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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Now that a good number of enterprises have gained a modicum of experience with public cloud architectures, attention is turning in earnest toward replicating those environments on internal infrastructure.

The private cloud, in fact, is expected to be one of the chief growth areas for both enterprise-class hardware and software as organizations seek to first build the broad scalability needed to support a functioning cloud, and then the virtual and software layers to make it happen.

Indeed, the private cloud has emerged as a top priority within the enterprise vendor community as it provides a unique opportunity to remake the entire data infrastructure stack from the ground up. Dell, for example, has zeroed in on the private cloud now that its lengthy privatization process is complete, teaming up with Red Hat to integrate the OpenStack-friendly RHEL 6.5 across Dell’s data center portfolio. Dell will also take on RHEL service and support functions, even if the system is deployed on non-Dell hardware, a testament to the company’s desire to function within what is likely to be a broad, multi-vendor environment.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/public-and-private-clouds-similar-but-not-the-same.html

There is a 14-dog race going on, with a goal to win the wallets of the enterprise for mobile security spend. When lined up in the starting blocks, the racers may all seem to have equal chances, but a few are better poised to cross the finish line first and bask in the glory of the winners' circle. Three of these technologies are the odds-on favorites to lead from start to finish, with the rest of the racers struggling to remain relevant.

Coming off the starting block with the "holeshot" are the mobile device management vendors. With huge engines of revenue, large customer counts, and first-mover advantage, this dog is the odds-on favorite to take the championship trophy. Mobile device management vendors are already expanding their technologies and products into security platforms to diversify their rapidly commoditized product offerings. The move is paying off for the biggest and toughest MDM participants in the race, giving them the early, and potentially insurmountable, lead.
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Insight Venture Partners’ portfolio companies join forces to create data protection platform ideally suited for small and mid-market organizations

COLUMBIA, S.C., December 16, 2013Unitrends, the leading provider of all-in-one backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery solutions, today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire  PHD Virtual Technologies, an innovator of virtual backup and disaster recovery assurance solutions. Both companies have primary investments from Insight Venture Partners, a leading global private equity and venture capital firm. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Click to Tweet:  Unitrends acquires PHD Virtual; builds #dataprotection and #disasterrecovery powerhouse for SMBs @Unitrends http://ctt.ec/jfX45+

This acquisition will give Unitrends the ability to leverage PHD Virtual’s proven technology platform and data protection products, which are perfectly suited to meet the unique demands of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs/SMEs). Combined, Unitrends and PHD Virtual serve more than 10,000 customers worldwide and have more than 8,000 global channel partner representatives. With data protection solutions for physical, virtual and cloud environments and the freedom to choose a deployment model (appliance, software or cloud), Unitrends’ enhanced product portfolio provides customers with a more affordable and easier-to-use array of data protection solutions.

“The small and mid-sized companies that power today’s economy have significant data protection and disaster recovery needs that have largely gone unmet,” said Mike Coney, president and CEO of Unitrends. “Unitrends and PHD Virtual, both of whom have built their businesses serving this broad market and understand its unique requirements, will join forces to develop a platform that offers the most robust data protection and disaster recovery solutions available on the market today. PHD Virtual’s unique disaster recovery product, ReliableDR, combined with Unitrends’ cutting-edge virtual and physical instant recovery technologies, will be an excellent accelerator for our growth strategy in this market.”

The worlds of data protection and disaster recovery are merging and the combination of Unitrends and PHD Virtual is a real game-changer,” said James Legg, president and CEO, PHD Virtual. “Our combined product portfolio is a one-stop shop for SMBs, with solutions spanning backup, replication and disaster recovery. Our customers will benefit from Unitrends’ excellent product capabilities, such as support for physical, virtual and cloud environments, as well as the company’s industry expertise and global footprint.”

“Both Unitrends and PHD Virtual have proven track records with their powerful, cost-effective and easy-to-use data protection products,” said Mike Triplett, managing director at Insight Venture Partners. “Given their success to date, we believe this merger will position the combined entity for accelerated growth with a broader offering that will serve the SMB/SME market extremely well.”

About PHD Virtual Technologies

PHD Virtual provides the best value in data protection and recovery assurance for virtual and cloud environments. More than 6,500 customersworldwide rely on its solutions that reduce the risks and costs of recovery, are easier to use and far more affordable than competitive alternatives. PHD Virtual has been transforming data protection and recovery assurance since 2006. For more information, please visit: http://www.phdvirtual.com/

About Unitrends

The trusted provider of all-in-one backup solutions, Unitrends enables its customers to focus on their business instead of backup. The company's family of scalable, all-in-one appliances and software solutions for backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery protects corporate data, over 100 different versions of servers, operating systems (including Windows, Hyper-V, VMware, Mac OS, Linux, AIX, Solaris and many others), SAN, NAS, hypervisors (including Hyper-V and VMware) and applications (including Exchange, SQL, Oracle and many others).  Unitrends is the preferred choice of IT professionals because the company sets the standard in virtual, physical and cloud server data protection with instant recovery that enables complete system recovery in less than five minutes while Unitrends' pricing offers the lowest TCO in the industry. Unitrends' regionally-based support team boasts a 98% customer satisfaction rate. Visit http://www.unitrends.com.

CIO — Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) staffing is both your organization's greatest asset and greatest monetary investment, says John Rivard, research director for Infrastructure and Operations at Gartner.

It's on the shoulders of these folks that the future of your organization rests, and if you're not doing everything you can to recruit and retain the best of the best, you could be at a competitive disadvantage, he says.

