How Does the New CLOUD Act in the Senate Affect Foreign Data Storage?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, February 7th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, IT Operations, Security

As we’ve mentioned before on the blog, the location of your cloud data matters. Latency, accessibility, and security are all top of mind, but legal concerns should also be considered. Case in point: a new law working its way through the Senate could have major implications for your data storage.

The CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) has recently garnered the support of major tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google, among others. Its stated goal is to clarify a web of different laws relating to data disclosure and privacy so enforcement officers and government officials have well-defined guidelines when it comes to accessing remotely stored data, including information that resides overseas, which is otherwise governed by the host country’s own laws.

So how might the CLOUD Act affect cloud storage and data sovereignty?

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How Virtualizing Desktops and Apps Leads to Stronger Security

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, January 25th 2018 — Categories: Security, Virtual Desktop

Virtualization revolutionized the delivery of IT services by abstracting the computing resources of a server and allowing many “virtual machines” to run on a single box. It is now commonplace and a foundational piece of cloud computing.

One outgrowth of virtualization was virtual desktops, which use a virtualization platform to run instances of desktop operating systems, complete with applications, that are accessed remotely. This means that the end client accessing those virtual desktops doesn’t need to be very powerful, because all the processing happens in the data center. It also means there is less hardware for IT staff to manage and updates are simple to process.

Virtualizing applications — and to an even greater extent, virtualizing desktops — has another hidden benefit, however: stronger data security. But how does remote access and processing add security? Shouldn’t there be more chances for an attacker to intercept data when it is traversing from office or remote work locations to a central data center?

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The Departments Most Likely to Lead to a Data Breach

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, January 18th 2018 — Categories: IT Operations, Security

You’ve shored up your cloud security defenses with round-the-clock monitoring, IPS/IDS, all the latest patches (even for Spectre and Meltdown). You feel pretty secure.

But what about your employees? Especially those outside of the IT department? Have they been trained in security measures beyond how to create a strong password?

A holistic approach to security goes beyond the usual attack vectors. You might actually be less likely to suffer a breach from an external hack coming in via OS or network vulnerabilities. In fact, insider threats, whether intentionally malicious or simply due to lack of training and awareness, make up a significant portion of security breaches.

Here are the departments most likely to cause an internal breach, why insider threats are so serious, and how you can help mitigate them.

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Spectre and Meltdown: What We’ve Done to Secure the gBlock Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, January 12th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Data Center Design, Microsoft, Security, Documentation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or aren’t in the IT field at all, by now you’ve likely heard about the widespread Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting an enormous swath of processors manufactured by Intel and AMD, the industry leaders, leading to security vulnerabilities and performance problems.

Green House Data staff have been hard at work patching systems as fixes have come available this week. Here’s a quick summary of the vulnerabilities, their effects on cloud and general computing performance, and what we’ve done to fix them so far. We also provide a few links for users who need to patch their own operating systems or investigate further.

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Is Your Bitcoin Windfall an Environmental Disaster?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, January 3rd 2018 — Categories: Get to Know Green House Data, Green Data Center

Cryptocurrency is hot. Really hot. Enough that your layman uncle, who’s not exactly plugged into the technology scene, has picked up a few — plus a few altcoins just to hedge his bets. While he might just be having fun with a little gamble, there are others who are pouring thousands and thousands of dollars into specifically designed bitcoin mining servers, many of which are placed in data centers similar to those here at Green House Data.

The demand has helped to spike bitcoin to a value of around $15,000 USD per single bitcoin. It nearly reached $20,000 in December. But much like your Snapchats, each bitcoin transaction comes with its own environmental price tag. In fact, bitcoin mining may be the most energy-intensive activity happening in data centers today.

The Digiconomist has an ongoing tracker chart listing the energy consumption of the bitcoin network. It isn’t pretty. While these statistics are estimated, they currently sit at nearly 37 Terawatt-hours each year. That rivals many smaller industrialized countries' entire annual electricity consumption.

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