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Five Ways of Monitoring Performance in Cloud

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    Performance monitoring in Cloud can take place from two vantage points. One is from the vendor's point of view, and another from the user's perspective. Here are five ways of cloud performance monitoring.

    Infrastructure performance

    This performance is more critical for the vendor. The metrics analyzed in this report are related to the infrastructure required to keep the Cloud up and to run. Performance of Virtual machines, storage, and network are calculated in this report. Analysis of individual components may not show the entire report of the cloud infrastructure. Therefore Infrastructure Response Time (IRT) is examined to monitor the whole cloud environment. IRT is defined as the time it takes for any workload (application) to request work on the virtual environment and for the virtual environment to complete the request.

    Resource Utilization metrics: 

    A few resource utilization metrics include:

    • CPU usage
    • Disk Usage
    • Disk Latency: In batch operation, disk latency may not be of much importance, but in interactive processes, disk latency is essential.
    • Percentage Busy
    • Percentage ready
    • Memory used

    Swap activity: If the swap activity is very high, then increasing the memory is one solution.

    • Network usage
    • Host system state
    • Host system resource usage
    • VM configuration
    • VM state

    Virtualization performance: Like performance data collection of physical servers, it is also essential to collect performance data of the virtual machines. A few critical parameters are:

    •  Number of VMs used by the application
    •  Time is taken to create a VM
    •  Time is taken to migrate an application from one VM to another.
    •  Time is taken to allocate additional resources to VM

    Transaction performance: This collects data related to the transactions of a specific application. Some metrics are:

    • The success percentage of transactions
    • Count of transactions for a particular application

    Application performance:

    This performance parameter is essential from the user's point of view. The user would deploy the application in the Cloud and would collect data to monitor the application performance in the Cloud. The primary metric here is application response time. It calculates the time taken for the application to respond to user requests.

    Keeping track of the above parameters will result in smooth and reliable cloud operations and meeting the SLA.

    Cloud Security: How Secure Is Cloud Data?              

    Are they saving documents, photos, videos and reports on a computer's hard drive? That's becoming almost quaint. Today, people are more frequently saving their files in the Cloud, storage space not located in their computers or devices but on servers hosted by third-party providers.

    The positives of storing data and files in the Cloud are many: You won't clutter your computer. If your laptop, tablet or smartphone crashes, you'll still have access to your files. And it will take you a long time ever to use up all the space offered by most cloud providers.

    But you might have concerns about cloud computing, including data protection, security threats, and potential data loss. You might worry that all those videos, photos, and reports might be vulnerable to data breach and hackers who could break into your cloud provider's servers.

    Or maybe you worry that your provider's servers will crash, causing all those photos of your summer vacations or videos of your children's elementary school graduation to disappear.

    Here's some reassurance, though: Information stored in the Cloud is likely to be more secure than are files, images and videos stored on your own devices. Why? Cloud companies often rely on far more robust cybersecurity measures to protect your sensitive data.

    Network Connectivity

    What is the Cloud?

    What is the Cloud? You've probably used it more than you think. Ever write an essay that you saved in Google Docs? Then you've used the Cloud. Have you ever watched a movie on Netflix, stored images in Dropbox, or sent email messages through Yahoo Mail? Those are all cloud services.

    At its most basic, the Cloud refers to any software or service that isn't located on your personal computer or devices but instead runs on the internet. The files, images, and videos you save on cloud services are stored on third parties' servers, companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft*.

    You can then get at these files whenever you are using a device connected to the internet. If you've saved photos from your most recent trip to the beach, you don't have to wait until you're at your laptop computer to access them. You can find them by logging onto the internet from any computer or device anywhere.

    Popular cloud service providers include Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure, to name a few. Everything from Hulu and Dropbox to Gmail and Office 365 is hosted in the Cloud, not on your personal computer or phone.

    How secure is the Cloud?

    It's natural to wonder if your data is safe when it's stored in the cloud infrastructure. After all, your files, photos and videos are being stored on servers that are not under your control. You

    might wonder how vulnerable these servers are to cyberthieves.

