Leaseweb Hosts Panel to Discuss What GDPR Means for Businesses

GDPR RoundtableThe General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the most sweeping corporate regulations introduced in decades.  This law will affect every business worldwide that deals with the personal information of EU residents.  The measure adopted by the European Commission is set to go into effect on May 25, 2018 with the purpose of standardizing rules for the collection, storage, use and protection of data across the European Union.

While the obvious risk of non-compliance is a hefty fine (in the case of GDPR will be 4% of worldwide turnover or €20 million – whichever is higher), the often overlooked risk is a sudden halt of your business operations by the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (Dutch Data Protection Authority – DPA).  This was a topic of discussion on April 12 at a roundtable organized by Leaseweb about “What does GDPR mean for your business?” featuring speakers from NetApp, Acronis, Leaseweb, and GDPR expert Brenno de Winter.

A common misconception among small businesses is that the law only applies to large companies or that the enforcement by regulators may be lax towards small shops.  However, according to Brenno de Winter, the Dutch DPA actually hired a task force to verify the compliance of small companies with GDPR.  For example, if you are a business with three employees but handle thousands of files with personally identifiable data, in the scope of GDPR you are considered a large operation.  Additionally, U.S. companies that deal with the data of EU residents also must comply.  The Dutch DPA has the power to shut down business operations and upend entire business processes until compliance with GDPR is achieved.  Such an action could potentially be more financially crippling than a fine. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of CloudStack Automation

Leaseweb uses the open source Apache CloudStack technology to manage the complex and sizeable infrastructure used to host tens of thousands virtual servers in our VPS and private cloud platforms around the world.

CloudStack offers a powerful open API.  It is so effective that even the management UI is in essence only a fancy web front-end to that API.

At Leaseweb we rely completely on the CloudStack API for our automation. Both the integration with our customer facing systems such as the customer portal and order forms, as well as coupled back-end systems for billing and such, all call on the API.

Additionally, our platform engineers extensively use the API to manage, maintain, and upgrade the platforms.  The latter may come as bit of a surprise.  APIs are often seen as the exclusive realm of developers who create custom code with quite a steep barrier against casual ad-hoc use.

That is where cloudmonkey comes into play.  Cloudmonkey is an open source tool that simplifies and wraps even the most complex API calls in an easy to use, zero programming command-line utility, complete with a history and TAB-completion.

Actions that are cumbersome to perform in the management UI, let alone too error-prone and time-consuming to manually repeat multiple times in datacenters on three different continents, can quickly be reduced to several lines of shell script.  Simple reports often only require no more than a single command such as the following example that lists the total private capacity, the current usage and the remaining capacity:

cloudstack automation

A little-known fact is that our private cloud customers also get full access to that same powerful API.

To get started with the API and your own CloudStack automation, please refer to this more technical How-To in our Knowledge Base which explains in detail how to enable API access, and provides some more real-world usage examples for cloudmonkey.

 

On-Premise vs. Cloud Hosting: Which Option Is Right for Your Business?

cloud hostingOn-site hosting has traditionally been viewed as a safe option for both storing and processing data.  It ensures you, the owner, remain in sole control of all the hardware. The owner retains the ability to choose what hardware (& software) best suits their needs along with the notion that security managed locally is safer managed on-premise, rather than off-site.

On-premise hosting offers several benefits; however, choosing this route is typically a more expensive option when compared to an infrastructure-as-a-service model (OPEX vs CAPEX). Given the requirement for software licenses, in-house IT support and usually a longer integration period, more companies are finding that cloud services could offer a more flexible way to tackle their IT infrastructure needs, if the correct (hybrid) model is chosen.

Although on-premise hosting is a reliable means for hosting all kinds of information, many companies are finding cloud services to be more convenient, flexible, cost-efficient, and secure than ever before & also include additional features and advantages.

The Advancements in Cloud Infrastructure Technology

The use of cloud servers is increasing, which is a trend that is expected to continue. A year ago, research company IDC found the number of traditional data centers accounted for 62 percent of IT infrastructure spending. Public clouds made up 23 percent of spending and private clouds composed 15 percent. These numbers are predicted to shift by 2020, as IDC estimates data centers will drop to around 50 percent of total spending, while public clouds flourish to nearly a third of the market and private clouds will increase to 20 percent.

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5 Tips for Staying in Compliance With the GDPR

GDPR complianceThe General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the most sweeping corporate regulations coming down the pipeline. The measure was adopted by the European Commission and is set to go into effect May 25, 2018, and its purpose is to standardize rules for data collection, storage, and use, and then apply those rules across the European Union.

Abiding by the size and scope of GDPR rules is proving to be a challenge, particularly on such a short timeline. Companies of all sizes and across industries are scrambling to catch up, and much of their focus in on securing the cloud technologies that now house the lion’s share of data.

A study of preparedness highlights just how many companies are lagging behind. Only 1 percent of cloud providers managed data in a way that complies with stricter GDPR standards. The most common deficiencies had to do encryption keys and secure password enforcement. Slightly better are the 7.2 percent of cloud providers with adequate SAML integration support, but this does not change the fact that the vast majority of companies cannot comply with the GDPR.

