip #10: Cloud Security for Everyone

October 14, 2011 at 7:15 am PST

Cloud services. You may or may not think about them, but they are no longer a talk of the future. Some of you probably listen to Rhapsody and Rdio, which are cloud-based streaming music services. Others perhaps use a cloud-based compression service Onavo to shrink your smartphone data and your monthly bill. Storage (Dropbox), email, social media, banking, location-based services (GPS), just to name some, all at your fingertips. For small and mid-size businesses, there’s a wide range of cloud services including productivity, finance, and accounting. For many companies and organizations, cloud adoption is on top of their priority list.

Before we continue to ride the cloud at lightning speed, shall we pause a moment to reflect on the risks? After all, there are many things that can threaten our data and services. To learn more about the current threat landscape, watch a rich and compelling on-demand webcast by Patrick Gray, principal security strategist at Cisco. Here are some specific concerns and action to take.

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Confused by Cloud Complexity? New Cisco Webinar Series

Far too often, technology transitions are highlighted by the new bells and whistles. This is great for advertising, where “NEW” is the allure. But it frequently leaves IT organizations wondering how they can transition from their current environments to the added business value that these technology transitions enable. In the 1st Part of this webinar series we explored why companies need to be aware of Cloud Computing and the types of problems it can solve for their business. The 2nd webinar in the series (“Overcoming Rigidity and Complexity“) will look at ways to manage the transition to Cloud Computing.

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Plenty of Room in the Cloud for Cisco Solution Providers

This post is the fourth in a series we’re featuring from Amazon Consulting. Amazon Consulting is a partnering services firm dedicated to helping companies elevate the impact of partnering. The author of this post is Cary Tengler, Director, Client Services.

As Bob Dylan once famously sang, “The times, they are a’changin’.” Recent changes in technology—specifically with cloud computing—have moved technology service providers into an increasingly prominent role in the IT services delivery market.

Many vendors recognized early on the broader value of technology service providers, or TSPs, and created programs to support their role in the partner ecosystem. For instance, “Cisco Powered Network” branding and joint selling efforts have long been a part of Cisco’s service provider strategy.  And it appears the rest of the IT vendor community is coming to the same conclusion.

A recent Amazon Consulting survey of 64 global IT vendors found that 70% view service providers as “very strategic” in their go-to-market plans and only 12% of the vendors viewed them as “customers and not partners.” This increased industry focus on TSPs as part of the emerging “cloud channel” makes it imperative that Cisco’s VARs take a closer look at their own cloud services and partnering strategies. Read More »

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Complete the Cloud Journey – Handing the Keys to the Users

Every year, the IT industry makes some bold claims about “This is the Year of < insert technology>”. Buzz, hype, conferences, webinars and whitepapers ensue!! Sometimes they come true and sometimes they fall short of expectations. But once all the smoke clears, IT organizations tend to dust themselves off and ask, “So what actually works and what can I use TODAY?”

Amidst all the Cloud Computing technology hype that has been happening over the past couple years, Cisco’s IT organization was faced with a very real (and very common) business challenge -- how to deliver Better IT, Faster IT and More Flexible IT? All of those challenges were faced against the background of exponentially growing user-demands and almost no IT budget growth. Then throw in all those nagging side challenges of securing information, regulatory compliance, and facilities that were running out of space.

Do these problems sound familiar? We suspect that many IT organizations are reaching similar levels of stress from their business and are looking for answers.

If you’re interested in learning how Cisco is solving this problem internally, we highly recommend that you attend this webinar, hosted by Cisco IT. Ken Schroeder (Data Center Architect) will explain how Cisco evolved from a fragmented IT organization to one that is now able to deliver greater empowerment and flexibility back to the business.

Register and Attendent the Webinar: http://www.brighttalk.com/r/Vlv

Date: October 11, 2pm EST (11am PST)

Title: CITEIS – A Cisco on Cisco Private Cloud Case Study

Speaker: Ken Schroeder, Cisco IT

Background (overview):

Abstract: Join us to learn about Cisco’s CITEIS – Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services – project. Find out firsthand how Cisco deployed an agile, cost effective, flexible and secure private cloud using Cisco Intelligent Automation, Cisco UCS, and VMware technologies. Gain insights from Cisco IT for the planning and development of your own private cloud.

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Cloud Computing vs. Virtualization: The Differences and Benefits

Both solutions can help maximize your current resources and technology dollars

Like many technologies that were once available only to large organizations, virtualization and cloud computing are being scaled down for small business use. The two technologies are often mentioned in the same breath as though they’re interchangeable—they’re not. Here’s where the two technologies overlap: Virtualization is one of the fundamental technologies that makes cloud computing work. However, virtualization is not cloud computing.

In enterprise networks, virtualization and cloud computing are often used together to build a private cloud infrastructure. For most small businesses, however, each technology will be deployed separately to gain measurable benefits. In different ways, virtualization and cloud computing can help you keep your equipment spending to a minimum and get the best possible use from the equipment you already have.

First, you need to understand what virtualization and cloud computing are. Virtualization software allows one physical server to run several individual computing environments. In practice, it’s like getting multiple servers for each physical server you buy.  This technology is fundamental to cloud computing.  Cloud providers have large data centers full of servers to power their cloud offerings, but they aren’t able to devote a single server to each customer. Thus, they virtually partition the data on the server, enabling each client to work with a separate “virtual” instance of the same software. Read More »

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