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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

Business continuity is often about reinforcing existing infrastructure or eliminating sources of business disruption. Bringing in techniques to accelerate or multiply results thanks to good business continuity may not be so frequent, but here’s one that may well do that. It’s version control, which is used when several knowledge workers need to simultaneously work on the same computer files to create advantage for the organisation – but without stepping on each other’s toes. Version control technology started in software development. However, it can be used for projects to create web content, coordinated product rollouts, corporate business plans and more.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/version-control-basics-for-better-business-continuity/

PC World — By now you've likely heard about the Heartbleed bug, a critical vulnerability that exposes potentially millions of passwords to attack and undermines the very security of the Internet. Because the flaw exists in OpenSSL--which is an open source implementation of SSL encryption--many will question whether the nature of open source development is in some way at fault. I touched based with security experts to get their thoughts.

Closed vs. Open Source

First, let's explain the distinction between closed source and open source. Source refers to the source code of a program--the actual text commands that make the application do whatever it does.

Closed source applications don't share the source code with the general public. It is unique, proprietary code created and maintained by internal developers. Commercial, off-the-shelf software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop are examples of closed source.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751307/Is_Open_Source_to_Blame_for_the_Heartbleed_Bug_

Backup Windows Cut by 43% on Average,

File Restores 64% Faster than Previous Backup Solution on Average,

Data Backed Up has Doubled on Average (108%) in Two Years

 

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. – New research from ExaGrid Systems customers confirms that data growth remains a major backup challenge for organizations. It also highlights the benefits of ExaGrid’s unique landing zone and scale-out approach to backup, which demonstrates why the company is set to grow strongly.

The research was conducted on ExaGrid’s behalf by Onva Consulting. It secured responses from over 400 ExaGrid customers from across the world, and uncovered the following:

  • Relentless Data Growth: The amount of data backed up by ExaGrid customers more than doubled on average (108 percent growth) in the last two years. And 88 percent of customers identified data growth as having an impact on their backup environment in 2014. Virtualization and offsite disaster recovery were also seen as significant factors for 2014.
  • Shorter Backup Windows: The average ExaGrid customer has shortened their backup window by at least 43 percent versus the previous backup technology. Almost nine out of 10 (85 percent) have seen a reduction of over 20 percent.
  • Faster Restore Times: The average ExaGrid customer reduced restore time by 64 percent versus the previous backup technology. In fact, 91 percent of respondents reported ‘restores’ being over 20 percent faster. A separate survey to assess actual restore times found 96 percent of ExaGrid customers recover files in under 30 minutes, 88 percent in under 15 minutes and 55 percent in under five minutes.
  • Less Time Spent Managing Backups: The typical ExaGrid customer reduced the amount of time spent managing backups by 34 percent, or an average savings of approximately 10 hours per week. 80 percent of customers reported time savings of at least 20 percent.
  • Unique Architecture and Customer Commitments: When asked what they associated most with ExaGrid, customers identified its scale-out architecture, unique landing zone and the fact that ExaGrid’s solutions deliver a consistent backup window regardless of data growth.

Bill Andrews, CEO of ExaGrid, said: “This feedback from over 400 customers validates the leadership of our unique landing zone and scale-out approach to backup. It shows that by selecting ExaGrid, organizations can transform the performance of their backup and restore processes and significantly reduce the time managing backups.”

ExaGrid’s unique approach of a landing zone and scale-out architecture enables ExaGrid to make five commitments to its customers:

  1. That you will have the shortest backup window.
  2. That your backup window will not grow as the data grows.
  3. That you will have the fastest restores, fastest tape copies and fastest recovery from a disaster.
  4. That your VM instant recoveries will occur in minutes.
  5. You will have the lowest cost solution up front and over time, with no forklift upgrades, pay as you grow, no obsolescence and ExaGrid’s price protection.

David Lively, Backup and Recovery Systems Administrator at Grow Financial Federal Credit Union said: “Like every other organization, we have seen huge growth in our data. ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture enables us to solve this data growth challenge by simply adding a new appliance to our existing backup grid when we need to. This makes it very easy for us to plan for our backup requirements now and in the future. ExaGrid makes five important commitments to us as a customer and this research proves that they deliver on those commitments.”

About ExaGrid Systems, Inc.
With more than 7,000 deployments worldwide, ExaGrid Systems is relied on by thousands of customers to solve their backup problems, effectively and permanently. ExaGrid's disk based, scale-out GRID architecture constantly adjusts to incessant growing data backup demands, and is the only solution that combines compute with capacity to permanently shorten backup windows and eliminate expensive forklift upgrades. ExaGrid is also the only solution to offer a landing zone retaining the most recent backups in their full un-deduplicated format for fast restores, fast offsite tape copies and fast instant recoveries. Read hundreds of published ExaGrid customer success stories and learn more at 
www.exagrid.com.

A new report from application specialists Camwood reveals that, in the wake of recent migrations following the conclusion of support for the Windows XP operating system, and with the accelerating pace of change in the IT department, IT directors and managers now see near constant change and migration projects as the new norm. Coping with this change has now become a primary concern for IT departments.

