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2018-04-17

The Power of CloudStack Automation

2018-04-17

Leaseweb uses the open source Apache CloudStack technology to manage the complex and sizeable infrastructure used to host tens of thousands virtual servers in our VPS and private cloud platforms around the world.
CloudStack offers a powerful open API.  It is so effective that even the management UI is in essence only a fancy web front-end to that API.
At Leaseweb we rely completely on the CloudStack API for our automation. Both the integration with our customer facing systems such as the customer portal and order forms, as well as coupled back-end systems for billing and such, all call on the API.
Additionally, our platform engineers extensively use the API to manage, maintain, and upgrade the platforms.  The latter may come as bit of a surprise.  APIs are often seen as the exclusive realm of developers who create custom code with quite a steep barrier against casual ad-hoc use.
That is where cloudmonkey comes into play.  Cloudmonkey is an open source tool that simplifies and wraps even the most complex API calls in an easy to use, zero programming command-line utility, complete with a history and TAB-completion.
Actions that are cumbersome to perform in the management UI, let alone too error-prone and time-consuming to manually repeat multiple times in datacenters on three different continents, can quickly be reduced to several lines of shell script.  Simple reports often only require no more than a single command such as the following example that lists the total private capacity, the current usage and the remaining capacity:
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A little-known fact is that our private cloud customers also get full access to that same powerful API.
To get started with the API and your own CloudStack automation, please refer to this more technical How-To in our Knowledge Base which explains in detail how to enable API access, and provides some more real-world usage examples for cloudmonkey.
 
The post The Power of CloudStack Automation appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-04-11

On-Premise vs. Cloud Hosting: Which Option Is Right for Your Business?

2018-04-11

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/04/Ocom-098-768x576.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/04/Ocom-098-1024x768.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 350px) 100vw, 350px" />On-site hosting has traditionally been viewed as a safe option for both storing and processing data.  It ensures you, the owner, remain in sole control of all the hardware. The owner retains the ability to choose what hardware (& software) best suits their needs along with the notion that security managed locally is safer managed on-premise, rather than off-site.
On-premise hosting offers several benefits; however, choosing this route is typically a more expensive option when compared to an infrastructure-as-a-service model (OPEX vs CAPEX). Given the requirement for software licenses, in-house IT support and usually a longer integration period, more companies are finding that cloud services could offer a more flexible way to tackle their IT infrastructure needs, if the correct (hybrid) model is chosen.
Although on-premise hosting is a reliable means for hosting all kinds of information, many companies are finding cloud services to be more convenient, flexible, cost-efficient, and secure than ever before & also include additional features and advantages.
The Advancements in Cloud Infrastructure Technology
The use of cloud servers is increasing, which is a trend that is expected to continue. A year ago, research company IDC found the number of traditional data centers accounted for 62 percent of IT infrastructure spending. Public clouds made up 23 percent of spending and private clouds composed 15 percent. These numbers are predicted to shift by 2020, as IDC estimates data centers will drop to around 50 percent of total spending, while public clouds flourish to nearly a third of the market and private clouds will increase to 20 percent.
Companies can save time, money and stress by choosing the right hosting model. Allowing for better focus to develop new business strategies and improvements on existing products & services. Cloud technologies have several advantages when compared to traditional dedicated server resources. For example, the cloud offers flexible scalability, allowing your business to scale up or down as needed to meet demand, without having to wait for delivery of new hardware.
Additionally, it is more crucial now than ever before for companies to have proper security measures in place to combat cybersecurity issues. The plethora of (hybrid) cloud solutions available are just as secure as local servers as cloud services are ‘managed’ and updated around-the-clock, eliminating the need for your company to personally tackle these issues on-site (with potential downtime).
On-Premise Hosting vs. the Cloud/IaaS
On-premise hosting can be costly in terms of maintenance and hardware updates. Some hardware may be difficult to come by if it’s no longer on the market. This type of host is also typically not as scalable as cloud/IaaS services, so you will need to upgrade or expand to meet the customer demand.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean local hosting isn’t a good fit for any business. In terms of complying with local or international regulations, certain companies benefit from on-premise hosting.
Industries and services such as healthcare, surveillance service providers (CCTV) and financial services companies are typically required to have their infrastructure hosted locally or with a local pre-selected third party as they are required to collect, store, and process private data. Public and government institutions also generally preserve data on-premise as a matter of national security — outsourcing their infrastructure is simply not an option no matter what costs are involved.
Other industries often benefit more from IaaS or hybrid hosting to sustain their growth and manage their IT costs. Major e-commerce companies, like eBay for example, needs to serve customers with the lowest latency possible and globally. For this reason, the IaaS model is typically used to optimize their operations and ensure their systems are able to meet demand globally.
SaaS providers are able to comply with local regulations on data processing by having their nodes hosted locally. Disaster recovery purposes are also met best via this solution. Companies that use citizens’ private data are typically guided by local regulations and government requirements to have their nodes hosted locally, where the IaaS model tends to be the most cost-efficient solution for doing so.
Social media services, like Facebook and Snapchat, also benefit from IaaS models due to their global reach and latency expectations, as well as local regulations placed on private data.
Selecting the Right Hosting Option
When selecting the provider, make sure to review the security measures, scalability, and reliability of each host type. Inspect the performance of the network to determine what the true network capacity is, and whether or not it is suitable for the task.
Organizations have more options than ever when choosing where to host their database and their operation Nodes, which is why it’s important for businesses to carefully evaluate which option is best for the long term. Establishing the best solution is no longer a task left solely to the IT team — now if your company doesn’t have the resources to handle it in-house, there are managed service providers who can help evaluate your options and choose the best one for your business.
 
