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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

The past few weeks of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have gripped the U.S. and the world in bizarre, comical and concerning ways. Every day the news brings stories of sexy hazmat suits that are the most sought out Halloween costumes, it’s fodder for late night talk shows and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally released new health-care worker protection guidelines.

The Ebola virus has deeply rocked the U.S. public health and health-care community and the public at large even though we are not likely to see the same Ebola transmission and mortality rates they have in West Africa. There have been only four cases in the U.S. and one death but many of my health-care emergency management colleagues can attest that we are now spending an inordinate amount of time on infection control webinars, donning and doffing training and fit testing, as well as ordering as much personal protective equipment (PPE) they can get their hands on.



Friday, 31 October 2014 17:48

Stacking Up the Container Revolution

There is nothing quite so scary in the IT universe than tearing down what you just built in order to make way for a new technology. Well, perhaps complete and utter network failure, but that’s about it.

But with the advent of containers, it seems like the enterprise is on the cusp of reworking one of the fundamental elements of the cloud, converged infrastructure, software-defined infrastructure, data mobility and just about every other initiative that is driving data center development these days. Fortunately, container-based virtualization does not require a forklift upgrade to the virtual layer, but it does alter the way virtual machines are managed, and it could cause a massive rethink when it comes to devising the higher-order architectures that are slated to drive business productivity in the future.

To some, however, it was traditional virtualization’s limitations in supporting advanced data architectures that led to the rise of containers in the first place. As Virtualization Review’s Jeffrey Schwartz put it, there was growing consensus that the application loads of elastic, cloud-based platforms and applications were already pushing the limits of even the most advanced virtualization platforms, and what was needed was a higher degree of portability, speed and scale. Containers achieve this by allowing a single operating system to handle multiple apps at once, which is a much more elegant solution than deploying numerous virtual machines each populated with its own OS.



Friday, 31 October 2014 17:48

The Nine Circles of Planning Hell…

By Geary Sikich


Inferno, the first part of Dante's Divine Comedy that inspired the latest Dan Brown's bestseller of the same title describes the poet's vision of Hell. The story begins with the narrator (who is the poet himself) being lost in a dark wood where he is attacked by three beasts which he cannot escape. He is rescued by the Roman poet Virgil who is sent by Beatrice (Dante's ideal woman). Together, they begin the journey into the underworld or the Nine Circles of Hell.

As business continuity planners you may have experienced or are experiencing the journey through the Nine Circles of Planning Hell. When you were assigned the responsibility for developing the business continuity plan, or disaster plan, or emergency plan, or any of the myriad regulatory driven planning initiatives; you found yourself in the first level of Planning Hell – Limbo. Your journey probably continued to several of the nine circles of planning hell, or maybe you got lucky and were able to stay in that nice state of limbo until you moved on to your next assignment, job or career change. If you were not so lucky; you travelled through all nine circles of planning hell. Hopefully, if you did travel through all nine circles of planning hell, you, like Dante, emerged to find the light.



David Sandin looks at whether we have heeded the lessons of Heartbleed bug, the implications of Shellshock and the future security of open-source coding.

‘First time’s an accident, the second time a coincidence but third time is stupidity’ has long been the mantra of infuriated parents, exasperated at their children’s ability to make the same mistake multiple times over. Oddly, it was also the phrase that came to mind as news of the Shellshock bug targeting open-source coding broke: just six months on from the Heartbleed attack.

Shellshock allows hackers to easily exploit many web servers that used the free and open source Bash command line shell. So far hackers have focussed efforts on exploiting the weakness to place malware on vulnerable web servers, with the intention of creating armies of bots for future distributed denial of service attacks, flooding website networks with traffic and taking them offline. While it was initially thought that the vulnerability would only affect machines that ran Bash as their default command line interface, it is now suspected that machines using related coding could also be exploited.



Texas regulators on Tuesday tightened rules for wells that dispose of oilfield waste, a response to the spate of earthquakes that have rattled North Texas.

The three-member Texas Railroad Commission voted unanimously to adopt the rules, which require companies to submit additional information – including historic records of earthquakes in a region– when applying to drill a disposal well. The proposal also clarifies that the commission can slow or halt injections of fracking waste into a problematic well and require companies to disclose the volume and pressure of their injections more frequently.

