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Volume 28, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Thursday, 20 November 2014 15:29

The SDDC: Still a Work in Progress

It’s funny how technology always progresses to a higher state even before the current state has made its way to widespread use. First blade servers, then virtualization and then the cloud all made their way into the collective IT consciousness while most enterprise managers were still getting their feet wet with the current “state of the art” technology.

These days, the buzz is all about the software-defined data center (SDDC), which is an amalgam of nearly everything that has happened to IT over the past decade cobbled together into one glorious, trouble-free computing environment. And if you believe that last part, I have a bridge to sell you.

What is clear is that by virtualizing the three pillars of data infrastructure – compute, storage and networking – entire data environments could potentially be created and dismissed at whim. I say “potentially” because the technology to do this simply does not exist yet, at least not in the way that people expect: quickly, easily and with little or no training.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-sddc-still-a-work-in-progress.html

(TNS) — As nationwide alarm over Ebola fades, hospital officials and public health professionals are trying to ensure that lessons learned don’t disappear along with it.

After a Liberian man carrying the disease died last month in a hospital in Dallas and two of his nurses became infected, facilities stepped up training and planning for Ebola cases.

“The mantra is, ‘Don’t be the next Dallas,’ ” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases for the University of Utah health system.

But as the situation abates, so does the urgency to act. With a quarter of American hospitals losing money in day-to-day operations, according to the American Hospital Association, expensive and time-consuming training for unknown future outbreaks is not always a top priority, experts say.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/Ebola-Scare-Dies-Down-Infectious-Disease-Preparations-Wane.html

(TNS) — On the coldest morning since last winter, officials with numerous state agencies gathered Tuesday morning to practice ways to avoid a repeat of last winter’s memorable “Snowmageddon.”

On that cold January day, heavy snow moved into metro Atlanta just as businesses and government agencies sent workers home, and thousands of motorists were stranded overnight — and well into the next day — on jammed, ice- and snow-laden streets and interstates.

Tuesday, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency opened its Emergency Operations Center for a coordination exercise that involved GEMA, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Georgia National Guard.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Georgia-Agencies-Prep-Next-Snowmageddon.html

MINNEAPOLIS – Kroll Ontrack, the leading provider of data recovery and ediscovery products and services, today announced its 12th annual list of the top 10 data disasters from 2014. For the last 12 years, Kroll Ontrack has been collecting and publishing a list of the toughest physical and logical failures from its offices around the globe.

“Kroll Ontrack is proud to be able to ‘save the day’ when the unexpected happens,” said Todd Johnson, vice president of data recovery operations, Kroll Ontrack. “As the global leader in data recovery, Kroll Ontrack applies its state-of-the-art data recovery services and proprietary data recovery software to recover from all types of deleted, corrupt, missing, or inaccessible data loss. We’ve truly seen it all, but never give up hope. That attitude is what makes us successful, even with the worst of cases.”

2014Top Ten List of Data Disasters Compiled by Kroll Ontrack

10. Water Damage at a Fire Call (Germany)
A firefighter was fighting a fire when his Nokia Lumia 610 was damaged by water. He lost all of his data including photos of family and friends. Kroll Ontrack was asked to help and successfully recovered 732 photos from the phone.

9. Late (United States)
One company was preparing for a new IT infrastructure. The new storage array was waiting to be unpacked and powered up in the server room. The day before connecting it, the old storage array broke down and access to critical data was lost. After few minutes of panic and stress, an IT administrator decided not to make the situation worse and called the specialists at Kroll Ontrack. Everything ended positively.

8. Unfortunate Accident (Norway)
Kroll Ontrack received a call from a person who was in a ferry accident. His camera had been submerged in the water for over an hour. Ontrack Data Recovery specialists were able to recover the photos from the corroded memory card.             

7. The Dog Ate My… (United States)
A dog mistook a USB flash drive for a chew toy. When the drive arrived at Kroll Ontrack, it had teeth marks all over it. The dog eventually made it out of the dog house because all of the USB drive data was recovered.

6. Microsoft® Surface Mystery (United States)
Sometimes we don’t get the story behind what happened to a device. Kroll Ontrack received a Microsoft® Surface “smashed” into pieces. All that is known is that data recovery was 100 percent successful.

5. Swept Away Server (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
A flood in the Balkan countries swept a RAID server 100 meters from the building it originated in. It took two weeks to locate the server where it had been sitting in water the entire time. Kroll Ontrack recovered 100 percent of the data.

4. Data Under Attack (United States)
When data loss is intentional, it’s usually with malicious intent. Hackers infiltrated a hotel this year deleting all of the active and backup data for 35 LUNs. Our team of highly-trained engineers worked onsite and remotely to recover all of the data that was lost.

3. It Can Happen to Anyone (United States)
Even Kroll Ontrack employees are not immune to data loss. While visiting the restroom in between meetings, a Kroll Ontrack employee slipped her iPhone into the back-pocket of her pants for safe keeping. As she stood up and picked up her briefcase to exit, the phone escaped, landing squarely in the toilet. Dripping wet, the employee brought her personal phone to the mobile recovery specialist in the cleanroom with a plea for help. No questions asked, engineering took on the case. All of the employee’s phone data, including her photos of her daughter, contacts and text messages were recovered.

