Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News
13Jan/140

Canadian Web Hosting, Data Sovereignty, The NSA and You

There has been a lot of discussions around the Patriot Act, NSA surveillance, cloud computing and whether companies are looking more broadly at moving their cloud computing business to locations countries like Canada where privacy rules supreme.  So much so that many leading blogs and tech writers have been discussing a recent survey run by a large Canadian Hosting and Data Center provider who ran a survey with 300 companies that have 250 employees or less. 

 

As Thomas Claburn from Information Week noted, some qualifications on the survey are needed as the survey doesn't cover 25% of all businesses.  It describes findings from a 10-minute survey of 300 small companies -- 250 employees or less -- based in the UK and Canada.  When the company sample is confined to Canadian companies, one third say they plan to move existing data out of datacenters located in the United States and while evidence of the “exodus” isn't always visible leading companies like Canadian Web Hosting are seeing this change in real time.

 

Matt McKinney, Managing Director of Canadian Web Hosting, a leading cloud and web hosting provider based in British Columbia, Canada, said in a phone interview with Information Week that privacy is particularly important to Canadians, noting that the country has been aggressive in dealing with consumer privacy through its regulatory agencies and laws on how data is handled.  It was just a short time ago where (2009) where Facebook’s privacy policy drew big criticism and it was Canadian privacy and government agencies who led the charge to ensure consumers were protected. 

 

McKinney said as a 100% Canadian-owned and –operated web hosting business our customers have always asked where Canadian Web Hosting’s servers were housed to ensure they met Canadian privacy and data rules, but with the recent NSA revelations last year the requests took on greater importance with increased requests from outside of Canada.  "Many companies who were previously afraid of Canada’s privacy rules and slightly higher prices from a few years ago are now looking to benefit from Canada’s unique regulatory environment and maintain control of their data.  Now days, pricing with Canadian Web Hosting is comparable and at times more cost efficient when compared to their US counterparts.  When discussing new deployments or ongoing infrastructure needs, McKinney said they see as many as eight out of 10 questions from customers relating to governance, compliance, and data storage."

 

(It has been noted that US companies do have the option to resist, but may be forbidden under the Patriot Act from disclosing demands for information or legal filings in opposition of said demands. The extent to which the US judicial branch sees a legal basis for opposing demands for access made under the mantle of national security is another matter.)

 

Information Week noted that the survey finds that despite rising mistrust, the US does continue to be the most popular place for companies to host data (51%) outside of their home countries but the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation projected in late 2013 that cloud providers in the US would eventually lose 20% of the market to foreign competitors.  This equates to roughly $35 billion annually by the year 2016. 

 

To learn more about Canadian Web Hosting, compliance initiatives and capabilities around data protection you can email their sales team at sales@canadianwebhosting.com or call 1.888.821.7888

 

 

 

 

Matt McKinney

google.com/+canadianwebhosting

19Dec/130

Using SSH with Windows Server

Running both Windows and Linux servers in Canada requires a team with a broad range of expertise and know how.  One of the inherent challenges that that Canadian Web Hosting Linux administrators ask for, rather than run a remote desktop session, is to enable native SSH or Secure FTP access to Windows servers.  Windows does have some capabilities when it comes to administrating servers remotely like Powershell but it isn’t seamless and can leave you wanting when trying to run scripts, perform maintenance or troubleshooting a support ticket.   A great example of how we use this is our Canadian Cloud Hosting environment and we leverage SSH to run regular maintenance scripts and automate certain installation updates as needed.

While there are a few options available for SSH and SFTP, some of the most common tools used (and our preferred choice) is freeSSHd or Copssh.   Free SSHD describes itself this way – freeSSHd, like it's name says, is a free implementation of an SSH server. It provides strong encryption and authentication over insecure networks like Internet. Users can open remote console or even access their remote files thanks to buit-in SFTP server.”  FreeSSHd supports regular shell or command-line SSH access, SSH-based SFTP access (with command-line or GUI clients), and SSH-based tunneling (VPN-like functionality).  As with anything, if you are going to use encryption make sure you create and document private keys after the install is complete.  Once you’ve completed your install, now it is time to configure the server.

