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Fall Journal

Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

With the anniversary of the Southern Alberta floods looming, are organizations now any better prepared for emergencies?
 
CALGARY, ALBERTA – From cold snaps and ice storms to polar vortex windchill, Canadians are emerging from one of the coldest and snowiest winters in decades. It has been a long, bitter winter but are we really ready for spring? Questions around emergency preparedness are naturally arising as the record snowfall blanketing cities across the country begins to melt and is already causing flooding in some areas. 
 
A recent Ipsos Reid study reveals critical gaps in emergency response plans following the 2013 Southern Alberta floods and the need to take action to prepare before disaster strikes again. In 2013, severe weather like heavy snow, rain and floods directly affected more than 3.5 million Canadians. Toronto’s ice storm wreaked havoc and cost the city in excess of $100 million. It has been Winnipeg’s second coldest winter on record since 1938, leaving hundreds of homes with frozen pipes. And Canada’s largest natural disaster, the 2013 Southern Alberta floods, is still fresh in the minds of nervous Albertans. There’s plenty of focus on the preparedness of homeowners living in high-risk areas but questions still surround the readiness of corporations across Canada. 
 
According to the “2013 Calgary Flood & State of Emergency Corporate Crisis Communications Study”, 80 per cent of large Calgary organizations surveyed had an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place before the floods but just 44 per cent of these plans included emergency communications plans and protocols. The lack of communication systems and limited access to organizational databases hindered the speed and efficiency of several companies' efforts. Email and manual calling were the primary methods of communication used during the flood (92 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively). Of the organizations surveyed, only 20 per cent factored contact lists into their ERP, just 19 per cent said they were able to reach employees and a mere 8 per cent said people clearly knew what to do.
 
“Spring is a perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at these too-low numbers and see how we can better prepare ourselves with forward-thinking solutions before another flood or crisis,” says Steve Hardy, director of RallyEngine, an app-based internal communications system, which commissioned the independent study. 
 
“Approximately two-thirds of Canadians and more than 90 per cent of business people now use smartphones. Ninety-one per cent of adults are within arm’s reach of their mobile phone 24/7,” he says. “It’s possible now to easily reach and inform far more people – and just the right people – using now-common internet and mobile technology.”
 
Approximately four in ten surveyed organizations updated their ERPs following the floods, but many overlooked vital information such as contact lists, roles and responsibilities, or steps for business continuity. Hardy says the study revealed that leaders of some of these large organizations either didn’t have up-to-date company-wide directories, couldn’t access their directory physically or virtually, or weren’t able to reach the people responsible for such important but overlooked lists. As a result, communications were more manual and less efficient.
 
“It can be very difficult to find this information in a crunch. The most important factor in a crisis is an organization’s people. Are they ok? Where are they? Are they available to help? Even the best plan falls apart if the right people can’t be alerted, informed, and rallied when needed.”
 
Hardy points out that municipalities and emergency management agencies did remarkable work during the 2013 flood. “Over the last several months, they’ve been diligently analyzing what went well and what didn’t, especially with regards to communications, so that they’re even more prepared and resilient next time. There’s no reason why corporations shouldn’t be just as focused and proactive.”
 
If the 2013 floods taught us anything, it was how resilience and timely responses are critical to ensuring positive outcomes in the face of a crisis. Versatile internal communications systems like RallyEngine facilitate nimble business continuity and can be set up within weeks, not months.
 
To download the full Ipsos Reid 2013 Calgary Flood & State of Emergency Corporate Crisis Communications Study, visit http://use.rallyengine.com/study/YYCflood. 
 
 
About RallyEngine
RallyEngine is a powerful and streamlined app-based internal communications system that facilitates nimble business continuity. Designed for organizations with dispersed teams or mobile workforces, the system works by having team members install an app on their smartphone, which connects to the RallyEngine server, providing a channel to transmit location data, important information, and push notifications in real-time.

BRAINTREE, Mass. – MIB today announced a new online order form, which makes it easier for consumers to search its Policy Locator Service, the insurance industry's most comprehensive resource for finding lost life insurance policies. Developed by MIB Solutions, Inc., the Policy Locator Service identifies life insurance application activity from MIB's 450 U.S. and Canadian member insurance companies—virtually every company writing life insurance policies in the industry today. Identifying where a life insurance application was taken, can often be a survivor's best lead to finding an in-force policy. The new online form is accessible from the Policy Locator website: www.policylocator.com.

