Not all clouds are created equal, Part IV

DATA PROTECTION, SECURITY AND PRIVACY: THE FOURTH KEY ELEMENT OF OUR BUSINESS GRADE CLOUD

 

(Did you miss part III of this series? If so, you can read it here.)

We believe that our greatest responsibility is to protect your data.

We also believe that, because it’s your data, you have the right to know where it resides. In addition to minimizing latency, that’s why we let you select which datacenter will protect your end user data: it provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing where your data is physically stored.

Data protection, security and privacy

Your data is also well-protected. Our Four Quadrant Design protects against data corruption and possible data loss due to hardware failure. We leverage Microsoft Database Availability groups with real-time replication between quadrants. Our infrastructure is designed to replicate data multiple times within one datacenter as well as on remote backup. Beyond that, we adhere to proven security and compliance practices and implement a strict privacy policy.

DATA PROTECTION

As we said, Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host maintains at least three copies of your data. Two of the copies reside on physical disks in separate corners of the database quadrants, ensuring service availability in the event one of our EMC or Hitachi units experience a failure. A third copy is archived to tape.

In our experience, data corruption is the largest threat to data integrity and availability. Our design makes it highly unlikely that corrupt data will replicate from one copy to another. This means that you will always have a good production copy of your data on at least one of our database quadrants.

To date, our Four Quadrant Design, combined with Microsoft’s improvements with DAGs and Shadowing for redundancy, has never lost data due to corruption. Nevertheless, a third copy of your data is stored on tape and backed-up daily using Symantec’s industry-leading Netbackup. This third copy of data is typically used only to provide point-in-time restores for individual users, as needed.

SECURITY STANDARDS

Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host’s commitment to security and privacy is of paramount importance. As the world’s largest provider of hosted Exchange mailbox services, security is in their DNA—and it has been for over 12 years.

To protect our customers’ data, we have implemented security controls, processes and technologies that far exceed what most businesses could reasonably build on their own. We also follow national and international security standards and best practices. As a corporate member of the Cloud Security Alliance, we continually help define industry best practices in information security.

THIRD-PARTY AUDITS

Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host undergoes annual third-party assessments to assure our customers of the highest security. We maintain ongoing SOC 2 Type II compliance. We’re happy to share a full report, subject to our non-disclosure agreement.

DEDICATED SECURITY TEAM

Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host employs a team of dedicated and certified information security experts who are focused on protecting your data every single day. Each team member maintains the following industry-leading certifications at a minimum:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

NETWORK SECURITY

Our networks are protected in a number of critical ways:

  • Commercial-grade edge routers are configured to resist IP-based network attacks
  • Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host subscribes to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection through Verisign, one of the leading providers of network security
  • Commercial-grade firewalls ensure only needed ports and protocols are allowed
  • Custom-built intrusion detection systems detect and stop incoming attacks
  • DDoS mitigation services are employed
  • Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host’s production network is fully meshed, redundant and geographically dispersed to ensure uptime
  • Our dedicated production network is physically and logically segregated

SYSTEM SECURITY

To ensure system security, we adhere to the following practices:

  • All our systems are regularly patched to the latest versions of software to reduce exposure
  • All our systems are configured using hardened baselines
  • Our dedicated security team performs regular penetration tests against all our services

PRIVACY POLICY

Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host offers a clearly documented privacy policy. It guarantees that we will not access or use your data in any way, except when we have your permission to troubleshoot an issue. Intermedia is certified Safe Harbor compliant with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

To read Red Rock Service’s Cloud Host’s Privacy Policy, click here.

CONCLUSION

As you consider your options for the cloud, remember the value of experience. It’s not just about technology, it’s about how technology is implemented. And implementation is wholly a function of experience.

Not all clouds are created equal. Intermedia’s cloud is born out of 12 years of experience with a relentless focus on performance, availability and data protection. Our Exchange cloud is at the top of the industry today—and our engineers and architects are working to keep it that way long into the future.

As you consider the cloud to support your business infrastructure, consider the experience that underpins it.

Debunking Cloud Myths

For all of the hype surrounding cloud computing, many SMBs are still fearful of the cloud. There are several legends masking the truth on how risky it actually is, so Intermedia is debunking the top three cloud myths.

 

MYTH NO. 1: THE CLOUD IS NOT SECURE

The most prevalent myth is that the cloud is not secure. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Business-grade cloud services are safe and datacenters are extremely secure. When comparing the cloud to the security of a typical SMB’s on-premise server—which are often kept in a basic closet or other unlocked and unprotected facility—cloud services are far less risky for your files and folders.

When it comes to back-up, cloud-based solutions are a cost-effective option to keep important data securely stored in a location other than the office. When considering possible disasters such as a fire or flood, as well as break-ins, the cloud is a safe option for SMBs.

Managing servers and systems is more than just the physical control. It’s also about ensuring data privacy and security, protecting critical data from theft, loss and corruption from such intrusions as spam and viruses, and providing back-up and recovery services. Through a secure, business-grade cloud, SMBs must receive cloud solutions with an array of security controls, including encryption, intrusion and malware detection systems, as well as utilization of redundant systems to back up primary resources in case of failure. These levels of protection will address the customer’s data privacy, security and compliance needs when transitioning their business communications to the cloud.