Configuring Your Server

Once you open freeSSHD you'll find a system tray icon, which you can click to open the server settings and create some users by selecting the Users tab.   As standard procedure for Canadian Web Hosting, we add security by enforcing the option for user to authenticate and/or use of a private key on their local machine.   You can also setup IP whitelisting and/or modify host restrictions by entering the required IP address.  100%

In some cases your users may also want to use SFTP connections to transfer files, click the SFTP tab to designate a default path for users.

Time to Test the Server

Now, as a standard procedure before opening the SSH port on any firewalls, you can test your server by connecting it from a remote client program using the “localhost” or IP address of your machine.  You can also use clients PuTTY or FileZilla.

Open the Firewall

In order to access the SSH server from other machines, you need to open port 22 on your Windows Firewall or any other firewall that is installed    Note, if you plan to connect to the SSH server via the Internet, your routers and/or network where you are connected must be configured to allow access.  Similar to the above, your routers need to have port forwarding set  to open SSH port 22 and forward traffic to the IP address of the SSH server.

Matt McKinney

google.com/+canadianwebhosting

16Dec/130

Protect Your Customer Data with Canadian Cloud Hosting

Over the last few months, Canadian’s have seen companies that are commonly associated with Canadian Web Hosting, or providing dedicated servers in Canada, be acquired into organizations that maintain presences outside of Canada and are no longer subject to or abide by Canadian privacy rules on data.  For enterprise customers inside and outside of Canada who look to benefit from Canada’s rigorous privacy rules, one has to wonder how these changes will impact the close relationship between vendors and customers.   As a company, Canadian Web Hosting has played a leadership role over the last few years and plays a significant role for our Software as a Service (SaaS) customers.  Gone are the days where organizations provide on premise software and are now providing their key services and applications in combination with key partnerships where vendors have the ability to log every key stroke, mouse click and interaction customers are making with their software.   Several good examples of this are tax or health applications where key data is stored in the cloud.

Why do businesses or companies want to capture this information in real time?  Any time something is updated, that change will get reflected in the system in real time and makes that information available immediately.   So, what should expectations be for Data Privacy when engaging Canadian Web Hosting?  A great question to ask is what can happen if your data is accessed or moves outside of the required regulatory environment.  The metadata, or the data about your data, isn’t something that most companies consider or include when setting up agreements with vendors.  While there are some caveats here on how you designate ownership of the data, for our purposes we are just looking at the potential value that a customer’s data can yield if it could be used by the vendor to examine how customers are acting, identifying common benchmarks, or validating a particular customer trends. 

The first question to ask is identifying whether the use of your metadata is covered under your ownership structure you have with your vendor.   If your data is leaving Canada are you able to control your data?   Or does your business consider that the cost of doing business may mean some loss of control. 

A recent study was performed by Forrester that shows where customer concerns exist when utilizing public cloud hosting.  In looking at the char below, the highest concerns all relate to data security, loss of control and compliance. 

 

Most Canadians would agree that keeping their data inside of Canada is important and protecting digital assets is a key factor in engaging a 3rd party or infrastructure partner for their web sites, applications or data.  In today’s marketplace, cloud technologies are mature enough that building out new environments or integrating legacy systems can be done with a click of the mouse.  It’s easier, faster and cheaper than ever before.  However, more and more companies are looking for outsourced vendors or key providers who can not only deliver cloud hosting, or outsourced web hosting, they are looking for a partner like Canadian Web Hosting that has built in compliance processes and defined strategies to maintain the integrity of customers data. 

During the recent Technicity conference in November, Daniel Tobok from Telus Security said it succinctly – “The moment your data leaves our borders, we lose control, it is as simple as that.”   So while some of these companies advertise their services as being Canadian, every company needs to ask where their servers reside?  How many copies are there of my data?  What is the vendor’s acceptable use of a company’s cloud-based data?  Where is the company headquarters?  And guarantees do you get that Canadian privacy rules are being met. 