The commissioners – all Republicans – said the vote showed how well Texans canrespond to issues without federal intervention.

Commissioner Barry Smitherman called the vote a “textbook example” of how the commission identifies an issue and “moves quickly and proactively to address it.”

“We don’t need Washington,” he said.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency last month said it supported the proposed rules.



4See, one of the UK’s leading security consultancy firms, has chosen Olive Communications to implement Vodafone’s cloud-based communications solution, One Net. Like many businesses, 4See had separate contracts for mobile and landlines, with the two networks operating independently of one another. This was preventing the use of basic functionality such as call transfers, and their landline system was a legacy estate with serious limitations, which was beginning to inhibit customer experience and business growth.

To overcome this challenge, they selected leading business communications provider, and fixed-mobile convergence specialist Olive Communications to implement Vodafone One Net. The implementation took place in just one day with zero downtime, and combined 4See’s mobile and desk phone functions into one system. 4See can now transfer calls to consultants - and see whether or not they are available. In the event a consultant is unavailable and the call is urgent, they can now propose the caller is put through to an alternative contact.

They’re also able to introduce hunt groups to manage out of hours calls. Previously, emergency calls required that clients ring the main number, listen to a message giving the out of hours number, note the number and then call it, hoping that the on-call consultant picked up. Now out of hours calls automatically route through to the on-call consultant, and if they don’t pick it up, the call is then automatically rerouted to another consultant – up to four in total.

Gavin Clarke, Operations Director, 4See Ltd outlines the difference One Net has made to his business: “When Olive first proposed the One Net solution I was slightly sceptical, as whilst our existing solution wasn’t ideal, it worked, and my attitude was therefore “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. However I’m delighted we investigated other options. The switch from our old system to the new one was straightforward and quickly and painlessly completed.”

Clarke continues: “One Net is now making a real difference not just to our internal operations but most importantly to the client experience. The latter is crucial as we’re undergoing a period of rapid growth and we wish to be seen as a more professional, joined up organisation.”

Other communications improvements made possible through the cloud-based solution include the ability to seamlessly move office desk phones across any UK location via IP capability and to add new users as required to accommodate future growth. They have also introduced touch-tone IVR, which is enabling 4See to replace five published numbers (for the parent company and four sub brands) with just one direct dial.

The business benefits of upgrading to Vodafone One Net have been threefold: Customers no longer need to wait anxiously for a consultant to call them back in what is often a time critical situation. Secondly, 4See’s archaic legacy system has been replaced with a robust solution (zero downtime to date), with a 99.999% system uptime target, 24 hour remote monitoring of connectivity and equipment, and two minute response service level agreements for line connectivity. And finally, while the solution is far superior to 4See’s previous set up, it is cost neutral.

Martin Flick, Chief Executive, Olive Communications, said: “We’re seeing a real take up from customers evaluating and subsequently implementing Vodafone One Net through Olive. It suits growing businesses, especially those who are already on the Vodafone mobile network, extremely well. It allows them to converge all of their fixed line and mobile communications so they’ll never miss a call, and offers them a number of additional benefits to help their business reach their full potential. And as 4See have experienced, it’s a fast and painless upgrade that delivers immediate impact.”

Makes it easy to apply the right policies to the correct network segment – without complex configurations

Understand your network and don’t rely on VLANs for segmentation

WOKING, Surrey – Wick Hill is now shipping the WatchGuard Firebox ® M440 UTM/NGFW appliance - https://www.wickhill.com/products/vendors/product/917/WatchGuard-Firebox-M440-Firewall. The Firebox M440 makes it easy to apply the right policies to the correct network segment – without complex configurations. It is the first appliance rich in truly independent ports, removing the need for complex configurations such as VLANs and instantly simplifying the critical process of applying traffic-appropriate policies across multiple network segments – a process that to date, has often been beyond the technical reach of many IT organizations.

Plus, WatchGuard's visibility solution, Dimension™, provides the industry's only real-time, single-pane-of-glass view of the effect each policy is having on that segment's traffic.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman Wick Hill Group, commented: “WatchGuard has provided two very topical solutions to major security issues for organisations, providing both strong, easy segmentation and clear network activity visibility. These are market-leading solutions solving a real and current problem and we will see strong sales. The M440, with its high port density and competitive pricing, is also ideal for local authorities and other organisations connecting to the PSN.”

