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21
Jun
2013

NSA Prism Surveillance – The Future Of Big Data Storage And Security

by Administrator

NSA Prism Surveillance – The Future Of Big Data Storage And Security

In recent weeks the media has been reporting heavily about the Prism surveillance program of the National Security Administration (NSA). For a moment, lets leave all the political discussion aside, and take a closer look at the sheer volume of data allegedly being managed by their clandestine data center because it brings some mind-bending mathematical realities to light in terms of scope and scale.

According to an in-depth report by Wired Magazine, the NSA Prism data center consists of “25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site is self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand.”

That much space and computing power is being harnessed so that the system can process, store and utilize yottabytes of data. A yottabyte is a data size so large that even until recently there was no consensus about what to name the next higher magnitude of data because it wasn’t in any danger of being reached. Even writing out the size of a yottabyte by hand can be tiring – a one followed by twenty-four consecutive zeros.

Eric Schmidt of Google once estimated that the total of all human knowledge from the start of human existence to 2003 could be store as 5 exabytes of information. However, the Internet covers much more than pure knowledge – bringing in far ranging aspects of personal communication, culture, and interaction. According to a report by Cisco, global web traffic is expected to more than quadruple between 2010 and 2015 to reach approximately 965 exabytes of data per year. Keep in mind, a single yottabyte is a million exabytes of data.

If the NSA does manage to collect a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion pages of text. A standard piece of paper is 0.09652 mm thick, meaning if you stacked 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them, all one on top of the other, your paper pile would be large enough to travel to the moon and back more than 50 million times.

The era of big data is clearly upon us, as we shift away from learning and relearning the same information to a point at which we are able to store, access and utilize information so quickly and reliably that it becomes part of our present perspective, rather than scattered abstracts that we try to gather together all over again and again each tine we need them.

On a commercial level, keeping pace with the growth of data and maintaining the infrastructure to manage or utilize it all efficiently will become one of the most pressing issues facing the IT world in the months and years to come. Finding a colocation solution that provides more than Ping, Power and Pipe from a technology partner committed to staying ahead of the curve will be even more essential to the success of your business than it already is today.

NationalNet brings all of the mission critical services, optimization and support functions your business needs to succeed as part of a fully managed hosting solution that scales seamlessly to suit the ‘exabyte needs’ of high volume clients today, and the ‘yottabyte needs’ that are likely to become commonplace in the online marketplace of tomorrow.

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29
May
2013

Don’t do colocation in your home

by Administrator

FiOS Customer Uses 77TB of Traffic in One Month

A California man ran a rack of servers in his home, connected via Verizon’s FiOS service that consumed an average of 30TB of data per month, peaking at 77TB in ONE MONTH! The man’s home-based solution is of course a via lotion of Verizon’s TOS, and certainly not ideal for business-critical services.

Colocation at National Net is the best solution for any business looking to host mission-critical data storage and network access with hundreds of available carriers or use our burstable bandwidth using our blend of approximately 40 providers. Our SSAE 16 certified N+1 data center has around-the-clock security and is staffed 24/7/365 by our friendly experts.

Contact a National Net sales associate to talk about a business colocation solution tailored to your company’s needs. Call us at 1-888-462-8638 or find us online at http://www.nationalnet.com

SOURCE: http://ow.ly/lvReB

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22
Nov
2012

NationalNet Offers Our Thanks

by Administrator

I thought I would share with you the Holiday Wishes that was sent to every NationalNet Web Hosting for in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday…..

Even though NationalNet is a Global Company with Clients spread to every corner of the planet, our Operations and Employees are solely on American soil and, with that, sometimes we blindly celebrate our own Holidays without taking time to stop to honor our friends and customers own holidays and traditions. To that end, I wanted to take a moment during the Thanksgiving Holidays and give thanks for ALL of our clients no matter their home. For our friends and family in America, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! To those of you in the many countries that have already celebrated your “Thanksgiving” or “Harvest Festival” or “Sukkot” we give thanks for you too. 

