Home Cloud Cloud Connect – you know you want to

Cloud Connect – you know you want to

About a century ago there was a new position created – one of “Chief Electrification Officer” to help business and manufacturing take advantage of the new miracle of electricity distribution.

So began the career of Brad Howarth, an author on change in technology and society at CRN and MC for today's “Cloud Connect” forum hosted by Brennan IT, one of Australia’s managed services providers.

The event held in Sydney today (18 October) will be replicated in Melbourne on 20 October and Brisbane on 25 October.

Presentations from Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Veeam, and Mimecast successfully managed to address not only the why of cloud adoption but the how. Of course, they covered the advantages but were equally honest about how the journey to the cloud had not worked for all.

Howarth said that everyone was past the proof-of-concept days and cloud had proven its value in cost reduction, productivity, scalability, as a disruption enabler, and a platform for growth. But there remained too many choices and each organisation – from small to medium to large corporate and government needed different tailored solutions. The term cloud was not a one size fits all.

Philip Meyer, Partner Technology Strategist – Hosting for Microsoft,  presented a most un-Microsoft-like presentation (well in years gone by) stating that 84% of all screens were now iOS or Android and the new Microsoft treated them equally as computing devices. His slant was on issues relating to security, “We don’t spend a billion dollars annually because it is cool – we need to secure everything in the cloud to ensure its adoption and growth.”

Meyer’s take was that perimeter security was necessary but no longer adequate, and identity management and infrastructure and app access were critical to prevent compromises from data loss, device loss, compromised identity, collaboration and more. He said that more than 7000 laptops/tablets go missing in US airports each week alone.

He repeated the FBI mantra, “There are two types of companies: Those who have been hacked and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked.” Judging from the audience response, the warning was right.

“Each worker can have dozens of weak passwords, and you know what – they tend to use the same one everywhere.” His solution was to overlay security with single sign-on (SSO) to networks and apps, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) based on risk profiles.

Tertius Bezuidenhout, general manager, Solutions, and Technology for HPE, discussed the public and private cloud and the hybrid version. He referred to 451 Research on cloud adoption that, based on 2015 figures, generally showed the public/private mix at between 20-30% and 70-80% respectively. There is not a substantial business today that is not involved in the cloud journey. His take was that pure public cloud use was a long way off and hybrid (preferably using HPE’s Hellion solution) was the answer – provide the cloud experience on-premise as well.

Hal Yaman from Veeam, spoke about its 3, 2, 1 rule for back-up: make three copies, on two different media, and store one in the cloud. Veeam has come a long way and now backs up data (storage), compute (apps and the OS environment), network, and hyper-converged infrastructure. His message was that business must practise best practice in back-up and data recovery to ensure always-on availability – and it was possible to meet those requirements.

Garrett O’Hara from Mimecast finished with an overview of the “nasties” out there designed to allow cyber criminals and state-sponsored hackers into an organisation. “(About) 95% of attacks start with a cleverly socially engineered spear-phishing campaign. Thirty percent of the phishing emails are opened, and that leads to ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors and Trojans being installed,” he said.

“Cyber criminals attack organisations because it is easy. There is a low risk of discovery and a high return rate,” he said, referring to the Brisbane City Council's recent $450,000 loss to scammers. His solution was cloud-based email monitoring (Mimecast, of course) that prevented (or minimised) spear phishing, whaling chief executive fraud, deep document analysis (to prevent malware hiding in macros and attachments) and URL protection (to stop users accessing fraudulent URL links).


A worthwhile overview of the cloud journey and more, hosted by Brennan IT, one of Australia’s leading managed service providers.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!