Is Your Business Data Secure? Using Cloud Storage to Secure Your Data

Using Cloud Storage to Secure Your Data

There are few things more precious to a company than the contact lists, financial information and account history which comprise its success. However, given the importance of this information – and keeping it out of the wrong hands – it makes it all the more necessary for it to be protected and secured in the event of server issues, natural disasters and other types of data loss. Many businesses are shifting away from a paper-bound system, and with 82% of companies surveyed by NSK Inc experiencing money savings after making the switch, there’s sure to be many more that make the move. Whether a business owner or an interested party, here are the important details about this type of storage and how Arkit may be able to change the traditional way of dealing with data.

The Scoop On Cloud Storage?

The concept of the Cloud may be something that many people use each day, whether with their iPad or personal laptop, but it’s easy to have a sense of what the cloud does without knowing what exactly it is. Whether you’re photo-sharing with users all over the world or propping up the backbone of your company, the cloud is an easy-access and instant tool that provides information which is actually stored on a remote server, not on a personal device or on-site at a business location. While this information can be accessed via the Internet, the information and system maintenance is actually looked after by the provider of the cloud service. As Arkit utilizes Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its cloud storage, the hardware required for cloud storage is owned, maintained and monitored by AWS.

The Benefits of Cloud Storage

According to the research and advisory firm, Gartner, by the end of 2016 more than 50% of the world’s Global 1000 companies will be storing their sensitive company data in the cloud, which means this type of storage is gaining prominence for businesses that want to outsource their data management services. With the 24 hours monitoring and accessibility of cloud storage through Arkit, it should be no surprise that the benefits of the cloud are quickly attracting businesses from all over the world at an accelerating pace.

A Storage Size Specific to Your Business

The costs of having to manage your own data and provide your own services can add up very quickly, and the financial toll of this can be significant if your company either has too little storage space or requires too much. One of the benefits of cloud storage with is that, instead of having to pay for goods that you will not be able to use entirely, cloud storage will enable you to pay for – and access – exactly the amount of storage your business requires.

A Lower-Cost Storage Solution

Another benefit associated with cloud storage is that many different customers will be using the service provider you use, which means that there will be a storage cost of about 3 cents per gigabyte in order for your provider to take care of your data. While paying for your own data management would ordinarily be a cost your business has to shoulder on its own, utilizing a service like Arkit will automatically achieve a lower overall cost.

In The Event of Emergency

There was once a time where a paper copy was the most reliable means of managing important business documents, but when it comes to a disaster – like an earthquake, fire or flood – paper is highly unreliable. Instead of having to worry about major data losses in the event of an unpredictable event, cloud storage easily ensures that you or your company will have your information reliably backed up.

The Latest and Greatest in IT

Instead of having to invest in upgrading your resources consistently, utilizing the cloud will enable your business to use the most up-to-date resources without having to worry about nurturing development in your office. This will not only improve your IT cost; it will mean that the resources used by your business are consistently up-to-date. According to Seagate Technology, more than 60 percent of businesses currently utilize the cloud for performing IT related operations.

Cloud Storage with Amazon Web Services

Arkit utilizes AWS which offers a variety of different services in 12 regions around the world. With everything from storage to networking to analytics to application services, data that AWS is responsible for is stored in their highly secured data center, and is readily accessible as it’s needed.  AWS ensures there is encryption in transit with TLS across all of their services and network firewalls are built into Amazon VPC.

Features of Amazon Web Services

Many of AWS’s services come with a service level agreement (SLA), and these services offer three copies of the data that is included with the service, ensuring the safety and security of data you store. AWS guarantees 99.95% uptime for all of your storage, which means that the approximate downtime you will experience per month is equivalent to 21.56 minutes. According to RightScale, 57 percent of their survey respondents in 2015 were running application in AWS, making their cloud storage service the most popular out there.

SSL Encryption & BCrypt Authentication

You can use SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) to encrypt a connection in an isolated database environment that runs in the cloud, and this can be implemented using a variety of different applications like Oracle, Aurora and MySQL. AWS also features Bcrypt authentication, which will provide only a series of hashed passwords in the event that data has been compromised. While this can be beneficial, there are some ways that these hashed passwords can be determined using different hacking strategies. Algorithms like Bcrypt, provided by AWS, ensure that password data is quite resistant to brute force attacks from outside sources.

