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Volume 29, Issue 1

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Jon Seals

Thursday, 05 November 2015 00:00

Why You Should Sell Cloud Backup Now

Nowadays, technology vendors make it pretty easy to set up and offer a cloud backup service to end user customers. But, for most service providers, that is where the hard part begins: Why sell cloud backup? To start, the conversation should begin by discussing the importance of backup solutions to businesses today, the reasons that they back up, and how this provides opportunities for service providers to package up a differentiated cloud backup service offering.

Customers that turn to MSPs for data protection tend to face a variety of business challenges that drive them to consider cloud backup and recovery solutions.

The first challenge is cost. Cloud backup and recovery solutions are treated as operating expenses versus on-premises solutions, which are capital expenditures. In today’s economy, it is often easier to get approval for less expensive and more flexible OPEX models versus CAPEX spending.



On October 6, Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, struck down the “Safe Harbor Framework,” which existed between the United States and the EU for 15 years. This has an impact on companies collecting or processing personal data in EU nations for use in the United States. The Framework provided a method for over 4,000 U.S. companies to transfer personal information outside the European Union consistent with the EU’s strict Data Protection Directive. The Directive establishes the rules for protecting Europeans’ privacy rights. To take advantage of the Framework, U.S. companies have self-certified compliance with EU standards to the Department of Commerce.

The European court struck down this longstanding business arrangement after Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems alleged his personal information transmitted via Facebook or stored on Facebook’s servers in the U.S. was not, in fact, safe from intrusion from the prying eyes of the U.S. government. Schrems’ lawsuit arose after Edward J. Snowden, former contractor for the National Security Agency, divulged that American intelligence agencies were freely accessing data held by Facebook or transferred by emails and other means between the EU and the U.S. The European high court agreed, holding that U.S. government actions invalidated the “Safe Harbor” provisions.



Unsuspecting and easy to attack – users of public Wi-Fi spots are a hacker’s dream target. Cybercriminals don’t wear cat-burglar masks and striped t-shirts, so it may not be easy to see them. On the other hand, the smart user of a free Wi-Fi hotspot knows that he or she should assume that hackers are lying virtually in wait. The terrain can vary: coffee shops, airports, restaurants, libraries, bookstores, fast food outlets and even schools can all be dangerous. Unfortunately, statistics show that users in general, consumer or business, have a lot to learn if they want to bring their risk back down to reasonable levels.



Hyperconvergence is all the rage at the moment, promising big things in small packages and the ability to support Big Data and other applications at low cost and with none of the complexity that accompanies traditional data infrastructure.

But as with most emerging technologies, the truth is both more and less than it seems.

To be sure, the siren call of hyperconvergence is being heard across the IT landscape. Whether it is web-scale entities like Google and Facebook building their own platforms out of commodity hardware and home-grown software architectures or traditional vendors looking to leverage their platforms for enterprise and cloud deployments, a hyperconverged architecture will likely be the preferred solution going forward.



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It is time to buy flood insurance, if you don’t already have it. Available to everyone, businesses, homeowners and renters alike, it is the only insurance that will help you recover from flooding and mudflows.

Citing a strong El Niño and other factors, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts wetter than average conditions for central and southern California, along with warmer than normal temperatures from December through February. There is a 30-day waiting period between purchasing flood insurance and the time the insurance goes into effect.

Residents living in the vicinity of the recent wildfires are especially vulnerable to runoff flooding this rainy season because wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions.

Normally, vegetation absorbs rainfall, reducing runoff. But wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water. That enhances the chances of flash flooding and mudflows. Flood insurance covers mudflows, but not mudslides.

Just because your property is outside a high flood risk zone doesn’t mean there is no risk. But it does mean you can buy flood insurance at a lower price, because the risk is lower.

Information about flood insurance is available at the Disaster Recovery Centers in Lake and Calaveras counties: 891 Mountain Ranch Rd., San Andreas; Middletown Senior Center, 21256 Washington St., Middletown, and 14860 Olympic Dr., Clear Lake.

