Tips for a Successful Security Strategy

October 19, 2016
By Brandy Smith

secure cloud

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an annual campaign sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). The overall goal, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which participates in NCSAM, is to “increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.”

Security threats are vast and constantly evolving, as should your businesses security strategy.

Today, security isn’t just about basic protection. Companies have far more to consider than they once did. Now, a security strategy is a holistic approach to protection, prevention, detection and response—and it needs to encompass all aspects of an adaptive security architecture.

Top Business Security Threats

Here’s an overview of what you need to consider when implementing, updating, and enforcing your security strategy.

External Threats

According to Cisco's Annual Security report, 100% of multinational companies show evidence that suspicious traffic was emanating from their networks and attempting to connect to questionable sites.

The speed at which external threats are increasing is exponential. There are millions of malware variations that enterprises must defend against, but it’s difficult for signature-based malware to keep up. There are more distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks than ever before, and they vary widely; they can be highly targeted or generic, long...

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Spin Up a Cloud Relational Database in Minutes

October 10, 2016
By Daniel Morton

Relational DB Logo

Reading Time: about 4 minutes

CenturyLink demonstrates its commitment to provide automation and productivity on our Hybrid IT Services Platform, which makes it easy for you to manage and control your virtualized application and network resources.

Relational DB is a MySQL-compatible Database-as-a-Service (RDBaaS) designed to meet the needs of the developer for rapid software development while providing accelerated IT on-demand. For example, you can easily provision database environments without incurring any of the usual costs related to dedicated hardware and licensing. Developers can spin up high-performing, dynamic MySQL-compatible databases instantly to support their software delivery needs while minimizing infrastructure costs and reducing the time required to manage.

Deployment Options

Companies look for an advantage in the marketplace while also looking to control costs. There are basically two database deployment options facing many enterprises both large or small. In either case, the option begins with defining your need. The decision is determining which of the two makes the most sense for your business.

Traditional Self-Service Relational DB
Staff the required database administrators Define the budget
Procure or rent the hardware Consume services on an as-needed basis
Define infrastructure requirements Scale up or down as necessary
Define maintenance and downtime process
Manage security
Implement load balancing
Set up backup, failover, and failback procedures
Database application installation, configuration, automation, tuning,
...

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Increase Security Not Complexity

October 5, 2016
By Matt Pley

fortinet-logo

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how they leverage our platform to enable customer success. This week’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Matt Pley, VP Carrier & Service Provider Group, at Fortinet.

Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular among enterprises looking to take advantage of quick deployment, unprecedented scalability, and cost savings. Both public cloud adoption and private cloud infrastructure, including virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN), are rapidly transforming data centers worldwide. Evolving your infrastructure means your security must evolve as well. If your security can’t keep up with the agile public, private, and hybrid cloud environments of today, gaps in protection will occur. The Fortinet Security Fabric has integrated next-generation firewall (NGFW) technology with the CenturyLink Cloud platform to help businesses achieve end-to-end security without the complexity.

End-to-end Next Adaptive Security Protection

The award winning Fortinet Security Fabric network security solutions provide end-to-end security across the entire network. FortiGate enterprise firewalls are optimized for internal segmentation, perimeter, cloud, data center, distributed, and small business deployments. Organizations can simplify their security posture with one security solution across your physical, virtual, and cloud deployments.

Organizations can choose individual...

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Beefing Up Bare Metal

October 3, 2016
By Joe Nguyen

Servers in the cloud

In an effort to better meet our customers' needs and the ever changing market, we beefed up the feature set and availability for our Bare Metal servers on the CenturyLink Cloud®. At CenturyLink we continue to build a customer driven cloud, powered by feedback from the front lines of our business---the user. And while Bare Metal servers in the CenturyLink Cloud have always delivered the best of both worlds: the computing power of a physical server, plus the automation and pay-as-you-go flexibility of virtual machines; these new enhancements provide our customers with more options regarding where and how they can build their Bare Metal instances.

New Data Center Availability

Previously, customers could build their Bare Metal servers in either our Sterling, VA or Slough, United Kingdom data centers. We added three new data center locations to the line-up: New York, Vancouver, and coming soon, Sydney. The addition of these new locations gives our customers more options on a global scale.

New Server Configurations

New configurations are designed to allow the Bare Metal servers to support more intensive compute workloads. These modifications mean more cores, more memory, SSDs, and more local storage with configurable RAID control options.

Server matrix

For detailed information about the full set-up updates,...

