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Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

Underscores Continued Adoption of Unified Office's Unique Unified Communications & Business Analytics Solutions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –  Unified Office, Inc., a rapidly growing managed services provider offering hybrid cloud-based Voice-over-IP (VoIP), Unified Communications, and advanced analytics, announced today that Samrac LLC, dba The Melting Pot Restaurant of Sacramento, CA, has deployed its Total Connect Now(sm) service. The Melting Pot, the world's premier fondue restaurant and top casual dining restaurant, is known for its award-winning innovation in many areas, and was named by National Restaurant News as the 2015 Consumer Picks No. 1 Casual Dining Restaurant.

Total Connect Now is an award-winning, unified communications service, providing high quality, reliable VoIP and programmable business analytics (Visual Performance Suite™) that provides customers with visibility into their business operations, measures key service performance, and delivers actionable intelligence. Total Connect Now managed communications service provides businesses with a flexible set of highly configurable, continually adapting services to overcome and stay ahead of the inherent challenges present in a rapidly changing marketplace.

"I had been in search of, but unable to find, a solution provider who could help us to streamline and automate key operational functions in order to help us create the perfect night out for our guests," said Michael Frampton, Owner, Sacramento Melting Pot. "I also wanted to alleviate the time management constraints of my restaurant staff, a particularly glaring issue for us when handling reservations during peak busy times and after hours. The programmable nature of Unified Office's communications service and business analytics allowed us to quickly automate and measure those key functions. In addition, their Visual Performance Suite Manager's Portal provides the visibility we needed to respond quickly to each reservation request, and to manage and automate promotional messaging, allowing us to create stronger relationships with our customers. The flexibility of their service platform allows us to quickly and easily implement new services as the market continually changes.

"Unified Office surpassed our expectations for disaster recovery, as well," Frampton continued. "In the past when we had a path failure our phones would go down because they were connected to our switch. Unified Office provided us business continuity throughout a power outage because of their superior back-up capabilities."

"The Sacramento Melting Pot is leading the way with their visionary approach to managing their business operations and delivering exceptional customer service by taking advantage of Unified Office's unique communications and analytics capabilities," said Ray Pasquale, CEO, Unified Office. "This continues to underscore the innovations that Unified Office is able to bring to the marketplace. The adoption of Total Connect Now by The Sacramento Melting Pot exemplifies the continued strong momentum we are experiencing across a variety of industry segments, and in particular, various franchise markets each having its own unique operational challenges."

About The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.

Founded in 1975, The Melting Pot has offered a unique fondue dining experience for 40 years. As the premier fondue restaurant franchise, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. has more than 125 restaurants in 35 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia, United Arab Emirates and more than 15 international locations in development. A leading polished casual dining franchise, The Melting Pot was recognized as the No. 1 casual dining restaurant in the Nation's Restaurant News 2015 Consumer Picks report. Known for offering a choice of fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées, The Melting Pot's menu also features cheese fondues, salads, fine wines and chocolate fondue desserts. Fondue fans can join The Melting Pot's Club Fondue for exclusive promotions, special events and advance holiday reservation privileges. The Melting Pot is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit www.meltingpot.com. To learn more about franchise opportunities with The Melting Pot, please visit www.meltingpot.com.

About Unified Office

Unified Office, Inc. is a leading provider of SDN-based hybrid cloud managed Voice-over-IP (VoIP), Unified Communications and advanced analytics services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Unified Office's Total Connect Now(sm) service architecture was purpose-built from the ground up to deliver the highest quality of experience and availability, leveraging the latest in extensible business VoIP communications technology and cloud-based infrastructure to enhance SMB workforce productivity. Their cloud-based intelligent network incorporates Unified Office's unique adaptive Highest Quality Routing(HQR) for end-to-end service quality, and Business Continuity "shadowing" to ensure high availability operation over one or more redundant uplink paths. For more information visit www.unifiedoffice.com.

2015 was a tumultuous year for CISOs. Breaches affecting The Home Depot, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and T-Mobile dominated the headlines worldwide and left no industry, region, or CISO unscathed. These unfortunate spotlights created a slew of negative infosec publicity along with panicked demands from business leaders and customers alike. How secure are we? Ask the CISO. How did this breach occur? Ask the CISO. Why did this breach occur? Ask the CISO. Could we have prevented it? Ask the CISO. How could we let this happen? Ask the CISO.

