Security is already high on the totem pole of IT priorities, but with 2015 kicking off with a massive Anthem health breach, encryption is a hotter topic than ever.
Many compliance mandates require or encourage some form of encryption, including the commonly encountered PCI and HIPAA standards (the HIPAA Security Rule, while it doesn’t require encryption, does require you to prove, in writing, why you believed encryption wasn’t necessary in your special case. Which, let’s be honest, if you are disclosing a large breach to the public as required, encryption was probably necessary).
There are many encryption methods and vendors on the market, but all of them require access to an encryption key in order to unscramble encoded data. If a malicious agent gets their hands on this key, it’s game over for your encrypted information.
This means that every enterprise needs a secure, organized system to manage all of their encryption keys. As data sets are updated with new keys, new data is added, different encryption systems are introduced, and user access is modified, encryption key management becomes even more essential.
Amazon is building a wind farm. Apple has tens of megawatts of solar power. Google builds in Nordic countries and sources power from hydroelectric facilities. Other providers started giving out Renewable Energy Credits to cover customers’ electric costs (and they aren’t the only ones buying RECs and PPAs—but this blog post isn’t just about Green House Data).
Despite the recent trend of data center operators going green, does the IT industry really care about the environmental footprint of their data center? According to our recent survey results, the answer is a resounding…maybe.
We polled 166 IT professionals, from system administrators to the CTO. All but two had input into IT and infrastructure decision-making at their company. What they had to say was surprising. In a nutshell, it makes smart business sense to have a green data center, because it saves on operating costs. Whether IT departments consider energy efficiency or sustainability when evaluating service providers is up for debate.
E-mail, as we noted in last week’s blog, remains critical to business functions, and Microsoft Exchange is the most widely used e-mail client in the world. Virtualizing Exchange servers on VMware can improve performance, allow you to consolidate various Exchange server roles, combine mailboxes, and increase flexibility of your Exchange infrastructure, so you can scale up or down as your e-mail loads demand.
You’ll end up with 5-10x less physical hardware and more responsive Exchange, plus you can design your environment for your current workload. No need to guess at your resource utilization 3-5 years down the road—just provision a few more VMs when the time comes.
While virtualization can increase performance (VMware claims a 16 core server with vSphere produced double the throughput as physical hardware), Exchange has its own set of requirements and demands, so take a look at these best practices before you start up the installer in your virtual environment.
So you want to jump into virtualization and take the open source route on your guest virtual machine operating system? Several of our customers have recently spun up Ubuntu VMs on top of VMware. Here are our tips for setting up and optimizing performance in a virtualized Ubuntu environment. These tips may also apply to other Linux distributions on top of VMware hypervisors.
Bloomberg Businessweek posted an article this month about the seeming decline in popularity for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) among large companies in the United States. Citing Walmart, Safeway, Hilton, and others, the piece claims RECs have little power to spur new renewable development and don’t really eliminate the carbon emissions that companies claim.
We’ve covered the What and Why of RECs here on the blog before. Basically, each REC stands as a record of one megawatt-hour of renewable energy added to the general pool traveling the electric grid. When a company or individual buys an REC, they claim credit for that green energy. The income stream from REC purchases travels through brokers and on to renewable energy development companies, who use the extra funds for new projects like wind farms or solar arrays.
Where RECs get tricky is when companies use them as part of their claims to be carbon-neutral, or as strictly a marketing trick. The Bloomberg piece makes this clear when it reports a Hilton VP as stating RECs weren’t “having a major marketing impact.”