Security of Virtual Servers is not being addressed up to the mark!

Virtual Servers usage in enterprise environments is increasing worldwide and securing virtual environments is now at the top of mind for majority of IT departments. But when it comes to security option which is being addressed by IT departments, the facts are little bit disappointing.

A recent survey “Global IT Security Risks Survey 2014 Virtualization” was conducted on this issue by security solutions provider Kaspersky Lab and nearly 4500 IT professionals took part in this survey on a worldwide note. It was discovered in the survey that 64% of the said number of IT professionals agreed to the point that security needs to be utmost consideration when rolling out a virtual environment. From the said number, 46% of them believed that virtual environments can be adequately protected by conventional security solutions and 36% of them believed that security concerns in virtual infrastructure are significantly lower than in physical environments.

These findings clearly highlight a clear disconnect between how organizations perceive security for virtual environments and the tools available to handle the job.

In the same survey, it was also revealed that security concerns were acting as a significant barrier to implement virtualization and 41% of them stated that managing security solutions within virtual environments was a big struggle to forgo.

Security experts from Kaspersky suggest that virtual server is every bit as vulnerable as its physical counterparts and also reported that every year millions of malware are being circulated targeting these virtual environments. Experts also suggested that from the past couple of years, malware that is specifically designed to target virtual environments is under circulation and has affected more than 13% of virtual environments on a global note.

It was also revealed in the survey that virtualization is not only here to stay, but is in its full swing. Larger businesses are using virtual severs, either in cloud or hosted internally in data centers. More and more companies are showing interest in moving towards virtual applications and virtual desktop environments. So, at this juncture, IT professionals should understand the fundamental threat circling around the technology of virtual servers and employ appropriate security measures capable of defending virtual environments.

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Why Redundancy and Backup are not the same?

Many people are in an opinion that, since, they own a redundant storage solution such as a NAS or an IP SAN; they can ignore the presence of backup in their data storage environment. A number of them even think that the presence of any one of these specified solutions can save them from a disaster.

So, one may now get a thought that is this theory true and if it doesn’t what is the difference between a redundant storage and backup storage?

Typically, when discussing about redundancy in data storage, the focus easily shifts to RAID. And many people are in thinking that because they have RAID, they have backups of data. But this is a myth and to understand that it is false, let’s first find out the actual difference between a backup and a RAID and their purpose of deployment.

  • RAID- RAID is nothing but redundant array of independent disks. It can be configured in several ways. But the most preferred levels are RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10.
  • Backups are copy of original data, stored for the purpose of having a second copy of an original source and which can be recovered in a specific time frame, in order to witness data continuity.

RAID cannot protect against failures such as file corruption, files being overwritten, human error, catastrophic damage, malware and software bugs. In a similar fashion, backup refuses corrupted files, as it cannot read the blocks of corrupt file and so the data lying in those corrupt files will not be saved as a second copy.

Therefore, it is better if you first figure out these points from your enterprise data storage environment and then go for a solution search. Also try to get both these solutions on an individual or in a unified note.

StoneFly, Inc, which is one of the top storage vendors in USA, has been providing data storage solutions based on the needs of its clients from the past decade and so. It offers highly scalable redundant and cost-effective IP Storage Products for departments, mid-tier workgroups, and enterprise organizations. This silicon-valley based storage vendor also offers appliances for backup and disaster recovery purposes.

Now, for those who are in search for a unified storage solution which can quench their server, storage and backup needs; StoneFly, a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory offers StoneFly DR365 all packed in a single box. It is an ideal solution to consolidate all of your server, storage and backup systems into one easy to manage appliance.

For more details, please call 510.265.1616 or click StoneFly DR365 storage appliance.

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Difference between a License Plate Recognition LPR and Automatic Number Plate Recognition ANPR

License Plate Recognition (LPR) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)- Is there a difference between these two? If this question is troubling you, then here’s the answer to it.

In reality, there is no big difference between a License Plate Recognition and Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Infact, LPR and ANPR are two different terms used to describe the hardware and software used for license plate recognition and capturing those number plates using surveillance camera systems.

In generalized terms, LPR is used to describe specially made CCTV cameras which are capable of dealing with challenges associated with capturing license plates such as car speeds, fog, night vision and reflective license plate materials. But now, even standard surveillance cameras are being used for LPR functions these days, due to the availability of better sensors and additional computing power.

While, ANPR stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition and is a term used to describe the software that takes input from an LPR camera and recognizes the alpha numeric characters on a plate using the software, and then this analyzed data gained through the software can be stored in a video storage or can be used to match it up against database records.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition was introduced in the year 1976 at the Police Scientific Development Branch in United Kingdom. By the year 1979, the department started to use prototype systems and the first arrest was made in 1981 with the help of ANPR detection.

