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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

Full Contents Now Available!

Jon Seals

Organizations see improved efficiency, flexibility, finds study sponsored by Sungard Availability Services and EMC

 

WAYNE, Pa. – The swift migration to cloud computing and data recovery services shows no signs of slowing, with half of organizations reporting they expect to boost their cloud services budgets over the next 18 months, according to a new study conducted by IDG Research Services on behalf of Sungard® Availability Services and EMC® Corporation.

The survey of 132 organizations found that driving the movement to the cloud are pressures to pare costs and "do more with less," as well as the desire for employee mobility. In fact, the percentage of IT services provided by third parties – including outsourcers and cloud providers – is expected to climb 37 percent over the next three to five years. Respondents ranged from companies with less than 1,000 employees to those with more than 10,000.

Of those anticipating increasing their cloud service budgets:

  • ·        12 percent foresee a rise above 10 percent;
  • ·         18 percent expect a six to 10 percent boost;
  • ·         20 percent anticipate a one to five percent increase over the next 18 months;
  • ·         Two in five expect spending to remain the same;

·         10 percent foresee cloud service budgets decreasing. Average outlays are forecast to rise about three percent.

"Our survey confirms that organizations are becoming more sophisticated and knowledgeable about their uses for cloud," said Jack Dziak, Executive Vice President, Global Products, Sungard Availability Services.  "Indications are that while organizations are content to move productivity applications such as e-mail, HR, collaboration and conferencing solutions to the cloud, they are still hesitant to migrate mission critical applications relating to compliance, supply chain, and product lifecycle management."

Tony McCoy, Vice President, Cloud Service Providers, EMC Corporation added: "The cloud provides organizations with simplicity, choice and interoperability to help transform IT.  EMC-powered cloud solutions offered by EMC Cloud Service Providers help enable organizations with the ability to respond to the changing needs of their customers.  While a one-cloud-fits-all strategy is no longer enough, IT leaders clearly see the benefits of cloud services as a business enabler."

 

Security Still a Top Concern

Among the more challenging elements of the cloud, security ranks atop the list of concerns:

  • ·         65 percent of respondents are worried about security;
  • ·         Security also stands atop the list of challenges holding organizations back from adopting cloud recovery services, with 63 percent expressing concern;
  • ·         Organizations also wonder whether they will realize a return on their cloud spending, with 38 percent believing it will prove a challenge to realize an ROI on cloud recovery services. 

Not surprisingly, those already investing in cloud recovery services do not report security as a challenge. Regardless, organizations surveyed are moving quickly to cloud computing to gain the benefits of cloud services and data recovery services in the cloud.

Organizations anticipate benefiting from cloud computing in several ways:

  • ·         64 percent of respondents expect improved efficiency;
  • ·         58 percent foresee increased flexibility from using cloud services;
  • ·         While improved customer satisfaction is considered less important as a benefit, with 39 percent listing it, it still ranks as the third most significant benefit;

·         Other benefits cited include cloud recovery services, reduced downtime, improved reliability and enhanced productivity.

As for cloud recovery services, nearly half of organizations (46 percent) already invest in such services or plan to within the next one to two years, the survey revealed. Another 30 percent have such services on their radar. With speed of recovery listed as the top benefit of cloud recovery services, over six in ten respondents report four hours or less as the ideal recovery time goal.

The full results of the survey can be found here.

 

About Sungard Availability Services

Sungard® Availability Services™ (Sungard AS) has more than 30 years of experience providing flexible availability services that help ensure organizations keep applications always on, always available. The company leverages its proven expertise to provide managed IT services, information availability consulting services, business continuity management software and disaster recovery services to clients in North America, Europe and India. Sungard AS helps customers improve the resiliency of their mission critical systems by designing, implementing and managing cost-effective solutions using people, process and technology to address enterprise IT availability needs.

To learn more, visit www.sungardas.com or call 1-800-468-7483. Connect with us onTwitter @Sungardas, LinkedInandFacebook.

 

Sungard Availability Services is a trademark of SunGard Data Systems or its affiliate, used under license. The Sungard Availability Services logo by itself is a trademark of Sungard Availability Services Capital, Inc. or its affiliate.All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

Unified communications is an important trend but, when it comes to business continuity planning for critical communications systems, it may not be the best approach.

By Andrew Jones

Smart mobile devices have, by their very nature, brought voice and data convergence to a mass market. It’s easy to be convinced that they offer a panacea communications solution: addressing all needs and offering the best value for money. However, when critical communications are a key requirement the situation can become much more complicated and it may even become clear that separating voice and data systems could be a better solution, which could contradict the unified communications trend.

