GoCloud’s Weekly Hosted Desktop News Roundup: #5

One of this week’s biggest worries when it comes to cloud has to be the news that a new form of malware can attack not only Windows and Mac-based systems, but also can infect VMware. This is the first indication we have had that malware authors may be turning their attention to the cloud, so it’s essential that you choose the right supplier when choosing a cloud solution. Providers should, at the planning stage, ensure that their customers are completely reassured by the security measures they have in place.

However, any good supplier worth its salt will have this wrapped up and will be completely transparent when it comes to what they can offer in terms of security and compliance, so for the end user, it’s essential that they ask the right questions whilst looking for a supplier.

For resellers, this can be good news as if you choose a service such as GoCloud’s virtual desktops, then you can be sure that all data is secured both physically and virtually.

"The threat searches for a VMware virtual machine image on the compromised computer and, if it finds an image, it mounts the image and then copies itself onto the image by using a VMware Player tool,” security experts at Symantec explained.

This suggests that the threat targets individual workstations and it arrives on a machine via a JAR file. It also searches for and infects external storage such as flash memory sticks and external hard drives.

If anything, then this would suggest that data is far safer in the cloud than when stored physically at a company’s offices.

"Symantec detects the JAR file as Trojan.Maljava, the threat for Mac as OSX.Crisis, and the threat for Windows as W32.Crisis,” the makers of Norton went on to explain. They also advise that end users ensure that their security software is fully up-to-date, as well as OS updates and third-party software such as Flash.

Of course, this is something that cloud suppliers do anyway as a matter of course so it’s unlikely that if you’re using a reliable cloud solution that you will be affected.

HP hope OpenStack will boost falling profits

HP have reported a loss in revenue this quarter, logging an $8.9bn drop, which is their biggest profit fall ever. Much of this can be put down to a lack of interest in PC sales; with the economy making many of us feel the pinch, consumers are not as willing to spend on the latest technology when they have an older, working PC at home.

Whilst sales in consumer systems may have come to (not quite) a grinding halt, sales for servers are faring better with interest in “Hyperscale” servers making the most impact. However, it seems that the company is pinning a lot of hope on cloud services such as the new OpenStack-based HP Cloud Services, which they hope will turn around falling revenues.

“We’ve got pricing pressure across-the-board, which means we need to adjust our cost structure to be able to compete,” HP’s Meg Whitman said.

”Sometimes, folks say to me, ‘Well, I’m sure the competitor’s losing money.’ Well, actually, they aren’t. And we need to make sure that we have a cost structure that allows us to be successful in all parts of the world in all of our businesses.”

Information week survey

A new survey from Information Week has shown that enterprise SaaS is stagnating when compared to figures from last year. The research was carried out in April of this year and looks at how many companies used SaaS such as virtual desktops and applications in the cloud year on year.

The data they collated shows that interest in cloud and especially SaaS continues to be adopted, but the figures haven’t really changed that much from 2011, with 51% of respondents saying they use some form of virtual services.

When it comes to why companies are not adopting cloud, it seems that the biggest worry they have is compliance issues. However, IT managers who already have SaaS in place say that applications perform much better now than they did when they were deployed onsite.

Stephen Baumer, CTO at GoPro which produces sports gear told Information week that he’s an “SaaS zealot” and that it wouldn’t have been viable to build an on-premise applications infrastructure, saying at the time that he was “pretty adamant” that the company not go down “the crazy path of installing software.”

“I don’t think we could have scaled as fast as we did without using SaaS,” Baumer said.

“At GoPro’s current size, the cost of NetSuite’s services-based apps is less than would be required to build out data centre (sic) capacity, license software and hire at least three fulltime employees to keep it running,” he continued.

The survey also highlights how important compliance is for companies who are considering moving to the cloud, with this being the biggest reason for maintaining an onsite infrastructure.

However, cloud providers are often more than capable of dealing with compliance issues, even for different industries, but it seems that many corporations remain unconvinced, for the time being, at least.