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Fall Journal

Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

Curriculum used for training of personnel stationed around the world

SAN MATEO, Calif. – AtHoc, Inc., the leader in network-centric interactive crisis communication systems, today announced that the U.S. Air Force has integrated training for operations of the AtHoc Interactive Warning System (AtHoc IWS) into its standard curriculum for educating and certifying command and control personnel stationed around the world.

As part of the Air Education and Training Command school based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., all personnel assigned as command post controllers at Air Force bases around the world are trained during a six-week course on operational readiness and emergency management response processes. Participants graduate and are assigned to command posts at Air Force bases all over the globe, where their training is continued on site to perform their duties for manning the nerve center of operations for each base.

The school’s inaugural graduating class is comprised of 12 students with the IWS training who received their diplomas on Friday, March 7, 2014. The ceremony was attended by Dave Brown, vice president, AtHoc Defense and Intelligence Group.

“Integrating training of IWS into its command control curriculum is a testament to the vision of the Air Force for streamlining operations and emergency response processes into a single, unified approach,” said Brown. “Air Force bases around the world, large and small, face any number of complex threats and scenarios impacting their operational ability. Crisis communications and mass notification are crucial for ensuring uninterrupted operations. By educating personnel from the very beginning of their training as command control specialists, the Air Force helps ensure a consistent, unified approach needed to address any number of different situations that might develop on base.”

The AtHoc IWS solution uses the IP network to bring interactive communications capabilities to organizations. Warning messages can be sent to all personnel with the push of a button using any combination of sirens, radios, computer desktop pop-up alerts, instant messages, digital signs, texts, emails, VoIP audio/visual phones, mobile or smartphones and more. Rich media content—photos, videos and maps—can be shared among personnel, emergency teams and first responders. Scalable and highly available voice telephony alerting capabilities are leveraging Cisco Unified Communications Manager as a multi-path architecture.

About AtHoc
AtHoc is the recognized leader, innovator and trusted partner in network-centric interactive crisis communication systems. AtHoc's products are used for physical security, employee protection, personnel accountability, staff recall and regulatory compliance for military, homeland security, government, healthcare, industrial and commercial organizations.

Millions of end-users worldwide rely on AtHoc's unified notification systems for their emergency alerting and critical communication needs in organizations such as Microsoft, Eastman Chemical, USS-POSCO Industries, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Baylor Scott & White Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), UCLA, U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

AtHoc was recently awarded Government Security News' (GSN) award for Best Mass Notification System and has also been recognized by Gartner, Inc. as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Emergency Mass Notification Services and by IHS Inc. as The Fastest Growing Mass Notification Software Supplier. For more information about AtHoc, please visit www.athoc.com.

NEWARK, Calif. – Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, today announced that Mary Lanning Healthcare has selected Zebi arrays from Tegile as its EMC Clarion replacement.

Mary Lanning Healthcare is the major medical facility serving the residents of central Nebraska. The complex includes a state-of-the-art hospital, a comprehensive range of medical services and clinics and employs a staff of nearly 1,000. The facility has approximately 12,000 emergency room visits and 5200 inpatient admissions annually.

Mary Lanning operates a highly virtualized IT environment, with VMware as the server hypervisor and VMware View powering a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) rollout. The company’s primary storage is virtualized with DataCore Software’s SANsymphony™.  The primary application is McKesson Corp.’s Paragon®, a comprehensive hospital information system, including a fully integrated clinical and financial system, built on the Microsoft® SQL server platform.

The health center had been operating with an EMC Clariion CX3 Fibre Channel array as its main storage system. The addition of SANsymphony virtualization software gave them more functionality and flexibility with its storage but also exposed the limitations of the Clariion array, according to Aaron Young, director of IT.

“When we added DataCore, we were able to leverage the Clarion space more effectively, but it couldn't keep up with the traffic, so that’s when we started looking at other solutions.”   

Mary Lanning Healthcare was also burdened with ongoing EMC support costs, which Young called “horrendous.” To prevent a reoccurrence of budget-busting support expenses, Young and his team prepared a new storage RFP that specified a guaranteed fixed-cost contract that included five years of maintenance and support. Young was initially considering products from HP/3PAR and X-IO when IT Outlet, a  reseller out of South Dakota, told him about Tegile Systems.  What really caused Young to focus on Tegile was a sweep of DCIG’s 2014 Hybrid Storage Array Buyer’s Guide. Tegile products took the four top spots ahead of products from EMC, NetApp, Oracle and others.