It is certainly possible to bring voice and data together when planned carefully with the right level of consideration for the longer term but it may not be that one size fits all and alternative designs and infrastructure may prove to be a more effective solution.

One of the biggest benefits to using smartphones in an organization is the ability to not only use the commercial cellular services but also private networks (either a private cellular/GSM network or even a wifi-enabled solution) – and rightly so, this is the kind of flexibility that is highly useful and simply was not available in the past. Today we continue to build our onsite networks and links to the outside world to provide high speed rich data content to suit our needs. However, as each year passes the content, definition of graphics and tolerance to delays shift, requiring us to carefully manage and upgrade our onsite wifi and Internet connectivity so it provides the best for our employees for the foreseeable future. We continue this stepwise investment to keep abreast of IT demands of our users and as far we know this trend is set to continue. So is introducing VoIP (Voice over IP) onto a wifi network that continually struggles to keep abreast of our needs counterproductive, as while it uses an existing asset, upgrading for voice is not inexpensive.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1232.html

By James Moore

Increasing reports of compromises by well-funded and resourced attackers are raising the profile of cyber security to such an extent that headlines of data breaches are becoming mainstream. On a regular basis, reports are being released showing the skill and persistence of attackers. Advanced attacks such as spear phishing, watering holes booby-trapped with custom malware and zero-day exploits, even entry via supplier links are all being reported on an almost weekly basis. And all of these attacks have one thing in common - they target individuals.

Generally, we still see that most organizations rely on traditional security controls in the form of technology such as anti-virus, firewalls, SIEM etc to protect their critical assets. However, the increasing importance of employee security awareness is often overlooked and instead only basic awareness training is given, focussing available resources on deploying and testing traditional security controls.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1231.html

The US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council has approved a request to establish a standard for community risk assessments and reduction plans.

The standard will provide a process for jurisdictions to follow in developing and implementing a community risk reduction plan, which helps identify a community risk profile and allocate resources to minimize risks.

The standard is expected to be completed in the next two years.

www.nfpa.org

A new UK-based company which aims to demystify business continuity management and make it easier and more straightforward than ever before has opened its doors for business.

With more than 15 years’ business continuity experience with RSA (Royal & SunAlliance), one of the UK’s leading general insurers and a FTSE 100 company, Ian Houghton’s trademark no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach will now be available to clients across the country with the launch of his own consultancy.

Called Easy BCM Ltd, Houghton’s new venture aims to make business continuity management easy to understand, implement and maintain for companies large and small.

“I’ve always believed that BCM should be approached in a sensible and straightforward way, to reflect the nature, scale and complexity of a business,” explains Houghton. “Too often plans are dictatorial and take no account of the industry, the size of the organization and the complexity of its operations.

“At Easy BCM we make business continuity management accessible and show clients that it can be a valuable asset for a company which can help drive improvements in many different areas.”

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07382.html

Thursday, 02 October 2014 15:49

Designing resilient critical infrastructure

Ten new National Science Foundation projects will investigate how to keep complex, interdependent infrastructure available.

When critical infrastructure is resilient, it is able to bounce back after a disruption at an acceptable cost and speed. When resilient infrastructure is interdependent, cascading failures between infrastructure systems may be eased or possibly even avoided.

This ideal of resilience is far from the norm, particularly as critical infrastructure becomes more interconnected and complex.

To investigate innovative ways to bolster the resilience of the electrical grid, water systems and other critical infrastructure areas, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded grants totaling nearly $17 million through cross-disciplinary funding by its Directorates for Engineering and Computer and Information Science and Engineering.

During the next three years, more than 50 researchers at 16 institutions will pursue transformative research in the area of Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and Systems (RIPS).

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07380.html

It’s an unfortunate truth. The holes in your IT security are most likely to be where you neither see them nor expect them. That means they’ll be outside the basic security arrangements that most organisations make. Firewalls, up to date software versions and strong user passwords are all necessary, but not sufficient. Really testing security is akin to an exercise in lateral thinking or even method acting. You have to look at your systems and network from the outside to see how a hacker or cybercriminal might try to get through or round the mechanisms you’ve put in place. And there’s more still to this inside-out approach to protecting your organisation.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/where-are-the-holes-turning-it-security-inside-out/

The government released 4.4 million medical payment records this week as part of the Open Payments database, and it’s already attracting national headlines and criticisms for being incomplete and slow.

