Why Those Affected by WannaCry need NowCloud

By now, the world has come to grips with what has been termed as the largest Cyber attack in history – the WannaCry Ransomware- affecting over 100 countries.

And by now, most have understood it was not a new attack or a novice way of hacking via an unknown zero-day vulnerability. Microsoft identified this vulnerability -and- patched it back in March 2017.

The news relates to how lacking most enterprises are in just-in-time vulnerability management.  Most, if not all, organizations have a cyclical rhythm of Identification and Remediation that spans weeks, if not months:

  • Analyze infrastructure for known vulnerabilities
  • Identify known vulnerabilities to Operations
  • Operations schedules approved patches for application on infrastructure
  • Scheduled changes and risk to systems have varying degrees of frequency of remediation.
  • Apply patches.

The net result is that it’s not that difficult to understand why WannaCry happened:  Most enterprises (SMBs too) go over a month or more without remediation against known (and patched) vulnerabilities.

Worst yet, most enterprises focus on Critical vulnerabilities, leaving the Moderate, Important, or even Low severity vulnerabilities outstanding due to short staff or lack of awareness.

Where can NowCloud Help?

Unlike traditional processes where Identification is air-gapped from Remediation, NowCloud provides you with a single self-service platform for vulnerability identification and remediation against On-Premise and Public Cloud workloads, leveraging Daily updated patches and vulnerability information for all public operating systems. We like to call this SecDevOps.Patching Options

Through a single portal, you can attach a Compliance Check against your workload, and non-intrusively we will tell you if your workload is vulnerable.

If vulnerable, you have the choice to apply the latest patches from the appropriate vendor, or enroll your system into a patch schedule of your liking. NowCloud will handle the remediation of any known vulnerability.

In world-wide crisis like WannaCry, NowCloud is the choice to provide your organization the necessary identification and remediation capability in an integrated platform.

Are you ready to prevent the next WannaCry attack?  We are, let us know you how we can help!  Contact a member of our sales team at sales@nowcloudtechnology.com.

North Central Cloud rebrands to NowCloud

In 2011 NCTC completed construction on a state of the art, secure, tier III data center.  Originally, the data center was developed to support the expansion of fiber throughout NCTC’s service footprint.  However, through the forward thinking of its leadership team, they quickly decided that the network, infrastructure, and execution team were already in place to provide data center and cloud services to business customers across the US.  In mid-2012, North Central Cloud was born.  It was an infrastructure as a service and disaster recovery as a solution that offered our local customers the ability to host virtual machines and backup data within the data center.  Along with standard IaaS and DRaaS services, the North Central Cloud would, like its parent company, keep customers at the center of its mindset.

As time marched on the landscape of the hosting environment changed significantly and the therefore the offering of North Central Cloud needed to be updated accordingly.  Along with updating the portfolio, the leadership of NCTC made the decision to expand the cloud sales staff to better serve existing customers and to expand the cloud footprint throughout the US.  With all of the changes, management made the choice to rebrand the cloud offering in its entirety.  Not only would this new brand adapt to the landscape, but it would itself change the landscape of cloud services.

North Central Cloud became NowCloud- a better way to cloud.  The decision for NowCloud to keep a customer centric view was made quickly.  With that in mind how could NowCloud’s portfolio provide a holistic approach to the cloud?  Three simple tenants were developed to answer that question- agility, mobility, and security.  It was from these three pillars that NowCloud began to build its portfolio.

NowCloud is now a self-service, web-scale Cloud Broker for customers who want to leverage:

  • Capacity-on-demand – choose from on-prem Hyper-Scale computing or Public Cloud at extremely competitive prices.
  • Compliance-as-a-Service – enable any and all of your workloads to be automatically assessed against DISA Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG), CIS, SOX, PCXI, and HIPAA compliance standards, together with true SecDevOps approach to security.
  • Patching-as-a-Service – ability to patch Windows, Red Hat Linux, Oracle Linux, SuSe, AIX, HP-UX, or any other major operating system from a single, self-service platform.
  • Business Continuity – use NowCloud’s economic and all-inclusive backup strategies for off premise data protection or leverage our zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO) / near zero Recovery Time Objective (RTO) capability at a fraction of existing solutions.

All of this can be offered by NowCloud, because we operate in a Gigabit-certified WAN.  We can easily provide on-premises self-service cloud for workloads hosted in your data center or in ours.

As we complete this rebranding process, we invite you to join us with a no-cost 48 hour trial.  Simply use the promo code: NOWCLOUDBLOG for access.

Matt Shouse is a solutions engineer with NowCloud—a better way to cloud. He has been providing IT solutions to solve customer pain points for over 5 years.

10 reasons small and medium sized businesses should use the cloud

the cloud
Here it is – The famous Cloud

In early 2011, when I first moved from teaching at a small rural school in northern middle Tennessee to what is today the largest IT hardware provider in the world, I thought the cloud was one of the logos that popped up on my wife’s iTunes account.  Even after starting this new role as a datacenter specialist advising customers on servers, networking equipment, and advanced storage arrays, I still did not understand or even partially embrace the cloud as something that could be relevant to the industry at large.  However, as time marches on I have come to realize and embrace the fact that cloud computing is the future of business IT.  Thousands of large enterprise businesses already utilize cloud computing in some capacity.