The post On-Premise vs. Cloud Hosting: Which Option Is Right for Your Business? appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-03-27

5 Tips for Staying in Compliance With the GDPR

2018-03-27

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/iStock-862422314-768x576.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/iStock-862422314-1024x767.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the most sweeping corporate regulations coming down the pipeline. The measure was adopted by the European Commission and is set to go into effect May 25, 2018, and its purpose is to standardize rules for data collection, storage, and use, and then apply those rules across the European Union.
Abiding by the size and scope of GDPR rules is proving to be a challenge, particularly on such a short timeline. Companies of all sizes and across industries are scrambling to catch up, and much of their focus in on securing the cloud technologies that now house the lion’s share of data.
A study of preparedness highlights just how many companies are lagging behind. Only 1 percent of cloud providers managed data in a way that complies with stricter GDPR standards. The most common deficiencies had to do encryption keys and secure password enforcement. Slightly better are the 7.2 percent of cloud providers with adequate SAML integration support, but this does not change the fact that the vast majority of companies cannot comply with the GDPR.
Complicating all of this is Britain’s impending exit from the EU. Negotiations between both parties have been less than productive, and the exact nature of Brexit and its impact on the regulatory environment remain shrouded in mystery. What is clear, however, is that British companies will still have to comply with the GDPR in order to serve European consumers. So will any other international company doing business in Europe, which is why the GDPR must be on your radar.
 
How Everyone Plays a Role in GDPR Compliance
The central feature of the GDPR is that it expands the understanding of who is responsible for data. Previously, the controller of the data had responsibility. In most cases, this meant companies had sole responsibility for the security of customer and employee data.
Once the GDPR goes into effect, the burden of responsibility will apply to processors of data as well. Cloud service providers are the most ubiquitous processors, and they must now implement new procedures and practices to meet stronger standards for data security.
Any cloud provider currently abiding by international standards like ISO 27001 or SOC2 is close to complying with the GDPR. The challenge is that all of their subcontractors must follow the same standards. It’s a classic example of a chain only being as strong as its weakest link.
After the GDPR is enacted, controllers and processors must know exactly where all data is being stored and processed. If that data exists on international servers that do not meet GDPR standards, the controller accepts all the penalties and blame for breach of compliance. Handling the transfer of data is about to become a much more sensitive process and expose many companies to added risk.
 
The Keys to Achieving GDPR Compliance
With only months to go before the GDPR becomes law, companies need to get serious about reviewing and revising their data management practices. As organizations prepare for the new regulations, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Know Your Responsibility
As controller, companies have total responsibility for regulated data. They may rely on cloud providers that have contractually mandated penalties if a data breach occurs, but the controller will pay all sanctions and receive public blame for the breach. The GDPR even explicitly states that companies are directly responsible for “appropriate technical and organization protection measures.” This duty can no longer be shifted onto a third party.
2. Think Like a Hacker
In order to implement mandated levels of protection, companies must understand exactly how sensitive different types of data are and exactly how that data is captured, processed, stored, and secured. Knowing what data is most likely to be attacked and what vulnerabilities hackers are likely to exploit, makes it possible to establish systematic protections and threat mitigation strategies.
3. Adopt Pseudonymization
This combination of “pseudonym” and “anonymization” refers to a process of depersonalizing sensitive data. If data cannot be linked back to any specific individual, it is not subject to GDPR rules. It’s relatively easy to make data adequately anonymous using encryption and tokenization — however, the controller must keep the encryption key separated so that if data is ever compromised, it can’t also be unencrypted.
4. Implement Best Practices
The GDPR mandates that controllers follow evolving standards for protection, and it identifies encryption as a central tenant. Regulators believe encryption should become the default standard and enacted ASAP. This process must be carried out locally in order to abide by the GDPR, though, because if the controller does not hold the encryption key, then storage privacy is rendered irrelevant. Bulk cloud storage is still a viable option as long as the controller is the ultimate data owner.
5. Manage the Scope of Audits
Demonstrating GDPR compliance requires a sweeping auditing process. Controllers are required to evaluate how the processor is handling data and what protections are being put in place before submitting a comprehensive audit. It will become essential for companies to limit the amount of time, resources, and uncertainty these audits involve if GDPR compliance is going to avoid becoming a burden.
The next step is to begin reviewing your relationships with cloud providers within the context of the GDPR. If those providers are not compliant, you are not compliant either. Getting up to speed may be a lot of work in a short amount of time, but ultimately the measures the GDPR mandates insulate companies from the catastrophic consequences of a cyberattack. By protecting consumers, the GDPR protects companies, too.
The post 5 Tips for Staying in Compliance With the GDPR appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-03-20

