Are You in SaaS Denial? Here’s How to Get Ahead of Adoption Hurdles

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, December 5th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations, Security

Will we ever get past talking about IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS? Perhaps not. Gartner recently published a list of the Top 10 Trends Impacting IT Infrastructure and Operations for 2019. Sitting at Number 8? Software as a Service (SaaS) denial.

Basically, most organizations have been hyper focused on Infrastructure and Platforms as a Service — migrating to cloud VMs, hiring admins for Azure and AWS ecosystems, learning Kubernetes and Docker.

Meanwhile, shadow IT and the overall enterprise trend is to initially prefer SaaS. Of course, SaaS has made inroads with IT departments even at the enterprise level, especially Office 365. But without Infrastructure and Operations teams taking SaaS seriously, your overall IT environment could be opened up to security risks on top of integration problems, fragmentation, and service delivery concerns.

Are you in SaaS denial? Do you have blinders on as you focus entirely on IaaS adoption or other more pressing matters? Now is the time to get ahead of the SaaS adoption hurdles by being proactive within your IT and operations departments.

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Solving the InfoSec Risk Equation

Written by Daniel Deter on Thursday, November 15th 2018 — Categories: IT Operations, Security

With all the talk about cloud security threats, it’s important to remember that no matter where your data and applications reside, you should consider your data insecure.

Fundamentally, security isn’t a hyper-complex enterprise; It’s not, as they say, rocket science. It often feels that way, because the discipline is so broad in scope; encompassing both disparate technologies and governance frameworks. But, the vast majority of risk can be mitigated through adhering to basic foundational security.

More to know: A review of breaches outlined within the Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) against the Center for Internet Security (CIS) top 20 critical security controls found that:

• Adopting the first 5 controls could mitigate 85% of attacks, and
• Adopting all 20 controls could mitigate 97% of attacks.

That basic foundational security can be expressed in one essential formula, which boils down what is under your control as an IT security professional and what is outside your purview. That equation is as follows.

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The Growing Importance of Digital Ethics, Transparency, and Privacy

Written by Shawn Mills on Wednesday, October 24th 2018 — Categories: Green Data Center, Managed Services, Security

Technology continues to envelop our daily lives, in business, at home, in leisure and athletics, across the globe and into space. Despite wide ranging benefits, corporate entities and individual consumers alike have begun to recognize the risks inherent in digital services.

I recently spoke at a Daniels Fund conference panel about ethics in business. A student remarked, “I have access to so much data in the workplace. How can you protect from a bad apple stealing your information?”

Ethics is the key to protecting from these types of internal threats — and it helps your company handle external threats as well.

Gartner has even named Digital Ethics and Privacy as their Number 9 trend on the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. They recognize this growing awareness of the value of personal information and concern among various entities and individuals over how personal and sensitive data is being consumed, processed, and shared among public and private organizations.

Gartner’s advice? Move from asking “Are we secure?” or “Are we compliant with regulations?” to asking “Are we doing the right thing?”

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Understanding and Preventing SQL Injection (SQLi), One of the Most Common Attack Vectors

Written by Daniel Deter on Wednesday, October 17th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Storage, Security

Your data is your business. Your databases, and the data-driven applications that leverage them, should be regularly audited for vulnerabilities. One of the top risks facing your data today is SQL injection (SQLi). According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Incident Report (DBIR), SQLi was the second most common form of hacking varieties within information breaches, exceeded only by stolen credentials.

This attack vector involves the exploit of programmatic weaknesses in applications to run unintended code to manipulate your backend SQL databases, and thus access information or even gain administrative access and credentials.

Any application that uses SQL could be subject to this type of attack, from simple websites to SaaS apps like your CRM and ERP — even VoIP systems. This attack is also not limited to applications exposed to the internet. Internal applications are prime targets for attackers who have breached your external boundary (e.g., through phishing).

