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Enterprises starting to trust cloud for more sensitive apps

Ellen Messmer | June 24, 2013
Cloud gaining traction for everything from e-discovery to security monitoring.

The Symantec managed services are broad at PGi, relying on Symantec sensors that monitor traffic such as what two-factor network authentication is occurring, or picking up information directly from Symantec Endpoint Protection software on the desktop, sending security-relevant information to Symantec's cloud-based security and information management service. It's a log collection platform that collects data associated with servers, applications, firewalls and IPS, for example, so it can be immediately analyzed in the Symantec Security Operations Centers on a round-the-clock basis. O'Brien says this is a partnership model that the company needs on a global basis.

Like any business, PGi faces cyberattacks, particularly from fraudsters that try to break in, sometimes thorough customer networks.

"The occasional problem is inevitable," says O'Brien, noting fraudsters will try to hack into the network if only to try stealing telephone bandwidth to try to make calls to unlikely locales like Nigeria. Symantec has proven effective in monitoring to cut that kind of attack off at once, and also guards PGi's internal corporate network from problems such as malware.

Other companies say they've grappled with making choices about what cloud infrastructure as a service would suit their needs.

Baltimore-based Social Solutions, which makes applications used by thousands of public and nonprofit social service organizations, had been hosting these applications in an internal data center. But the company found it was hitting scalability issues.

Adrian Bordone, co-founder and vice president, says the 130-employee company considered using Amazon and Rackspace to run its applications, but in the end went with what SunGard calls its Availability Services and Cloud Services for a number of reasons.

SunGard's approach includes managed security for intrusion-detection and prevention as well as disaster recovery, high availability and multi-site failover. This carried weight not only with Social Solutions, but with its customers who are "risk averse," Bordone says. Since the shift to SunGard, there have simply been no significant problems over the past few years, says Bordone. "We've had zero downtime," he says.

Shifting from an in-house data center to cloud IaaS had to be considered from the regulatory viewpoint as well, Bordone says. Rules in Canada, for example, require that Canadian health and human services agencies that are publicly funded keep data within the country's borders. So Social Solutions uses SunGard's Toronto-based facility to provide applications to its Canadian customers, and sticks with the Philadelphia-based SunGard facility to serve U.S.-based customers.


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