It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for a retailer. Target informed shoppers that if they charged an item at Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, their credit and debit card accounts may have been compromised—as much as 40 million cards in all.
While online shoppers typically have been the victims, this time hackers went through the physical checkout systems inside every Target store—about 2,000 stores, 1,797 in the United States and 124 in Canada. It’s possible that every shopper who swiped a credit card or entered a pin number at the point of sale had their information stolen.
Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, director of the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at the University of Washington told TIME Magazine that hacking “is a business. The general public would be shocked and amazed by the size of the problem.”
Give the IT industry credit for facing up to the challenge of energy consumption over the past few years. Once it entered the popular consciousness that data infrastructure consumes a significant portion of total energy capacity, industry leaders across the board set to work building more efficient infrastructure.
Part of this was simple economics, of course – less energy means lower operating costs. And to be sure, virtualization came along at just the right time to slim down hardware footprints without sacrificing data processing capabilities.
And now it seems some planners are moving onto the next goal, and a rather ambitious one at that: the zero-carbon data center. A colocation firm in Iceland is nearing completion on a facility that relies entirely on hydroelectric and geothermal sources to power its fully modular data infrastructure. The company recently installed a free air cooling system from Eaton-Williams that operates without chillers or mechanical cooling of any kind, instead taking advantage of arctic winds brought in by the Gulf Stream. The Tier-3 facility measures about 23,000 square meters and is backed by redundant UPS supplies for critical systems, with power densities ranging from 4 kW to 16 kW per rack.
By Dan Watson, Public Affairs
At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
A Potentially Stormy Holiday
According to our friends at the National Weather Service, a storm system is set to track across the nation this weekend, impacting states in a variety of ways and potentially disrupting holiday travel. Here’s the latest forecast from the NWS:
- Heavy rain is forecast from the lower Mississippi River Valley to the Ohio Valley this weekend with a risk for flash flooding.
- A wintry mix, including freezing rain and snow, is possible from the central Great Plains, through the Great Lakes and to northern New England this weekend.
- The NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has indicated a Moderate Risk of severe thunderstorms on Saturday, with possible tornadoes, for portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
- Severe thunderstorms are possible from the Central Gulf Coast/Lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley Saturday.
As you travel to visit friends and loved ones for the holidays, we encourage you to exercise caution and monitor weather conditions as they change. Stay up-to-date on weather conditions in your area by visit weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device. Also, visit Ready.gov for more winter weather safety tips and other great resources!
Be Prepared in 2014!
With the New Year around the corner, it’s time to make our resolutions. Why not Resolve to be Ready for an emergency?
This year, we’re continuing our Resolve to be Ready campaign with an emphasis on 'Family Connections' – reinforcing the importance of getting kids involved in preparedness conversations in advance of an emergency. We’re making your emergency preparedness resolution easy to keep this year with three simple tips when making a plan: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.
Here’s what you can do:
- Make a family communication plan that answers – who to call, where to meet and what to pack.
- Join our Thunderclap on Facebook and Twitter and share a New Year's resolution of preparedness with your followers. How does Thunderclap work? Once you sign up, Thunderclap will sync your social media accounts to release an automatic Facebook post, Tweet or both on January, 1, 2014 at 12:30 PM reminding your friends and followers to make a family emergency plan.
- Use #Prepared2014 in your social media messaging throughout 2014 to remind your friends and followers to be prepared for emergencies all year long.
- Share preparedness messages from the Ready Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Visit ready.gov/prepared2014 for more information on how you can Resolve to be Ready in 2014!
Photos of the Week
Here are a few of our favorite photos that came into our Photo Library this week.
New Topics on Our Online Collaboration Tool
We’ve recently launched a few new topics on our online collaboration tool and as always, we want to hear your thoughts and ideas. Head on over and share your ideas, comment on others ideas, and vote for your favorite.
- FEMA’s Strategic Priorities
- Private Sector Technology Volunteers Supporting Disaster Response
- Increasing Transparency & Enhancing Disaster Preparedness
That’s it for today’s What We’re Watching. On behalf of everyone at FEMA, we wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday!
DENVER – In the 100 days following the catastrophic floods that hit much of Colorado, more than $204 million has gone to individuals and households in recovery assistance, flood insurance payments and low-interest disaster loans.
In addition, more than $28 million has been obligated to begin to repair and rebuild critical infrastructure and restore vital services.
Initially, the State, federal and local objectives were to save lives, bring aid to the affected areas, provide temporary safe housing, clear debris and to make immediate repairs to damaged infrastructure to put communities on the path to recovery.
President Obama signed a major-disaster declaration for Colorado Sept. 14 after severe and unremitting rains that began on Sept. 11 inundated much of the northeast portion of the state. The flooding killed 10 people, forced more than 18,000 from their homes, destroyed 1,882 structures and damaged at least 16,000 others.