"Network security solutions are only good if they're not too difficult for IT pros to use," said Dave R. Taylor, vice president of corporate strategy and product management for WatchGuard. "The Firebox M440 makes it drop-dead easy to create segments, map the traffic, create custom policies based on what traffic is in each segment, and instantly see how it affects traffic. Applying the appropriate security policies to the correct traffic flows is what truly defines the success of your segmentation strategy and the Firebox M440 takes the configuration complexity out of the process."

Firebox M440

The Firebox M440 incorporates the same strong security, high performance and flexible management tools that distinguish WatchGuard’s other UTM and NGFW solutions, but this model delivers especially robust port density with twenty-five 1Gb Ethernet ports and two 10 Gb SFP+ (fiber) ports. Eight of the ports provide Power over Ethernet (PoE), which is ideal for WatchGuard Access Points.

Because it's rich in independent ports, the Firebox M440 is an excellent platform for defining different network segments, which industry experts acknowledge as the best practice for securing and protecting data. WatchGuard makes it easy to define policy and add security services for each segment. The new policy map feature in WatchGuard Dimension™, which comes standard on all M440 appliances, provides excellent visibility to the traffic in each segment.

About Wick Hill

Established in 1976, value added distributor Wick Hill specialises in secure IP infrastructure solutions. The company sources and delivers best-of-breed, easy-to-use solutions through its channel partners, with a portfolio that covers security, performance, access, networking, convergence, storage and hosted solutions.

Wick Hill is part of the Wick Hill Group, based in Woking, Surrey with sister offices in Hamburg. Wick Hill is particularly focused on providing a wide range of value added support for its channel partners. This includes a strong lead generation and conversion programme, technical and consultancy support for reseller partners in every stage of the sales process, and extensive training facilities. For more information about Wick Hill, please visit http://www.wickhill.com/company/company-profile or www.twitter.com/wickhill

About WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.

WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. is a global leader of integrated, multi-function business security solutions that intelligently combine industry standard hardware, best-of-breed security features, and policy-based management tools. WatchGuard provides easy-to-use, but enterprise-powerful protection to hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. WatchGuard products are backed by WatchGuard LiveSecurity® Service, an innovative support program. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle, Wash. with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. To learn more, visit WatchGuard.com.

The times, they are a-changing. Mobile computing devices not to mention BYOD and a millennial attitude mean that a substantial number of employees in enterprises now do their work away from their desks. Whether at home, in a bus, train or plane, or in their favourite coffee-shop, if there’s a Wi-Fi connection available, there’s a potential workspace in the making. But naturally enough, all this may then escape the control of the enterprise or at least partially so. For instance, how can companies then implement effective work area recovery for such nomadic workers in the event of an IT incident?



By 2025, we should expect to have experienced a “significant” cyberattack, according to a canvas of technology experts and researchers conducted by the Pew Research Internet Project and reported upon today.

To this group of experts, Pew posed the following question:

By 2025, will a major cyber attack have caused widespread harm to a nation’s security and capacity to defend itself and its people? (By “widespread harm,” we mean significant loss of life or property losses/damage/theft at the levels of tens of billions of dollars.)

Over 1,600 responses came in; respondents were not required to reveal their names.



Thursday, 30 October 2014 15:26

The Right Way to Do the Hybrid Cloud

A lot of people in the IT industry are pulling for the hybrid cloud. Enterprise executives are intrigued by the idea of low-cost, broadly federated data infrastructure distributed over large, geographic areas, while traditional data center vendors are trying to preserve their legacy product lines in the new cloud era.

But just because people want it, does that make it a good idea? If the idea is to capitalize on the benefits of both public and private cloud infrastructure, will hybrid solutions undermine that effort by watering down the advantages of pure-play approaches?

One thing is clear: Many enterprises see the hybrid cloud as the end-game of the virtual transition. A recent survey by Gigaom indicates that more than three-quarters of top decision-makers have adopted hybrid as a core component of their ongoing cloud strategies. However, it is becoming evident that this is more than a simple change in technology—it’s a top-to-bottom shift in the entire enterprise structure that will affect everything from data and infrastructure to business processes, governance and the ownership of digital assets.