In this industry, more than most, we realize that the world is getting smaller every day but in so many ways we are becoming more and more beholden to technology. PLEASE take just a few minutes this weekend to put down the smart phone, the tablet, the laptop, the game controller and tell those that you care about how you really feel. Whether it is your spouse, your partner, your kids, your parents, your siblings or your neighbors let them know what they mean to you. It won’t take but a minute and it will make you BOTH feel great!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!!!!

Tony Morgan

Chief Executive Officer

NationalNet, Inc.

 

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24
Aug
2011

We’re Amping Up Our Security

by Administrator

During our process of achieving the SSAE 16 Attestation, we’ve decided to upgrade to a more advanced layer of security for our facility. Previously, our main entrance had a rotating door that was badge activated, now we have double man trap doors leading from the lobby into the facility. While this may not seem like much to some, it is definitely a plus when considering that it adds another touch point for screening individuals before they enter the data center. This brings us up to 6 access points with increasing levels of restriction. Another upgrade to our facility has taken place with our outside break area by installing a robust 10 foot fence. We felt that our customers and employees would like a secured place for their breaks without having to leave the facility entirely. Check out the pictures below of the new door construction process!

New high level security man trap doors at NationalNet

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05
Jul
2011

SSAE 16: A Statement on Standards, Part. 2

by Administrator

by Tony Morgan, CEO of NationalNet

Since our first article on NationalNet’s SSAE 16 Attestation process, we’ve kept up the momentum and are now well on our way to the testing segment. We’ve not only given the auditors a list of all of our data center commitments, but we’ve gone into detail on how we control them to ensure a high quality of service is continually given to our customers.

As I explained in Part 1 of this series, we spent many weeks committing all of the things that we do on behalf of our customers to paper. Along with our contracted consultants we wrote step by step documentation for everything from the process one uses to gain access to the data center all the way through the smallest details of how we evaluate our employees on an ongoing basis. These processes are also known as “controls”. Step two of the audit process is where we define how we will “test” all of the controls.

From the outside looking in, one could only assume that a student writing their own final exam would be easy, but in this case, it is not. Because the CPA firm has their license on the line, they will not accept anything less than the best form of testing that is available. For example, as a company we choose to test our generators once per week by firing them up and running them to make sure that they are reacting appropriately. This is common among most Data Centers, but in our Attestation we stated that we also test the generators under a full load at least once per year because we know that they can react differently under load than they do with no load. You would be surprised at how many of our competitors choose not to do the last step. So, in our test simply stating that we do it is not enough. We agreed to provide logs from the system showing the tests, invoices from our vendor showing the tests were performed and the contract that we have signed with the vendor to complete this on an annual basis. In addition, if the auditor so chooses, we may be asked to actually pull up video from our security cameras around the generators showing the exact date and time that these tests were performed. This is just one of literally dozens and dozens of controls that are tested.

 

In addition to the obvious tests there will be some that are not so obvious, as well. For an example, the auditors will be gaining access to the facility at different times throughout the audit period. Each time they will be watching to make sure that the security policies and procedures are being followed to the letter. One of the things that we state in our Attestation is that all visitors must have their badge displayed prominently while inside the facility. We also go on to state that it is every employee’s responsibility to challenge anyone found inside the building without credentials displayed, as opposed to most facilities where it is simply left up to the security force. The auditor may choose to simply remove their badge and walk around the halls in the secured areas to see if employees challenge their access. Our customers need to know that when we say that we are a secure facility that it is not just lip service…we really mean it.

In the coming weeks, we will be finished writing the tests of the controls and will be moving onto the next step of the “walk through”…..call it a “pre test” if you will. This step will complete two steps…first, it will give us a chance to see how we perform under the tests, but it will also be a chance for the consultants to make sure that the tests are solid and do not need to be tweaked prior to the audit. More on that in Part 3 of this series coming soon…

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21
Apr
2011

Press Release: NationalNet Makes a Statement on Standards, Begins SSAE 16 Attestation

by Administrator

SSAE 16 LogoATLANTA, GA – April 19, 2011 —   NationalNet, a web hosting and data center solutions company, announced today that they have begun the process for attaining a Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization, otherwise known as SSAE 16. While the SSAE 16 attestation is new to the web hosting industry, it will supersede the Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS 70) by June 15, 2011. NationalNet is choosing to remain ahead of the curve in the industry by beginning this process with the Atlanta based CPA firm, Windham Brannon.