Tegile was clearly the best value and was able to configure a package with two Zebi arrays, addressing Lanning’s five-year timeframe, with enough capacity and performance headroom to give Young a sense of comfort while facing a range of regulatory record keeping requirements. 

“It was a challenge when we went live with DataCore getting our EMC to play nicely and work well behind it,” said Young. “The DataCore product is pretty much click, click, click, done and the Tegile product falls right in line with that.
The user interface for Tegile is intuitive and awesome and the dashboard is just crisp and everything is where it needs to be. I’ve been very happy with it.”
Mary Lanning purchased a Zebi HA2100 array and J2100 expansion array connected via 8Gb Fibre Channel.  The Zebi arrays were an ideal solution for Mary Lanning’s virtual infrastructure with a flash-driven storage architecture designed to make the management of both virtualized servers and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) easier, faster, more reliable, more scalable and less expensive.  Zebi arrays combine Tegile’s patented Metadata Accelerated Storage System technology with high performance DRAM, solid state flash, Intel Xeon processors, resulting in higher capacity and significantly higher performance.

While Young was clearly pleased with the capabilities and value of the Tegile technology, he had some reservations about Tegile suggesting 10 terabytes of physical raw storage to hold 18TB of data.  Young was dubious that Tegile’s data reduction could work as promised for his data set.  The Zebi arrays ran as promised, with a 75% storage footprint reduction on VDI storage and more than a 50% reduction for server virtualization storage.  

Mary Lanning has also gained the massive performance improvements of the Tegile flash-driven storage, hitting 32,000 IOPS compared to a record-best of just 8,000 IOPS for the EMC Clariion. 

“The best thing about the people we dealt with at Tegile is they came from all these big Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft and VMware, so there is broad expertise they brought to the table,” said Jay Larson, decision support manager. “It seems like every time I call the support line at Tegile, I get exactly the right person,” said Young. “If I’m having a Microsoft issue, I get the person who used to work at Microsoft. He says ‘you need to do this and this’ and I’m done. It’s far and above the best support I’ve had lately. We’re kind of hoping Tegile doesn’t grow.

About Tegile Systems
Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of flash-driven enterprise storage arrays that balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtualization, file services and database applications. With Tegile’s Zebi line of hybrid storage arrays, the company is redefining the traditional approach to storage by providing a family of arrays that is significantly faster than all hard disk-based arrays and significantly less expensive than all solid-state disk-based arrays. 

Tegile’s patent-pending MASS technology accelerates the Zebi’s performance and enables on-the-fly de-duplication and compression of data so each Zebi has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity. Tegile’s award-winning technology solutions enable customers to better address the requirements of server virtualization, virtual desktop integration and database integration than 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 auto-snapshot, auto-replication, near-instant recovery, onsite or offsite failover, and virtualization management features. Additional information is available at www.tegile.com. Follow Tegile on Twitter @tegile.

Icon Labs Posts new White Paper for Developers of Smart Home, IoT and M2M Devices, Networks and Solutions

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Icon Labs (www.iconlabs.com), a leading provider of embedded networking and security technology, today announced that  a new white paper is available for those in the industry concerned about cyber-attacks upon industrial networks, smart home systems, automobiles, office systems, utility plants, etc. This new white paper - Security Requirements for Embedded Devices – What is Really Needed?can be downloaded here http://www.iconlabs.com/security-requirements-whitepaper/

“Many of today’s modern embedded devices and systems are complex connected computers charged with performing critical functions,” explains Alan Grau, President of Icon Labs. “Including security in these devices is a critical design task.  Security features must be considered early in the design process to ensure the device is protected from the advanced cyber-threats they will be facing. “

A security solution for embedded devices must ensure the device firmware has not been tampered with, secure the data stored by the device, secure communication and protect the device from cyber-attacks. This can only be achieved by including security in the early stages of design.  There is no one one-size fits all security solution for embedded device.  Security requirements must take into consideration the cost of a security failure (economic, environmental, social, etc.), the risk of attack, available attack vectors, and the cost of implementing a security solution. 

This new whitepaper covers the top seven challenges for embedded security, how to stop the motivated hacker, and the the top security requirements for embedded devices.