Some ANPR/LPR systems have the ability to capture the image of a driver along with the number plate image and text. These systems usually use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take a picture at any time of the day and irrespective of the light conditions.

Relative speed of the car is one of the major issues which hinder the ability of the LPR/ANPR system to read a license plate. Sometimes weather, shutter speed, Field of view and the angle between the camera and the license plate can also cause troubles.

Advantages of using license plate recognition or automated number plate recognition technology are-

  • With the help of this technology, pre-paid parking members can be easily differentiated from non-members.
  • With the ability to capture the driver’s image, car hijacking can be prevented to a large extent.
  • By having a list of stolen cars and unpaid fines in the database, identification of cars with such history can be easily made and real time alerts can be obtained, as soon as the car is located on a highway or at a signal.
  • Traffic congestions can be lowered, by diverting different vehicles into different lanes with the help of their entry permits.
  • Those persons or vehicles whose presence is barred from entry can be easily identified.
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Data Storage adoption with Snapshot feature is increasing

Backups can play an instrumental role in case of disaster recovery and also have the potential to make a company immune to data loss. The process of backing up information can be lengthy and this is where the use of storage snapshot technology attains its prominence. With the presence of snapshot technology, firms can restore only what they need, instead of taking time to recover all the information. That means, snapshots keep a track of changes happening to the stored data from time to time and thus it shortens the recovery time to incredible levels.

In a recent survey carried out by Nimble, 1600 respondents participated on the subject of backup and storage technology. Around 60% of them admitted that snapshot storage adoption is growing and most among the users are large enterprises which are relying on the snapshot tool as a part of data protection strategy.

The exact requirement for the creation of snapshot will vary among companies, but most storage engineers endorse on having a short time between each snapshot for maximum protection. Some also strongly support on customizing the storage system take snapshots for every 15 minutes in order to protect the data in an effective way. They also have an opinion that the chosen backup technology must also be able to retain those snapshots in a cost-effective way.

Accordingly, targeting these companies StoneFly, Inc., offers the snapshot technology feature in all its iSCSI storage appliances. Thus, with the help of this feature the IP SAN appliances offered by this Silicon Valley based company succeed in offering advanced data protection, essential for mission critical businesses.

The other point which has to be lined out is the usage of separate recovery appliance for disaster recovery purpose which may or may not be geographically separated. Some small businesses depend on cloud service providers for their backup needs and offer pricing that is targeted at smaller companies. In certain situations, small businesses will get the benefit of having their disaster recovery site separated from their headquarters in order to ensure that they can recover applications and data quickly. But when data security and integrity come into focus, more organizations will prefer on having their backed up data on site, rather in the cloud.

This is where the importance of having a backup appliance on-premise gains its value. Small and Medium scale businesses feel more secure in having their data backed up on their premises or at a place which is geographically separated and is conducive for disaster recovery.

Finally, on a conclusion note, the protocol is to first figure out what your business requirements are for recovery point and recovery time and then go for storage enriched with snapshot technology which fulfills all your recovery and business continuity objectives.

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Western Digital makes its 6TB hard drives more affordable

Western Digital (WD) has made the shipping of its two new high capacity 6TB hard drives more affordable. Early this week, the company made it official that its WD Red Hard Drives will be available for a price of $299 and its Western Digital Green will be available for price of $279. The company has also specified that its WD Red hard disks are designed to be used in IP SAN and NAS appliances and are ideal to be used for applications such as video surveillance and banking. WD green drives have more sensors and controls for lower power consumption and so they make it applicable to consumer desktops.

A few years ago, when Western Digital shipped its 4TB hard drives, the price of those drives was higher in terms of dollar per terabyte. But now, the company has decided to keep its prices competitive.

HGST, which is a business unit of WD, released its high capacity 6TB hard drive, the Ultrastar HE6 for $477 on Amazon. Seagate, which launched its 6TB hard drive without helium has priced its high capacity HDD for $300.

Western Digital has qualified its Red HDD for its My Cloud and has also disclosed that they can be plugged into any network attached storage system with the help of external storage bays available for a price under $10.

Western Digital has also announced that it is shipping its 5TB Red drive for $249 from early next month.

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Pacifica Police Department uses DNF Security NAS for its video storage challenges

Pacifica Police Department is using DNF Security NAS in order to counter the challenges of video storage and recording. Therefore at a cost-effective price point, the Pacifica Police department has gained a centralized digital video data storage system in the form of DNF Security NAS which is scalable and requires lower resources for system administration.