Flood insurance is for everyone, not just survivors of the wildfires. It is easy to find out how much flood insurance will cost by going to FloodSmart.gov. Fill in the blanks in the red box on the right side of the screen, “How Can I Get Covered”. You will be taken to a table of flood insurance options and costs for your address. Contact information for local agents is available on the website.

Survivors can apply for FEMA assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling  800-621-3362; TTY 800-462-7585; 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. The deadline to register is Nov. 23, 2015.

For more information on California’s wildfire recovery, visit: caloes.ca.gov, Twitter@Cal-OES or FEMA.gov/disaster/4240 and follow us on Twitter@femaregion9 and at Facebook.com/FEMA.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

Unless you’re on a board of directors or in a C-suite, you probably never thought about it, but the communication and collaboration needs of individuals in that rarefied air are different from those of the folks in the trenches. Similarly, you likely never thought about there being a company that caters to that clientele, for that purpose. That’s where Joe Ruck comes in.

Ruck is CEO of Boardvantage, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of a communication platform for boards and leadership teams. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ruck, and I opened the conversation by asking him a chicken-or-the-egg question: Was Boardvantage created to provide something that boards and C-level executives were clamoring for, or was it an idea for something they felt they could convince boards and C-level executives that they needed? He said the origin of the company was probably the latter, but it has now evolved into the former:



Thursday, 05 November 2015 00:00

Get Resilient

December 2015 sees the launch of a new Cyber Resilience Centre in the South East of England . Part of Bucks New University’s new Aylesbury Vale Campus , this Centre provides a home for a range of short and professional courses in Resilience and Cyber Security, and in 2016 will provide a base for the university’s new Foundation Degree in Cyber Resilience.

Housed in purpose-built facilities in the heart of Aylesbury, the campus is designed with professional education in mind. Three dedicated classrooms will enable delegates to focus on the most pressing security issues of the day, using the latest in computing technology and supported by teaching staff from the university’s highly regarded undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in Security and Resilience, as well as experts from the field of Cyber Resilience.

Throughout the year the Cyber Resilience Centre will offer a range of courses, including both university short programmes focussed on resilience, as well as practical accredited programmes such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Cyber Security Overview for Industrial Control Systems.



Moving to expand the scope and reach of its software-defined approach to storage, IBM today unveiled a series of updates to the IBM Spectrum Storage portfolio that make it simpler for IT organizations to encrypt data regardless of where it is stored in addition to being able to more aggressively compress data.

IBM also announced a new Hadoop File System interface to integrate its storage systems with Hadoop implementations that are rapidly emerging as the “data lake” from which all data in the enterprise is derived.

Finally, IBM announced that its IBM Spectrum Control management and analytics software has been extended to IBM FlashSystem and IBM Spectrum Scale file and object storage systems. Last month, IBM unveiled a hybrid array based on Power processors, called the DS 8880 series, which scales to 3PB of storage at price points that start at $50,000.



Thursday, 05 November 2015 00:00

The Riskiest States for Employee Lawsuits

In 2014, U.S. companies had at least an 11.7% chance of having an employment charge filed against them, according to the new 2015 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits. The firm’s review of data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its state counterparts found that the risk also varied notably by state, as local laws creating additional obligations—and risks—for employers led to charge rates up to 66% above average.



Author: Shellye Archambeau, Chief Executive Officer, MetricStream and a Board Member at Verizon

Shellye Archambeau

Building and running a successful startup in America’s fiercely competitive tech industry is never easy. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution or manual for how to go about it. But as they say, experience is the best teacher. So it’s my pleasure to share with you some of my own experiences and observations in building and managing tech companies.

I began my journey in the tech industry over 25 years ago, working my way up to senior management roles in IT companies such as LoudCloud (renamed Opsware), NorthPoint Communications (which was later sold to AT&T), and IBM. For the last 10 years, I’ve served as the CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley-based governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) company which I helped build from the ground up.

I’ve learned several important lessons—not only from my personal career journey, but also from the challenges and successes of my clients and peers in the industry. Here are a few key lessons which have stood me in good stead: