Created with Sketch.
The HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series
11 minutes | Dec 18, 2015
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 glove” approach to helping organizations with their DR planning.
13 minutes | Dec 11, 2015
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 anytime to hear more insights from Art, including where he thinks the cloud will be in the next five years. And feel free to share your cloud predictions in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!
24 minutes | Nov 20, 2015
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 resulted in multiple operating systems and not as much compute capacity as PCs, which are gradually fading away. You need to look at where these applications can run. This has resulted in the emergence of more software as a service (SaaS) applications (e.g., Salesforce, Office 360, Netflix, etc.). There is also a new need for rapid scalability. Mike gave the example of having thousands of people at a football game suddenly wanting to book tickets for the playoff game online. Organizations are leveraging cloud-based solutions to handle those sort of usage spikes. Virtual desktops are also becoming more important as employees want access to their work environment wherever they’re located. With virtual desktops, organizations’ end-user desktops are safely operated from an off-site data center and accessed via a low-cost client device or traditional PC or laptop. Finally, Mike touched on the impact the cloud has on the Internet of Things (IoT), citing devices such as refrigerators. Previously considered “dumb devices,” they are now connected through the Internet on the backend, generating large amounts of data. The cloud is the perfect place to store, manage and analyze that data. Business-critical assets remain safely within the IT’s domain – reducing the risk of security breaches – while allowing designated access to employees via the devices of their choice. Tune into our podcast anytime to learn about the trends and technologies in cloud computing including cybersecurity, how the cloud can address the healthcare industry’s data tsunami, and why unified cloud solutions such as the HOSTING Unified Cloud represent the future of the industry.
5 minutes | Nov 13, 2015
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.
11 minutes | Nov 6, 2015
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 Your Cloud Service Provider’s BAA Achieving compliance in the cloud can be complicated. HOSTING can help. Our team of certified information security and compliance experts create custom compliant cloud solutions that meet HIPAA/HITECH, PCI and SOX requirements. Contact us anytime to discuss your specific needs. And view our on-demand webinar, Using Data Security to Address HIPAA and HITECH Requirements.
6 minutes | Oct 30, 2015
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 expert advice on planning for a successful cloud migration. And be sure to check out the HOSTING on-demand webinar, Navigating the Cloud Migration Minefield, where Catherine and Bill Santos, President of HOSTING Advanced Solutions, share additional cloud stories from the trenches.
18 minutes | Oct 23, 2015
Podcast: Choosing & Negotiating with a Cloud Service Provider
In our latest installment of the HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series, we caught up with Darrell Hyde, Chief Technology Officer for HOSTING. With the increased adoption of cloud computing solutions, we asked Darrell to share his best practices for choosing and negotiating with a cloud service provider (CSP). As usual, Darrell had lots of great advice to share! Following is a quick recap of our conversation. Be sure to listen to the entire podcast for Darrell’s expert insights. What are some common mistakes that companies make when selecting a CSP? Darrell points out that one of the biggest challenges that companies face when moving to the cloud is gaining the necessary input and buy-in from stakeholders. This feedback is critical for companies to gain a clear understanding of their desired “end state” should be – i.e., do they want to leverage the cloud for resource savings or to adhere to compliance regulations such as HIPAA and PCI? A common mistake that companies make is focusing on the technology that a cloud solution provides. However, Darrell urges companies to consider the services a CSP offers before committing to them. Technology is one thing, but it’s important that the CSP’s work and service philosophies align with those of your company. What information should companies have on hand when interviewing prospective CSPs? Here, Darrell recommends that organizations ask the following questions prior to interviewing prospective CSPs: What do I have on hand? Organizations should take an inventory of the IT assets they already have as well as the business processes that support them. Why am I doing this? – Companies should know what their goals are for migrating to the cloud and their “desired state.” What are some key areas that companies should focus on when evaluating CSPs? Darrell shared a laundry list of questions that companies should pose to potential CSPs including: Does the CSP have the necessary, relevant expertise to address their compliance burdens as they pertain to HIPAA, PCI, etc.? What is the CSP’s competency around customer care? As Darrell relates, cloud customers have become more mature and desire a high level of service. Can the CSP assist with capacity planning so that resources are not under- or over utilized? For example, will they monitor a client’s environment and alert then in the event a test/dev environment is running unnecessarily? Will they shut it down themselves or work with the client’s team to do so? Does the CSP offer a unified support experience? Can you call your CSP and work with a single support team that is well-versed in your cloud environment and business needs? Does the CSP provide simplified billing? Can they help with cost forecasting so that you don’t get hit with overage charges? What are service level agreements (SLAs) and why are they important? Darrell explains that an SLA is a contractual agreement between a client and their CSP around levels of care, responsiveness, performance and availability that the client should expect from their cloud environment. Some elements of an SLA are more technical in nature such as CPUs and latency. Other aspects of an SLA cover response time in the event of an outage, or how the CSP responds to a support ticket. Darrell emphasizes that companies should have a list of desired elements when negotiating the SLA, saying, “They are the currency that CSPs trade in.” Darrell also points out that mature IT consumers are less concerned about the technology behind the cloud solutions and more focused on the level and consistency of service they receive from it. They also want to know what remedies are available to them in the event that the CSP defaults on their SLAs. Darrell also states that financial penalties are never going to make up for lost business due to an application outage. According to Darrell, “While most SLAs include financial penalties, they shouldn’t be the mechanism companies use to enforce or guarantee availability.” Finally, Darrell notes that if your application goes down and your customers can’t do business with you, then the SLA is worthless. While it’s extremely important to negotiate a strong SLA, you need to think about how you designed your infrastructure and applications, and if your CSP is able to build your applications in a fault-tolerant architecture. Listen to Darrell’s podcast for more tips on choosing and negotiating with a cloud service provider. And visit the HOSTING Resource Page to access a wealth of blogs, white papers, webinars and case studies – all designed to help you achieve success in the cloud.