"I believe there's going to be a battle over the future of your organization, and I&O is at the crossroads," Rivard said. "Your best employees have a greater, more positive impact on your organization than your best customers," he says.

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http://www.cio.com/article/744599/How_to_Win_the_IT_Infrastructure_and_Operations_Talent_War

Achieving certifications within the IT field is almost a rite of passage. Most IT workers have a degree, but specialize in a certain technology and may become certified in that area to help prove their mastery of that skill or technology.

However, some professionals are still leery of certifications. Is all that studying and testing really worth it? Do employers really pay attention to certifications on resumes? Which certification would be right for the job? And will you need to keep up the certification after you achieve it?

In our IT Downloads section, you will find an excerpt from the book “The Basics of Achieving Professional Certification: Enhancing Your Credentials.” The download features Chapter 5: Maintaining Professional Certifications.

This chapter discusses the need for keeping certifications current and up to date. According to the chapter:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-tools/the-importance-of-achieving-and-retaining-certifications.html

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, along with partners from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are encouraging homeowners, renters and businesses to apply for low-interest disaster loans to help fund their losses.

If Illinois residents apply for assistance with FEMA and are referred to the SBA, it’s important for them to submit a loan application to assure that the federal disaster recovery process continues and they keep their options open:

  • Many survivors who register with FEMA will be contacted by the SBA. Survivors can submit their SBA disaster loan applications one of three ways: by mail, in person at a Disaster Recovery Center or online at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ela.
  • It is important for survivors to complete and return the application as soon as possible. Filing the loan application does not obligate people to accept an SBA loan and failure to complete and submit an SBA loan application may stop the FEMA grant process. However, homeowners and renters who submit an SBA application and are declined a loan may be considered for certain other FEMA grants and programs that could include assistance for disaster-related car repairs, clothing and household items.
  • Next to insurance, an SBA loan is the primary funding source for real estate property repairs and replacing lost contents following a disaster like a tornado. Homeowners may be eligible for low interest loans up to $200,000 for repairs.
  • SBA can help renters replace their essential items. Homeowners and renters may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
  • Loans for businesses and private non-profit organizations. Loans are available up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate, and other business assets.  Eligible small businesses and non-profits can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. 
  • Do not wait on an insurance settlement before returning an application. Insurance may not pay for any or all of the storm-related damage. Survivors can begin their recovery immediately with an SBA disaster loan.  The loan balance will be reduced by their insurance settlement.
     

For additional information about SBA low-interest disaster loans, contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting sba.gov/disaster. SBA customer service representatives are available at all disaster recovery centers. Centers can be found online at fema.gov/DRC.

For the latest information on Illinois’ recovery from the Nov. 17 storms, visit FEMA.gov/Disaster/4157. Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, facebook.com/fema and youtube.com/fema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

SBA provides low-interest, long term disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. For more information, visit SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster.

What is your plan in case your company is hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack? Do you have a plan?

If you are like many of the companies surveyed in Corero Network Security’s most recent poll, the answer would be no, you probably don’t have a plan in place, despite knowing what the risks are. The survey of 100 companies discovered that 44 percent have no formal response plan. Worse yet, more than half don’t have the tools in place to defend against a DDoS attack.

Part of the problem, Corero discovered, is that companies tend to under-invest in security for their network infrastructure. And even when they do have security tools in place, no one is ensuring that they work when needed. It’s like having a jack and a spare tire in the trunk of your car but never checking to make sure the jack works or whether there is air in the tire. You might think you are prepared in case of a flat, but when the time actually comes, you are in no better shape than you would be if the jack and tire were at home in the garage.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/companies-unprepared-for-ddos-attacks.html

Quickly made business decisions and innovations in technology—such as big data and social media—can throw a curve to a company’s strategic risk management, according to a survey by Deloitte. As a result, risk managers need to be prepared to act quickly to avoid disruptions that can follow.

The study, Exploring Strategic Risk: 300 Executives around the World Say Their View of Strategic Risk is Changing, found that 81% of companies surveyed manage strategic risk explicitly, focusing on major risks that could impact the long-term performance of their organization.

Strategic risk management is also more of a board level priority, with 67% saying the CEO and board have oversight in managing strategic risk. They also say reputation risk is now their biggest risk concern. Much of this concern is due to the instantaneous aspects of social media globally, which can impact a company’s perception in the marketplace.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/executives-explore-strategic-risk

The proverbial stitch in time may save nine, but IT operations predicting problems before they occur saves more than just the budget.

TeamQuest, a provider of IT management software, has made available a predictive analytics offering that can be used to identify the root causes of likely future performance issues.

According to TeamQuest product advocate Dave Wagner, TeamQuest Risk Prediction helps IT organizations address the complexity of IT environments where multiple application workloads now routinely run on top of virtual machines that compete for a limited amount of physical resources. By applying predictive analytics to that complexity, Wagner says TeamQuest Risk Prediction can be used to analyze the data it collects as often as every 15 minutes.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/teamquest-applies-predictive-analytics-to-it-operations.html

Ray Abide looks at the concepts of detail complexity and dynamic complexity in the context of business continuity planning.

Over an extended period of time, I believe that a conventional instinct is to add more specifics and detail to our business continuity plans. This may be guided by increasing complexity in the subject business or by our improved understanding and planning maturity brought about by plan exercises or experience gained by plan activation during a crisis.

While this increasing detail and texture in the plan may seem to be an improvement or an enhancement, it is only true if the incremental planning addresses the type of complexity that can be reduced or eliminated, in advance.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1130.html