Progress by the Numbers:
- Under the Individuals and Households Program, FEMA has granted $53,816,716 for housing needs and $4,572,871 to help survivors who suffered damage to their homes. Under the Public Assistance Program, FEMA has obligated $28,338,878 to publicly owned entities and certain nonprofits that provide vital services. (See below for county-by-county breakdowns.)
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 2,274 low-interest disaster loans for over $90 million to Colorado homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. Of that amount, $73 million was in loans to repair and rebuild homes and replace personal property and $17 million was in business and economic-injury loans. Approved loan amounts for some of the most impacted areas include $55.2 million to Boulder County, $14 million for Larimer County and $9.4 million for Weld County.
- More than 50 national, State and local volunteer organizations pitched in to help in the recovery efforts, involving the work of 28,664 people giving their time and energy to both short- and long-term healing and to address any unmet needs. Volunteers provided donations-coordination, home repair, child and pet care, counseling services, removal of muck and mud from homes and much more. In-kind donations amounted to $3,187,564. Valuing a volunteer hour at $22.43, the 275,860 hours of time represents a contribution of $6,162,725.
- The National Flood Insurance Program approved more than $55.7 million to settle 1,910 claims.
- More than 28,348 survivors registered for disaster assistance.
- FEMA housing inspectors in the field have looked at nearly 26,000 properties in the 11 counties designated for Individual Assistance in the president’s major-disaster declaration.
- FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams canvassed hundreds of neighborhoods, visiting more than 62,000 homes and 2,741 businesses to provide information on a vast array of services and resources available to eligible applicants and made follow-up contacts in hundreds of cases.
- More than 21,500 survivors were able to visit 26 State/federal Disaster Recovery Centers to get one-on-one briefings on available assistance, low-interest loans and other information.
- Since Transitional Sheltering Assistance was activated Sept. 22, a total of 1,067 households have stayed in 177 participating hotels. The Transitional Sheltering Assistance deadline was extended five times to Dec. 14, with checkout Dec. 15. To date, 55 manufactured housing units are either in place or being placed in Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties for families unable to secure other housing resources. FEMA has ordered a total of 66 manufactured housing units.
- In the 18 counties designated for FEMA’s Public Assistance program, 236 meetings were held to discuss the details of the program and the amounts involved in each recovery project. This component of federal assistance provides at least 75 percent of the costs of repairing and rebuilding public infrastructure, reimbursement for emergency measures, helping critical services conducted by governments and certain nonprofits get back to normal, and in some cases implementing mitigation against future damage and losses. FEMA and the State fielded 238 eligible Requests for Public Assistance. The amount obligated so far: $28,338,878.
- FEMA and the State supplied disaster-assistance information to 33 chambers of commerce, six economic-development centers and 38 schools of higher education.
- FEMA’s Speakers Bureau received 85 requests from officials and other interested parties and 443 State/federal specialists have spoken at meetings and other venues. Thus more than 8,300 attendees were able to get information on assistance programs, flood insurance and low-interest loans.
- FEMA mitigation specialists counseled 15,250 survivors during outreach efforts at area big-box hardware and building-supply stores and counseled more than 4,700 at Disaster Recovery Centers.
- At , the dedicated Colorado-disaster website, there have been more than 103,000 hits – an average of 1,300 daily. The FEMA Region VIII Twitter feed has fielded more than 600 tweets and has increased the number of followers to 9,100. In the last 100 days, the State has sent out 1,025 tweets, has increased to 21,500 @COemergency followers and the COemergency Facebook page garnered 2,182 “likes.” The coemergency.com page has had 234,757 page views.
- FEMA Corps teams were instrumental in spreading the word about assistance throughout the affected areas and worked alongside FEMA regulars in the Joint Field Office in Centennial. More than 300 FEMA Corps members helped survivors in responding to and recovering from the disaster.
Avere Systems has released the findings of a cloud adoption study conducted at AWS re:Invent 2013. The overwhelming majority of attendees surveyed indicated that they currently or plan to use cloud for compute, storage, or application purposes within the next two to five years. Cost savings and disaster recovery / business continuity were found to be the factors most heavily driving cloud storage adoption, indicating that organizations believe cloud storage has the potential to increase efficiency, productivity, and the bottom line for their business.
Despite the majority of participants reporting cloud use within the next few years, attendees surveyed indicated security, performance, and organizational resistance as the largest barriers to cloud adoption. In addition, more than a third of attendees surveyed reported that their primary providers of traditional on-premises storage equipment are not helping with their adoption of cloud storage.
Here’s what I see coming in the new year:
- Enlightened CIOs will regain a key role in the acquisition and implementation of enterprise Cloud solutions, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) computing resources. They will not only put policies in place that will encourage end-users and business units to include IT in the procurement and deployment processes, but will also enable IT to play a more proactive role in the evaluation and selection process.