In the case of Intermedia, we develop and deliver many proprietary security services—including Outlook Backup, Message Mirror, SpamStopper, VirusStopper and Mobile Device Management.

One way SMBs can find a cloud provider with a guaranteed security background is through the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). The CSA is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing. As a corporate member of the CSA, Intermedia draws from a strong knowledge base to deliver best-in-class could services security.

MYTH NO. 2: THE CLOUD IS UNRELIABLE, CUSTOMER SERVICE IS POOR

Just like any service, this depends on your provider. Because not all clouds are created equal. Premium clouds offer premium customer service.

When evaluating the various cloud options, it’s important for businesses to understand there are discernible differences in each cloud service provider. And while most clouds are built to optimize costs, not all are built to deliver the specific requirements of businesses.

There are reliable cloud service providers with live 24/7 help-desks. For example, Intermedia provides partners with top-notch support while answering calls 60 seconds, and has a financially-backed service level agreement of 99.999 percent uptime. SMBs should look for a vendor that treats each client as an individual, not a number, and also allows for customized solutions. With Intermedia, your clients receive the user-friendly end user control panel so making adjustments is as easy as the click of a button, even from mobile devices.

By seeking out 24/7 help desks and an industry-leading 99.999 percent financially backed service level agreements SMBs can trust their cloud provider is always available. At Intermedia, customer service is not just a “help desk,” but rather an elite and dedicated team of English-speaking, certified information experts that helps partners resolve any issues that may arise.

Also, the pursuit of 100 percent uptime is a passion for our engineers and architects. For the past 12 years, Intermedia has continuously analyzed historical operational experience to unearth insights for maintaining future performance. This level of availability is possible because of Microsoft Certified architects and engineers who have applied their deep expertise to Intermedia’s architecture, world-class datacenters and the Internet providers connecting Intermedia’s datacenters to the world.

MYTH NO. 3: MIGRATING DATA IS DIFFICULT, TIME CONSUMING AND COSTLY

For an SMB, moving to the cloud can equal the cost of each day’s morning cup of coffee—so yes, it is affordable.

When choosing a cloud service provider, it is important to select one that takes an active role in the migration process, with a network of trained, value-added resellers available. More efficiencies are created on the cloud with the integration of services. Without an integrated offering, businesses must go to a dozen or more providers that all have their own control panels and separate bills. An integrated offering allows access to all the products and services from a single control panel, with just one bill, and most importantly, one support team who can help across the board.

Cloud computing is not going away. In fact, it will be the key driver to help companies grow. To ensure success, SMBs need this IT backbone, and to take the necessary steps to maximize the cloud’s value for their business. As the leader in managing these issues critical to SMBs, Intermedia can help companies take their business to the next level.

Making your computer run like new: Pitfalls and shortcuts

Often, people ask me what they can do to make their computer run faster. Like any complex machine, that question has a complex answer. The 3am infomecials would have you believe that their solution (for a price) will solve all of your computer issues.

Ars Technica has a great article on the specifics of the scams. It helps to point out the specifics of such scams, such as fear mongering (13,000 issues! I have to deal with them now!), low initial costs or limited time licenses that auto renew ($39.99/year? Of course I can do that now.) and “testimonials” from people who have used the product.

Ars Technica lists Malware Byte’s Anti-Malware and mentions Microsoft’s Security Essentials. I also recommend CCleaner and Super Antispyware. All four of these tools are free (disclaimer: Malware Bytes and Super Antispyware both have paid versions) and are pretty easy to use.

What I strive to make people aware of is that there are a few basic steps that can be done, such as the previous tools, and if you are unsure of what you’re doing, there is no shame in calling a professional for help. If you do get someone to help you, please make sure of their credentials and look at how much they cost vs the price of a new computer.

Of course, this wouldn’t be complete without talking about backups. I recommendCrashplan for a few reasons. Their software is free (always a plus), can backup to a local external hard drive, runs in the background and will notify you if your computer goes a few days without backing up. They also have enterprise level software and services for your SMB needs.

If you have any questions on anything I’ve talked about here, please drop me a line and I would be happy to help you avoid the scams and the stress they bring.

50% off Virtual Server packages!

Until the end of March, Red Rock Service is running a special of 50% off Virtual Servers for the LIFETIME of the server!

Here are the details of this great offer.

  • This offer ends 3/31/13
  • This applies to our first and second level packages
  • This applies to the base server
  • Virtual Server I, normally $170/mo is now $85/mo
  • Virtual Server II, normally $220/mo is now $110/mo

Our Virtual Server I: 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM, 50GB HDD, 50GB Outgoing bandwidth monthly. Virtual Server II doubles the HDD, RAM and Bandwidth to 2GB, 100GB and 100GB, respectively.

Email info@redrockservice.com to find out more details today!