15 Business Problems That Can Be Solved By Moving to the Cloud

2018-03-20

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/iStock-802301404-768x432.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/iStock-802301404-1024x576.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />According to a recent Intel Security report, 93 percent of a sample of 1,400 IT security professionals claim that they use some type of (hybrid) Public / Private cloud service for their business operations. The cloud is rapidly becoming a popular resource for businesses from all backgrounds, and for good reason.
If your organization hasn’t yet tapped into the power of the cloud, here are some detailed benefits of (hybrid) cloud computing technology that are worth considering.
1. Importance of data and where it is stored (GDPR)
Your business should have a clear concept of the value (and sensitive nature) of the data that is critical for operations. The inherent need to undertake efforts to assess risks and costs involved with current data storage practices is real (GDPR). Especially in an international business organization, deciding where to house data is a complex question that is largely determined by how that data will be utilized.
Many CIOs prefer to keep their companies’ data relatively nearby, and some of them will only work with companies that house data domestically. That is often difficult for large companies with offices in multiple locations, so it’s important to look at what you’re using your data for to decide where it should (legally) be stored.
Businesses have access to more data than ever, but storing it can be tricky. While some businesses choose to only store their data on local servers, using a hybrid approach (using both bare metal servers as well as cloud services) can provide a more flexible option for storing data.
2. Hosting
When you’re not sure where to host data, a cloud platform is a great way to minimize uncertainty. A hybrid cloud portfolio can support locally hosted options in either the UK or elsewhere in the EU, and cost-effective cloud options will help mitigate the risks associated with long-term investments or expensive migrations.
Global adoption of cloud is likely to increase.  In particular, companies can expect the demand for cloud computing to continue to rise in a post-Brexit Europe.  In the UK, Brexit will likely give a push for more locally stored privacy data.
3. Security
Cloud technology has advanced greatly and now it is actually more secure and reliable than traditional on premise solutions.  In fact, 64 percent of enterprises report that the cloud is more secure than their previous legacy systems, and 90 percent of businesses in the USA are currently utilizing a (hybrid) cloud infrastructure.
Many business owners who are accustomed to using local servers hesitate to transition to the cloud for fear of security risks. They worry that having their information “out there” on the cloud will make it more susceptible to hackers.
As scary as these fears are, however, they are unlikely to happen. In fact, your data is just as secure in the cloud as it is in bare metal servers. Because cloud hosting has become so popular, it has quickly progressed to the advanced stages of security. In other words, because so many businesses are using cloud hosting in some form, it has been forced to maintain high levels of security to meet all the demand.
 4. Vulnerability to disasters
If you’re only storing your data on local servers, you may be more susceptible to having your data affected by a natural disaster. Certain precautions may help alleviate this risk — such as backing up data, for example — but utilizing the cloud can provide even greater protection.
While the cloud is not without its risks — after all, the cloud is essentially a few servers united together on a software level — it does create another layer of protection in the event of a disaster.
Leaseweb provides access to our partners industry leading solutions, companies that specialize in these areas, so for backup solutions on Dedicated servers, VPS, Apache CloudStack we have partnered together with Acronis & to offer backup solutions for VMware & Private Cloud offerings, Leaseweb have partnered together with Veeam.
 5. Benefit for disaster recovery
Hosting systems and storing documents on the cloud provides a smart safeguard in case of an emergency. Man-made and natural disasters can damage equipment, shut off power and incapacitate critical IT functions. Supporting disaster recovery efforts is one of the important advantages of cloud computing for companies.
These improvements in security can also come with an attractive reduction in cost.
 6. Increased long-term costs
Not moving to the cloud could cost your company money in the long run. While you do need to pay for equipment with the cloud, costs are often more flexible because you can pay as you go depending on how much storage space you need, ‘On Demand’. Using this hybrid approach of combining cloud services and local dedicated servers, you can ensure you’re not paying for more storage than you need.