2. Waterfall Folly (Iceland)
A young woman was taking pictures on her smartphone of a beautiful waterfall when a gust of wind drenched her with spray from the waterfall. She was covered in water and so was her phone. The woman lost access to her phone and all of her photos, but Kroll Ontrack performed a full recovery returning the photos and the phone in working order.

1. A Difference in Opinion (Poland)
>From the client’s perspective: “My laptop did not want to follow my instructions. We totally disagreed with each other, and I lost my temper, hitting it strongly with an open hand. The laptop drive was damaged – that’s why I’m here.” At odds with his computer, the client hit the laptop directly in the place where the drive resided, and that resulted in the head scratching the platters. It was extensive damage, but Kroll Ontrack recovered 50 percent of the crucial data.

For more information about the 2014 Top 10 Data Disasters or to see a video of the top three stories visit:http://www.krollontrack.com/data-recovery/data-disasters-2014.

About Kroll Ontrack Inc.
Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyze, and produce data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, electronic discovery and document review. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit:www.krollontrack.comor follow @KrollOntrack on Twitter.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s (IBHS) free business continuity planning toolkit, OFB-EZ (Open for Business-EZ), is now available as a free, mobile app.

IBHS member company, EMC Insurance Companies, partnered with IBHS to develop the new app, OFB-EZ Mobile, which guides users through an easy process to create a recovery plan that will help even the smallest business recover and re-open quickly after a disaster.

OFB-EZ Mobile, available for Android devices in the Google Play Store and for Apple devices in the App Store, includes several helpful planning tools, such as evaluation checklists to help business users understand their risks, and forms for users to enter and store important contact information for employees, key customers, suppliers, and vendors.

OFB-EZ is also available at no charge in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) and Microsoft Word formats on the IBHS website at: http://www.disastersafety.org/open-for-business.

A recent poll by the Security Executive Council set out to discover which business continuity standards are being used when organizations are developing their business continuity programs.

The results show that ISO 22301 was used most often. 34 percent of poll respondents use this standard to benchmark against. However, surprisingly 30 percent stated that they do not benchmark their business continuity program against any standard.

The other standards in use are:

  • NFPA 1600 12 percent
  • ISO/IEC 27001 8 percent
  • BS 25999 6 percent
  • ISO/PAS 22399 4 percent
  • Other 6 percent

The ‘Other’ category included write-in votes for other business continuity related standards, the most popular being CSA Z1600, HB 221/292, and NIST 800-53.

More details.

Blue Coat Systems has published research results that show that the growing use of encryption to address privacy concerns is creating perfect conditions for cyber criminals to hide malware inside encrypted transactions, and even reducing the level of sophistication required for malware to avoid detection.

The use of encryption across a wide variety of websites — both business and consumer - is increasing as concerns around personal privacy grow. In fact, eight of the top 10 global websites as ranked by Alexa deploy SSL encryption technology throughout all or portions of their sites. For example, technology goliaths Google, Amazon and Facebook have switched to an ‘always on HTTPS’ model to secure all data in transit using SSL encryption.

Business critical applications, such as file-storage, search, cloud-based business software and social media, have long-used encryption to protect data-in-transit. However, the lack of visibility into SSL traffic represents a potential vulnerability to many enterprises where benign and hostile uses of SSL are indistinguishable to many security devices. As a result, encryption enables threats to bypass network security and allows sensitive employee or corporate data to leak from anywhere inside the enterprise.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07453.html

If your employees travel on behalf of your business – whether in the U.S. or abroad – you are legally responsible for their health and safety. In fact, Duty of Care legislation has become increasingly important in the corporate travel world.  Companies that fail to safeguard their employees not only risk the health and safety of their people, but also can face legal, financial and reputational consequences.

Someone in your company must be responsible for ensuring the safety and health of traveling employees (usually, this falls on an administrator from the human resources or risk management department). This should include implementing a well balanced, company-wide travel risk management plan.

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http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/understanding-reducing-business-travel-risks-employees

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:12

Why Incident Management Matters

Throughout its history, the Business Continuity industry has maintained a steady focus on Preparedness – understanding the organization’s most critical business functions (both technological and operational) and development of Plans to respond to any disruption of those critical functions. That makes sense.  How that can be accomplished has been refined and tweaked over time through various ‘standards’ and ‘best practices’. Those activities answer some basic questions:

  • What do we need to protect?
  • How will we prepare to respond to a disruption of those critical functions?

What has always been omitted in that analysis has been the third major question:

  • How will we manage that response?

If you ask 20 BCM practitioners that question you will get a wide variety of answers:

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http://www.ebrp.net/why-incident-management-matters/

Integration permeates all four stages of cloud adoption, from experimenters to companies that are “brutally transforming” their business and workflows through cloud, a recent report by CompTIA shows. In other words, it’s not so much a barrier to cloud adoption as it is a “hidden challenge,” according to Seth Robinson, senior director of Technology Analysis for the firm.

“Integration pops up in every stage; it's the one that runs through everything,” said Robinson via a call this week. “Even as, in general, the early stages see more technical challenges and the leaders see more behavioral or culture challenge, that challenge of integration — which is more of a technical challenge — does run through every stage.

“And that really goes back to what was known for a long time, that integration tends to be the lion's share of the cost or effort in an IT project."

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/integration-still-a-costly-hidden-challenge-for-cloud-adopters.html