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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

If your employees travel on behalf of your business – whether in the U.S. or abroad – you are legally responsible for their health and safety. In fact, Duty of Care legislation has become increasingly important in the corporate travel world.  Companies that fail to safeguard their employees not only risk the health and safety of their people, but also can face legal, financial and reputational consequences.

Someone in your company must be responsible for ensuring the safety and health of traveling employees (usually, this falls on an administrator from the human resources or risk management department). This should include implementing a well balanced, company-wide travel risk management plan.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/understanding-reducing-business-travel-risks-employees

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:12

Why Incident Management Matters

Throughout its history, the Business Continuity industry has maintained a steady focus on Preparedness – understanding the organization’s most critical business functions (both technological and operational) and development of Plans to respond to any disruption of those critical functions. That makes sense.  How that can be accomplished has been refined and tweaked over time through various ‘standards’ and ‘best practices’. Those activities answer some basic questions:

  • What do we need to protect?
  • How will we prepare to respond to a disruption of those critical functions?

What has always been omitted in that analysis has been the third major question:

  • How will we manage that response?

If you ask 20 BCM practitioners that question you will get a wide variety of answers:

...

http://www.ebrp.net/why-incident-management-matters/

Integration permeates all four stages of cloud adoption, from experimenters to companies that are “brutally transforming” their business and workflows through cloud, a recent report by CompTIA shows. In other words, it’s not so much a barrier to cloud adoption as it is a “hidden challenge,” according to Seth Robinson, senior director of Technology Analysis for the firm.

“Integration pops up in every stage; it's the one that runs through everything,” said Robinson via a call this week. “Even as, in general, the early stages see more technical challenges and the leaders see more behavioral or culture challenge, that challenge of integration — which is more of a technical challenge — does run through every stage.

“And that really goes back to what was known for a long time, that integration tends to be the lion's share of the cost or effort in an IT project."

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/integration-still-a-costly-hidden-challenge-for-cloud-adopters.html

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:10

Washington State Mudslide: The New Normal

SAN ANTONIO — Snohomish County, Wash., Emergency Management Director John Pennington said he hoped the audience at a breakout session during the International Association of Emergency Managers conference in San Antonio on Tuesday, Nov. 18, would never have to go through what he and his colleagues experienced in March when part of a hill collapsed, sending mud and debris across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River taking a whole neighborhood with it. It covered a square mile and buried some of the 43 dead as much as 75 feet deep.

The slide and response and recovery missions were what Pennington calls the “new normal.” That consists of a new way of doing business, considering climate change and trends of more natural disasters that tax communities to the hilt — and catch them off guard, as Pennington said the slide did with him and his colleagues.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Washington-State-Mudslide-New-Normal.html

The enterprise seems to be developing a love/hate relationship with the public cloud. On the one hand, the prospect of virtually limitless resources seems ready to take on any processing or storage load that comes along. On the other, issues of security, availability and portability threaten to inhibit productivity unless sophisticated new management layers are introduced.

Nevertheless, enterprise deployment of public cloud resources is on the rise, if the data from the provider community is to be believed. Gigaom Research, for one, estimates that public cloud infrastructure is nearly deployed or already in place at more than half of large enterprises, most of which are looking to provide the underpinnings of broad scale-out architectures to support Big Data analytics. This trend cuts across a wide swath of industry verticals, including manufacturing, tech firms, finance and ecommerce, with specific applications ranging from real-time workload and batch processing to app development and social media.

Clearly, this is good news for the large public cloud providers, and at the moment there is none larger than Amazon. At its AWS re:Invent show last week, the company claimed no less than one million active customers who are driving revenue growth to about 40 percent per year. Gartner estimates that AWS offers about five times the capacity as the next 14 cloud competitors combined.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/public-clouds-still-looking-for-the-enterprise-sweet-spot.html

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:07

Security: What of the Future?

It is becoming clear that the prevailing piecemeal approach to security is no longer sufficient to thwart increasingly sophisticated attacks. Gaps in coverage provide possible entry points, blended attacks in several sectors can mask the actual threat, and sophisticated attacks involving multiple targets and approaches can find their way around many current defenses.