7. Boosts cost efficiency
Cloud computing reduces or eliminates the need for businesses to purchase equipment and build out and operate data centers. This presents a significant savings on hardware, facilities, utilities and other expenses required from traditional computing. Also, reducing the need for on-site servers, software and staff can trim the IT budget further.
8. Provides flexible pay options
Most cloud computing programs and applications, ranging from ERP and CRM to creativity and productivity suites use a subscription-based model. This allows businesses to scale up or down according to their needs and budget. It also eliminates the need for major upfront capital expenditures (OPEX vs CAPEX).
9. Architecture
For businesses wanting to take advantage of new services such as analytics, AI, and the possibility for secure collaboration outside the business premises, an opportunity lies in adopting a cloud architecture.  To CIOs, moving to the cloud is a chance to overcome previous internal limitations and improve their value proposition.
Because so much about Brexit remains up in the air, businesses will need to be prepared to adapt rapidly to whatever policies and regulations result from the move. Instead of undertaking a costly move to a more advantageous location, cloud adoption can provide the ideal solution to data storage and accessibility issues and is one of the most effective ways for IT leaders to prepare their companies.
10. Lack of flexibility
Businesses have historically been tethered to wherever their equipment is located, because that’s where they need to access all their information. This becomes a problem, though, when employees need to work outside the office because it may limit or eliminate their ability to work from home, meet with clients out in the field, or network away from their workspace.
With the cloud, however, users can bring their data with them wherever they go. The cloud not only makes businesses more flexible, but it allows them to use their personal devices to access this information if need be.
11. Promotes collaboration
It’s hard to collaborate when your partners are all over the map. If your employees are outside the office or your clients are not physically accessible, it can be difficult to work on the same task when everyone is limited to their own local workspace.
With the cloud, however, your business can use file-sharing applications to collaborate effectively, even if everyone is geographically separated. Clients, vendors, and employees can all work together in real time, making enhanced communication one of the best ways to combat the risks of not moving to the cloud.
 12. Increases mobility
One of the advantages of cloud computing for businesses is how easily team members can work from anywhere. This is particularly valuable in an era when employees desire flexibility in their schedules and work environment. Businesses that operate on the cloud can provide staff with options to work on the go or at home, from their desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets.
 13. Reduced agility
The ability to scale up or down can be critical for a business to stay agile and competitive. While local servers may fit your needs now, what if you need to scale up as demand increases? By adding cloud services, you can add storage as you need it and pay as you go. This type of hybrid approach can adapt to your business’s needs quickly, making it easier to meet demand as your company grows.
14. Frequent disturbances
Disasters aren’t the only things putting your data at risk. Power outages, hardware problems, or general network issues can prevent you from getting your work done. Even disruptions like installing an update can cause downtime, which costs your business money. While these issues can affect the cloud as well as bare metal servers, a hybrid approach can help minimize these risks by backing up your data in multiple locations.
15. Limited technical support
Outside the cloud, your organization is limited to whoever is working inside your office. In the case of an emergency, you either have to hope your local professionals can get the job done or hire a third-party company to help, which could be costly.
This risk is reduced in the cloud because you’ll have the built-in support of experienced professionals, and you won’t have to rely on anyone with minimal experience.
Moving to the cloud may seem complicated at first, but the transition can help mitigate a series of long-term problems. The use of public and hybrid cloud services is becoming the new norm. In fact, the cloud services industry is expected to become a $411 billion industry by 2020 — up from $260 billion in 2017 — according to research from Gartner. By joining the crowd, your business can avoid some of its most pressing technological problems.
 
