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News briefs: Liability insurance for providers, multi-cloud takes off

In these news briefs, a survey suggests more enterprises use multi-cloud strategies, and the MSPAlliance updates its cloud insurance for providers.

Multi-cloud strategies looking strong

More enterprises are adopting multi-cloud strategies, suggests new data from Software as a Service provider Rightscale, which recently released its second annual State of the Cloud survey. Particularly among companies with at least 1,000 employees, deploying resources across multiple clouds appears to be a growing trend, said RightScale CEO Michael Crandell at a meeting with reporters and RightScale customers, according to a GigaOM report. Of the larger companies surveyed, 77% reported they are using more than one cloud environment -- some deployed as a hybrid model (public and private cloud) -- or are using multiple public cloud providers. The survey also showed general cloud adoption is still expanding, with the larger enterprises moving to the cloud at slightly higher rates than businesses with less than 1,000 employees.

MSPAlliance and Lockton offer cloud insurance policy

A new cloud insurance policy offering comprehensive liability protection for cloud and managed service providers (MSPs) is being made available to members of the MSPAlliance, a professional association for cloud providers and MSPs. The coverage, which the MSPAlliance announced jointly with private insurance broker Lockton Affinity, includes contractual, cyber and general liability with limits of liability options from $1 million to $10 million per claim, and deductibles from $2,500 to $10,000. As SearchITChannel's Lynn Haber reported, the new offering provides both professional and cyber liability coverage, which is expected to become pervasive throughout the industry. The MSPAlliance had already offered an insurance policy, but it has now taken on Lockton Affinity as the broker, and the cyber liability insurance is now underwritten by Lloyds of London. At a time when data is among enterprises' most important assets, and when the use of vulnerable personal devices and risks of cybercrime continue to rise, cyber liability insurance policies are becoming more important for providers, the MSPAlliance noted in its marketing materials.

Amazon emphasizes cloud security with new offerings

Gaining user confidence in cloud security has proved an ongoing struggle for providers. In a move to show the cloud can offer at least as much protection as traditional hardware and software, Amazon Web Services announced the release of expanded security features, including hosted intrusion protection appliances and more extensive encryption capabilities, InfoWorld reported. Amazon is working with vendors, such as Oracle, to help enterprises move security appliances to the cloud. Customers seem particularly interested in moving virtual appliances for intrusion detection and prevention, as denial-of-service attacks can chew up a lot of bandwidth, according to InfoWorld. Amazon Web Services' Chief Information Security Officer Stephen Schmidt toldInfoWorld companies are looking to build networks consistent with their existing security requirements, and "in most cases we find that not only can they do what they are doing right now in the cloud, but [they also] have more granular controls." Amazon is also in the process of becoming a certified provider for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, which is required for any provider to sell cloud services to the U.S. government and its agencies.

CSA expands membership to SMBs

A sign of the cloud's increasing expansion to the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) announced a new membership level and working group to help SMBs and the providers that service them. As SearchCloudSecurity's Brandon Blevins reported, the extended membership will help the CSA and providers identify and address security issues at a level that's useful to less tech-savvy customers. CSA's new tier also offers more guidance for cloud providers. By adding SMBs to the membership pool, the alliance aims to foster more discussion about the distinct, varied needs of smaller businesses so providers are better equipped to deliver.

Cloud-based safety at work in India's school buses

When it comes to protecting children's safety, the cloud may not be the first mechanism that springs to mind, but a startup based in Bangladore, India is showing cloud computing can help reduce the number of children killed in road accidents and assaulted on school buses, as InformationWeek India reported. The company, Magnasoft Northstar, developed a cloud-based tracking and monitoring tool on the AWS platform to provide parents with updated details on their child's whereabouts, along with notifications about impending drop-offs and accident alerts within six seconds of an incident. The subscription-based service also helps schools optimize bus rides for safety and cost-efficiency, providing data on driving patterns and the best travel routes. Magnasoft Northstar migrated its service to Amazon's cloud after encountering issues with scalability, reliability and capital expenses when its infrastructure was hosted on-premises, according to InformationWeek India.

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