Interest is growing in unified threat management (UTM) for small to medium-sized businesses, which centralizes all network intrusion response in a single device, and next-generation firewalls (NGFs), which defend against most of the same things but are aimed at the enterprise. Although some currently define these as separate product areas, major vendors are now providing this form of protection as a continuum. Centralizing network perimeter protection in this way has innumerable benefits, making it possible to apply best practices and meet regulatory requirements. Centralized devices can provide a variety of deep-screening techniques through virtualized systems and across changing areas of concern. In addition, they can be quickly updated, reducing effectiveness of zero-day exploits, and dedicated hardware permits use of ASICS (application-specific integrated circuits engineering) and FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) to improve throughput.

...

http://blog.cutter.com/2014/11/18/security-what-of-the-future/

NEWARK, Calif. – Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for databases, virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, today announced that Oklahoma Heart Hospital has chosen its T2800 All-Flash Array to provide the speed and performance necessary to support its large-scale VDI deployment.

Oklahoma Heart Hospital is the nation’s first all-digital hospital totally focused on heart care services.  The physician-owned facility considers every facet of a heart patient’s care and hospital experience to ensure a patient-centered care experience that delivers better outcomes.  By saving valuable time for patients by making information readily available to caregivers, Oklahoma Heart Hospital has achieved a ranking in the top 1 percent nationally for patient satisfaction.

To help support its state-of-the-art mandate, Oklahoma Heart Hospital looked to replace its traditional infrastructure and build a new tiered storage infrastructure with the best-performance flash-based solution available in support of its Citrix XenDesktop environment.  After building a real-world test environment deployed in the middle of its data center, Oklahoma Heart Hospital evaluated the fastest, highest-performing offerings from several major storage vendors before choosing Tegile for its speed, flexibility, ease of management and enterprise-class capabilities.

“Specifically, what I was after was something that was very good for VDI and XenApp, that keeps latency down, that keeps network utilization down, with a good amount of storage and excellent amount of speed,” said David Stinson, Senior IT Specialist for Oklahoma Heart Hospital.  “I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing with Tegile.  I couldn’t believe how well it performed.  Everything about Tegile worked.  It had everything we needed and it did it extremely well.  The bottom line?  Choosing Tegile was a ‘no brainer’ for me.”

Introduced more than two years ago, Tegile’s All-Flash Arrays deliver enterprise-grade performance without the potential for any service interruption or delay, making them an ideal solution for applications that require the highest performance and low latencies.  

Tegile Intelligent Flash arrays deliver exceptional performance and economics for VDI deployments regardless of the choice of hypervisor and virtual desktop server solution.  Tegile has worked closely with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft to develop and validate several Virtual Desktop reference architectures.  Through extensive testing with various hypervisors and desktop servers, Tegile eliminates any interoperability and operational risk, enabling organizations to realize the promise of desktop virtualization.

"Oklahoma Heart Hospital went looking for the fastest, highest-performing storage available on the marketplace today and found that Tegile fit the bill after performing head-to-head, real-world testing," said Rob Commins, vice president of marketing at Tegile.  "Running hundreds of virtual machines on a centralized infrastructure requires a storage architecture that delivers consistent and best end-user experience.  We’re pleased that Oklahoma Heart Hospital found our Intelligent Flash Arrays to be the perfect platform to keep up with the performance demands of their virtual desktops without compromise."

About Tegile Systems
Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of intelligent flash arrays that balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtual desktop and database applications. With Tegile’s line of all-flash and hybrid storage arrays, the company is redefining the traditional approach to storage by providing a family of arrays that accelerate business critical enterprise applications and allow customers to significantly consolidate mixed workloads in virtualized environments.
Tegile’s patented IntelliFlash™ technology accelerates performance and enables inline deduplication and compression of data so each array has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity. Tegile’s award-winning solutions enable customers to better address the requirements of virtualization, virtual desktop integration and database integration than any other offerings. Featuring both NAS and SAN connectivity, Tegile arrays are easy-to-use, fully redundant and highly scalable. They come complete with built-in snapshot, remote-replication, near-instant recovery, onsite or offsite failover, and VM-aware features. Additional information is available at www.tegile.com. Follow Tegile on Twitter @tegile.

LONDON – Brainloop has launched its portfolio of simple, secure, collaboration tools into the UK to address the serious risks facing British organisations whose employees share high-value confidential and sensitive data on public storage platforms like Dropbox.

Brainloop’s solutions are designed to be used by any organisation that needs to securely manage and collaborate on confidential documents and other information both within their local IT infrastructure and also remotely – i.e. across the Internet and on mobile devices.

