Cloud Security – Differences Between Public Clouds, Private Clouds and Government Clouds

September 30, 2014

Security_CloudFor enterprises and government agencies moving from an on-premise deployment to a Cloud-based solution, “security” consistently ranks as a top concern. Generally speaking, most Cloud solutions offer a higher degree of security than their on-premise cousins. The reason for this is simple – business that provide Cloud services must incorporate enhanced security protocols to remove any doubt from their potential customers’ IT staff. There are, however, security differences between different types of clouds – most notably between Public Clouds, Private Clouds, and Government (FedRAMP) Clouds.

At a minimum, most Cloud providers begin with an ISO 27001  industry-based security certification and must be re-certified on a continual basis. Private Clouds extend the level of security beyond what typical Public Clouds offer, with variances based on a customer’s specific requirements. For example, some organizations require dedicated servers (virtual or physical servers), encryption of data at rest, access restrictions to limited IP ranges, custom password policies, and more. Many of these enhanced security requirements are only possible within Private Clouds, hosted by the customer or by a partner like Project Hosts.  Differences between Public and Private (Custom) Clouds are highlighted in the security table on the PPM Custom Cloud page of our website.

ProjectServer-FedRAMP-Ed-allFor maximum security, the U.S. Government has mandated, through its Cloud-First initiative, a FedRAMP authorized level of security for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) with IaaS, PaaS and SaaS offerings. This translates into FedRAMP authorized Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service that include an additional 400 security controls. As of mid-year 2014, government agencies moving into a Cloud, must choose a CSP services that are FedRAMP authorized. Project Hosts provides government agencies with a hosted Project Server (PPM) Cloud, a hosted Dynamics CRM Cloud and a hosted SharePoint Cloud that meet FedRAMP authorization at a IaaS and PaaS level, and will soon be SaaS-level authorized. You can track our authorization progress  on the FedRAMP site.

Seamless and Real Time Business Intelligence Reporting with a Microsoft Project Server Private or Hybrid Cloud

September 23, 2014

Project-Server2013-Custom-Cloud-BusinessmanAs a project management organization grows, it becomes increasingly important to be able to extract actionable information (or Business Intelligence-BI) from the significant amount of inherent data contained within the Project Server cloud. Over the last several years, the Microsoft SQL Server has greatly expanded its information processing, analysis, and reporting capabilities. Even Gartner has taken notice of this, and now ranks Microsoft as one of the top leaders in the BI magic quadrant. Key SQL Server tools such as Reporting Services (SSRS) and Analysis Services (SSAS or OLAP) unite with key SharePoint tools such as Dashboard Designer and SharePoint-based PowerPivot to provide an extremely powerful BI platform. None of the tools mentioned above are available in Standard PPM Public Cloud solutions, but they are all available options in Project Hosts’ Custom Private Cloud for Project Server 2013.

Microsoft’s Project Online Cloud supports Excel Services for reporting (including Excel-based PowerPivot running on a user’s PC), but only when the data is accessed using the OData protocol. OData is a new protocol that has been designed in order to allow users to access parts of a database via https. One disadvantage of OData is that it is significantly slower than accessing databases directly via SQL calls (as can be done in Private Clouds). A second disadvantage is that OData reports on static data. A solution that overcomes this disadvantage is Project Hosts’ SSRS Report Enabler. Project Hosts’ SSRS Report Enabler is a Hybrid Cloud solution that works with Project Online. It’s an online service that allows customers to create Business Intelligence reports using Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Analysis Services (SSAS) from their Project Online solution.   Microsoft demoed our SSRS Report Enabler solution at this year’s Project 2013 Conference, you can watch from this page.

tabletThe User experience is completely seamless- users view reports by simply clicking on a link in Project Online and then view SSRS and/ or SSAS- powered reports of their Project Online data, without any additional logins. This gives customers the ability to create and use powerful SSRS and SSAS database reports to gain better program visibility, reduce risk and improve ROI. For enterprises with a medium to large amount of project and resource data, the Public Cloud restriction to only access databases via OData will still mean that users will have to face very long wait times for reports to populate with new data. Enterprises that would like to use the full power of the leading BI tools on the market today can achieve this requirement by choosing a Private Cloud or a Hybrid Cloud configuration through Project Hosts and our partners. Click here to see our Business Intelligence Packages.