Today, with a population of nearly 50,000, the beautiful city of Pacifica which is located 12 miles South of San Francisco has efficient police department which allows officers to make electronic reports from the field. For this reason, their cars are equipped with in-car video cameras which update the record of all officer interactions with the citizens. As the technology improved, those analog systems were replaced by digital cameras which produced high quality audio and video files. The enhanced clarity of digital videos gives the department clearer images that leave a permanent record and reduce the need for officers to testify in person. Moreover, these videos are also helpful in serving as training manuals for under training officers.

Due to the high value of importance of these videos, the Pacifica Police Department was in a look out for an efficient recording & storage which is highly redundant and scalable as per their organization growth. An enquiry made by the Pacifica IT department on its data storage needs determined that it daily amasses 28GB of video per day with their cameras (based on various factors) which amount to approximately 10TB per year. Thus, by managing and protecting the recording was utmost priority as they wanted a solution that makes it easier for them to file and access reports, while supporting the regulations for data storage and management.

DNF Security offered them its NAS which allows the police officers record and store videos from cameras facing front. Therefore, there were able to record the moving or stopped vehicles and also the people who were interacting with them. Officers were allowed to carry a remote to activate their cameras while away from their vehicles. All the recorded videos are then uploaded to the department’s mobile video management system from the patrol cars through a wireless network service.

With the help of DNF NAS, the Pacifica Police department officials were able to search videos on an instant note, by time and date, by vehicles and by officers and bookmarks.

Getting technical, DNF Security is an integrated Windows based NAS solution that incorporates high performance processors to handle multiple incoming video streams with a large cache of 16GB for buffering all incoming request. Its dual Gigabit Ethernet connectivity allows meeting the demands of high volume video requirements of Pacifica’s Police Department. Most importantly, this system is highly expandable and has an internal storage capacity of over 40TB and is RAID protected

Currently, Pacifica Police Department maintains around 23TB of data and DNF NAS has solved the capacity and management challenges to complete extent.

To know more about the company solutions call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Security Product line

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Demand for Unified Data Protection products is increasing!

Unified Data Protection products demand is increasing day by day and this was revealed in the latest survey conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC). For years, data protection products like deduplication appliances, disaster recovery systems, and backup appliances were available as separate systems that storage managers had to grapple with.

But now the trend has changed as storage vendors are coming up with unified data protection products that have a number of data protection technologies merged into a single and centrally managed system. That means, products used for archiving, backup, DR and Failover are being combined into a single product that has the capability to cover a wide range of heterogeneous environments like Physical, virtual, cloud, VMware, Hyper-V, Windows, Linux, Unix, disk, Tape….

“The demand for such products is increasing in such a way that the storage industry is getting to the point where the demand for standalone archive, backup, replication and failover products will eventually fade away”, said Eric Burgenerm an analyst at IDC.

Thus, going with this trend, StoneFly, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory and a pioneer in offering iSCSI Storage appliances, has come up with StoneFly DR365 appliance which offers backup and disaster recovery solution in a single box. The DR365 of StoneFly is being offered with a flexibility to replace the fixed hardware model of the past with on-demand resource allocation based on the customer’s application needs. Additionally, DR 365 appliance can back up any of the client’s physical workstations, servers and their attached storage devices.

“Customers are demanding for all-in-one storage solutions these days, where single appliance is intended to consolidate all their server, storage and backup needs and that is what StoneFly DR365 delivers primarily,” said Mo Tahmasebi, President and CEO of StoneFly, Inc.

For an additional layer of disaster recovery, 365vault backups can be securely replicated using military grade 256-bit AES encryption to a second DR365 appliance, a backup appliance such as 365Vault or 365Vault V-series or a StoneFly Cloud Business Center in case of catastrophic disaster at the primary site. Therefore, for those environments where data continuity is essential for continuity of their enterprise business and where zero downtime is mandatory, a StoneFly DR365 appliance will be an ideal choice.

This appliance not only helps in consolidating all your server and storage needs, but also helps in making your backup needs foolproof from any kind of disaster by offering business continuity to all your businesses which are widespread around the world. This is possible, as data will be primarily available on-premises i.e. in the appliance, secondarily on the Amazon Web Services (if the client opts for Amazon Public cloud services) and lastly on the platform of StoneFly Cloud Business Center which is a data center of StoneFly.

For more technical details call 510.265.1616 or click on StoneFly DR365 Unified data protection appliance.

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DNF Security Unleashes Versatile Online IP Camera Storage Calculator

DNF Security has released an intuitive IP video surveillance storage calculator which can easily be accessed online from any desktop or smart phone web browser.

A mobile application version of the IP camera storage calculator is currently in development and will soon be released in the Apple iTunes App Store for iOS mobile devices as well as Google Play for Android devices.

The storage calculator determines the proper amount of storage space required for new or existing security system video surveillance projects utilizing the IP camera details selected. Image resolution, frames per second, recording hours per day, video compression method (H.264, MJPEG, MPEG, JPEG), storage retention length, motion detection, activity per day, and number of cameras involved in the project are all taken into consideration to provide an accurate storage estimate.