UK industries that most urgently need this capability include banking and financial services, legal, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors where corporate compliance, IP protection and data security are crucial ‘must-haves’ to minimise the risk of loss or fraudulent use of business-critical information.

Security analyst Bob Tarzey of Quocirca said: “There are lots of consumer-focused cloud storage products which can be accessed with ease if controls are not put in place. Employees invoke them for good reasons - to backup data from their devices and share content with customers and partners. However, there is always the danger that confidential and sensitive files end up in the wrong hands. Intellectual property may be compromised and, if regulated data is involved, there may be financial penalties. Those responsible for data security in most businesses know confidential data must be made accessible to those with a need-to-know and protected from access by others. The challenge is putting the right levels of control in place.”

Mark Edge has been appointed Country Manager UK and VP of Sales, Brainloop and will be responsible for building out the UK team and driving the company’s growth across the region. He was previously the regional Vice President of EMEA Sales at WatchDox and before that held senior sales positions at several renowned business technology brands including A10 Networks and Citrix.

Mark Edge believes that a holistic approach to enterprise data security is the only way forward in today’s uber-connected, always-on, digital economy. He claims: “It won’t be long before the majority of UK firms ban the use of consumer storage platforms like Dropbox in the workplace. But any alternative enterprise-ready solution must be all encompassing – to avoid backdoor leaks – and easy to use – so as not to impact the business workflow.”

About Brainloop

Founded in 2000, Brainloop is the market-leading provider of highly intuitive SaaS solutions that enable its customers to securely manage and collaborate on confidential documents and information, whether inside or outside of their IT environments. Brainloop's customers comprise numerous Fortune, FTSE and DAX companies across a wide range of sectors, both private and public. They rely on the regulatory and corporate compliance, collaboration and process capabilities of Brainloop, as well its complete portfolio of security solutions and features including full encryption, audit trail, two-factor authentication, and provider and administrator shielding, all with a convenient and easy to use interface.

Helps Homeless Contact Friends And Family And Speak To Crisis Specialists Via Video Calls

READING, UK – IGEL Technology is extending its support for the Crisis at Christmas initiative to help London’s homeless over the festive period. This year 300 IGEL thin clients will be deployed at 10 schools and colleges used as Crisis Christmas Centres over the holiday. During the operation 8,000 Crisis charity volunteers across the country will make the greatest possible difference for more than 3,000 homeless guests. This will be IGEL’s fifth year of consecutive support for the initiative.

For the first time this year, IGEL thin clients will be used at each London location as Video Call Kiosks to allow homeless guests to get in touch with friends and family and to consult with Crisis specialists at other locations to help improve their situation. The remaining IGEL devices are used to provide access to email, word processing and collaboration tools to enable Crisis charity volunteers to communicate and identify shelter for homeless people over the Christmas period, as well as for homeless visitors to access the internet for information and communication.

The thin clients are part of a total IT solution being provided to Crisis at Christmas by the Aimar Foundation, a charity founded to provide IT support to other charities. The Aimar Foundation is funding and setting up the information systems network, with help from global IT companies, hosted desktop provider Vesk and the support of volunteers, principally from Morgan Stanley. In total 200 technology professionals and volunteers will set-up the vital communications network in a 48 hour period.

“We are providing thin clients and IT expertise, through the Aimar Foundation, to enable Crisis to provide vital support and contact for those who are homeless at this very difficult time of the year for them,” said Simon Richards, IGEL’s UK Managing Director.

“The IGEL thin clients are ideal for Crisis at Christmas because they are simple and fast to set-up using centralised management software, secure because all data is held on central servers and reliable.”

For further information about Crisis at Christmas visit: http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/christmas.html

For further information about the Aimar Foundation visit: www.theaimarfoundation.org.