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15 Business Problems That Can Be Solved By Moving to the Cloud

cloud computing technologyAccording to a recent Intel Security report, 93 percent of a sample of 1,400 IT security professionals claim that they use some type of (hybrid) Public / Private cloud service for their business operations. The cloud is rapidly becoming a popular resource for businesses from all backgrounds, and for good reason.

If your organization hasn’t yet tapped into the power of the cloud, here are some detailed benefits of (hybrid) cloud computing technology that are worth considering.

1. Importance of data and where it is stored (GDPR)

Your business should have a clear concept of the value (and sensitive nature) of the data that is critical for operations. The inherent need to undertake efforts to assess risks and costs involved with current data storage practices is real (GDPR). Especially in an international business organization, deciding where to house data is a complex question that is largely determined by how that data will be utilized.

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Meet Us at the World’s Biggest Game Industry Event!

GDCLeaseweb is excited to be returning to the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2018) with an even bigger presence than we had last year. We’re rolling out a 30×10 booth and bringing along our partners from Crytek to help tell the story of how they’re using Leaseweb’s platform to get as close as possible to their users.

Overall, the gaming market continues to surge. For consoles, PCs and even mobile devices, it is a golden age in gaming.

When game developers approach us, they primarily ask for three things: power, rapid scaling, and flexibility. Over the long run, it takes all three to build a stable and cost-effective platform.

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Advantages of Adopting a Cloud Solution in a Post-Brexit World

cloud solutionThe UK doesn’t officially exit the European Union until 11 p.m. (UK time) on March 29, 2019, and a two-year transition will follow the exit to ensure that businesses have ample time to adapt to new policies. The management of enterprise data in the cloud will no doubt be one of the areas impacted, and IT decision makers will need to formulate a plan to deal with the uncertainty in a post-Brexit world.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen by many as the foundation of the British economy. Besides making up more than 99 percent of firms in the private sector, according to the Federation of Small Businesses, they also employ 60 percent of the total private sector workforce. Since 2010, SMEs have been responsible for the creation of around two million jobs, and they comprise 73 percent of private sector job creation in the UK.

In “The Economic Consequences of the Brexit Vote,” authors Born, Müller, Schularick, and Sedláček postulate that the magnitude of uncertainty surrounding the decision and the fact that many policies are as yet unknown will contribute to a negative impact on the UK economy. In a study from the University of St. Andrews on the future strategic plans of 10,000 SMEs, the results indicated that business leaders expect to suffer from reduced levels of investment, less access to financing, and an overall lower level of growth. Sixteen percent of SMEs responded that the Brexit decision would present a significant obstacle to their business growth.

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Implement API Security Measures to Protect Your System

API securityIf you are familiar with platform security policies, chances are you’ve heard of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). This non-profit organization focuses on improving software security and makes it a primary mission to ensure software security is visible, which makes it easier for organizations and individuals to make informed decisions with their software by distributing information about AppSec to users across the globe.

The increasing use of mobile devices, coupled with more application services and integrations, micro-services, and clouds, are drastically changing the landscape of security. OWASP issues a top 10 standard set of rules that are applied to security policies across various platforms, and the most recent list, published in 2017, presents notable changes that reflect these increases. The most evident change is the inclusion of OWASP A10 — under-protected application programming interfaces, or APIs for short.

Why Is API Security Important?

APIs contain programming standards, instructions, and protocols that allow two applications to communicate with one another. Essentially, APIs serve as a bridge that ensures proper and consistent communication between two systems.

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How Your Business Could Benefit From Adopting Hybrid Cloud Solutions

hybrid cloud solutionsOver the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in adoption of cloud computing technology. These patterns demonstrate a great opportunity for innovation amongst businesses, especially those looking for more flexible and secure infrastructure solutions, which can be found in hybrid cloud solutions.

Analyst firm Gartner found that cloud computing ranks among the highest on its disruption scale and has become a $246.8 billion industry as of 2017.  These services will only continue to grow in popularity and will act as a necessary enabler for future disruptions.

Although some businesses remain skeptical of cloud computing, the infrastructure has proven to enhance or replace all parts of a business’s IT environment while promoting improved efficiency, the opportunity for expansion, and greater flexibility.

Hybrid cloud solutions work by combining both public and private cloud infrastructures, providing greater flexibility for companies that are looking for hosting resources and as well as the ability to run classified applications privately while maintaining SaaS and IaaS on a public cloud.

Besides increased flexibility, there are a few other notable benefits of hybrid cloud solutions include:

  Read the rest of this entry »

From Ops to Devops: a Story About Transformation

devopsOver the last couple of years Leaseweb’s product engineering department has gone through some major changes, and by far the biggest was how our product engineering department has evolved.

In earlier blogs, my colleagues Arnoud and Sander already talked about Maturity models and scaling our engineering department. However, I want to tell you about how, from the perspective of an Ops engineer, our journey went from Ops to DevOps.

When I joined Leaseweb we had an Operation department (HOSD) and a development department (Leaseweb Technologies). Both departments worked closely together on delivering great products to our customers but also sat apart from each other simply because we were two departments sitting at different floors.

So, at some point the teams and our management came to the conclusion we needed to look into improving inter departmental communication and cooperation. Back then (this was in 2015), DevOps was already a big buzzword so we decided to also go for a DevOps approach and the Product engineering department was born (it had a different name back then, but that’s beside the point).

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