Meeting Notes – Know Your aaS from Your Server

What’s all the buzz with this cloud business? Ed Summers gave us an introduction to commercial cloud services during our February meeting hosted by R&K Solutions.

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Ed wrapping up with the “call to cloud”

With more businesses putting workloads in the cloud for various reasons, IT departments are looking more at how to secure cloud assets. Some parts of the cloud, such as basic Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) virtual machines operate very similarly to their on-premises counterparts. But the cloud brings much more such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions that require considering some different security mechanisms. Having a basic understanding of the services available is required before one can start securing them.

Ed delivered the first of a two-part briefing on cloud services. This presentation provided an overview of cloud services including definitions and demonstrations of some of the available services. Modern cloud service providers offer a wide range of services – far too many to cover in a one-hour briefing. We looked at some of the basics: IaaS virtual machines, PaaS web applications and storage, and considered some common SaaS offerings. Also briefly covered was Functions as a Service (FaaS, serverless) and how this can run functions at large scale and relatively low cost.

Modern cloud service providers make it easy to get started by offering easy-to-use portal access with just a credit card. Through the use of templates and APIs users can adapt and deploy resources quickly. Production applications can be updated and deployed at a rapid pace, or development environments spun up and down as-needed to test new services. At the end of the briefing, Ed provided links to free training resources and information on ‘trial’ accounts for some common cloud service providers.

Later this spring Ed will return for the second half, “Covering Your aaS” – a look at some security considerations for your cloud environment as well as some advanced security tools provided available in the cloud.

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