Cloud Computing: Right For Your Business, but Not For Jennifer Lawrence

How your business chooses to store its data is a major decision. You can implement a private cloud computing model and spend more on equipment and maintenance than you need to, or you can save money with a public cloud. Although, in light of the recent celebrity-nude-photo-iCloud hack, is the public cloud secure enough to host your company’s data? Let’s address this concern and explore your cloud computing options.

Having a Private Cloud is a Major Expense
A private cloud infrastructure isn’t an easy thing to implement, and if your company already has a functioning IT network, it can be challenging to switch it up. Only a trained IT specialist should attempt to add cloud software and hardware to your existing infrastructure. InfoWorld explains this process:

Bending your existing infrastructure to accommodate a vast private cloud, not to mention migrating the lion’s share of legacy applications to that cloud, is a losing proposition. Ultimately, building a private cloud demands replacing old systems with new ones. That can be accomplished step by step, as new initiatives — particularly those supporting customer engagement — demand cloud-like infrastructure. In addition, as legacy systems become too awkward and expensive to maintain, you can replace them with modern cloud solutions.

The Public Cloud Computing Model is the Money-Saving Choice
This increasing trend in public cloud computing has led to lower utilization costs and great competition between cloud providers. Businesses now find public cloud computing much more affordable, especially compared to five years ago. Unlike other necessary services – fuel, utilities, food, rent, you name it – cloud data hosting has grown cheaper to integrate into your company.

Compared to the public cloud, it can be far more expensive to buy the necessary equipment and integrate a private cloud into your IT infrastructure. The public cloud is particularly valuable to startups, as they likely don’t have the funds for a full-fledged private cloud, though established companies can still find the lesser costs savory. In fact, the public cloud is so cost-effective that these startups opt to completely integrate their practices with it in order to save the hassle of of setting up their own infrastructure.

For perceived security reasons, many businesses would like to have their own private cloud, but before you decide to drop everything and break the ground with a private cloud infrastructure, you should think about the benefits that a public cloud can provide. Michell Consulting GroupPublic Cloud Computing: Right For Your Business, but Not For Jennifer Lawrence is a cloud service provider that can host and manage all of your data on our public cloud offering.

Leaked Pictures of Celebrities’ Private Parts Raise Public Cloud Privacy Concerns
Despite the public cloud’s affordability and convenience, there are still many businesses that have reservations about storing their sensitive data off-site. These concerns were intensified last weekend when Apple’s public cloud offering, the iCloud, was breached and personal data (primarily nude photos) of more than a half-dozen A-list actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kim Kardashian, and more, were stolen and distributed over the Internet.

There’s a couple of points to make here in favor of utilizing the public cloud for your business. First off, thanks to celebrity gossip publications, photos like these are in high demand and can lead to a big pay day for a hacker. It’s unlikely that TMZ has a bounty on your company’s files. Secondly, it’s widely believed that these breaches could have been prevented if these unfortunate celebrities were more careful and enacted best security practices. The Washington Post explains:

Security experts point out that if cloud storage was indeed the source of the photos, an easy security measure might have saved celebrities a lot of embarrassment. Most cloud services, including Apple’s, offer an extra safeguard known as “two-factor authentication,” which requires users to verify their identities in a two-step process using different passwords.

Therefore, don’t let a frontpage celebrity-gossip story like this keep your business from taking advantage of cloud computing. It’s a wonderful tool that can save your business lots of money.

The Hybrid Cloud is a Popular Option Too
However, a private cloud computing model is still a valid option for your business, and we can help your company with this too. It’s important to keep in mind that every business has different data needs. For most companies, utilizing a variation of both the public and private cloud (a hybrid cloud) is the best bet. In fact, according to a survey of IT professionals by RightScale, it’s the direction that most businesses are moving toward. They say that “the biggest slice of respondents – 58 percent – are not relying on public or private cloud alone, but a mix of both.”

Michell Consulting Group has several secure cloud solutions for your business to consider. Give us a call at 305.592.5433 ext 2601 for more information.

 

MCG Referral Program: Connect & Win

Thank you for being our loyal customer. Michell Consulting Group would love the opportunity to provide our expertise and phenomenal service to your friends and clients. Therefore we are happy to introduce our new referral program: CONNECT & WIN!

If you have any friend you think would benefit from our exceptional ERP or Managed IT services, we welcome you to send them our way!

It’s Easy:

  1. Fill out the form below
  2. We will contact your referral
  3. You will be notified if we find and sign a deal

Referral Rewards:

  • 5 Free Hours of Any Professional Service ($1,125 value)

OR

  • A Night For Two at the Biltmore Hotel, with brunch included

Smartphone Demographics – Shaken, not Stirred, with a Lemon Twist

The battle between iOS and Android operating system enthusiasts has been a long and bloody affair with plenty of third-party casualties (sorry Blackberry), but did you know that you might be able to tell a lot about someone just by looking at their smartphone?

There has been a study which proves that there are several differences between users of iOS and Android operating systems. It should be mentioned, though, that you should take these statements with a grain of salt. The fact that you use an Android phone doesn’t necessarily mean you fall into the following description. Read on and see for yourself just what kind of mobile device user you are:

Android Users: More Likely To…

  • Eat at McDonald’s.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Be religious.
  • Prefer beer over wine.
  • Use tobacco products.
  • Work a blue-collar job.

iOS Users: More Likely To…

  • Have flown in an airplane within the past year.
  • Have investments in the stock market.
  • Prefer wine over beer.
  • Work a white-collar job.

Before you start filling these stereotypes in with people you know, consider whether or not you fit these generalities. Or maybe you’re an Android user who has carefully planned out all of your expenses for the next five years. Either way, there are other smartphones that haven’t been taken into account for this list, like the Windows Phone.