"Our goal was to extend the value of this service by making it increasing accessible to all consumers. The online form's security features balance the need for strong consumer protections while reducing the paper requirements to conduct a search," stated Lee B. Oliphant, MIB's President and CEO. Oftentimes, next-of-kin may be unaware of a life insurance policy's existence or its location when a death occurs. With no central database of placed life insurance policies in existence, MIB's 450 members who underwrite a majority of the life insurance issued in North America, become an important locating resource. "The Policy Locator Service cannot guarantee that a policy was issued, or if issued, has remained in-force. But in the absence of other evidence, Policy Locator is the best resource available today to point consumers to those insurers who most likely have issued coverage," said Oliphant.

MIB's Policy Locator database contains over 200 million records representing life insurance applications processed since 1996. More than 10 million new records are added annually. The service can also trace life insurance policies to the surviving insurance company in cases of merger or acquisition. The Policy Locator Service provides next-of-kin and/or executors or personal representatives of the estate with the name and contact information of the insurance company or companies to which the decedent applied for coverage.

MIB's Policy Locator Service with a new, easier online form is available 24/7/365 at www.policylocator.com. The cost of a search is $75.00 US; responses are generally returned within 10 business days.

About MIB

MIB is the life and health insurance industry's most trusted resource for underwriting information, risk assessment and analytical services. Owned by the industry it has served for more than a century, MIB is uniquely positioned to aggregate industry insights in order to develop products and services for its members that improve their risk management decisions. MIB, Inc. and MIB Solutions, Inc. are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the MIB Group, Inc. (www.mibgroup.com).

Floodgate products make these devices invisible to hackers and visible to the enterprise management systems –the opposite of the current situation.

First Embedded Security Solution Designed to Integrate with Enterprise Management
Systems and Security Information and Event Management systems. (SIEMs)

San Jose, CA – Icon Labs (www.iconlabs.com), a leading provider of embedded networking and security technology, today announced a full suite of offerings that can provide an umbrella of protection for RTOS based end points. This cross platform Intrusion Detection and Prevention runs natively in a wide range of RTOS-based devices found in military, utility, industrial, medical and consumer IoT applications. 

“Currently, RTOS based devices are invisible to the enterprise management system, but visible to hackers”, said Alan Grau, CEO of Icon Labs. “Our solution turns that all around - making them visible to the management system and invisible to hackers.”

In addition to protecting from a wide range of cyber-attacks, the SIEM integration provides monitoring and reporting of attacks upon the network to enable managers to help identify and track the source of the attacks.

Intrusion Detection and Prevention is provided through RTOS specific threat detection and advanced packet filtering. This set of solutions provides protection from both internal and external threats whether malicious or accidental. Capabilities include:

  • Detection and reporting of authentication failures
  • API that enables protection and monitoring of device specific attack vectors. 
  • Static/rules-based filtering of ports, protocols, IP addresses, etc.
  • Stateful Packet Inspection that filters packets on the state of the connection
  • Threshold-based filtering which monitors packet flows to block packet floods.
  • Detection of port scans and probes, which frequently indicates an impending cyber-attack.
  • Protocol specific deep packet inspection for industry specific application protocols.

Enterprise connection is provided through optional extensions to connect and manage your RTOS devices from enterprise policy management systems such as the US Dept. of Defense, HBSS. Both security related and device specific events can be captured and logged for reporting to a variety of corporate SIEM (security information and event management) systems. 

For ease in integration and development, Icon Labs also provides professional services capabilities to facilitate unique implementation projects and product development. User interface from simple command line to web to corporate policy management systems can be customized to specific engineering design requirements.


About Icon Laboratories, Inc.
Icon Labs is a leading provider of embedded software for device security, device protection and networking management, including the award winning Floodgate Defender. Founded in 1992, Icon Labs is headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, visit www.iconlabs.com, send email to info@iconlabs.com, or call 1.888.235.3443 (U.S. and Canada) or 515.226.3443 (International).