The post 15 Business Problems That Can Be Solved By Moving to the Cloud appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-03-13

Meet Us at the World’s Biggest Game Industry Event!

2018-03-13

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/WEBSITE-PRODUCT-PAGE-HEADER-890... 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/WEBSITE-PRODUCT-PAGE-HEADER-890... 890w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Leaseweb is excited to be returning to the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2018) with an even bigger presence than we had last year. We’re rolling out a 30×10 booth and bringing along our partners from Crytek to help tell the story of how they’re using Leaseweb’s platform to get as close as possible to their users.
Overall, the gaming market continues to surge. For consoles, PCs and even mobile devices, it is a golden age in gaming.
When game developers approach us, they primarily ask for three things: power, rapid scaling, and flexibility. Over the long run, it takes all three to build a stable and cost-effective platform.

Power is easy: like plenty of other cloud providers, Leaseweb offers bare metal servers that can be as lightning fast as clients want them to be. However, our true value lies with clients who know exactly what they want to achieve, but are looking to collaborate with us to scope out the best way to accomplish those objectives.
For example, maybe instead of four dedicated servers, these clients would be better off with pieces of 100 different machines distributed more broadly and closer to the end users. Alternatively, clients could be on a development timeline that predicts a user base will double in size once an expansion is launched. These clients should start working on scaling that capacity now, so their system will be ready to go live immediately. This way, we help our clients avoid the dreaded outages that have affected so many successful multiplayer games the last few years.
Leaseweb offers flexibility beyond the traditional cloud providers that match their services in lockstep. If clients need more compute power, these other providers will automatically buff the memory, storage and bandwidth along with it—even if clients are well below caps in those areas. We, on the other hand, are happy to design more custom solutions that better meet the specific needs of any game.
We’re very excited about what Crytek is doing. They will be deploying in three Leaseweb locations, covering both coasts along with the Midwest (out of Chicago). This initiative may support their new multiplayer bounty hunting game, Hunt: Showdown. This game, currently in alpha, features the incredible graphics that Crytek is known for, along with some very innovative gameplay.  Visit our booth at GDC and try out Hunt: Showdown for yourself!
Leaseweb will be in the South Hall at GDC 2018, from March 21-23. Come check us out at Booth 1601. We would love to hear more about what you are planning for your own games, and how Leaseweb can help you get those ideas off the ground.
 
The post Meet Us at the World’s Biggest Game Industry Event! appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-03-07

Advantages of Adopting a Cloud Solution in a Post-Brexit World

2018-03-07

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/iStock-840313828-768x537.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/03/iStock-840313828-1024x715.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />The UK doesn’t officially exit the European Union until 11 p.m. (UK time) on March 29, 2019, and a two-year transition will follow the exit to ensure that businesses have ample time to adapt to new policies. The management of enterprise data in the cloud will no doubt be one of the areas impacted, and IT decision makers will need to formulate a plan to deal with the uncertainty in a post-Brexit world.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen by many as the foundation of the British economy. Besides making up more than 99 percent of firms in the private sector, according to the Federation of Small Businesses, they also employ 60 percent of the total private sector workforce. Since 2010, SMEs have been responsible for the creation of around two million jobs, and they comprise 73 percent of private sector job creation in the UK.
In “The Economic Consequences of the Brexit Vote,” authors Born, Müller, Schularick, and Sedláček postulate that the magnitude of uncertainty surrounding the decision and the fact that many policies are as yet unknown will contribute to a negative impact on the UK economy. In a study from the University of St. Andrews on the future strategic plans of 10,000 SMEs, the results indicated that business leaders expect to suffer from reduced levels of investment, less access to financing, and an overall lower level of growth. Sixteen percent of SMEs responded that the Brexit decision would present a significant obstacle to their business growth.
The size and scope of an SME played a large role in whether or not they held a negative outlook on their future. Almost one-third of the biggest SMEs, employing between 50 and 249 employees, believed that Brexit would pose a major obstacle to their growth. Almost twice as many SMEs that are considered innovators (23.9 percent versus 12.2 percent) see Brexit as an obstacle, and those falling under the category of exporters represent an especially troubled population at 33.2 percent.
In the IT space, and indeed all industries, what the future holds concerning the Brexit decision remains a mystery for now. The only thing businesses can count on is an increase in the complexity of operations as a result of new rules and regulations. Housing the data of EU residents in the UK may result in additional compliance requirements and regulations where there used to be more uniformity. In relation to the cloud, it will be critical to consider these four areas:

  1. Importance of Data

Your business should have a clear concept of the value (and sensitive nature) of the data that is critical for operations. Undertake efforts to assess risks and costs involved with current data storage practices. Especially in an international business organization, deciding where to house data is a complex question that is largely determined by how that data is utilized.
Many CIOs prefer to keep their companies’ data relatively nearby, and some of them will only work with companies that house data within the UK. That’s often difficult for large companies with offices in various countries, so it’s important to look at what you’re using your data for to decide where it should be stored.

  1. Hosting

A cloud platform is a great way to minimize uncertainty when you’re not sure where to host data. The cloud can support locally hosted options in either the UK or elsewhere in the EU, and cost-effective cloud options will help mitigate the risks associated with long-term investments or expensive migrations.
Adoption of cloud is likely to increase globally.  In particular, companies can expect the demand for cloud computing to continue to rise in a post-Brexit Europe.  In the UK, Brexit will likely give a push for more locally stored privacy data.

  1. Security

The cloud has advanced to the point where it’s actually more secure and reliable than traditional on-premise solutions. In fact, 64 percent of enterprises report that the cloud is more secure than their previous legacy systems, and 90 percent of businesses in the US are currently utilizing a cloud infrastructure. These improvements in security can also come with an attractive reduction in cost.

  1. Architecture

Adopting a cloud architecture represents an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of new services such as analytics, AI, and the possibility for secure collaboration outside the business premises. To CIOs, moving to the cloud is a chance to overcome previous internal limitations and improve their value proposition.
Because so much about Brexit remains up in the air, businesses will need to be prepared to adapt rapidly to whatever policies and regulations result from the move. Instead of undertaking a costly move to a more advantageous location, cloud adoption can provide the ideal solution to data storage and accessibility issues and is one of the most effective ways for IT leaders to prepare their companies.
 