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).

Brazilian company relies on NYI’s secure infrastructure and hands-on support to provide redundancy and base of operations in the U.S.

NEW YORKNYI, a New York company specializing in customized technology infrastructure solutions, announces that Porta 80, a leading web hosting and Internet company based in Brazil, chose NYI to provide secure infrastructure services to support its business critical operations.  NYI’s data center in New York serves as a major platform for Porta 80 in the U.S. and a reliable back-up for their Brazilian operations.

Based in São Paulo, Brazil, Porta 80 has been offering a suite of hosting services including web hosting, Internet, corporate email, and VoIP, since 2003. It built its company’s high-quality brand by leveraging best-in-class technology and equipment partners, and ensuring extremely reliable services and connectivity.

“Choosing NYI was a great decision for Porta 80 as time and time again we have seen their team go far beyond what vendors normally do,” states Rogerio Pereira, Chief Operating Officer and Operations Manager for Porta 80.  “Because of the distance between Brazil and New York, we need a partner that is a true extension of our team, always ready to help and with the knowledge and willingness to do whatever it takes. We have found that type of partner in NYI.”

NYI’s data centers offer fault-tolerant network connectivity and direct access to multiple carriers with global reach. Leveraging NYI’s redundant connectivity options, Porta 80 reliably links their Brazilian operations to their data center infrastructure in the U.S.

“International companies often require a base of operations in the U.S.” states Phil Koblence, Chief Operating Officer at NYI. “There is no better place than New York to provide that base. It is the optimal launching pad, as it is so interconnected with global commerce and innovative technology. With our team of onsite systems and network administrators, we become an indispensable resource in the U.S. for our clients from around the world. We save them money, time, and travel.”

For more information about NYI and its suite of colocation, hybrid cloud, managed and disaster recovery services, please visit www.nyi.net or contact us at salesteam@nyi.net.


About NYI

At NYI, we understand you’re important and so is your business. Our approach is simple, effective and unique in our marketplace. We look beyond our world-class data centers and focus on supporting customer growth and success acting as a genuine extension of your IT team. Since 1996, we have provided our customers with fully managed, highly customized infrastructure solutions built to suit their specific business and mission critical IT needs. Our customers view us as a true partner; always available for round-the-clock support from a team they know and trust.

Colocation - Cloud - Hybrid - Managed Services - Disaster Recovery

NYI is SSAE 16, PCI and HIPAA-compliant. For more information, visit www.nyi.net; call (800) 288-7387; or follow the company on Twitter and LinkedIn

ABOUT Porta 80

Porta 80 Web Hosting is a company founded in 2003 that specializes in Internet services, working with website hosting, corporate email, cloud servers solutions, colocation, dedicated servers, VoIP, streaming and other services. For more information visitwww.porta80.com.br.

This week I want to continue examining the good news coming out of the 2014 Annual Report on the State of Disaster Recovery Preparedness from the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council .  Based on hundreds of responses from organizations worldwide, the Annual Report offers several insights into the best practices of companies that are better prepared to recover from outages or disasters.

You can download the report for free at http://drbenchmark.org/

Specifically, I want to explore what organizations are doing to set specific DR metrics for RTOs and RPOs so they can measure and test their DR performance—and hopefully enhance their ability to manage recovery faster and more effectively.

Results from the survey indicate that more prepared organizations set specific DR metrics for RTOs and RPOs.  These organizations, for example, define specific Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives for each of their mission critical business services such as Customer Orders, Finance, and Email communications.



Computerworld — IT executives at Splunk faced a challenge. They needed to provide training materials for employees who would be using a new security program. The $268 million San Francisco company makes an application that collects machine data on everything from servers to elevators and heating systems.

"A lot of our employees have Ph.D.s and are IT geniuses," says CIO Doug Harr. Rather than lay down the law with these folks about what they can and can't load on their desktop computers, IT gives them administrative powers and a few security guidelines. So when it was time to train users, Harr knew a run-of-the-mill how-to would be a bad idea. "We looked long and hard for training materials that would be acceptable to them," he says.