    Here's the truth, though: The data that you save with cloud service providers may likely be safer than the information you've stored in your computer's hard drive. Remember, hackers can use malware and phishing emails to get the data stored on your own devices. They might freeze your computer, demanding a ransom before they'll release the files and data they've frozen.

    The security measures undertaken by larger companies providing cloud services are likely to be more robust and powerful than what you have protecting your home computer and devices.

    Why is cloud security so robust?

    What makes cloud storage so safe? First, servers are usually located in warehouses that most workers don't have access to. Secondly, the files stored on cloud servers are encrypted. This means that they are scrambled, which makes it far more challenging for cybercriminals to access.

    Here is a look at some of the security measures that cloud providers frequently use to protect your data.

    Consistent security updates

    How often do you ignore those notifications to update your operating system, browser or email service? That's a no-no in the world of computer security. Those updates often contain tools designed to protect your devices from the latest viruses or malware.

    When you store your data in the Cloud, the companies overseeing the servers should consistently update their security measures. You won't have to worry about forgetting to run an update. Your cloud service provider will regularly update its security measures.

    AI tools and auto-patching

    Cloud providers are also turning to artificial intelligence, or AI, to help protect your data. This is important: It's not easy to find experienced security professionals to oversee data. Cloud providers can instead turn to AI to tackle at least the first level of security analysis. These programs rely on built-in algorithms to seek out and identify possible vulnerabilities in security measures.

    Built-in firewalls

    Cloud providers rely on firewalls, too, to help protect your files. As the name suggests, this technology acts a bit like a wall keeping your data safe.

    Firewalls, which can be hardware- or software-based, apply rules to all traffic coming into a network. These rules are designed to filter out suspicious traffic and to keep your data behind the wall. This makes it more difficult for hackers to slip malware or viruses past the security measures used by your cloud service provider.

    Redundancy (ultra-backed-up data)

    But what about hardware failures or power outages? Will you be able to access your data if your cloud provider suffers a natural disaster or large-scale outage?

    Yes, because most of the biggest cloud providers practice redundancy. This means that they copy your data several times and store them in many different data centres. This way, if one server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server.

    Third-party security testing

    Your cloud provider should also hire outside security companies to regularly test their servers and software to ensure they are safe from hackers, cybercriminals, and the latest malware and viruses. This outside testing boosts the odds that your cloud provider will have the defences needed to keep your files away from hackers.

    What precautions can you take to boost your cloud security?

    Are you already storing your files in the Cloud? If so, you can take specific steps to help enhance the security of that data.

    Encrypt your data

    First, make sure you send your files to a cloud services provider that encrypts your data. You want to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to get at your information. Storing your images and files with a provider that relies on encryption will give hackers pause. It's easier for them to steal data that hasn't been scrambled.

    Perform data backups

    Make sure you only work with cloud providers that back up your data. You don't want all your information stored on just one server. If that server goes offline, you won't be able to access your data. You might also consider backing up your most sensitive information in your external hard drives, even if you are saving it in the Cloud. This will provide you with an extra layer of protection should something happen with your cloud provider.

    Enable two-factor authentication

    You can make life more difficult for hackers by enabling two-factor authentication. As the name suggests, two-factor authentication requires you to provide two pieces of information when logging onto a site.

    Say you are logging onto your bank's online site. First, you provide your username and password, as usual. Then you wait for your bank to send a code to your email address or phone. You then enter this code online to access your accounts. This extra step makes it more difficult for hackers to get your emails, personal information or financial information.

    What is a data breach?     

    A data breach is a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization. Data breaches can hurt businesses and consumers in a variety of ways. They are a costly expense that can damage lives and reputations and take time to repair.

    It may seem like stories of massive data breaches pop up in the news frequently these days. But it shouldn't be all that surprising.

    As technology progresses, more and more of our information has been moving to the digital world. As a result, cyberattacks have become increasingly common and costly.

    Globally, the average total cost to a company of a data breach is $3.86 million, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute. This means that at $148 on average per stolen record, online crime is a real threat to anyone on the internet.

