Cloud server hosting is expanding quickly and helping to create an environment in which it is becoming a mainstream option for many companies. Increases in the use of cloud storage and other offerings has led members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to begin
establishing a testbed
in which users can demonstrate the ability of different cloud computing environments to interact and exchange information with each other, Rutrell Yasin wrote in GCN.
The IEEE Intercloud Testbed was established by 21 cloud and network service providers, research institutions and companies from the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Their work will include the development of cloud-to-cloud interoperability and the ability to interconnect multiple independent networks. The effort will also provide assistance for the development of a new standard for cloud-to-cloud interworking. Participants in the project will provide their own cloud implementations and knowledge to the shared testbed and will collaborate on building a working prototype, as well as an open-source global intercloud.
"A network-to-network interface architecture serves as the underlying technical architecture for the testbed and the IEEE cloud interoperability standard in development," Yasin wrote. "The NNI architecture is analogous to the approach used to create the international direct-distance dialing telephone system and the Internet."
Developing the federated architecture could let cloud servers connect to each other and interoperate through several techniques, including roaming and exchanges. Most interoperability offerings utilize a multicloud user-to-network interface method that does not enable multiple network interconnection, a shortcoming that walls cloud servers off from each other.
Growth requires changes
The rapid growth of the cloud to handle applications on the part of companies and consumers will require the participation of entities such as cloud hosting providers, network service firms and other cloud facilitators. If international interoperability standards are developed in the next few years, an intercloud system could arise from the tight integration of multiple clouds, according to Yasin.
While an interconnected cloud could have many positive applications for boosting collaboration between users, businesses that are already anxious about the security of their data in cloud storage may be reluctant to take advantage of these opportunities. Firms can take
several steps to protect their information
from unwanted intrusions, Anand Srinivasan wrote in CloudTweaks. Setting up a hybrid cloud environment gives businesses the flexibility to protect data while letting employees have access to the information they need. Companies have to decide whether they want to keep their data in the cloud or on their own server.
"If your business is particular about confidentiality of data and also if most employees are centrally located to be able to directly access your on-premise server, then it is recommended to pick a hybrid one-way inbound topology," Srinivasan wrote.
Businesses that opt for using cloud storage to hold their data don't have to worry as much about protecting it from external threats as those that keep it on a local server, according to Srinivasan. These companies should use security channel certificates to ensure that the data stays encrypted in transition and can only be accessed from trusted devices.
Additional defensive steps that should be taken with regard to hybrid clouds include configuring security settings to prevent anonymous users from intercepting data and implement firewalls to stave off third party intrusions. Managing user access rights can help companies protect their cloud servers from unauthorized access. Mapping approved users and groups to the data that they can access may be helpful in identifying breaches.
"To do this, it is recommended that your business analyzes the access rights to each and every site collection and review the permissions," Srinivasan wrote. "This process needs to be conducted periodically to ensure no access right is made available to any old or dormant user."
Brain Brafton loves and lives technology. A big data geek and an information retrieval junkie he consumes, analyses, interprets and process data like he was a machine. On a continual learning iteration he believe life is a journey not a destination. To keep in contact with Brain find him on Google+ or on Twitter