3 simple ways to protect your AWS account

cloud securityThe head of global security programs for Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently said the biggest fear at AWS wasn’t a malicious attack or harmful coding, but a customer’s inadequate security protocols. Amazon stands by its security of a customer’s data at rest, but takes no action to prevent a user from maliciously – or accidentally – deleting any resources on an account.

AWS follows a shared responsibility model for its security — Amazon manages the security of the underlying infrastructure while customers control what security they administer in their AWS account. Yet some customers simply aren’t doing enough to safeguard their AWS assets. Even more bewildering, the tools and best practices available to increase the level of protection are incredibly easy and quick to implement.

Here are three simple things you can do to make sure your AWS account is better protected: Continue Reading…

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How this organization overcame 3 common cloud migration challenges

Cloud-and-retailThe word cloud can mean many things depending on your comfort level and knowledge of the technology. The cloud is everything from the personal file sharing folder connected to your email address to the full soup-to-nuts solution that runs retail websites.

While the cloud offers a number of advantages and efficiencies, some companies and their IT departments remain hesitant about moving their services to the cloud. Consider the story of one of my clients: A bricks-and-mortar retailer was running its website on its own servers, but was interested in moving to a cloud-based solution – Amazon Web Services (AWS). It faced several challenges on the road to cloud migration, including concerns about performance and security for its customers, the need for a different IT mindset, and a desire for visibility into the system.

Its story offers a few factors for any organization to consider if you’re debating moving your website or services to a cloud solution. Continue Reading…

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5 new products that supercharge Amazon Web Services

AWS SuperchargeAmazon held its annual Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week, and as in previous years, it rolled out a number of new capabilities, tweaked existing services, and introduced new tools for AWS and its partner ecosystem that could shake the foundations of other businesses.

The stories coming out of re:Invent fit several broad themes. Amazon emphasized its readiness to support large enterprises, improve integration among its many offerings, deploy secure platforms and environments, deliver significant performance, and still stick to its successful “pay for what you use” model to help manage and reduce costs.

Here are the five most promising new Amazon offerings, and how each can reshape or enhance your business performance with AWS. Continue Reading…

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IaaS buyer’s guide: Which provider is best for your business?

Choose infrastructure-as-a-service providerInfrastructure as a service (IaaS) is among the fastest-growing cloud solutions, predicted to expand 41 percent per year through 2016. It’s not hard to see why. Organizations scrambling to virtualize storage, hardware, servers, and networking components not only stand to reduce operational headaches and total cost of ownership, but gain a more scalable system and free IT staff to focus on more strategic work.

But deciding on the right solution to meet an organization’s needs isn’t always an easy task. From Amazon Web Services (AWS) to VMware vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) to Windows Azure to HP Public Cloud to Rackspace to Hosting.com, IT organizations have their fair share of IaaS offerings to choose from. Here’s a guide to help any organization, large or small, hone in on the most appropriate IaaS cloud solution. Continue Reading…

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What’s your disaster recovery plan? How to tell if the cloud is right for you.

Disaster recovery: the plan every business must have but hopes it will never need. While disaster recovery traditionally means a replication of data systems either on premises or outsourced to a secondary location, disaster recovery in the cloud has opened new, and often better, options for many companies. But the cloud also comes with several concerns that every business needs to take into consideration.

For any company thinking about cloud disaster recovery, here’s everything you need to know.

Cloud disaster recovery vs. on-site disaster recovery and secondary data centers

Before the cloud, businesses relied on on-site data centers or secondary data centers in remote locations for disaster recovery, and these systems still make sense for some companies today. But they often require an investment of tens of thousands of dollars. When disaster strikes, these systems offer peace of mind, but in the meantime, they can drain IT coffers as infrastructure, maintenance, and man-hours add up. Even secondary data centers, which take care of upgrades, repairs, and other needs, can cost upward of $50,000 initially, with additional ongoing infrastructure costs, even for a small company.

Unlike these traditional disaster recovery systems, cloud disaster recovery eliminates the costs of physical infrastructure and adds several other advantages. Currently there are two big players in the cloud infrastructure space: Microsoft’s Windows Azure and the leader in disaster recovery, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Today, I’m going to focus on the latter.

If you’re thinking of adopting cloud disaster recovery, and AWS in particular, here’s what you can expect: Continue Reading…

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3 reasons to buy Amazon Web Services through SHI

You asked for it, and we got it! Due to popular demand, SHI has added Amazon Web Services (AWS) to our cloud products and solutions portfolio. This new partnership will help customers streamline the sourcing, procurement, and management of their AWS Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) assets.

The AWS cloud computing platform is composed of several remote computing services provided by Amazon. We’re currently focused on offering the three most popular AWS solutions.

  1. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) — a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud that’s designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
  2. Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) — a highly scalable, reliable, and low-latency data storage system in the cloud.
  3. Amazon CloudWatch — a system that monitors AWS cloud resources and the applications customers run on AWS.

AWS offers businesses an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and scalable solution to manage their computing needs, all housed under a single umbrella. While the technology benefits and business case in favor of the AWS platform are numerous, sourcing AWS through SHI offers even more advantages to our customers. Here are the top three reasons why AWS is better with SHI:

  1. Cost savings. SHI’s overall purchasing volume can translate into potential cost savings for customers compared to buying it individually from AWS.
  2. Consolidated and consistent IT procurement. Buying AWS through the same account team that supports traditional volume licensing software and hardware assets enables organizations to leverage the rules of a managed procurement channel. Customers gain immediate visibility into AWS usage through regular SHI reporting and business reviews, and can see that it is properly classified as part of their overall IT spend.
  3. Expertise. SHI’s volume Licensing Executives (LEs) can help explain how Infrastructure as a Service and other cloud purchases impact an organization’s volume licensing scenario. Armed with a unified purchase history that serves as a snapshot of an IT environment, SHI’s LEs can provide the insight and expertise that will help customers reduce redundancy while remaining compliant.

Continue Reading…

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