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Four Factors Fueling CenturyLink Cloud Growth in Europe

September 26, 2016
By Steve Falkus

cloud growth

Public cloud has been a part of global businesses for many years now, but there seems to be no stopping the growth of demand for innovative cloud services in Europe. The latest market forecast figures from IDC for Public Cloud Services in Western Europe suggests that the market is growing at more than 20% each year and will be worth almost $40 Billion by 2020. CenturyLink has experienced cloud growth in the European market as well. So, what is fueling the growth of public cloud in general, and CenturyLink Cloud®, in particular?

Hybrid IT Solutions

Enterprises continue to shift their on-premise data center assets into the cloud in pursuit of business agility, while moving to an Opex commercial model that scales IT costs in line with business growth. With virtually every industry being disrupted by digital innovators, established enterprises are moving applications quickly to the cloud as they accelerate their own digital business strategy.

CenturyLink has provided hosting solutions in Europe since 2002. With a focus on specific verticals including financial services, retail, legal, media, and technology, many of our clients have been with us for a number of years. Many clients started their hosting journey using Colocation and Managed Hosting services, then...

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The Cost of Migrating an Enterprise Application

September 12, 2016
By Jonathan Townsend

enterprise-cityscape.jpeg

Migration from a dedicated legacy platform to the cloud is a multi-step process that highlights all the applicable, real-life considerations in real-time. Specifically, ensuring that the customer’s availability requirements are met throughout the process and any configuration changes that are necessary to ensure the workload is optimized for the new platform are made. Although migration itself can be a complex exercise, it does not have to be overly-complicated, and it's not something customers have to feel they're all alone in doing. In reference to Forrester's Cloud App Migration Cost Model brief, questions like, “We’ve got a cloud-first strategy; now, how much will it cost to move our core applications to a public cloud?” lead to more inquiries about how a migration will impact the things that affect business the most — enterprise applications.

Defining Enterprise Apps

Enterprise applications are developed and deployed with the following elements in mind: complexity, scalability, distribution viability, component-based architecture versus service-oriented architecture (SOA), mission-critical functionality, and deployment capability on a variety of platforms across corporate networks, intranets, and the Internet. Enterprise applications are data-centric while remaining user-friendly and oftentimes, have to fall into compliance with stringent security, administration, and maintenance requirements.

A major component of the cloud migration...

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Obstacles to Better Broadband in Rural Communities

August 30, 2016
By Jessica Weber

bicycle-wheel.jpg

It's easy to lose perspective when you're working with and using technology. Something that seems so simple and fast, like transferring a file, requires a lot of "behind-the-scenes" work to happen. There's the physical limitations -- does the network even reach my location? -- and there's also resource limitations -- is there enough staff or money to make file transfers in this area a reality?

In a world where the Internet of Things (IOT) is becoming a common commodity and people in urban areas expect fast transfer speeds and instant data access, there are those outside the urban bubble, mainly rural communities, that still face a number of challenges to making fast and reliable data transfer a reality.

There are many reasons that these rural communities need faster and more reliable broadband connections. The infrastructure of a community relies heavily on the speedy communication between staff. Whether it be to put out a fire or respond to an emergency situation, people need to communicate quickly and efficiently. This is especially important in the realm of health care. Rural communities have a difficult time upgrading the technologies that would grant them faster access to health care specialists, who are most likely located in...

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Your Applications on Any Cloud, Across Many Clouds

August 16, 2016
By Ross Gray

Cloudsoft-Logo

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how they leverage our platform to enable customer success. This week’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Ross Gray, VP at Cloudsoft

Cloudsoft Application Management Platform (AMP) is software which streamlines the development and operation of applications. AMP orchestrates services, platforms, and infrastructures to ensure they directly meet the needs of applications, dynamically and in real time. This results in more reliable operations, productive development, and greater agility for IT to respond to their business needs. Now, Cloudsoft AMP is available on the CenturyLink Cloud Platform via Blueprint. CenturyLink Cloud works with Cloudsoft to provide agility and reliability throughout the application lifecycle, and provide users with the ability to build applications across any cloud, or across many clouds.

Behind the Cloud AMP Technology

AMP is built on a foundation of Apache Brooklyn, Clocker, Apache jclouds and other open source technologies. AMP collects and packages the open source projects Apache Brooklyn and Clocker. AMP’s autonomic policy-based management transforms cloud operations and liberates applications from infrastructure, allowing you to mix-and-match bare metal, virtual machines and containers.