Asia Pacific (AP) organizations have historically been slower to outsource critical information security functions, largely due to concerns that letting external parties access internal networks and manage IT security operations exposes them to too much risk. They have also not fully understood the real business benefits of outsourcing partnerships from a security perspective. However, this trend has recently started to reverse. I have just published a report that outlines the key factors contributing to this change:

  • Skill shortages are leading to higher risk exposure. Scarce internal security skills and a dearth of deep technical specialists in the labor pool are ongoing challenges for organizations around the world. This not only raises the cost of staffing and severely restricts efficiency, it may also increase the costs of security breaches by giving cybercriminals more time to carry out attacks undetected; at least one study indicates that the majority of reported breaches are not discovered for months or even years. The early adopters of managed security services in AP tell us that external service providers’ staff have more technical knowledge and skill than their internal employees.



DENVER – In the past six months, more than $284 million in federal funds has been provided to Coloradans as they recover from last September’s devastating floods.

More than $222 million has come in the form of disaster grants to individuals and families, flood insurance payments and low-interest loans to renters, homeowners and businesses. More than $62 million has been obligated to state and local governments’ response and recovery work.

At the same time, long-term recovery efforts are underway, staffed and funded by federal, state and local governments, and by volunteer agencies dedicated to helping those most in need.

The $284.9 million breaks down this way: (All figures are as of COB March 3, 2014.)

  • $60,418,419 in FEMA grants to more than 16,000 individuals and families for emergency home repairs, repair or replacement of essential personal property, rental assistance, and help with medical, dental, legal and other disaster-related expenses;
  • $98,750,000 in U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans to more than 2,440 homeowners, renters and businesses;
  • $63,641,332 in National Flood Insurance Program payments on 2,071 claims, and
  • $62,055,973 in FEMA Public Assistance reimbursements to state and local governments for emergency response efforts, debris cleanup, repairs or rebuilding of roads, bridges and other infrastructure, and restoration of critical services.

“The flooding disrupted the lives of thousands, changed the course of streams, isolated mountain communities, and left major roadways impassable in many places,” said Tom McCool, federal coordinating officer for the disaster. “More than 1,200 men and women from FEMA were mobilized from all over the country to this disaster. We’re proud to be part of the team as Coloradans recover, rebuild and renew their lives.”

Over a five-day period last September, historic rainfall swept through the Front Range, with some areas receiving more than 17 inches of rain. The flooding killed 10 people, forced more than 18,000 from their homes and destroyed 1,882 structures, damaging at least 16,000 others. Some of the hardest hit communities included Jamestown, Lyons, Longmont, Glen Haven, Estes Park and Evans.

At the request of Gov. John Hickenlooper, President Obama signed a major disaster declaration for Colorado on Sept. 14, 2013.

The 11 counties designated for Individual Assistance under the major disaster declaration are Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan and Weld.

The 18 counties designated for Public Assistance are Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, Crowley, Denver, El Paso, Fremont, Gilpin, Jefferson, Lake, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick, Washington and Weld.                 

Other federal recovery activities and programs include:

Hazard Mitigation

  • Approximately 50 percent of Public Assistance permanent repair work and nearly 65 percent of large (more than $67,500) Public Assistance projects contain mitigation measures to lessen the impact of similar disasters on publicly owned infrastructure. These mitigation measures have been approved for 123 projects with a cost of $3,439,200.
  • FEMA hazard mitigation specialists have provided county and local officials with technical assistance and reviews of existing flood control measures and challenges, helping revise hazard mitigation plans, and providing advice and counsel on numerous mitigation and flood insurance issues.
  • FEMA flood insurance inspectors assisted county officials to assess substantial damage at identified sites.
  • National Flood Insurance Program specialists as well as the state NFIP coordinator and state mapping coordinator met with the City of Evans to discuss floodplain management and the city’s recent adoption of the Weld County preliminary maps. The State and FEMA will continue to work with city officials by providing additional training and technical assistance to support their floodplain management program.

Disaster Case Management Program

  • FEMA has awarded a Disaster Case Management Grant of $2,667,963 to the State of Colorado. Under this state-administered program, case managers will meet one-on-one with survivors to assess unmet disaster-related needs that have not been covered by other resources.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

  • $302,795 has been dispersed to 151 applicants in this federally funded, state-administered program.

