Technology Spotlight: A View from the Hosting Cloud with Gate 39 Media’s Amazon Web Services Certified DevOps Specialist

Cybersecurity & Tech
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Gate 39 Media is not only a marketing agency, but a technology consulting firm that provides financial and agricultural businesses with website, mobile, app, and portal development, as well as data management, systems integration, and cloud management expertise.

When the business world began shifting to the cloud, our team conducted its due diligence on several options and ultimately adopted Amazon Web Services (AWS) as one of its core hosting solutions.

While many know Amazon for its Prime Day Deals and speedy shipping of consumer goods, it has become a leader in the world of enterprise cloud services for global business as well.

We talked with Gate 39 Media’s DevOps Specialist, Eduardo Estevez Nunez, to learn why Amazon Web Services is the agency’s provider of choice when it comes to hosting.

Can you please describe what Amazon Web Services (AWS) is and what makes it special? 

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: Sure, I would be happy to! Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched in 2016 as a solution offering IT infrastructure services to businesses worldwide. Today AWS is the leading cloud infrastructure provider today, according to 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant (See Figure 1).  

Amazon Web Services – we’ll refer to it as AWS for short from here on out – provides Application Hosting, Web Hosting, Backup and Storage, Enterprise IT, Content Delivery, and Databases, delivering services across 190 countries, to hundreds of thousands of businesses across all industries. It has proven to be an excellent solution for our agency’s financial and agricultural clients. 

A few factors that stand out to make AWS a preferred solution in the hosting and technology space are its low cost, agility, elasticity, flexible and security.

So, what makes AWS Cloud a secure hosting option for Gate 39 Media website clients? 

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: AWS is central to Gate 39 Media’s Web Hosting Services, which means the cloud service features reliable, built-in security. Each website is fully protected behind a firewall, plus other features like a CDN (Content Delivery Network) which is a highly distributed platform of servers that helps minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. Additionally, AWS has daily backups (essential to many financial industry firms that require dedicated servers for offsite and daily back-ups for regulatory compliance), as well as 24-hour uptime status monitoring. 

What are the notable advantages of AWS security? 

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: Compliance and security go hand-in-hand and AWS follows and supports several key compliance and security certification standards, including: 

  • PCI DSS – The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which is a set of requirements intended to ensure that all companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. 
  • HIPAA/HITECH – The HITECH Act encouraged healthcare providers to adopt electronic health records and improved privacy and security protections for healthcare data. This was achieved through financial incentives for adopting EHRs and increased penalties for violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.
  • FedRAMPFedRAMP stands for the “Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.” It standardizes security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services used by U.S. federal agencies. The goal is to make sure federal data is consistently protected at a high level in the cloud. 
  • GDPR – In simplified terms the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union (EU). 
  • FIPS 140-2  The FIPS 140-2 standard is an information technology security approval program for cryptographic modules produced by private sector vendors who seek to have their products certified for use in government departments and regulated industries. 
  • NIST 800-171– NIST SP 800-171 is a NIST Special Publication that provides recommended requirements for protecting the confidentiality of controlled unclassified information (CUI). NIST SP 800-171 controls apply to federal government contractors and sub-contractors. If you or another company you work with has a contract with a federal agency, you must be compliant with this policy.

Business Website Cybersecurity Essentials Checklist

What is AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) enables you to manage access to AWS services and resources securely. Using  IAM, you can create and manage AWS users and groups, and use permissions to allow and deny their access to AWS  resources. IAM is a feature of your AWS account offered at no additional charge. IAM is the main service on AWS to manage users, groups, and permissions. It’s the way to properly ensure access to resources.

An  IAM role is an AWS  Identity and Access Management (IAM) entity with permissions to make AWS service requests. IAM roles cannot make direct requests to AWS services; they are meant to be assumed by authorized entities, such as IAM users, applications, or AWS services such as EC2.

What is Single Sign-On and how is a feature of AWS?

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: Single Sign-On (or SSO) is a method to centralize and manage user accounts and applications by using one set of credentials. For instance, a user who might be logged on to Web Portal might have access to a website or to a mobile app using the same credentials.

AWS Single Sign-On (SSO) is a cloud SSO service that makes it easy to centrally manage SSO access to multiple AWS accounts and business applications, so it is a feature that helps streamline usage.

You’re AWS Certified. What does it mean to be certified and what is your favorite aspect of AWS? 

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: Being AWS Certified is a fundamental step to understanding the AWS ecosystem and demonstrating your capability to deploy solutions properly and securely in an AWS production environment. Moreover, being AWS Certified can improve a technologist’s ability to better help customers – customer service is at the very core of our business, so it was a natural certification to achieve in helping provide the best experience possible for our hosting customers. 

The certification training was rigorous and time-intensive, and one needs to spend hours practicing and reading in preparation to pass the certification exam. In my opinion, one needs to be incredibly dedicated in order to earn the AWS certification and, of course, with “learning” being one of Gate 39 Media’s core values, gaining this certification is representative of that as well. 

On AWS, you can pursue areas of different specializations. Solutions Architect is the path that I am following, which has helped strengthen my overall knowledge of the AWS ecosystem. Additionally, database specialization is my other favorite AWS topic.  

Are all Gate 39 Media Web Hosted Clients on the AWS Cloud? 

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: Gate 39 Media services run on a multi-cloud solution, so we run AWS for WordPress websites that we host, and we leverage Microsoft Azure for .NET Portals. 

If a company wanted to migrate their website hosting to the AWS Cloud from a standard server, how could Gate 39 Media help?  

Eduardo Estevez Nunez: At Gate 39 Media we have a set of dedicated engineers with expertise in Cloud Migration Services. A high percentage of our clients come to us needing migration assistance, and we are ready to help through an established and secure migration process. Additionally, anyone who would like to learn more about AWS or our WordPress hosting or website development services are welcome to connect with us for a consultation.

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