As stated by the American Institute of CPAs, “This section [SSAE 16] addresses examination engagements undertaken by a service auditor to report on controls at organizations that provide services to user entities when those controls are likely to be relevant to user entities’ internal control.”

NationalNet has made the commitment to continuing its high level of customer satisfaction and growth within the data center and hosting industry. As part of that mission, attaining the SSAE 16 attestation is just one step toward making sure our customers understand the company’s focus on providing the best services and controls needed to maintain a reliable data center.

“Deep down in our hearts, we know that we do everything necessary to guarantee our customers’ satisfaction every single day” said Tony Morgan, CEO of NationalNet. “Based on what we’re hearing within the data center Industry, we’ve decided to begin the SSAE 16 attestation process.  My team and I have spent the first quarter of this year in meetings with Windham Brannon committing what NationalNet does every day to paper.”

As yet another affirmation to provide outstanding service, NationalNet will complete the SSAE 16 attestation and many other goals within the 2011 calendar year.

About NationalNet

A leader in innovative web hosting and data center solutions, NationalNet is changing the way businesses manage their connectivity.  Whether it’s fully managed hosting or a custom configured colocation space, NationalNet has solutions that exceed expectations and can fit any budget.  NationalNet’s success is built on superior customer service customized to meet the needs of every client.  For more information, please visit www.nationalnet.com, call 678.247.7000, or email sales@nationalnet.com.

About Windham Brannon

We believe Windham Brannon is Atlanta’s premier CPA firm. They offer comprehensive accounting and advisory services, proactive tax consultation and compliance. Windham Brannon serves many of Atlanta’s most successful local companies as well as large, publicly-held corporations. For more information, please visit www.windhambrannon.com.

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12
Apr
2011

SSAE 16: A Statement on Standards, Part 1.

by Administrator

by Tony Morgan, CEO of NationalNet

Over the next 8 months NationalNet will be undergoing an extensive audit known in the industry as SSAE 16 (formerly known as SAS 70 Type II Certification).  This article is the first in a series explaining the audit, what we are actually doing, and keeping you updated on our progress.  I chose to write this article myself as it is an important part of the growth of our company and we take these milestones very seriously.  I will try to keep it light by being informative without boring you to death with all of the geek-speak.  As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to address them to me, directly, at ceo@nationalnet.com

Let’s start with the basics, shall we….. 

What is SSAE 16?  Well, since you asked, get ready for this…..it is a “Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization”.  Wasn’t that a mouthful?  While that may seem like a long name that really means nothing, pay close attention to the last 7 words, “Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization”.  At our core, NationalNet is simply nothing more than a service organization and one of the things that you pay us for is to have controls (or systems) in place to handle any eventuality.  This audit is really nothing more than a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) coming into our facility and “testing” these controls and certifying that we have them and we follow them.  The controls cover everything from the actual physical security of the Data Center, to the logical security of the network, to the  training of our employees, to the inner workings of our Customer Portal, MyNatNet. 

Why would NationalNet want to be SSAE 16 Certified?  For many customers, before you choose a hosting/collocation provider, you take an opportunity to visit the facility and talk with key people and get a warm feeling about the provider and the level of service you may expect to get from them.  However, in many other cases, the decision may be made at the Home Office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, (to quote David Letterman).  Having this certification allows us to send documentation to the Home Office (in Grand Rapids, Michigan) that shows the controls and that a licensed, outside party has certified that the systems were in place and functioning during the audit period.  In addition, many Government Agencies, Fortune 500 Companies, and Foreign Governments require the certification before they will do business with a data center at any level. 

