There are a number of concerns among organisations considering moving into the cloud.
These include not having the expertise and internal skills to do it, the perceived cost of cloud deployments, and in some quarters the belief that the cloud is an immature market.
Throw in serious data security concerns, industry compliance obstacles, some users not convinced of cloud benefits, and issues around cloud reliability, and it's fair to say that the cloud market has a battle on its hands.
This HP whitepaper outlines how the HP Helion cloud offering can address and alleviate the concerns of cloud laggards and those that are just a little concerned about dipping their toe into the cloud arena.
What is it?
HP Helion is a portfolio of cloud products and services that enable organisations to build, manage and consume workloads in mixed IT environments.
HP Helion incorporates existing HP cloud offerings, new open-source OpenStack-based products for cloud management, and professional and support services under a unified portfolio to help meet customers’ specific business requirements.
When it comes to cloud security, firms should take a risk-based approach. Companies must identify the assets they are actually moving to the cloud, which can normally be classed in the two areas of either data and applications or processes.
The next step is to evaluate the importance of those data/applications and processes to the organisation.
Organisations have to identify what the damage would be if data being moved to the cloud became compromised, and what would be the effect of data downtime to company operations. After going through these processes organisations should be clearer about what they are moving into the cloud, their risk tolerance, and which type of cloud provision suits them.
HP can provide a one-stop shop for all cloud security needs. The HP Cloud Protection Program and Consulting Services offering addresses the various areas of cloud security. The HP package of services includes HP ArcSight for unified security information and event management and proactive security monitoring.
There is also HP TippingPoint for intrusion prevention and intrusion detection and HP Fortify for end‑to‑end software and application assurance. HP experts also work closely with key technology partners such as Microsoft, VMware, Intel and Symantec to offer complementary solutions.
And when it comes to business continuity, HP has recently enhanced its disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering in the cloud, known as HP Helion Continuity Service.
DRaaS - or providing data backup, data recovery and data replication on demand in the cloud - is a market which is expected to greatly take off soon. HP says its Helion DRaaS offering can improve data recovery times by up to 90 per cent, reduce data loss by up to 95 per cent, and can save 15 per cent to 50 per cent in costs through its cloud-based as-a-service pricing model.
HP Helion Continuity Service protects workloads that are run in a client on-premises private cloud, traditional hosting environment or running on the HP Helion Managed Virtual Private Cloud.
The previous release of HP Helion Continuity Service supported physical and virtual Windows servers and clusters as well as Linux servers. The new release provides customers greater choice with support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux clustering, Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), and storage area network (SAN)-based data stores.
Jim Fanella, vice president for workload and cloud at HP Enterprise Services, says: "As we continue to grow our HP Helion managed portfolio of services we believe that continuity should be a core feature for every business who utilises the cloud, and that clients should demand that their cloud partner prepares them for the worst case scenario."
To improve availability of the DRaaS service and help meet regional regulatory requirements, HP has expanded the number of data centres the service is available through.
The service was previously delivered through HP data centres in the state of Georgia, US and Reading, Berkshire in the UK. It is now offered through data centres in Toronto, Boston and Colorado (for US public sector data) in North America, and Milan and Melbourne.
To address overall cloud security concerns, HP also works with the industry-backed Cloud Security Alliance to help re-assure organisations that the cloud systems they are using come up to the mark. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is backed by the likes of HP, Google, Verizon, Intel, McAfee and Microsoft, and sees major cloud providers submit reports to a registry of cloud security controls.
The CSA Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) is a free and publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings. Potential cloud users often require STAR reports as part of their procurement process, so HP can meet that demand.
HP also promotes its Cloud Protection Reference Architecture concept, with innovations tested at HP's Cloud Protection Centre of Excellence (CoE). The CoE, in collaboration with HP Labs, offers innovative lab environments to test and integrate products from HP, partners and third parties.
The cloud market is a developing and fast paced one, and as a result the required overall security is a fast moving target. But HP is in an ideal position to offer a haven for those companies taking their data security seriously.
Additional information on HP Helion can be found here.