About IGEL Technology

A world leader in thin and zero client solutions, IGEL Technology helps organizations improve the agility, efficiency, and security of their virtual desktop and application delivery systems. IGEL produces one of the industry's widest range of hardware thin and zero clients, based on Linux and Microsoft Windows, and leads the market in software based thin clients allowing customers to access a broad spectrum of server-based infrastructures and applications. IGEL also offers powerful and intuitive management software for easy deployment and administration of thin clients throughout any size organization. Partnerships with industry leaders like Citrix, VMware, Red Hat, and Microsoft ensure that IGEL provides the most up-to-date technology and trustworthy security to clients in industries that include Healthcare, Education & Research, Public Sector, Financial, Insurance, Retail, Logistics, and Manufacturing. IGEL has offices in the United Kingdom, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore and is represented by partners in over 50 countries worldwide. To learn more, visit www.igel.co.uk or follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/IGEL_Technology

Leader in the Technology Industry Provides Expertise on How to "Go Mobile"

CROSBY, Texas – Abletek, an industry leader in unified communications, announced today that the company has launched a mobile workforce initiative in order to help their customers leverage the benefits of advanced technology in today's mobile environment. According to a Cisco study, the growth of the mobile workforce has evolved from startups to enterprises and 3 out of every 5 workers say that they no longer need to be located in an office in order to be productive. With clear benefits in reduced rent costs, flexibility in scheduling, reduced employee commute times, environmental friendliness, improved employee morale, results-focused productivity and enhanced accountability, it's no wonder that managers and employees alike are embracing the notion of the mobile workforce. 
	Perhaps the most compelling reason to embrace the idea of a remote workforce is that there is finally the capability for business owners to properly manage telecommuters through recent advances in technology. Also, the functionality of such technologies has matured to the point where they are reliable, simple and scalable. 
One such feature that is quickly rising in popularity is called presence management. This technology enables a manager the same functionality as if they were in the same room as a remote worker, without actually needing to physically be there. Presence management technologies monitor employee location, track laptop activity, share availability and enable instant messaging for quick collaboration. In fact, presence management has gotten so precise that it can actually notify a manager when a remote worker has left his or her desk, is on the phone, or has taken a break to go to lunch. With managers constantly within an arm's reach for assistance, this advancement completely eliminates the frustrating element of "phone tag" inherent in antiquated telecommuting environments. 
	Many of today's businesses operate with a central folder on the Local Area Network (LAN) which stores all of the businesses key documents, spreadsheets, presentations and files. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one that enables remote workers to access all of the exact same files as if they were sitting at their desk in the office, through a secure and safe remote connection. With VPN access, remote workers can instantly collaborate with in-office or out-of-office coworkers, since they all have the same documents at their fingertips. 
	Furthermore, telecommuters can now leverage Desktop Optimization Centers (DOCs) which monitor, manage, enhance and fix remote laptops or desktops with ease. For example, regardless of location, an employee can call into a designated customer service line and get immediate assistance with any technical issues that arise. In fact, DOCs often solve computer issues much faster than in-house IT staff because of the inherent scalability associated with these firms and sheer number of technicians available. For example, if a computer crashes during an installation of new software program, an employee simply calls the technician and the technician remotely connects to the off-site computer and resolves the problem right in front of the employee's eyes. 
	Lastly, call accounting, call forwarding and caller ID features have absolutely vital use-cases in the work-from-home environment. Sales managers can utilize simple call accounting software to track employee outreach, see how long employees spend on the phone, number of calls, and screen calls all the way down to specific words that are used. So, if a salesperson is never supposed to say "free," a manager can know how many times that word was used. You now can have a remote workforce that essentially functions "under the same roof," enhancing the customer experience. To the outside world, calls will sound the same to the end user whether that call is being answered at an employee's home or in the boardroom.  
	"When you have the same level of technology in the home office as you do in the corporate headquarters employees are able to save time on their daily commute, business owners can scale the organization more effectively by adding staff and everyone involved can enjoy increased flexibility and productivity," said Bill Parker, President of Abletek. "Now, business owners can leverage the talents and skill sets of people all over the world and it is our role at Abletek to provide the technology and the guidance to get this accomplished." 

ABOUT ABLETEK
Abletek is not your typical IT & communications company. We are a TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION PROVIDER and we care deeply about helping you maximize your productivity through effective Managed Services (MSP), IT, communications and related business technology solutions, and while a lot of companies may talk about increasing your productivity, Abletek actually delivers. 
ABLETEK will remove the burden of managing your network and communications infrastructures by providing everything needed to  maintain your servers, workstations, laptops, Pocket PCs/PDA/Treo, Switches, Routers, Email, Printers, VoIP, SIP, Digital & Analog Communications systems and more.  Leverage our team of dedicated professionals and proven  technology  management  resources  to:  CONTROL & REDUCE YOUR COSTS. 
For more information on Abletek, call (713) 455.1888 or visit www.abletek.com.