    Corporations and businesses are desirable targets to cybercriminals only due to the large amount of data that can be nabbed in one fell swoop.

    Why do data breaches occur?

    Cybercrime is a profitable industry for attackers and continues to grow. Hackers seek personally identifiable information to steal money, compromise identities, or sell over the dark web. Data breaches can occur for several reasons, including accidentally, but targeted attacks are typically carried out in these four ways:

    • They are exploiting system vulnerabilities. Out-of-date software can create a hole that allows an attacker to sneak malware onto a computer and steal data.
    • Weak passwords. Weak and insecure user passwords are more comfortable for hackers to guess, mainly if a password contains whole words or phrases. That's why experts advise against simple passwords and in favour of unique, complex passwords.
    • Drive-by downloads. You could unintentionally download a virus or malware by merely visiting a compromised web page. A drive-by download will typically take advantage of a browser, application, or operating system that is out of date or has a security flaw.
    • It targeted malware attacks. Attackers use spam and phishing email tactics to trick the user into revealing user credentials, downloading malware attachments, or directing users to vulnerable websites. Email is a common way for malware to end up on your computer. Avoid opening any links or attachments in an email from an unfamiliar source. Doing so can infect your computer with malware. And keep in mind that an email can be made to look like it comes from a trusted source, even when it's not.

    How can I help protect my personal information in the event of a data breach?

    To help protect your identity, it's essential to take steps to help protect yourself and your personal information. These steps can include:

    • Use strong, secure passwords. Use a complex and unique password for each of your online accounts. Keeping track of all those passwords can be difficult, but there are products, such as Norton Password Manager, that can help make this task easier to manage.
    • Monitor your bank and other financial accounts. Check your stores regularly for unfamiliar activity. And if the companies offer activity alerts via text or email, it may make sense for you to sign up for them.
    • Check your credit report. Do so regularly to see if a thief has attempted to open a new credit card or another account in your name. You're entitled by law to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every 12 months. Visit annualcreditreport.com for more information.
    • Take action as soon as possible. If you see suspicious activity, contact the financial institution involved immediately. If your information was stolen in a data breach, let them know that, as well.
    • Secure your phone. If your phone doesn't have a password, give it one. Although entering a password every time you use your phone is tedious, it provides a defence line if your device is lost or stolen. Think about all the information a criminal could access with your unprotected phone.
    • Use only secure URLs. Reputable sites begin with HTTPS://. The "s" is critical. This is especially important when entering credit card or other personal information.
    • Implement high-quality security software. Install and use a software suite that includes malware and virus protection — and always keep it updated. Norton 360 with LifeLock is one such solution.
    • Please back up your files and ensure their safety. Norton 360 with LifeLock Select offers 100 GB of backup for your PC in addition to its other security features.
    • Wipe your hard drive. If you are recycling your old computer, make sure to clear your hard drive before disposal. The same goes for your smartphones and tablets.
    • Avoid oversharing on social media. Never post anything about sensitive information, and adjust your settings to make your profiles private. While you're at it, hold off sharing vacation pics on social media while you're still on vacation. That tells everyone your house may be sitting empty, a perfect target for burglary.
    • Use an identity theft protection or credit monitoring service. The mess caused by a stolen identity could take months or even years to fix. Given the recent number of data breaches, it's essential to consider identity theft protection or a credit monitoring service. Norton Security now includes LifeLock identity theft protection, helping to protect your personal information in an age of data breaches.

    What are companies doing about data breaches?

    Many companies are tightening security measures and reassessing their procedures to protect better the consumer data they use and store.

    Laws and regulations are in place that requires companies to take specific steps in the event of a data breach or other security incident. Most states require companies to send data breach notifications to consumers when their personally identifiable information may have been compromised.

    Still, it would help if you never relied solely on others to keep your information secure. It's always important to take preventative measures and keep an eye on your statement.

    Data breaches are likely here to stay, and the best defence against them is a good offence.

    Educate yourself and be diligent about monitoring your online life. There may be laws, policies, and procedures in place to help protect your information, but it still makes sense to stay engaged and alert even as you enjoy the convenience that a connected life delivers.

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