Crisis Counseling Grant Program

  • Colorado Spirit crisis counselors have talked directly with 18,178 people and provided referrals and other helpful information to more than 88,000. Counselors met with nearly 1,200 individuals or families in their homes. The counselors are continuing door-to-door services and community outreach counseling programs. In mid-March, the longer-term Crisis Counseling Regular Services Program grant will be awarded to the State to continue the program.
  • The grant will provide an additional nine months of crisis counseling outreach services to survivors.

Voluntary Agencies

  • At the height of the disaster there were 53 agencies that ultimately provided a total of 275,784 volunteer hours. Survivors received shelter, food, water, snacks, muck-out, and debris removal.
  • Long Term Recovery Groups have been established in Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties, and Longmont and Lyons.
  • El Paso and Fremont counties are offering case management through El Paso County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.

Disaster Legal Services Program

  • Through the Colorado Bar Association/American Bar Association  program, 284 State Bar-Licensed volunteer attorneys assisted 619 survivors with disaster-related legal issues. The program completed operations at the end of February.

Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination

  • The Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination group has brought together federal and state subject-matter experts to advise local and state decision-makers on the best methods to achieve an effective recovery. The FDRC focuses on how best to restore, redevelop and revitalize the health, social, economic, natural and environmental fabric of the community.
  • The group’s recently released Mission Scoping Assessment lists recovery-related impacts and the breadth of support needed, as well as evaluates gaps between recovery needs and capabilities. Its soon-to-be-released Recovery Support Strategies document outlines state recovery priorities and discusses how federal agencies can support those efforts.
  • The State of Colorado, FDRC and other federal agencies are:
  • assisting Lyons and Jamestown with long-term community planning and recovery organization;
  • facilitating a survey to gauge impacts of flooding on business communities;
  • helping identify housing options for disaster survivors, and
  • helping local governments identify stream channel choke points so local communities can prioritize limited hazard reduction in streams.

Social Media

  • By clicking the “like” button on the COEmergency Facebook page, Coloradans can get detailed posts with useful information and photos. The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s (DHSEM) Twitter account COEmergency has more than 23,000 followers and offers disaster recovery information, links to news products and other information that disaster survivors may still find useful.
  • More than 1,000 tweets have provided response and recovery information. Since the September floods began, more than 1,200 new participants have started following FEMA Region 8.

As today’s business environment requires greater levels of business continuity than ever before, a new survey commissioned by Avaya demonstrates that traditional network vulnerabilities are causing more business impacts that most realize, resulting in revenue and job losses.

The survey of mid-to-large companies in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom found that 82 percent of those surveyed experienced some type of network downtime caused by IT personnel making errors when configuring changes to the core of the network. In fact, the survey found that one-fifth of all network downtime in 2013 was caused by core errors. Even more troubling is the fact that 80 percent of companies experiencing downtime from core errors in 2013 lost revenue, with the average company losing $140,003 per incident. The financial sector lost an average of $540,358 per incident.

The resulting impact on a career can be significant: 1 in 5 companies fired an IT employee when a network downtime incident occurred. The factor was more dramatic for some industries. Respondents also said that 1 in 3 companies in the natural resources, utilities & telecoms sector sacked IT staff due to downtime caused by change errors.

Survey methodology:
Avaya surveyed 210 IT professionals in large organizations (250+ employees) within the United States, Canada and United Kingdom to understand how much revenue was lost in total as a result of all the downtime incidents caused by core network changes in 2013. The surveys were completed in January 2014 in coordination with Dynamic Markets (UK).


Disasters both natural and human-caused can damage or destroy data and communications networks. Presentations at the 2014 OFC Conference and Exposition, being held March 9th-13th in San Francisco, Calif., USA will offer new information on strategies that can mitigate the impacts of these disasters:

New algorithm finds safe refuge for cloud data 

Much of our computing these days, from browsing websites and watching online videos to checking email and following social networks, relies on the cloud. The cloud lives in data centers and disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or even terrorist attacks, can damage the data centers and the communication links between them, causing massive losses in data and costly disruptions.

To mitigate such potential damage, researchers from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), Sakarya University in Turkey, and Politecnico de Milano in Italy, first analyzed the risk that a disaster may pose to a communications network, based on the possible damage of a data center or the links that connect them to users. Then, they created an algorithm that keeps data safe by moving or copying the data from data centers in peril to more secure locations away from the disaster. The algorithm assesses the risks for damage and users' demands on the network to determine, in real-time, which locations would provide the safest refuge from a disaster.