The post Advantages of Adopting a Cloud Solution in a Post-Brexit World appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-02-28

Implement API Security Measures to Protect Your System

2018-02-28

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-877121960-1-768x509.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-877121960-1-1024x678.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />If you are familiar with platform security policies, chances are you’ve heard of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). This non-profit organization focuses on improving software security and makes it a primary mission to ensure software security is visible, which makes it easier for organizations and individuals to make informed decisions with their software by distributing information about AppSec to users across the globe.
The increasing use of mobile devices, coupled with more application services and integrations, micro-services, and clouds, are drastically changing the landscape of security. OWASP issues a top 10 standard set of rules that are applied to security policies across various platforms, and the most recent list, published in 2017, presents notable changes that reflect these increases. The most evident change is the inclusion of OWASP A10 — under-protected application programming interfaces, or APIs for short.
Why Is API Security Important?
APIs contain programming standards, instructions, and protocols that allow two applications to communicate with one another. Essentially, APIs serve as a bridge that ensures proper and consistent communication between two systems.
Millions of applications communicate back and forth on a daily basis, which is why API security is a crucial part of API development. In fact, 75 percent of organizations say API security is a CIO-level concern, according to a survey of 1,200 IT professionals by software provider Akana.
Also, according to Persistence Market Research, the cloud API market is forecast to grow 19.6 percent between 2016 and 2026, reaching $1.7739 billion. Combined with the steady increase in cyber threat perception, it’s more important than ever for companies to develop thorough API security strategies.
Working to Improve Your Organization’s Security
Systems that host public APIs have to deal with heavy loads of traffic daily. Although most of the traffic is legitimate, some of it is not. The best way to protect your system without overburdening the legitimate users is to evaluate the behavior and identify potential problematic traffic.
API security works in the same manner by using rules and algorithms that evaluate client sessions. APIs ask simple questions that evaluate how clients are behaving, what they are doing, and whether there are unusual error rates or repeated behavior in short periods of time.
Machine-based mechanisms are often used to answer these questions to identify and deter malicious API client practices. Standard web approaches typically don’t function properly with APIs simply because hackers continuously work to develop new attack methods. Hackers know standard DoS attacks don’t work, so they distribute hacking attempts across bots that hide alongside legitimate traffic to sneak them through the system undetected.
To detect these bad apples, it’s necessary to set up a machine learning-based system that understands API traffic extremely well, and the system must have a thorough understanding of API keys, access tokens, and what the typical request context is on any payload such as a Leaseweb cybersecurity solution.
What You Can Do Right Now
There are several things you can do right now to protect your system from potentially damaging attacks. Start by using HTTPS, if you’re not already, to ensure proper authentication and authorization. Then adjust your SDLC so it includes rigorous API security testing and validation, primarily focusing on input validation.
Also, ensure that all servers are running on regularly-patched OS versions that are stable and include carefully configured security groups. Role-based access control and VPC isolation across environments can also help prevent attacks and improve responses.
Finally, having a pre-documented response policy for security incidents will help your company establish a secure development environment that is properly maintained at all times.
Performing routine API audits and testing will help you continually improve the API development and ensure your web services are protected against DDoS attacks and malicious bots — without sacrificing the experience of legitimate API traffic. Employing these techniques will help you validate API requests and determine which ones are legitimate in order to reduce or eliminate API attacks entirely.
 
The post Implement API Security Measures to Protect Your System appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-02-21

How Your Business Could Benefit From Adopting Hybrid Cloud Solutions

2018-02-21

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-657194334-768x511.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-657194334-1024x681.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in adoption of cloud computing technology. These patterns demonstrate a great opportunity for innovation amongst businesses, especially those looking for more flexible and secure infrastructure solutions, which can be found in hybrid cloud solutions.
Analyst firm Gartner found that cloud computing ranks among the highest on its disruption scale and has become a $246.8 billion industry as of 2017.  These services will only continue to grow in popularity and will act as a necessary enabler for future disruptions.
Although some businesses remain skeptical of cloud computing, the infrastructure has proven to enhance or replace all parts of a business’s IT environment while promoting improved efficiency, the opportunity for expansion, and greater flexibility.
Hybrid cloud solutions work by combining both public and private cloud infrastructures, providing greater flexibility for companies that are looking for hosting resources and as well as the ability to run classified applications privately while maintaining SaaS and IaaS on a public cloud.
Besides increased flexibility, there are a few other notable benefits of hybrid cloud solutions include:
 
1. Scale Easily and Efficiently
Scaling an IT infrastructure can be extremely expensive, making it out of reach for most small or newly-thriving businesses.
Hybrid cloud environments, though, allow businesses to scale in order to accommodate specific workloads. Businesses can implement automation rules in the cloud that ensure the ability to scale resources up and down as the demand changes for the business. This customization ensures an optimized environment that performs efficiently to take advantage of unlimited resources based on demand-driven usage.
 