While it has been said before, what really separates Canadian Web Hosting from our counterparts are the safeguards, best practices and security tools that we have adopted to protect our customers data.   Many of our enterprise and Fortune 500 clients have engaged us because we can provide the necessary controls and the ability to identify where a customers data is at all times.  Compared to some of our direct competitors like iweb or hostway who claim to have Canadian services (thought owned by American companies), Canadian Web Hosting is a true 100% Canadian provider, and as Canadians ourselves, we have adopted and exceeded the standards required by the Government of Canada to protect personal information. When looking at privacy, the primary requirements is based on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) that requires that companies like Canadian Web Hosting who are engaged in commercial activities to obtain individuals’ consent to the collection, and/or any disclosure of their information. As an example, Canadian Web Hosting maintains full compliance with PIPEDA and ensures that the following privacy requirements are met and exceeded:

  • Consent must be garnered for collection of personal information
  • Collection of personal information limited to reasonable purposes
  • Limits use and disclosure of information
  • Limits access to information
  • Stored information must be accurate and complete
  • Designates the role of the Privacy Officer
  • Policies and procedures for breaches of privacy
  • Measures for resolution of complaints
  • Special rules for employment relationships

 

Matt McKinney

google.com/+canadianwebhosting

27Nov/130

Canadian Web Hosting Prepares Latest Release of cPanel

At Canadian Web Hosting, we strive to offer you the latest products and technologies so that your site(s) are easily managed, giving you more time to focus on business. We have integrated cPanel/WHM into our current architecture allowing for a highly stable interface from which to manage your account.

The release of cPanel 11.40 has many updates and new features which offer users advanced control of their hosting accounts. Some of the major revisions include:

Website editor – offering clients an editor which allows users to make changes directly to their websites from the File Manager.  As part of this, the interface has been revamped to be more user friendly and allows user to see exactly how their site will appear to visitors.

Security Advisor – integrated security scanning tool that will check for misconfigurations, out of date system components and much more.  Identified vulnerabilities will be listed and rated by severity and noted with tips on how to eliminate the issues.   You can also get the Canadian Web Hosting support team to assist as well.

Logaholic – the improved environment offers users enhanced interface, log viewing, and integration.

Improved Speed and Scalability – the control panel has been optimized so that users can focus on their site creation and not on maintenance.

There have been many more features added and extended upon with the latest version of cPanel/WHM which we are excited to be able to offer for our clients. For the complete list of features and improvements you can check the cPanel website:

http://docs.cpanel.net/twiki/bin/vief/AllDocumentation/1140ReleaseNotes

If you are interested in testing these services for yourself feel free to contact our sales team with any questions. We are available 24/7 via voice and email sales@canadianwebhosting.com / 888 – 821 – 7888.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Matt McKinney

google.com/+canadianwebhosting

25Nov/130

Canadian Web Hosting Judges Startup Pitch Content

 

Vancouver is a unique place with great diversity, technology and ideas in every area that you look. Because of that, Vancouver has really become a driving force behind technology innovation and disruption.  

Canadian Web Hosting has a unique opportunity to see this first hand and recognize that as larger companies continue to take notice and open offices locally, it has really become a great time for young entrepreneurs to get their ideas out in the open.

Canadian Web Hosting has been an active sponsor with local organizations like BCIT, Kwantlen College, and Zen Launchpad offering discounted or free cloud hosting and services for startups and young entrepeneurs who are building new businesses, websites or apps supporting their ideas.  As part of this, we had the opportunity to participate and act as judges for the Grizzly Den Elevator Pitch Contest.  

As one might expect, we saw some really great ideas and several of the businesses look like they are ready for primetime and have the potential to move forward.   

Thank you to all the participants: SportConnect, Studdle, Drawtivity, MuvMnt Apparrel, IrideBC, Wingman, ICLST, Discuento, CrowdrApp, BCIT and Me, Banana Action, AnotherRound and also to Cyri Jones for extending the invitation to Canadian Web Hosting.   We look forward to the next pitch event on the 29th.    

Anybody interested should feel free to stop by at the Zen Launchpad.