Cloud AMP utilizes autonomic computing, a framework which...

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Data Protection in the Cloud

August 9, 2016
By Alexander Negrash

cloudberry logo new

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how they leverage our platform to enable customer success. This week’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Alexander Negrash, Director of Marketing , at CloudBerry Lab.

The evolution of cloud technology saw cloud storage as a great tool to offload on-premise storage economics into the cloud. Thanks to ever-increasing Internet bandwidth and declining storage prices, keeping backups in the cloud has become a viable alternative to traditional on-site data storage for small and medium sized businesses.

However, many companies often overlook key considerations when it comes to online backup:

Reliable Storage

When moving backup data off-site, a company should ensure the cloud storage service is reliable and cost-effective, yet high-performing.

Data Security

Security is a top concern when business data is taken to the cloud. A company's private data could be compromised if the solution lacks the right features.

Restore Capabilities

Backup data stored at a remote facility should always be set at a recoverable state, be accessible at any time, and allow point-in-time object-level restore.

Companies migrate to cloud platforms like CenturyLink Cloud, leaving behind their own IT-infrastructures with costly hardware and labor-intensive maintenance....

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How to Conquer the New IT: Cloud, Network, and Managed Services

August 4, 2016
By David Shacochis, VP, Product Management for Hybrid IT Services

The 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide was just released - download it here, and to most readers it looks similar to last year. Two vendors are in the leaders quadrant, a sole vendor in the visionary quadrant, while a peloton of other platforms rounds out the niche quadrant. We agree with this characterization of the market, and thought it would be helpful to add some clarity to our niche strategy that currently supports thousands of enterprise customers around the world with their digital transformation journey.

There is a subtle nuance to the public cloud market worth noting: nearly all the leading providers have some other line of business that complements (or subsidizes) their cloud services. In this regard, CenturyLink is no different.

As the title of the piece suggests, our focus is on helping customers transform their IT operations through a cohesive set of services that span cloud, network, and management. We’ve seen how this can overcome obstacles to digital transformation that the pure-play platforms cannot erase on their own.

Many service providers in the market are focused exclusively on innovating within the cloud services layer, and then partnering for managed services and network connectivity....

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Six Factors to Consider When Planning Your Business Continuity Strategy

August 1, 2016
By Brandy Smith

Business Continuity

Can you quantify what happens if your business goes down? Do you lose productivity, customers, or both? And, is your business going to lose its reputation?

A solid business continuity strategy seeks to mitigate the impact on a business when critical functions are interrupted. Business continuity is challenging for any organization to identify and address. There are so many factors that can disrupt operations. This can include anything that threatens a facility, whether it’s a natural disaster, a physical security breach, or a chain of custody breach.

Organizations that don’t have a business continuity strategy in place are at enormous risk. The strategy an organization chooses affects the potential downtime, which can in turn impact not just their bottom line, but perhaps whether or not they remain in business. Consider the following:

7 out of 10 companies that lose a significant amount of data are bankrupt within 12 months.

Six Factors to Consider When Planning Your Business Continuity Strategy

Evaluating What SLAs Really Mean

Many organizations assume that if they have 99.999% uptime—they’re covered. But in reality, true uptime is a little more complicated. Businesses depend on their IT systems. So reliability and system availability are significant issues whether they’re an unofficial standard, a corporate service-level agreement (SLA)...

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What’s the Big Grey Thing in the Corner?

July 28, 2016
By Kenny McBride

elephant

Has the 'elephant in the room' suddenly appeared or has the IT world merely been turning a blind eye when it comes to recognizing one of the most important facets of virtualization and cloud computing? There seems to be resistance to the inevitable and necessary restructuring of IT organizations in this new virtual, services-driven world.

Technology shifts are remaking the Chief Information Officer (CIO) career trajectory, and as a result organizations will have to evolve to meet these new demands and expectations. The increasing reliance on IT across the enterprise has seen the CIO evolve from being a 'function' leader to a 'business strategy' leader. Statements like: “We are more focused on business outcomes than technology,” will likely become the norm rather than the exception. The CIO role is evolving from a support-based position; it's now shifting to a role more closely-aligned to corporate strategist, especially in this rapidly-changing service-orientated cloud computing environment.

To get the most out of highly-virtualized, cloud-ready environments consumers and users have to rethink and realign IT organizations. Consider the typical organization of a data center, which usually contains a hardware department, a network department, and a storage department. Internal customers can no longer require separate equipment and...

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