It’s a major reminder that while open data may be free, it isn’t necessarily clean.

NPR, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, have all reported on the controversial data release, which is required under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. The records show $3.5 billion in payments made by pharmaceutical and device companies to doctors.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/the-open-payments-controversy-a-case-study-in-open-data-problems.html

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region III office in Philadelphia is encouraging the whole community to take action to prepare! It’s the end of National Preparedness Month and time to move from awareness to action on National PrepareAthon! Day, September 30th.

The Ready Campaign established four building blocks of preparedness − Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved − and raised awareness about the importance of preparing. America’s PrepareAthon! builds on this foundation by adding a focused national call to action for individuals and organizations to take simple, specific actions to increase their preparedness for a potential disaster.

“Anyone and everyone can make the choice to be informed and be better prepared,” said FEMA Region III Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “We encourage everyone to simply take action – any action – to better prepare yourself, your family and your community.”

FEMA Region III has been working and supporting many organizations that will be taking action for America’s PrepareAthon! and on National PrepareAthon Day! Below are highlights of only a few of the many events occurring around the region.

  • Louisa County Virginia’s PrepareAthon! TAKE ACTION AGAINST EARTHQUAKES! Louisa County (VA) Public Schools is leading the PrepareAthon action by having 6 schools take part in a preparedness drill on the 30th. The main event will be at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School with school wide earthquake dill with FEMA staff during the day. In addition, the county Administration Building and Fire and EMS will be involved and participate in drills. Over 5,600 students and staff will be participating in a drill for Louisa County’s PrepareAthon!
  • Delaware’s PrepareAthon! TAKE ACTION AGAINST FLOODS on September 20th  from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., take action against flooding at the Fall in to Action Community Preparedness Day in Dover, Delaware. Residents can learn about flooding and protective measures in addition to the numerous organizations that will provide fun, food, and preparedness activities for the whole family.
  • Marion County West Virginia’s PrepareAthon! TAKE ACTION AGAINST WINTER WEATHER on September 27th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Marion County Preparedness Expo hosted by the Greater Fairmont (WV) Council of Churches. Over 40 organizations will be participating to help the families increase their preparedness. Additionally on September 26th, the Small Business Administration will be conducting a workshop for local small businesses to increase their preparedness to support Marion’s PrepareAthon! You can sign-up at SBA.gov/content/sba-score-host-disaster-workshop-fairmont.  
  • National Capital Region’s PrepareAthon! SIGN-UP FOR ALERTS AND HOLD A DILL on September 30th. Led by Brookfield Properties, private sector businesses in the greater Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland will be encouraged to participate in a drill to help increase their individual preparedness. Sixteen Commercial Real Estate companies and other organizations have committed their employees to participate in National Capital Region’s PrepareAthon!, at Brookfield Properties; over 6,140 employees and tenants will be taking action by holding drills and signing up for alerts.
  • Team Rubicon’s PrepareAthon! TEST YOUR PLANS! From September 17th – 20th Team Rubicon will be in Philadelphia, PA testing their ability to activate and communicate for a 3 day event. While they are working to build six homes in three days, they will be exercising their command structure and ability to respond quickly and affectivity to a disaster.  Anyone can Join Team Rubicon and help spread the word.
  • Amtrak’s PrepareAthon! SIGN-UP FOR ALERTS! On September 30th at their Harrisburg, PA station, Amtrak will be encouraging train riders to sign up for emergency alerts and download the FEMA App. Look for FEMA staff at the train station to talk about alerts and other great ways to get prepared.

Want to join and take action on September 30th ? Here are some simple ways you can get involved:

Learn more and register your actions at Ready.gov/prepare to be join the 14.5 million taking action for America’s PrepareAthon!

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. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

(MCT) — Tom Fuller could tell how well folks understood earthquake insurance once he mentioned that he has a policy for his damaged home in Napa.

The uninitiated responded, “Well, you’re lucky.” The more knowledgeable said, “I hope you didn’t hit your deductible.”

Fuller, a public relations consultant, said the repairs from last month’s magnitude-6.0 quake won’t come close to his $48,000 deductible — the amount of structural damage his home must suffer before the insurance company becomes liable for major repairs. That means he will cover virtually all the damage from the Aug. 24 temblor to his 1940s-era home south of downtown.

Even so, his insurance policy still gives him peace of mind that he could rebuild should a massive, 1906-type quake ever level his city.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Opinions-Divided-Value-Earthquake-Insurance.html