AUSTIN, Texas – Caringo®, the leading provider of object storage software, today announced an integration of its object storage software with the high performance archiving software solution from ASG Software Solutions, ASG-Digital Archive (ADA), to help protect organizations’ digital assets, streamline workflows and optimize storage. 

Caringo’s object storage software can be used to store massive amounts of content for any amount of time.  ADA is a comprehensive solution that provides an open, centrally managed and secure archive to address exponential growth in data volumes and long-term retention requirements across vertical applications. When used together, ASG’s ASG-Digital Archive and Caringo’s object storage software reduce the long-term cost of managing and archiving content while helping organizations adhere to their corporate and industry-specific policies. 

“Many companies in the media and entertainment industry have either very large files or numerous small files,” said Robert Overzee, product marketing manager, ASG Software Solutions. “Both can quickly and completely fill up primary storage. The solution is to move lesser-used assets to archive storage where it remains easily accessible. ASG-Digital Archive simplifies this process, making it possible for content producers to determine what to archive and when to archive it. The integration into Caringo’s object storage software now means they can store it in an immediately accessible way, for as long as the content has value.”

Ideally suited for content production, the combined solution provides flexible archive methods for various points in any media and entertainment organization’s workflow to help optimize storage costs and resources; centrally manage long-term archives; enhance the performance of primary storage and backup software; and scale with intelligent peer-scaling architecture.  

“We work tirelessly to ensure that our storage software is easy to scale and maintain with rock-solid reliability so that IT resources are free to focus on their primary business,” said Adrian J Herrera, senior director, marketing of Caringo. “By partnering with ASG, we are moving up one more step in the value chain, bringing a certified, complete solution for the media and entertainment industry, and content publishers in general, so they can focus on enabling content creation instead of managing storage infrasturcture.” 

Caringo and ASG will demonstrate the solution in a webinar on April 29 at 7 a.m. PDT/10 a.m. EDT.  Hosted by Adrian J Herrera , senior director marketing of Caringo, and Robert Overzee, product marketing manager from ASG. Interested parties can register at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/814682831. 


About Caringo
Caringo develops object storage software that gives you control over any volume, flow or size of unstructured information; dramatically reducing complexity and costs while extracting maximum value and performance from hardware. Caringo's unique benefits are delivered through a symmetric architecture that enables massive scalability, elastic content protection, and automation of management in a comprehensive software suite. The result is the industry's most efficient object storage software ideal for cloud storage, big data, and active archives. To learn more: www.caringo.com. 

About ASG Software Solutions
ASG Software Solutions connects sophistication and experience with agility and technological efficiency, through its vendor-agnostic cloud, content and systems solutions. ASG helps companies solve today’s most pressing business issues, including everything from reducing operating costs and enhancing workforce productivity to ensuring regulatory compliance. With customers like American Express, Coca-Cola, GE, HSBC, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Merrill Lynch, Procter & Gamble, Sony, Toyota, Verizon, and Wells Fargo, ASG can proudly say that more than 70 percent of global Fortune 500 companies trust it to optimize their existing IT investments. Founded in 1986, ASG Software Solutions is a global company headquartered in Naples, Florida, USA, with more than 1,200 employees. For more information, visit www.asg.com or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.

EtherReach Global-IX Service Enables Russian Carrier to Reach Major Internet Exchanges

SUMMIT, N.J. – Hibernia Networks, a provider of global telecommunications services, announces today TransTeleCom (TTK), which operates a fiber-optic communications network in Russia, is utilizing Hibernia’s EtherReach Global-IX service to augment TransTeleCom’s network connectivity in western Europe.

By leveraging Hibernia’s Global-IX service, TTK can directly connect to European Internet exchanges, including PLIX (Warsaw), NIX.CZ (Prague), Espanix (Madrid), MIX (Milan) and France-IX (Paris) over Hibernia’s Carrier Ethernet network. This augments TTK’s existing robust infrastructure to other exchanges throughout Europe.

TTK operates a fiber-optic network with over 1.6 Tbps in capacity and extending more than 76,000 kilometers throughout Russia, reaching 90% of Russia’s population. Its comprehensive suite of network services includes IP Access, international private lines, virtual Ethernet channels and also IP VPN services, all of which are tailored for carriers, enterprises and service providers.