20 minutes | Oct 16, 2015
Podcast: The New Cloud Landscape . . . and What It Means
The New Cloud Landscape . . . and What it Means The HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series provides expert insights and analysis into the latest cloud trends and technologies – helping organizations plan their cloud strategies with an eye on the future. In our most recent podcast, The New Cloud Landscape . . . and What It Means, Sean Bruton, Vice President of Product for HOSTING, delves into unified cloud strategies. Join us as he discusses why a unified cloud strategy can provide organizations with unprecedented flexibility, scalability and support for their AWS, Azure and OpenStack environments. Some of the topics he covers include: The risks and benefits that organizations should consider before investing in a unified cloud platform. How a unified cloud strategy is a smart choice for organizations that adhere to compliance regulations, such as HIPAA/HITECH and PCI DSS. How adopting a unified cloud solution can help organizations manage their resources and expenses. Examples of companies that have successfully implemented unified cloud solutions. The “future-state” of unified clouds. Subscribe to the HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series for the latest news and trends related to the cloud. And visit the HOSTING Resource Page to access our blogs, white papers, webinars and case studies – all designed to help you achieve success in the cloud.
13 minutes | Oct 9, 2015
Podcast: What Is the Cloud . . . And Why Should I Care (Part 2)
HOSTING kicked off our Cloud 360 Podcast Series by asking Bill Santos, President of HOSTING, the most important question that organizations ask us – “What is the cloud and why should I care?” A loaded question for sure! Having advised literally hundreds of organizations on how to realize the benefits found in cloud-based solutions, Bill stepped up to the challenge in this cloud podcast with a clear, concise definition of the cloud, followed by expert insights regarding: The essential criteria companies should use to evaluate a cloud-based solution Key considerations when migrating to the cloud including: cost savings, financial flexibility, business agility and scalability How to determine which cloud model works best for your business and why one cloud doesn’t fit all Real-life examples of companies that realized significant benefits from migrating to the cloud, and some “gotchas” that other companies experienced along the way Listen to Part 1 of Bill’s podcast here. But Bill doesn’t stop there. In Part 2 of his cloud podcast, Bill shares a few “horror stories” that prevent some companies from moving to the cloud – and how HOSTING addresses them. He also provides a list of essential questions companies should ask when evaluating prospective cloud providers or managed service providers. Some of the questions on Bill’s list might surprise you! Considering the cloud? Spend a little over 10 minutes listening to Bill’s podcast and arm yourself with a wealth of information to help you confidently move to the cloud or migrate between clouds. We encourage our current and prospective customers to ask us tough cloud questions, so contact us anytime to discuss your company’s specific pain points and requirements. Visit the HOSTING Resource Page to access our cloud blogs, white papers, webinars and case studies – all designed to help you achieve success in the cloud.
15 minutes | Oct 2, 2015
Podcast: What Is The Cloud . . . And Why Should I Care
HOSTING has gathered the cloud industry’s top experts to share their insights on the current and future state of cloud computing. Join us for The HOSTING Cloud 360 Podcast Series to learn how the cloud can help accelerate your business – whether you are new to the cloud, or have already adopted it. Our first podcast answers the most pressing question – What is the Cloud . . . and Why Should I Care? Part 1 of 2 – featuring Bill Santos, president of HOSTING Advanced Solutions. Bill directs and manages HOSTING consulting and professional services teams to help its customers achieve success in the cloud – from early assessment and planning through migration and ongoing support. Listen to the podcast to get his expert feedback on the following topics. Essential criteria for a cloud-based solution including data storage, pay-as-you-go pricing models, and technology configurations. Key considerations for leveraging the cloud including: cost savings, financial flexibility, business agility and scalability. Characteristics found in different cloud models (public, private and hybrid) and why one cloud doesn’t fit all. Examples of companies that successfully migrated to the cloud, and some of the obstacles they encountered along the way. Join us next Friday, October 9 for the Part 2 of What is the Cloud . . . and Why Should I Care?
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2022