As more and more companies embrace the cloud, I have been asked numerous times ‘why would a small or midsized company want (or need) to migrate to the cloud.’  While most of these customers are nervous about the security risks, worried about increasing cost or complexity, or simply trying to resist change, the question does need to be answered.  Instead of relying on additional hardware and software and then the additional IT resources to manage and secure them, organizations can take advantage of the cloud’s flexibility, scalability, security, availability, and reliability.

Some of the top cloud services being used by small and mid-sized business include:

  • Web, ecommerce, email, and application hosting
  • Backup and recovery services
  • Office tools, productivity, collaboration and communication solutions
  • Help desk and IT support, including security
  • Marketing and customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Financial management, such as record keeping and expense management
  • Operations and human resources
  • Project and product management

By utilizing infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a services (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS), small and mid-size businesses can take advantage of many of the benefits that large enterprise customers enjoy without the hefty price tag.  In most instances, for SMBs, moving to the cloud allows not only for significant time savings for existing IT resources, but also compelling cost savings.  This allows companies to refocus energy on new opportunities and reinvest the money saved into other initiatives, like helping more customers.

Let’s take a close look at 10 reasons any business (no matter the size) should consider moving to the cloud:

  1. Evening the playing field

Moving IT to the cloud allows even the smallest customer to compete with larger corporations.  The cloud utilizes a pay-as-you go plan which means you only use the resources you consume.  This allows you to increase or decrease speed and scale at the push of a button, without having to implement new hardware.

  1. Ability to work from anywhere

Business today is fully mobile.  With cloud access, customers and their teams do not have to be bound to working in one place and on one system.  You can easily access any pertinent data from anywhere securely utilizing cloud systems.  This means SMBs are free to hire remote workers without having to open a new location.

  1. Around the clock security

Most SMBs cannot afford to open a secure data center of their own.  This means many of their servers (and therefore their data) are kept in closets or under the secretary’s desk.  In addition, SMBs cannot often afford high-end firewalls to protect their sensitive data. Both examples provide for a significant security risk.  However, moving your IT to the cloud with the right company can increase the amount of security protecting your business data.

  1. Built-in redundancy

One of the worst things a business can go through is a system failure or data loss.  In fact, studies prove 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.  Keeping data in the cloud provides for not only off-site disaster recovery ability, but also the ability to recover in the cloud.  For instance, say you have a production virtual machine in the cloud.  A shadow IT user at this company deletes a production virtual machine and the associated data with it. Using cloud recovery services, this company’s data is safe and secure at another datacenter.  It is fully ready to be restored back to full use.

  1. Reduced on-premise infrastructure needs

In addition to energy savings from not having to run servers on site, SMBs can also save office space needed to house the hardware.  Cloud compute customers can also save valuable man-power resources by cutting down time spent on software updates and general maintenance.  IT teams now will have the ability to focus on being proactive, working on projects that matter instead of constantly putting out fires.

  1. Turn capital expenses into operational expenses

Traditional datacenter hardware and software forces IT teams to budget up to a year before even receiving quotes to plan for future growth.  In addition, this route often makes a company invest tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars at one time.  With the on-demand compute resources in the cloud, the guesswork is fully removed from an IT budget.  Now IT managers can accurately predict exactly what they will spend.  With the pay-as-you-go model these expenditures become a monthly operational expense that can be decreased or increased depending on business needs.

  1. Limiting shadow IT

A major issue with a private on premise cloud is shadow IT.  This occurs when a user begins to consume costly datacenter assets without the knowledge or permission of a company’s technology leaders.  Virtual machines can consume, compute and store resources for months without being used or recognized by IT.  By moving to the cloud, IT can easily manage and maintain which virtual machines have been created and exist within their cloud dashboard.

  1. Improved collaboration and communication

Cloud services provide the ability for users to easily access information anywhere or anytime.  This increases productivity and enables collaboration, allowing teams in different locations to get things done.  Being able to easily share and collaborate in real time on files will increase yield.  In addition, web conferencing can bring teams closer together for important meetings and bring your customers closer to your team no matter where they physically are.

  1. Superior compliance monitoring and remediation

HIPAA, DISA, PCI, and SOX compliance are a constant hassle for almost every company that must regularly deal with them.  Ensuring your datacenter resources are compliant is very difficult.  High-end cloud compute vendors provide for up to the minute cloud compliance scans and remediation steps to ensure you are always fully compliant in the datacenter.  In addition, these vendors can often provide a summary of a compliance scan proving to the regulatory groups that you are fully complying with their standards.

  1. Automatic updates

There is nothing better than automatic software updates.  This feature now extends beyond software to hardware when you move your servers off site.  The effort to maintain and ensure they are up and running goes out the door as well.  Cloud service providers can now automatically update software, hardware, middleware, or any combination of these resources.  This frees up more time for your IT staff to ensure your business stays proactive and competitive.

Of course, just like anything else in the IT world there could be even more reasons to move to a cloud based infrastructure.  This list is in no way meant to be comprehensive.  However, no matter your reason to move to the cloud, Providers like NowCloud can help you get there by providing mobile, agile, and secure cloud-based solutions to solve customer pain points without adding complexity or overhead.

Matt Shouse is a solutions engineer with NowCloud—a better way to cloud. He has been providing IT solutions to solve customer pain points for over 5 years.