PPM Public Cloud and a Private PPM (Custom) Cloud comparison

CRM Public Cloud and a Private CRM (Custom) Cloud comparison

SharePoint Public Cloud and a Private SharePoint (Custom) Cloud comparison

Hosted Microsoft Project Cloud Exceeds Expectations with Application Integration to Outlook, Excel and other Applications

September 16, 2014

Application Integration in the Custom Cloud

Whether you work within an enterprise organization or government agency, Project Hosts ensures that your goals and expectations are exceeded with a Hosted Microsoft Project Private or Hybrid Cloud solution. With these solutions, employees throughout the organization have immediate and secure access to critical information 24×7 and have a holistic solution that operates seamlessly with applications such as Outlook, Excel and Marketing Automation Systems. In addition, users adoption and training are much less of an issue as these solutions benefit from Microsoft’s highly familiar and intuitive user interface. Click here to see an example of this in our case study with BBC Worldwide.

Your cloud success depends not only on a strong solutions architecture, but on a rich set of applications that are tuned for your business, and backed by the app provider. Working with leading app providers, we extend standard cloud app capabilities by offering:

Standard Public Cloud services, plus,

Full trust code for 3rd party apps and Microsoft add-on apps

Custom Web Parts

OS and DB admin access privileges on dedicated servers for apps providers and tech terms

Hybrid Solutions that connect Public and Private Clouds to on-premise applications and resources

VPN to on-premise applications and dataApplication_Integration_Needs

Project Hosts offers Private, Custom Cloud solutions for hosted Microsoft Project Server, Dynamics CRM cloud solutions and applications-enabled Sharepoint deployments.

“The Project Hosts CRM Custom Cloud solution has helped us achieve our business goal of putting clients first, and fully enabling customer relationships. The hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution gives our employees the ability to better support and service clients, while delivering seamless integration with our Outlook email and marketing automation solution. Project Hosts provides all the capabilities of an on-premise private cloud, but without all the costs and complexities.”
Thuy Long,  Assistant Vice President, Marketing Database Manager, Bridge Bank

Click here to read the entire Case Study.

PPM Public Cloud and a Private PPM (Custom) Cloud comparison

CRM Public Cloud and a Private CRM (Custom) Cloud comparison

SharePoint Public Cloud and a Private SharePoint (Custom) Cloud comparison


Microsoft Project Server and Dynamics Private Clouds Deliver Dedicated Solutions Architecture Advantages

September 9, 2014


Dedicated_SolutionsOne advantage that enterprise customers and government agencies will gain with a Private Cloud is their own Dedicated Solutions Architecture. Unlike a Standard or Public Cloud solution, a Private Cloud is a type of cloud in which physical or virtual servers are dedicated to a single customer.  With Private (Custom) Cloud solutions, customers and partners gain a higher degree of customization and support to meet their precise business and application integration needs, security requirements, and real-time reporting customizations. A PPM/CRM Custom Cloud, from Project Hosts, delivers the same degree of customization as an on-premise “Private Cloud”, but without all the IT costs, complexities, staff allocation and training, maintenance and support.


Since 2003, our teams of hosting experts and business partners have been delivering 99.9% uptime from SAS 70 II / SSAE 16 / and ISO/IEC 27001 certified data centers. We offer all the capabilities of a standard cloud with the following extensions:

  • Standard Public Cloud services, plus:
  • Virtual or physical dedicated servers
  • Separate development/test environments
  • Dedicated active directory domains
  • Automated user provisioning
  • Custom backup plans

To read about all the advantages of a Private (Custom) Cloud, click here.



“We are very, very pleased with Project Hosts’ PPM Custom Cloud service. Their quality of service and personalized support has allowed AutoTrader to fully meet our Project and Portfolio Management needs, and with only one internal IT person allocated at 50%. We think of Project Hosts as our virtual IT department – managing our PPM infrastructure while assuring world-class availability and uptime.”

Donna Woodruff,  Director of IT Planning and Governance, AutoTrader

PPM Public Cloud and a Private PPM (Custom) Cloud comparison

CRM Public Cloud and a Private CRM (Custom) Cloud comparison

SharePoint Public Cloud and a Private SharePoint (Custom) Cloud comparison



Project Hosts offers a unique customer experience with Person-2-Person Support

September 4, 2014

P2P_CustomCloud_cntrdIn this age of automated self-help systems, community bulletin boards and FAQs, Project Hosts is proud to offer a unique Person-2-Person Support service. Our Person-2-Person support puts you in direct contact with our support staff, which will review and respond to your request via email or phone.

We have experienced engineers working around the clock to respond to your support requests quickly. The time required to resolve a support issue varies depending on the severity and nature of the issue. We categorize support issues into three severity levels, and each level has its own target response time.

“The response time for customer support was outstanding. We would gladly recommend Project Hosts to others.”
David Lendry, Director Program Management Network Planning & Engineering, FairPoint Communications

Project Hosts ensures your overall cloud success and complete satisfaction with our financially-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee, Person-2-Person™ support and built-in business flexibility. The result: A scalable, reliable, secure and high-performance cloud solution that is built to meet your business needs, and your users’ needs. Find out what makes us different than other Microsoft Cloud solution providers by visiting our Project Hosts’ Customer Cloud Advantage page.

