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Leveraging Cloud and Virtualization for Disaster Recovery

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With cloud computing, more users and an increase in data bring with it the challenges associated with disaster recovery and business continuity. All distributed systems have to be checked and the data points must all be monitored. In working with these more complex data centers, many administrators are turning to the cloud and virtualization to help them create a more robust DR plan, according to an article on DataCenterKnowledge.com.

A well-planned out cloud and virtualization solution can truly help any organization create a more agile environment. There are inherent benefits to working with specific types of cloud models and virtualization platforms. A large part of IT is creativity - that's why using new types of technologies can help reduce management costs and keep an environment running longer.

One way to prepare for disaster is using cloud for replication. Site-to-site replication has become easier with the utilization of both private and public cloud technologies. With better storage systems and more control over the WAN, organizations are able to better replicate their environments. This can be entire virtual machines, specific databases or just data points.

Cloud computing has made disaster recovery much more financially feasible for more organizations because the inherent flexibility of the cloud means you can dictate exactly how much downtime your organization can tolerate and where the costs break even. With that, companies who are trying to stay financially conscious are able to design a solution that fits both - the data center and the budget.

Majority of Organizations Use Unsanctioned Cloud Apps: Survey
Businesses plan to incorporate more cloud applications into the work environment to increase productivity, but an equally high percentage of employees admit to using unsanctioned apps, according to a recent survey.

Cloud adoption is on the rise, but according to the results of a survey conducted by OneLogin, there are a lot of clueless end users out there, according to an article on TalkinCloud.com. While 78 percent of organizations surveyed said they planned to increase the number of cloud apps they have in 2013, 71 percent admitted to using unsanctioned apps.

According to OneLogin, the survey demonstrated that 2013 will be the tipping point for cloud adoption. The company, in collaboration with security consultancy flyingpenguin, surveyed 200 IT and business professionals within organizations of all sizes and across various industries. The results were interesting, but perhaps not entirely surprising.

"It is no secret that cloud apps need solutions added to improve their security, yet to see 20 percent of app users admit a breach by ex-employees is still a surprisingly high result," said Davi Ottenheimer, president of flyingpenguin. "The real story behind the 80 percent already using cloud apps is that 70 percent admit apps came without company approval. In 2013, organizations will need solutions flexible enough to support the 60 percent with more than four apps already in use, and scalable enough to keep up with the 35 percent who plan to add at least four new apps this year."

Is the Cloud Safe Enough to Lock Up Law Enforcement Data?
Law enforcement agencies are looking for just the facts when it comes to cloud computing and its reliability in police technology.

Like many professions, law enforcement executives have particular concerns about using cloud technology, ranging from the risk that unauthorized persons could steal sensitive information to concerns about the costs of technology migration, according to an article on GCN.com.

A report, "Mitigating Risks in the Application of Cloud Computing in Law Enforcement," aims to help law enforcement officials weigh the pros and cons of moving to cloud computing. The report found that the major worries of the law enforcement community about moving to the cloud included cloud reliability and availability, performance requirements, costs of migration, and the recovery of data.

In a survey, most law enforcement officials said they were especially concerned about whether cloud computing was appropriate for mission-critical applications such as computer-aided dispatch, records management, criminal justice information and intelligence systems. And of all these areas, unauthorized access to sensitive information is the community's biggest concern, according to the survey.

Commercial cloud providers have made significant strides in protecting data from being hacked or stolen. A 2010 Aberdeen Group study that states, "compared to premise Web security solutions, users of cloud-based solutions had 58 percent fewer malware incidents over the last 12 months ... and 45 percent fewer incidents of data loss or data exposure."

Moreover, cloud providers have adopted data encryption technology, redundant data storage, two-factor authentication and federated identity and privilege management specifications, the report notes. Cloud providers are also well aware of the need to offer high availability services, the report states, and do so by building-in redundancy for data centers normally used for these services.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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