- Corporate end-users and business units will be forced to enlist greater IT involvement and support in the acquisition and implementation of enterprise Cloud solutions because they will face greater challenges integrating them into their existing systems, software and data sources, and ensuring their security and performance.
- IT professionals will become more receptive to acquiring Cloud-based IT management solutions that enable them to more easily and economically perform their day-to-day duties so they can dedicate more time to strategic corporate initiatives.
Leading Unified Communications Provider Helps Education Leverage Today’s Technology
CROSBY, TX — Abletek, a leading provider of unified communications, announced today that the company will be launching a program designed specifically for the education market. Today’s teachers are utilizing outdated technology which is not only robbing them of much needed functionality but is also incurring unnecessary expenses during tough economic times. Abletek is actively spreading awareness about several of today’s technology advancements which increase a school’s capacity to collaborate, establish continuous communication channels and most importantly, improve overall campus security. These developments are affecting the lives of students, teachers, faculty, administrators and parents alike.
“Today’s school phone system is not like our parents’ phone system,” stated Bill Parker, President of Abletek. “Today, we’re able to provide educators with dramatically greater levels of communication and security than ever before. Frankly, this technology simply didn’t exist in years past, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to bring this caliber of technology to our school systems, for a cost that they can actually afford, especially since the features are much needed.”
One of the growing concerns of schools across the nation is security. With the unfortunate growth of domestic terrorism, this issue of campus safety has come to the forefront of discussion. Recent advancements in technology have given Abletek the ability to increase overall campus security like never before. One example is the development in instant messaging capabilities. For instance, in the event of an intruder on campus, students and teachers are now able to receive instant notification on their phones and 911 lockdowns are immediately initiated. In the event of such an emergency, two-way classroom communication allows teachers to speak back and forth with a central office than waiting for help. Such security is invaluable and provides far greater levels of comfort for parents and local district officials of schools that are deploying this type of technology.
Another far less dramatic usage for the same instant mass messaging technology, is targeted group messaging. An example of this in action would be if a basketball game were being cancelled, all patrons, students, athletes, officials, parents and transportation could immediately be notified of the cancellation, instead of having to coordinate with everyone separately. Furthermore, these messaging functions also ensure that the sent messages are delivered, received and read by the intended recipient, adding a new element of clarity.
Another in-classroom example of new technology impacting educators is the fact that teachers can now eliminate the mundane repetitiveness of taking daily classroom attendance. It is now commonplace for students to have cell phones and teachers can now take attendance with the push of a button via cell phone. “There are plenty of features and advancements to examine that enable schools to communicate more effectively, enhance security, and save time for educators and students,” added Mr. Parker.
Abletek is not your typical IT & communications company. We are a TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION PROVIDER and we care deeply about helping you maximize your productivity through effective Managed Services (MSP), IT, communications and related business technology solutions, and while a lot of companies may talk about increasing your productivity, Abletek actually delivers.
ABLETEK will remove the burden of managing your network and communications infrastructures by providing everything needed to maintain your servers, workstations, laptops, Pocket PCs/PDA/Treo, Switches, Routers, Email, Printers, VoIP, SIP, Digital & Analog Communications systems and more. Leverage our team of dedicated professionals and proven technology management resources to: CONTROL & REDUCE YOUR COSTS.
For more information on Abletek, call (713) 455.1888 or visit www.abletek.com.
CIO — Around this time last year, CIO.com and its outsourcing experts made some plucky predictions for IT services in 2013 We said this would be the year that outsourcing governance finally grew up. (Hardly.) We said outsourcing customers would take matters into their own hands with more do-it-yourself deals. (They did.) And we predicted that customers would value domestic presence as a key differentiator among service providers. (It was just one of many factors.)
We revisited all of our prognostications from last year and found that three of them were right on target, four of them were off base and the other two were just beginning to take shape at year's end. As we pull together our 2014 forecast, here's how those 2013 predictions turned out:
A number of big changes will start to impact IT in 2014 — but you should likely be thinking about them over the holiday break. Here are three trends I'm watching and what they will mean as we all get ready for the New Year.
First, robotics will move very rapidly now that Google is chasing the robot market. The question: Who will buy and maintain these robots, which will be increasingly used for anything from manufacturing to security? They'll need software updates, for one, and eventually they'll need to be managed like PCs, but the jobs robots replace or supplement will reside in other functions. Like all emerging technologies that enter at the bottom line, managers will initially be making the decisions without input from IT.
If one of your goals in the New Year is to move toward using Big Data, then it’s time to move beyond the theoretical discussion to the nitty-gritty of implementations.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore your strategic goals, of course: It just means filling in the integration blanks between having Big Data and using Big Data.
TechTarget recently published a good starting point by excerpting chapter 10 from “Data Warehousing in the Age of Big Data,” written by Krish Krishnan, who is a Chicago-based executive consultant with Daugherty Business Solutions and a TDWI faculty member.