PPM Public Cloud and a Private PPM (Custom) Cloud comparison

CRM Public Cloud and a Private CRM (Custom) Cloud comparison

SharePoint Public Cloud and a Private SharePoint (Custom) Cloud comparison


SaaS and Hosted Private Clouds deliver benefits over On-Premise Environments for Enterprises

August 26, 2014
Project Hosts achieves Gold Hosting competency from Microsoft - placing it an elite group of the top 1 percent of Microsoft's partner ecosystem.

Project Hosts achieves Gold Hosting competency from Microsoft – placing it an elite group of the top 1 percent of Microsoft’s partner ecosystem.

The growth and popularity of cloud-based enterprise applications has been accelerating. Recently published research has found that growth in the adoption of cloud computing applications or software-as-a-service (SaaS) is running between 20 and 30 percent per year. Leading enterprises, government agencies and medium-sized businesses have come to rely on Microsoft Project Server Private Clouds from Project Hosts.

With a PPM Custom Cloud from Project Hosts, enterprise customers gain a secure, reliable and cost-effective cloud solution eliminating the need for an on-premise deployment that is managed by their in-house IT staff. Many of our partners and customers report that they are up and running in about ½ the time and at ½ the cost as compared to a similarly configured On-premise deployment.

Time and cost are at the center of why more organizations are seeking hosted cloud solutions. Enterprise IT organizations, regardless of size, that choose to build their own private cloud must make a large and ongoing investment in managing the core hardware infrastructure, even if procured as a service. More importantly, they must develop the advanced IT expertise to configure and manage the system and application software necessary to create the PaaS and SaaS layers. Alternatively, enterprises can partner with Project Hosts and our partner network to specify, design, build and configure the entire solution and provide on-going management and support. The result is a custom-tuned cloud that:


  • Delivers a dedicated solution architecture that meets an enterprise client’s needs
  • Is highly integrated with existing on premise systems and processes
  • Supports the required add-on applications and custom code
  • Delivers the customized business intelligence (BI) and reporting tools
  • Is highly secure, scalable and reliable

For more information on a Project Server Private Cloud Hosting (PPM Custom Cloud)
For more information on Project Server Cloud Pricing (PPM Custom Cloud Pricing)
For more information on Project Server Private Cloud Hosting Specs (PPM Custom Cloud Tech Specs)

What exactly is a Project Server Private Cloud Solution?

August 19, 2014

CapGemini-CloudTypesFor over a decade Project Hosts has been assisting enterprise customers and government agencies with their private cloud hosted solutions. Today, Project Hosts’ cloud deployment, called “Custom Cloud,” give clients looking for a cloud-based project and portfolio management (PPM) system, a hosted Microsoft Project Server solution that delivers the advantages of both a private cloud and a public cloud.

When considering a cloud-based Microsoft Project solution, many customers believe that the only way to get a customized solution that delivers an optimal fit to their needs and business processes, is to build and host such a solution on-premise. This perception is reinforced by the fact that a “public cloud”, such as Project Online (a shared multi-tenant cloud), doesn’t support the degree of customization and security typically required by most enterprises. In reality, there are several Microsoft Project Server Cloud options available for enterprise clients seeking a solution that is highly tuned to their business; these include a partnered hosted “private cloud” and a “hybrid cloud”.

A private cloud is a cloud in which physical or virtual servers are dedicated to a single customer to facilitate a higher degree of customization through applications support and integration. Private clouds are not only cost effective and reliable, but can be implemented very quickly and typically results in more successful deployments. Like private clouds, hybrid clouds offer a high degree of integration with on-premise applications and data sources delivering a more business-tuned deployment.

project-server2013-custom-cloud-business-manPrivate clouds continue to be popular with enterprises and government agencies because they have such a high success rate. The key to a highly successful project and portfolio management (PPM) solution is that it must be intuitive for its users to facilitate quick adoption. This often means the solution must be integrated with industry or function specific PPM and-on applications. The range and scope of applications available for private clouds are far greater since private clouds support both “full-trust” and tightly integrated applications in addition to the lightweight and loosely coupled apps supported by standard public clouds.  The benefit of integration also includes the use of “hybrid clouds”; clouds structures where the organization manages some of its resources in-house and others through external service providers. Hybrid set-ups can also take the form of maintaining data both onsite and offsite, with a virtual private network providing a secure channel for pulling the two data sources together.



For more information on a Project Server Private Cloud Hosting (PPM Custom Cloud)
For more information on Project Server Cloud Pricing (PPM Custom Cloud Pricing)
For more information on Project Server Private Cloud Hosting Specs (PPM Custom Cloud Tech Specs)


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