According to the report, 90% of IT decision makers believe that the pace of change in IT is accelerating, and that this presents a significant challenge. 72% find the pace of change in IT ‘unsettling’. 93% also agree that, in the new IT environment, a flexible IT infrastructure is key to their organisation’s success, with 79% believing that IT departments that don’t adapt risk demise.

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http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/The-end-of-XP-and-a-new-normal-in-the-IT-department.php

BALTIMORE—The Food and Drug Administration is increasingly harnessing data-driven, risk-based targeting to examine food processors and suppliers under the Food Safety Modernization Act. At this week’s Food Safety Summit, the FDA’s Roberta Wagner, director of compliance at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, emphasized the risk-based, preventative public health focus of FSMA.

While it has long collected extensive data, the agency is now expanding and streamlining analysis from inspections to systematically identify chronic bad actors. FSMA regulations and reporting are revolutionizing many of the FDA’s challenges, but so is technology. According to Wagner, whole genome sequencing in particular has tremendous potential to change how authorities and professionals throughout the food chain look at pathogens. WGS offers rapid identification of the sources of foodborne pathogens that cause illness, and can help identify these pathogens as resident or transient. In other words, by sequencing pathogens (and sharing them in Genome Trakr, a coordinated state and federal database), scientists can track where contamination occurs during or after production.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/monitoring-food-safety-from-farm-to-fork/

Hurricane forecasters are sounding a warning bell for the U.S. East coast in their latest predictions for the 2014 hurricane season, even as overall tropical storm activity is predicted to be much-less than normal.

WeatherBell Analytics says the very warm water off of the Eastern Seaboard is a concern, along with the oncoming El Niño conditions.

In its latest commentary forecaster Joe Bastardi and the WeatherBell team notes:

We think this is a challenging year, one that has a greater threat of higher intensity storms closer to the coast, and, where like 2012, warnings will frequently be issued with the first official NHC advisory.”

WeatherBell Analytics is calling for a total of 8 to 10 named storms, with 3-5 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes.

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http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3624

The London Assembly Environment Committee has published a summary of the flood risks facing the UK capital.

24,000 properties in London are at significant risk of river flooding and the Environment Agency estimates that plans currently under development could protect 10,000 of these.

The Committee warns that the risks of flooding may be increasing. The effects of climate change in southern England could mean drier summers and wetter winters. More heavy rain in the Thames region would increase surface water risk and may lead to more river flooding in London.

Ways to reduce flood risk include sustainable drainage and river restoration, which create space for flood waters to be held higher in the river catchment and soak back into the ground. Allowing low-lying areas to flood safely at times of high water flow should protect homes, roads and businesses.

Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee says:

“London needs to bring back its rivers to protect itself from inevitable flooding in the future. The more we can restore natural banks to London’s rivers, the less likely heavy rain will cause the degree of flooding we saw in the early part of this year.”

“Heavy or prolonged rain locally or upstream can cause rivers to flood. Tens of thousands of properties are at high or medium risk of river flooding. This is not just from the Thames, but also from the many smaller rivers that flow into it. A lot of people don’t know where their local rivers are, until they escape their channels.”

Read Flood Risks in London Summary of Findings (PDF).

April 9, 2014

Leave the CIO Alone

Computerworld — My son is a chief technology officer. Some companies have a chief digital officer. Can chief data wrangler be far behind?

What's so bad about being a CIO?

There seems to be a trend to come up with a title to replace "CIO" that encompasses the latest direction of the profession. Titles are reflecting an emphasis on big data, social networking and data analytics.

This doesn't happen with other titles. Take the chief financial officer. I have yet to hear of a CFO becoming the chief mergers officer when the company contemplates its first merger or acquisition. The CFO's role changes to encompass some new duties but that officer remains in charge of finance. And I suspect that most CFOs would not appreciate a change in title every time their role was redefined. And yet, add big data to IT's functions and someone says we need a new title to reflect that. But we really don't. The CIO remains in charge of the enterprise's information and data, big or otherwise.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751249/Leave_the_CIO_Alone

CSO — Symantec has declared 2013 the year of the "mega-breach," placing security pros on notice that they stand to lose big from phishing, spear-phishing and watering-hole attacks.

The company released Tuesday its Internet Security Threat Report for 2013, which found that eight breaches exposed the personal information of more than 10 million identities each. By comparison, 2012 had only one breach that size and in 2011 there were five.

The number of massive data breaches in 2013 made it the "year of the mega-breach," Symantec said. Information stolen included credit card information, government ID numbers, medical records, passwords and other personal data.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751256/Symantec_to_CISOs_Watch_for_the_Mega_Breach_

Federal regulators on Tuesday approved a simple rule that could do more to rein in Wall Street than most other parts of a sweeping overhaul that has descended on the biggest banks since the financial crisis.

The rule increases to 5 percent, from roughly 3 percent, a threshold called the leverage ratio, which measures the amount of capital that a bank holds against its assets. The requirement — more stringent than that for Wall Street’s rivals in Europe and Asia — could force the eight biggest banks in the United States to find as much as an additional $68 billion to put their operations on firmer financial footing, according to regulators’ estimates.

Faced with that potentially onerous bill, Wall Street titans are expected to pare back some of their riskiest activities, including trading in credit-default swaps, the financial instruments that destabilized the system during the financial crisis.

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http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/regulators-set-to-approve-new-capital-rule/