2. Avoid Downtime — Even During Disasters
Keeping your business running at all times is crucial if you want your brand to succeed. Your data should still be accessible even during a disaster, and most businesses can’t afford any downtime. There’s more to this than simply backing up and replacing content on a cloud, though.
That’s why hybrid cloud solutions are often considered the key components in business continuity solutions. Hybrid clouds ensure critical data is replicated to a cloud in a different location, thus providing data insurance during any natural or technological disaster.
 
 3. Increase Your Speed to Market
One of the primary reasons organizations choose to move to the cloud is to make it easier to expand their business into new regions, and hybrid cloud platforms provide the agility organizations need to quickly enter new markets at affordable costs.
Companies of all sizes are able to get a jump on global initiatives, as the cost of investment is greatly reduced through on-demand self-service. Cloud resources can be automated and spun up instantaneously to grow when needed without wasting any unnecessary resources. Thanks to the reductions in time and low costs of entry provided by hybrid cloud solutions, companies of all sizes can increase their competitive advantages.
 
4. Improve Security
Although security fears are decreasing as cloud usage grows, security measures remain a top priority and an ongoing challenge that needs to be managed properly in any organization.
A private hybrid cloud system ensures you have more control over the design and architecture of the system while providing a higher level of data security in comparison to public cloud solutions.
 
5. Gain a Competitive Advantage
When it comes to innovative technologies, hybrid cloud solutions offer far more opportunities than any other type of infrastructure, providing benefits in the forms of customer satisfaction, decreased costs and risks, higher revenue, and greatly expanding global market reach.
Adopting cloud solutions can give your organization a leg up on the competition, too — in fact, according to Cloud Industry Forum research, 56 percent of cloud users feel their organization has a competitive advantage that is a direct result of cloud services, while an additional 22 percent anticipate seeing one.
Without a doubt, there are several benefits hybrid cloud solutions provide to organizations. When it comes to complex IT infrastructure, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. The great flexibility hybrid cloud solutions provide, however, will very likely meet your company’s needs while enhancing your business and solving even the most complex problems.
 
The post How Your Business Could Benefit From Adopting Hybrid Cloud Solutions appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-02-13

From Ops to Devops: a Story About Transformation

2018-02-13

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-867019166-768x512.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-867019166-1024x683.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Over the last couple of years Leaseweb’s product engineering department has gone through some major changes, and by far the biggest was how our product engineering department has evolved.
In earlier blogs, my colleagues Arnoud and Sander already talked about Maturity models and scaling our engineering department. However, I want to tell you about how, from the perspective of an Ops engineer, our journey went from Ops to DevOps.
When I joined Leaseweb we had an Operation department (HOSD) and a development department (Leaseweb Technologies). Both departments worked closely together on delivering great products to our customers but also sat apart from each other simply because we were two departments sitting at different floors.
So, at some point the teams and our management came to the conclusion we needed to look into improving inter departmental communication and cooperation. Back then (this was in 2015), DevOps was already a big buzzword so we decided to also go for a DevOps approach and the Product engineering department was born (it had a different name back then, but that’s beside the point).
To be honest, in the beginning I was skeptical about the whole DevOps idea, and given that we introduced our Ops teams to working in Scrum teams (which our developers where already doing), the change to the way we are doing our jobs changed quit significantly.
Once we aligned the departments, teams and got necessary preparations done, the “Move” finally began. This sounds more exciting than it actually was btw. We simply moved locations to join our respective dev colleagues and formed a bunch of DevOps teams.
From here on out I will only be talking about the team I joined as the move was actually only that, the move. We were still doing our Ops jobs and our developers were still doing their development work. The only thing that really changed was that we had standups together and when we needed to talk to each other, there was no floor (and stairs) in between our departments anymore.
At this point, it seemed like not much has changed (yet), but around December of that year we concluded that we needed to take another step in our transition and decided it was time to make another change. Our team was split up into three smaller DevOps teams to get more prioritization on our different products.
This was the first real big change, because from that point on we started really to work in an Agile way adopting Scrum ceremonies like sprint planning and refinement.
But we still (at least from my perspective) were not really a DevOps team. We did stand-ups, sprint planning and refinements together but still the Ops guys did their Ops job and our developers did their Dev jobs.
The real change came when the decision was made to train our Dev engineers in more ops work and involve them in our 24/7 on call rotation (EOD).
All of a sudden, we became one team and despite some personal changes, things turned out really well.
Suddenly, there was no we and them anymore. Instead, there was just the team and we really started to work together, recognizing each other’s struggles.
Where for instance the Ops guys had always adapted one way of working, our dev guys came up with really easy and elegant solutions to cut down our spent on Ops work, giving us more focus as a team on improvements. We spent this time on building new features instead of putting out fires and not being able to properly plan our work due to so many unexpected and unplanned workloads.
In the end, we managed to drastically cut back our on-call work (basically working outside office hours) by implementing more automation, creating more documentation and handing work over to our first and second line support teams. However, the biggest impact came because everyone felt responsible for the whole infrastructure from the code to the server, and the whole team wanted to build innovative and amazing products for our customers.
For me personally it was also a big eye opener, because in the beginning I was skeptical and to be honest somewhat against the whole idea, and now I see the benefits of the way we do things. I ultimately went to get my SCRUM Master Certification and help with adapting an Agile way of working where ever I can. I even spent the last 3 months temporarily filling in as a SCRUM Master for our team.
To conclude, in the end we really made a drastic change and although in the beginning it did not look like much, we came a long way making our teams more flexible, and being able to respond to unforeseen changes more quickly.
One last tip I want to share with you all, if you are facing an Ops to DevOps transformation: Dive in headfirst and keep an open mind because in the end the benefits will make the whole process worth it.
The post From Ops to Devops: a Story About Transformation appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.