What does stereotyping smartphone users have to do with business, though? These statistics show us a piece of the big picture, and we can learn a bit about marketing to the general populace from them. For example, the owner of a brewery might find it in their best interest to market their brand through the Android platform, while a financial planner might find the iOS app store a better market for their needs.

Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, there is a huge market toward the mobile platform in modern-day business management. According to the latest smartphone user statistics, you no longer have an option about whether or not you should market to the mobile industry. The only smart move you can make is to invest in some quality mobile marketing.

  • 60% of all American adults own smartphones.
  • Mobile Internet browsing is at an all-time high, and is expected to overtake desktop browsing this year.
  • 72% of small business owners plan to maintain or increase their mobile ad expenditure this year by up to 30%.

As evidenced by the industry itself, mobile marketing is a very effective way to spread the word about your company and your services.

Do you fit these smartphones stereotypes, or is this study way off? Sound off in the comments!

Michell Consulting Group Welcomes Our Hero Back – Staff Sergeant Michell

In life we are born into certain roles. Automatic titles stamped onto us at the very instant our lives begin. Son. Cousin. Grandson. Nephew. Those were the labels that Philip Michell took on from moment he was born and has continued to represent throughout his life. However, as human beings we have this instinct within ourselves that pushes us to strive for more. For Philip, this instinct took hold of him at an early age. And so upon graduating high school, he decided to achieve his goal of titling himself as the one thing he was not born as but instead born for.

On October 5, 2005 Philip graduated from the Marines Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina and checked in to his current unit 4th Anglico in 2006. Shortly after, he was sent off on his first deployment to Iraq for 8 months. Upon his return, he began to consider possible routes he could take in regards to his academics, but later decided on volunteering for a second tour in Iraq. Once returning from his deployment, he dedicated his time to his studies. After completing some courses at Miami Dade College, Philip decided to enroll in Santa Fe College in 2011 where he would receive his Associates degree.

Shortly after, he moved back to Miami and began taking courses at Florida International University with ambitions to graduate with a double major in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in History. However, throughout this time his passion for the military continued on and so Philip applied and was accepted into Officer Candidate School. It was throughout the summer of 2013 in which he completed the first 6 weeks of OCS in Quantico, Virginia.

That following fall and spring semester, he devoted his time to taking the courses required for his bachelor’s degree. However, his unwavering desire to serve our country alongside his fellow Marines never ceased and so he volunteered for the third time and was deployed on March 25, 2014. During his time overseas, he continued to excel in his academics by taking online courses. He is expected to return home on August 16, 2014, where his family and friends will be eagerly waiting to embrace him.

Many would say that Philip’s dedication to his country has instilled in him a sense of leadership, but I believe he was born with this. Throughout the last 9 years, he has proven to be an above-and-beyond marine. Not only has he served his country multiple times with a military occupation specialty of 0861 Fire Support Man and 8002 Joint Terminal Attack Controller, but he has assisted in the training of his firepower control team and participated in multiple training events around the world. It has been throughout this journey that Philip has represented not only himself, but the United States of America, with the title: Staff Sergeant Michell, United States Marine.

Keep your Cloud-Based Data Safe from Hackers

Do you see those black clouds culminating on the horizon? They represent the possibility that hackers will gain access to your cloud-based data. Though it is protected a number of ways, it will not stop an experienced hacker. To them, your defenses are as transparent as those thin, wispy, cirrus clouds that are so welcome on a boiling hot summer day.

When it comes to cloud storage security, there are a number of things that you should keep in mind:

Use Obscure Words or Phrases for Your Password
Cloud storage starts with a password, but sometimes, hackers can find ways around them. This doesn’t mean that passwords are not safe, but it does mean that the possibility is there, and cannot be ignored. Hackers commonly use brute force tactics, where they attempt to crack the code by randomly inputting passwords. Though this process could take a long time, some hackers are likely more tenacious than you think, and won’t give up so easily if they truly want your data. Make sure that your password utilizes lower-case and upper-case letters, as well as numbers and symbols.

Another way to protect your data is to use less-common words for your password, or make up your own, rather than use a common word. Doing so puts you at risk of a dictionary attack, which involves a hacker inputting common passwords. Think about the amount of people who use the word “password” to keep their data safe. Their data isn’t so safe if the hacker assumes that they chose an obvious word for their password. Instead, opt for strange or obscure phrases. For example, “D3epSeaRh1n0F1shing#$9” will have hackers guessing for ages.

The Road Less Traveled Sure Has a Lot of Data!
Contrary to what some may think, data can be captured while it’s on its way to your cloud storage. While many storage clouds will encrypt the data while it is traveling, you still want to be wary and avoid web applications that do not have “https” in front of the URL. The “s” informs the user that the text’s data is a secure, encrypted protocol, and therefore, safe.

Hackers are Lazy
They might work pretty hard to get to your data, but in reality, hackers will likely utilize the easiest means possible to retrieve said data. This generally involves attacking the cloud storage itself rather than your personal data. This can mean that the hacker may not even care about your data and leave it alone, but do you want to take that risk? It’s best to use a cloud storage well known for having superior security.

Lock Your Password Away and Swallow the Key
Figuratively, not literally. Keep your password to yourself, and never tell it to anyone. Some hackers will try to get you to fork over your valuable information themselves by claiming to be a service provider, but don’t be fooled.

If you aren’t sure if you want to trust an unknown cloud source with your precious data, give Michell Consulting Group a call at 305.592.5433 ext. 2601. We can provide your business with a secure cloud storage solution to fit your company’s needs, and we’ll do our utmost to ensure that you don’t muddle through the oncoming storm alone.