With the gradual evolution over to a paperless system, there are still many security concerns that surround cloud storage for many organizations. However, with the growing adaptation to this type of storage, more businesses are choosing to adopt this method of data management all the time. With so much emphasis on this type of storage and many security developments to back it up, this solution to storage that can be provided through Arkit is sure to widen its influence and use in the next few years.

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Big Data: What Every Oil & Gas Company Needs to Know

Daniel Walsh Energy • Technology • 4 minute read

A lot of media attention has been given to “big data” in the past few years, but little of this attention has filtered down to the bulk of small and medium-sized companies in oil and gas. 

You might think it's a topic just for the C-suite or IT departments, but everyone in the industry has a lot to gain from the big data mindset, if they can start to make better use of the information that matters to them.

Today we’ll take a closer look at why big data matters, and how all oil and gas companies can shift their thinking and apply the lessons to their business.

It's about answers and awareness

Data has always been the most sought-after asset in the oil and gas industry. That’s because it has the power to reduce the uncertainties associated with the relatively high-risk investments that make the industry tick. 

In the early days, drillers were concerned primarily with the underlying geology of a region and used hand-collected data to answer questions such as: “how thick and extensive are the oil bearing layers?” and “What is the thermal maturity of the source rock?” As the “easy” hydrocarbons were depleted, it became necessary to delve into increasingly robust data repositories to figure out how to profitably extract oil. At the same time, an increasing emphasis on safety, liability, and environmental responsibility forced companies to keep a closer eye on their operations.

With the advent of computers and associated proliferation of sensors, telemetry equipment, and networked data repositories, the oil and gas industry entered a new era – the era of so-called “big data”.

Smarter Project Management for Energy

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Big data is a mindset, not just a technological system

Big data in oil and gas rests on a myriad array of sensors, ranging from the data collection systems integrated into a $250,000 MWD kit to relatively simple and cheap sensors used to measure temperature, pressure, or hydrogen sulfide concentrations. Even smaller companies are finding it relatively easy to collect increasing amounts of data during operations. Critically, modern software and systems are making it increasingly affordable and manageable to store, examine, and analyze all that data.

It's clear that big data wouldn’t work without the marvels of modern technology. But what every company should understand is that big data isn’t just a technology system – it’s a mindset. It’s a way of scientifically managing operations and capturing the information that matters, to maximize efficiency and minimize risk. And contrary to what you might think, operations of all sizes can benefit in their own ways by approaching problems with a big-data mindset.

For example, models developed by geologists can be calibrated to collected data and made more realistic. As more data comes in, adaptive management can be used to continually optimize operations. Adaptive management powered by big data is also effective during stimulation and production.

Big data can also reduce technical risks. For example, automated pattern recognition systems can alert operators when a piece of equipment is near failure or conditions in the borehole are problematic.

Defining the path to big data opportunities

While big data shows great promise, successful implementation can prove difficult.

A brief published by Bain in 2014 made this fact clear:

We often find that senior executives understand the concepts around Big Data and advanced analytics, but their teams have difficulty defining the path to value creation and the implications for technology strategy, operating model and organization.

To overcome these challenges, the best starting point for companies large and small is to change the way they think about the role of data. In particular, as highlighted in the Bain report, the acquisition and analysis of data should be central to a company’s business plan, not just a compliance-centric task handled exclusively by IT.

The Bain report should be required reading for anyone hoping to learn more, or successfully integrate big data into their company’s decision-making. By first thinking of big data as a mindset, oil and gas companies of all sizes can start to focus on the information that matters most to them, and start taking steps to capture and leverage that data.

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Fireproof Your Data

Vincent Lam Technology • Cloud • 1 minute read

The recent Calgary fire has caused a major power outage to the downtown area - many business who had servers located downtown are now unable to access their mission critical data. To some, this might cause inconvenience until a few days later when the power is restored; but to others, this could mean data is lost forever since both their main and backup data servers are destroyed.

The best way to protect your data from events like this is to setup a disaster recovery plan for your IT infrastructure. This basically outlines the actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster, with the objective of bringing the business back on track as quickly as possible.

Implementing a full scale disaster recovery plan, however, can be a significant Cap-Ex and Op-Ex investment, which is also why many small to medium sized business often choose to de-prioritize it.

If your data is critical to your business, I would strongly recommend moving to public or private-cloud storage, services that offer not just important protective measures for IT infrastructure, but many other benefits, and for a relatively low cost (1TB of storage can cost less than a mere few dollars per month.)

The next unintended disaster might be around the corner, and then it could be too late.

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