2018-02-07

Exciting Trends Poised to Impact the MarTech Industry in 2018

2018-02-07

http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-836447336-768x432.jpg 768w, http://blog.leaseweb.com/uploads/2018/02/iStock-836447336-1024x576.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Marketing has come a long way from being just a sign outside a shop or ads in the phonebook. Digital marketing and technology now go hand in hand, and “MarTech” is a broad term applied to any major initiatives that rely on the power of technology to realize marketing objectives.
Once hampered by privacy concerns raised from data collection, customer demand for omnichannel personalization has brought about increasingly granular marketing. Technology allows for the collection of an impressive amount of data, but data for its own sake won’t optimize your marketing efforts. In order to reach the next level of marketing performance, you’ll need to use MarTech to unearth and understand the insights buried in that data.
While MarTech is a powerful tool that can make or break your marketing campaign’s performance, it’s also a versatile one that can be utilized in many ways. The following trends around MarTech will prove critical to marketing in 2018:

1. The AI Revolution
Nothing makes big data into usable insights like machine learning. The evolution and refinement of artificial intelligence will allow for increased personalization, in addition to a host of applications such as chatbots and voice recognition.  AI’s computational prowess means it should be first utilized in areas where your business is struggling to process volume at the necessary margins. Going for quick wins can help convince stakeholders to buy into its potential.
2. MarTech Meets AdTech
Surprisingly, marketers are beginning to invest more in technology than advertising. It doesn’t hurt that large software companies developing marketing clouds are prioritizing AdTech acquisition as a way to stay innovative. As platforms and publishers combine in channels such as Facebook, the abundance of first-party data means they can direct marketers toward the right audience armed with the right ad.
3. Voice Search
Voice searches are expected to comprise half of online searches by 2020, meaning forward-thinking marketers must optimize their content for this emerging medium. Companies such as MapQuest are leading the way — the brand’s ambition is to improve natural language navigation so that it’s possible to interact with its software without any kind of visual interface. Because many marketers have yet to prepare for voice search, it’s a great opportunity to invest in a differentiator.
4. Augmented Reality Development
Augmented reality is destined to change the way people shop. Brands that can tailor an experience to their customers based on this emerging technology will be at the forefront of this movement. Apple, for example, designed the iPhone 8 and iPhone X with augmented reality in mind, and as these types of AR-ready devices become mainstream, the development of the technology will only be accelerated.
5. Local Search Strategies
It’s a common misconception that a local marketing strategy is too small for global and national brands. The truth is, though, almost a third of mobile searches are in some way related to location.
Whether customers are looking for the hours of a national chain or wanting to know if a specific store has an item in stock, a hyperlocal marketing strategy can help small businesses and global giants alike.  Google also points out that almost two-thirds of mobile users are more likely to purchase from a business whose site customizes information to be relevant to the users’ specific location.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding technological innovation is that it could make human work irrelevant. The growth of MarTech may mean that fewer people are needed in marketing, but those who are will be specialists in their field who become even more valuable.
It’s tough to say with certainty where MarTech is going, but the areas of organic search, voice search, and social media are safe bets. MarTech will also play a huge role as new forms of content, such as augmented reality, become mainstream. Whatever direction the future takes, marketers will be forming new relationships with technology as they strive to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message.
The post Exciting Trends Poised to Impact the MarTech Industry in 2018 appeared first on LeaseWeb Blog.