So, what was SAS 70 then and did it go away?  First developed in 1992 the Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS 70) has been the undisputed leader in testing the security and controls of a data center to assure clients that it meets some level of assurance.  After nearly 20 years, however, this system has become dated and inadequate to handle the next generation of data centers that are dotting the landscape in today’s market. The AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), has mandated that all SAS 70 Certifications cease on June 15, 2011 and be upgraded to the newer SSAE 16.  In a nutshell, it’s time to retire the old Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and upgrade to the 24″ HD flat screen monitor. 

What is the first step to achieving SSAE 16?  This is the hard part for us.  Deep down in our hearts, we know that we do everything necessary to guarantee our customers satisfaction every single day….but now we have to write it down…..in detail…..lots and lots of detail.  You may think it sounds easy but I assure you it is not.  Let me use this example….if I asked you to write down IN DETAIL how a human walks one step you would think it should be easy.  Did you know that the human body uses over 200 muscles to walk a single step?  Now think of having to write a procedure for each and every muscle, in detail, noting every move and every signal from the brain.  Finished?  Not yet, my friend.  Then write, in detail, what each of those 200 muscles and another 300 more muscles that have to deploy in the case that you tripped over the curb.  Now you are starting to get the idea.  My team and I spent the first quarter of this year in meeting after meeting committing what NationalNet does every day to paper and we are almost done with this step of the process. 

What’s next?   In our next article we will begin getting into the actual controls and the testing of those controls.

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08
Mar
2011

Data Center Maintenance: Keeping It Cool

by Administrator

Contributed article by Andrew, Director of Facilities

The servers must always have power, and they must always be kept cool. It’s simple, really…

 

A well designed data center can handle a multitude of issues, from an interruption in power by the utility company, to a broken air conditioning unit, to a major storm. Proper maintenance practices are crucial for the data center to run smoothly and without interruption.

 

There are many pieces of equipment that keep a data center up and running; the main switchgear where the power enters the building, the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), the Power Distribution Units (PDUs), Chillers, Air Handlers, Generators, Fire Suppression System, building management software, the list goes on and on. Each piece of equipment must be maintained so that in the event of an emergency the system can perform as designed, and the servers don’t go down.

 

The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is the backbone of the facility. The UPS conditions the power from the utility and will bridge the gap in the event of an interruption in electrical service until the backup generators can take over and power the site. Depending on the size of the data center, there can be literally hundreds of batteries that will keep those servers online in the event of a utility interruption. Those batteries must be checked and maintained on a regular basis in order to be sure they are up to the task should they be needed. At NationalNet we perform quarterly maintenance on UPS batteries, and twice annual inspection of the UPS circuitry.

 

Backup generators are run once per week in order to ensure they are ready to start and accept the load when necessary. Block heaters are on 24 hours a day to keep the engines “warm,” and maintenance is performed twice yearly by a certified Caterpillar technician. Fuel samples are also taken twice per year in order to maintain fuel quality. In addition, every six months it is beneficial to transition the data center over to generator power in order to give the generators a “workout,” and once per year it is necessary to perform load bank testing. Load bank testing entails connecting the generators to equipment that will draw 100% of their available power. Generators require a few hours of running at 100% of their capacity or they don’t function at their highest level.

 

Water Chillers and Computer Room Air Handlers (CRAH units) receive quarterly maintenance, from cleaning the coils, to changing air filters and fan belts, to checking electrical connections. Water samples are taken and sent to a laboratory to ensure that no corrosive chemicals have made their way into the system. A cool environment is crucial to maintaining a data center’s uptime and availability.

 

The Fire Suppression System must be tested for proper functionality along with all smoke detectors. Building management software must be upgraded and backed up without affecting the site, and all electrical breakers must be tested with infrared equipment to be sure they aren’t overheating .

 

There is a lot that goes into maintaining a high availability data center, and every system is crucial. In a well run data center there is always something to do, but as long as the servers have power, and they are kept cool, everything is okay. It’s simple, really…

 

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NationalNet, Inc., Internet - Web Hosting, Marietta, GA
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