Hibernia Networks has a robust network footprint,” comments Mr. Vitaly Kotov, Vice President and Head of the Backbone Unit for TTK. “By using Hibernia’s extensive presence at all of the European exchange points, TTK raises the quality and performance of its Internet services. TTK is already connected to major Internet exchanges in Europe, including LINX (London), DE-CIX (Frankfurt), AMS-IX (Amsterdam) and we plan to expand our presence throughout Europe leveraging Hibernia infrastructure. This is very important for TTK, as we aim to provide the highest-quality services for our global clients. With Hibernia’s solid price/performance ratios, we can expand into additional markets effectively.”

“Because of our state-of-the art network, Hibernia’s services are extremely flexible and scalable, offering clients a multitude of options and combinations,” states Eric Gutshall, Senior Vice President Global Sales for Hibernia Networks “With our EtherReach Global-IX service, we can easily scale from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps, allowing carriers immediate access to major global Internet exchanges – all across highly optimized routes. These qualities are key for content providers and carriers worldwide. We look forward to working with TTK, as they share our commitment to service excellence for their clients.”

With a next-generation, congestion-free and scalable Carrier Ethernet network, Hibernia’s EtherReach Global-IX product allows customers to connect with Internet exchanges from remote locations without any compromise on the performance. For more information on Hibernia’s global telecommunications services and to view its network map of over 200 Points of Presence, visit www.hibernianetworks.com.

 

About Hibernia Networks:

Hibernia Networks owns and operates a global network connecting North America, Europe and Asia. Hibernia offers over 200 network Points of Presence (PoPs) on over 27,000 kilometers of fiber.   

Hibernia Networks serves wholesale, financial and media customers with unparalleled support, flexibility and service. Hibernia’s wholesale services provide secure and diverse dedicated Ethernet, DTM and optical-level services, including GigE, 10G and LanPhy wavelengths and traditional SONET/SDH services. Hibernia’s financial services unite hundreds of global banks and financial exchanges with low-latency connectivity. Hibernia’s media services are dedicated to flawless delivery of video signals over fiber, supporting media companies across the globe with over 200 media connection points. Hibernia Networks is owned by Columbia Ventures Corporation and funds managed by Constellation Growth Capital.

About Company TTK:

Company TTK is among the top five Russian telecommunications operators. Its main shareholder is Russian Railways.

TTK operates and maintains one of the largest fiber-optic communication lines in Russia, with a length of more than 76,000 km and a channel capacity of over 1.6 Tbps. The 17 regional centers located in the largest Russian cities offer private and corporate customers throughout the country a wide spectrum of telecommunications services, including communication and data transfer, as well as broadband Internet access based on cutting-edge technology. TTK has over 1.5 million subscribers. TTK is an active player on the global market. The transcontinental TTK backbone, EurasiaHighway, has connections to the communication networks of almost all the neighboring countries, including China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, Finland, the Baltic states and the CIS, and it is the optimal route between Europe and Asia.

Companies Must Test Backup and Recovery Solutions to Ensure Their Data and Business Operations Are Not Compromised If and When an Outage Occurs

NEW YORK, NY – BUMI (Backup My Info!), the premium provider of managed online backup and recovery solutions for small to mid-sized businesses, urges businesses to prepare and test their backup and recovery processes in celebration of World Backup Day today. Performing a recovery check is an often overlooked yet critical component of any ongoing backup process that BUMI wants to call attention to. This important step allows organizations to make adjustments to their backup strategy in order to be absolutely certain that the information and applications needed to run their business will be accessible after a technical failure or physical disaster.

An independent study that BUMI conducted in December 2013 surveyed IT consultants regarding their data backup and recovery tools, initiatives and concerns, revealed that 39 percent of respondents did not believe their clients are properly prepared for a large-scale disaster or outage. Thirteen percent of clients never check for backup errors and eight percent did so annually.

“Many businesses invest resources in their backup operations but don’t test the viability of their data recovery processes as frequently, making them vulnerable when an outage occurs,” said Jennifer Walzer, BUMI’s CEO. “Performing regular disaster recovery drills along with checking backup sets will ensure that businesses are safeguarding all of their data and putting them in the best position to overcome adversity if or when something goes wrong.”