Once the required disk space is calculated, an optional feature allows users to choose from a variety of hardware requirements to narrow down storage equipment recommendations for their project.

“It is necessary to have a great tool to calculate the storage requirement for today’s growing and complex surveillance installations,” said Mo Tahmasebi, CEO and President of Dynamic Network Factory.

The online IP camera storage calculator is free to use, can be used anywhere, and no sign up is required. Calculator results can also be easily printed or emailed for future reference.

Link to Video Storage Calculator:

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These are the Benefits of Video Surveillance

The level of security threats is increasing day by day and so almost every business is looking to add some extra security cover to its present corridor. Here, one option would be to hire security guards in order to patrol our entire business environment. This seems to be one of the best security options, provided you are ready to shell out substantial hourly wage to the guard to stay awake at night and watch your business assets.

But for those who are looking for an alternative, which is almost on par with the vigilance carried out by a security guard, installing a video surveillance system will be a good option to look into, as it also goes easy on your pocket. Though, the one time investment made on the surveillance system can give us a feeling that it is turning too expensive on an initial note, it can surely pay a dividend and justify its presence on long run.

Therefore, for those who are looking to go for this alternative, but are first interested in weighing down the advantages of having a video surveillance system in place, here’s an article to look for.

  • First of all, security cameras do not fall asleep. Unless, a technical glitch hits them.
  • Security Surveillance cameras provide an accurate portrayal of events.
  • These cameras help in deterring potential burglars/predators and help in reducing employee theft.
  • Security cameras save you from frivolous/maligning lawsuits. For instance, let us suppose a visitor visits your store/office the other day and the next day comes for a claim that they had a bad fall in your premises and so need a heavy compensation. If you have a camera watching your premises and the people visiting it, you can immediately produce video evidence that they were safe in your premises and sue that person for maligning your image in public. But if a camera doesn’t exist or a fake camera is installed then only god can save you from being sued for a heavy sum of compensation.
  • You can keep an eye on your staff activities and make sure that they are offering the right productivity as per your expectations.
  • Security camera installations will provide a heavy discount on your business insurance policy.
  • If your premises (it can be your home/business or an office) are fitted with security cameras and if they are connected to a networked computer system, then you can check on your business/property on your mobile while you are out of town.

Now, that you have come across few benefits, the next question which will pop up into your mind is where you should you install these cameras and the numbers to include. Well, generally, most business heads prefer installing the cameras in prime locations like entrances/exit points, where money is located and in employee break rooms. If you are into merchandizing, then it is a good idea to point them at the merchandize floor to catch shoplifters in the act. On the whole, it depends on the objective.

Note – Irrespective of the type of installation you chose i.e. analog or IP video surveillance, it is mandatory to alert your staff and visitors about the presence of security cameras through sign boards. You can install boards at the entrance and let them know that they are being monitored.

If you feel like adding more to this article, please feel free to share your thoughts in our comments session.

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Use StoneFly™ SCVM to create a virtual storage appliance

StoneFly™ Storage Concentrator Virtual Machine software allows its users to create a networked IP Storage along with a server virtual machine, all on the same hardware platform. So, the need to buy a separate box for your storage gets eliminated and thus increase in productivity, simplify management and reduction in power and rack space requirements can be witnessed.

Moreover, by creating an iSCSI target within a VMware virtual server, StoneFly customers may reallocate existing hardware resources to create a business continuity and disaster recovery solution.

In today’s storage world, data deduplication offers the greatest potential to deliver substantial and recurring impact on cost and manageability of data growth. Thus, StoneFly which has been delivering the best and latest to its users is providing deduplication as an option. StoneFly, Inc., users can use this feature in order to increase the storage efficiency of their appliance. By opting for this feature, StoneFly SCVM users can fit 5x to 137x more data within the same storage footprint with minimal impacts to overall performance.

Other premium benefits of StoneFly™ SCVM Virtual Storage Appliance installation are as follows-

  • It lowers operational costs to data centers by providing quick Return to Operation in the event of local site failure. This is possible with the ability to create a DR Site in a Box.
  • For those who are looking for an IP storage appliance, but lack the space and budget to purchase a new hardware, StoneFly SCVM Virtual Storage Appliance will be the right solution to rely on.
  • Your existing server storage can be transformed into a clustered storage system that can be managed as a single SAN. Therefore, with this feature users can use all of the VMware ESXs advanced features that need shared storage.
  • SCVM of stonefly can be used to provide storage to multiple servers without disruption. Moreover, the storage can also be increased without experiencing any downtime.

For a free download of free trial follow the SCVM Virtual Storage Appliance link or call 510.265.1616

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