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Shifting Ground for Data Privacy: The Latest on CCPA and Privacy Shield Laws

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, September 26th 2018 — Categories: Security

GDPR? Old news. (We’ll just pass over the fact that many organizations have yet to reach compliance…that’s another story.) While hosting providers that advertise to European companies and individuals must comply with the EU law, there are other legal requirements that US-focused organizations have to consider, namely Data Shield and an upcoming compliance mandate in the state of California that is similar to GDPR itself.

Privacy Shield is an international law in flux, with EU lawmakers threatening to withdraw entirely if the USA does not enforce compliance. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect in 2020.

What do these laws entail? And should your organization be concerned with these data privacy measures?

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2FA Isn’t a Magic Bullet

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, September 6th 2018 — Categories: Security

Let’s get this out of the way first: two factor authentication is an effective mode of account verification and far, far better than a simple username and password (single factor) authentication method. But it isn’t a magic bullet and can be overcome, especially with clever social engineering (unsurprisingly, the weakest link in security remains people rather than technology). Ultimately, 2FA is only as secure as the method and technology or product used to secure it.

Here’s how 2FA can be overcome by determined hackers and how you can best maintain account integrity across your organization or personal accounts.

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1/3 of Companies Have No IT Governance Policy — Here’s How to Start

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, August 9th 2018 — Categories: IT Operations, Security

A new report from Deloitte found that IT spending is on the rise, with executives taking a more hands-on role in procuring or ordering investment in technology and related staff. But while 57% of execs reported spending more on technology, 33% said they have little or no formal IT governance policies.

If it seems slightly foolish to spend significantly more on technology without certifying a business purpose and implementing controls over the lifespan of that technology — well, it is. The report does come with the caveat of polling only midmarket and private organizations. We would expect more public businesses to have formal IT governance in place. But that doesn’t excuse organizations of all sizes from measuring the effectiveness of IT in meeting business and compliance goals.

Get started with an overview of IT governance and what you should include in your policy.

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The Biggest Obstacles to Multicloud Deployments

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 21st 2018 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Hybrid IT, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Managed Services, Multi-Cloud, Security, VMware

As cloud adoption rates have increased and cloud models for enterprise IT mature, multicloud deployments have become more and more popular. They happen for a variety of reasons: some cloud platforms are better suited for specific applications, others may have security or compliance measures that are necessary. They might be located in different physical sites, fostering failover and disaster recovery or serving satellite markets. For many users, avoiding being locked in with a single vendor is huge for negotiation and data sovereignty.

Going multicloud isn’t a simple task, however, especially if you want to manage everything with a simple workflow. Here are the biggest stumbling blocks companies are facing when implementing multicloud.

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Legacy Systems Remain Because They Work — But They Could Be a Major Security Risk

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, May 4th 2018 — Categories: Data Center Design, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Security

With all the talk about digital transformation and IT modernization, you’d think that everyone was all-in with the cloud at this point. But there are many legacy systems still in production, even at enterprise organizations.

Regardless of why you still have them, there are almost certainly legacy systems within your IT ecosystem, and keeping them secure is of paramount importance, especially if they’re past their support lifecycle and have become exposed to potential vulnerabilities.

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How Secure is HTTPS? TLS/SSL Increasingly Used to Transmit Malware

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, April 26th 2018 — Categories: Networking and Fiber, Security

Encryption over the HTTP protocol, also known as HTTPS or TLS over HTTP is the reason you see a little lock icon next to your web URL. As you likely know, a website using HTTPS has encrypted network traffic. In other words, outside parties or malicious software should not be able to intercept your communications to and from that website, because it is encrypted. Any time you perform a transaction over the internet that involves financial or personal information, you should be certain the web server is using HTTPS.

However, even as TLS (Transport Layer Security, referring to encrypting at the Transport Layer of the seven layer OSI model of networking) has spread to over half of the internet, clever cybercriminals have engineered network packets that actually use TLS within their malware to disguise it.

HTTPS is increasingly being used as a vehicle for malware to spread across the ‘net. While your information may be secure while it is transmitted, the website you’re visiting could still accidentally slip malware to your computer, or host it on its own servers, harvesting your information or installing a virus.

Here’s how TLS / SSL is being used by malicious actors across the net.

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