According to BUMI, World Backup Day offers a global call to action to check data backup and restoration processes, and recommends the following advice:

  •     Develop a Strategy: Know the most critical data sets of your organization, including applications with their current versions. Key stakeholders in the company will provide insight into which data sets will be critical in recovery and how quickly they need to be recovered. A formal document of this strategy should be created and kept up to date in a protected off-site location in the event that a disaster physically impacts your organization.
  •     Determine Your Time Window: After a disaster strikes, there will be some downtime before your business needs all of its applications and information accessible. Determine your RTO (Recovery Time Objective), and outline what the most important applications are and how quickly they need to be up and running. Build this information into your backup and recovery processes and budget.
  •     Run Tests: It is much easier to work out problems in a backup recovery system before a disaster. Running drills on a monthly or quarterly basis will help your organization better prepare for these events, as well as help you become more familiarized with the recovery process, leading to a smoother transition should it ever be needed.
  •     Define Roles: When disasters strike, it is very important for employees to know what their role is during this time period. Multiple things will need to get addressed quickly so it is very important for the IT team to have a game plan in place.

“World Backup Day offers an important reminder to not only think about your business-critical data needs, but also an overall disaster recovery plan that includes internal and external communications with employees and customers,” added Walzer. “Our corporate office was impacted by Hurricane Sandy but our planning enabled us to quickly switch over to alternative resources and operate flawlessly during the three months we worked remotely while the building was repaired.”

To help organization prepare for disasters, BUMI has developed a free checklist that can be accessed here: http://go.bumi.com/DR_Checklist.

About BUMI

Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company's Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit http://www.bumi.com or call (866) 444- BUMI (2864).

Let’s proceed by elimination. Servers? Those are the things that fall over when your data centre is hit by lightning and for which you do your disaster recovery planning anyway. Desktop PCs? They’re practically nailed to your desk, so they won’t be going with you as you run for the exit. Laptops? Maybe, although battery power and hard drive fragility may be issues. Smartphone? Compact, highly portable, runs tons of apps but has such a tiny screen. So finally, is the tablet computer the best compromise for IT on the run while you’re trying to get everything else back to normal?

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/can-tablet-computers-cure-disaster-recovery-headaches/

CIO — The concept of a "data lake," sometimes called an "enterprise data hub," is a seductive one.

The data lake is the landing zone for all the data in your organization — structured, unstructured and semi-structured. — a central repository where all data is ingested and stored at its original fidelity All your enterprise workloads, from batch processing and interactive SQL to enterprise search and advanced analytics, then draw upon that data substrate.

Generally, the idea is to use HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) to store all your data in a single, large table. But building out such a next-generation data infrastructure requires more than simply deploying Hadoop; there's a whole ecosystem of related technologies that need to integrate with Hadoop to make it happen. And while Hadoop itself is open source, many of the other technologies that can help you build that infrastructure are open core or fully proprietary.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750897/Pivotal_Looks_to_Simplify_Building_Business_Data_Lakes_

It seems the more the enterprise becomes steeped in cloud computing, the more we hear of the end of local infrastructure in favor of utility-style “mega-data centers.” This would constitute a very dramatic change to a long-standing industry that, despite its ups and downs, has functioned primarily as an owned-and-operated resource for many decades.

So naturally, this begs the question: Is this real? And if so, how should the enterprise prepare for the migration?

Earlier this week, I highlighted a recent post from Wikibon CTO David Floyer touting the need for software-defined infrastructure in the development of these mega centers. Floyer’s contention is that “megaDs” are not merely an option for the enterprise, but the inevitable future, in that they will take over virtually all processing, storage and other data functions across the entire data ecosystem. The key driver, of course, is cost, which can be distributed across multiple users to provide a much lower TCO than traditional on-premise infrastructure. At the same time, high-speed networking, 100 Gbps or more, has dramatically reduced latency of distributed operations and is now available at a fraction of the cost of only a few years ago.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/rise-of-the-mega-data-center.html

By Michael Bratton

Even though plans represent just one component of a larger business continuity management system, they are what guide the organization through all phases of response and recovery following the onset of a disruptive incident – from the initial response and assessment to the eventual return to normal operations. Effective planning is meant to ensure that response and recovery efforts align to the expectations of all interested parties and provide a repeatable approach to minimize downtime.

This article explores different types of plans and examines their purpose within a wider business continuity strategy.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1165.html