Yet, CISOs continue to struggle to gain clout and influence with the rest of the C-suite and sometimes it can feel like a thankless role. There is little recognition when you’re doing your job right, but you face a whirlwind of pain and blame the second something goes wrong. The world’s growing emphasis and focus on cybersecurity should be running parallel with the capabilities and reputation of the CISO. Instead, CISOs see their responsibilities increasing with only modest funding increases, recognition, or support from their fellow colleagues.

Lucky for you, S&R’s favorite British analyst, Martin Whitworth, is a CISO and infosec expert. Martin continually writes numerous reports that analyze the evolution of the CISO as well as essentials, best practices, and tricks of the trade for thriving in today’s landscape. Prior to joining Forrester, Martin served as CISO and senior security leader for a number of blue chip organizations, including Coventry Building Society, Steria Group, UK Payments Council, British Energy/EDF Nuclear Generation, and GMAC.

...

http://blogs.forrester.com/stephanie_balaouras/16-01-25-forresters_security_risk_spotlight_ciso_expertise_from_across_the_pond

rhizome (rī′zōm′) – a horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.

 

Sometimes, people outside of a particular field get ideas for the field that are better than any insiders are capable of, being unencumbered by knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked in the past, or preconceptions about the “right” ways of doing things. Of course, lack of expertise makes them capable of coming up with some of the worst ideas too.

Founders of one European data center design startup aren’t sure at this point where on that continuum their ideas fall, and they don’t pretend to be. What they’re trying to do is envision people’s relationship with computing in the near future and the physical form that relationship will take.

The people behind Tallinn, Estonia-based Project Rhizome don’t all have background in data centers. Two of the three founders have backgrounds in design and architecture, and the third comes from the world of IT. But they believe their architecture sensibility brings a useful perspective to data center design, a perspective that will presumably grow in importance as more and more data storage and processing capacity moves into densely populated areas.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/01/25/startup-envisions-data-centers-cities-future/

Monday, 25 January 2016 00:00

LANDESK Releases New Version of Xtraction

  • Xtraction 2016 Updates User Interface and Provides Additional Reporting Capabilities
  • Now Available in 12 Core Languages

BRACKNELL — LANDESK today announced updates to Xtraction, a dashboard and reporting solution that brings business intelligence to IT. This new release introduces enhancements to LANDESK connectors, support for additional languages, and updates the solution’s intuitive user experience and interface. Xtraction furthers LANDESK’s commitment to the transformation and modernization of IT by helping demonstrate the value of IT to the business with easy access to insights and data.

 

The Xtraction 2016 update provides improvements to the LANDESK Service Desk and Management Suite Connectors, and includes additional out–of-the-box reports and dashboards. It also offers a new Connector for Wavelink. In addition, the updated solution is now available in 12 languages, including Spanish, French, Russian and both simplified and traditional Chinese.

 

Analyst firms and customers recognize the value that Xtraction brings to IT data and analysis. “Xtraction is a well-focused and significant addition to LANDESK’s commitment to empower IT professionals with more effective data analysis,” commented Dennis Drogseth, vice president of analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates. “The simplicity of its design will allow IT organizations to create compelling and use-case relevant visualizations and drill-downs.”

 

“Xtraction is remarkably simple to use, but powerful in what it can do,” said Dan Lutter, director of field technology services for Advocate Health Care. “Data is knowledge and power, and with Xtraction it is easy to gain insight into your data, so you can quickly and easily analyse it and take action. Whether it is snapshots of your environment, dashboards or projects, Xtraction provides the ability to monitor progress and tell the story of what is.”

 

Xtraction, which was acquired by LANDESK in August 2015, also offers Connectors for many enterprise IT data sources beyond LANDESK. This enables even non-technical users to easily create dashboards that cross multiple data sources. Xtraction 2016 marks the first major product enhancement since LANDESK acquired the technology, and further enables organizations to build dashboards, gain fast access to reports and better analyse important enterprise information to make well-informed decisions.

 

“When other companies acquire technology companies, they often entirely alter or bury the product that enticed them into the acquisition in the first place,” said Jeremy Carter, senior product manager at LANDESK. “By continuing to enhance Xtraction, we are demonstrating our on-going commitment to this technology and are extending it to further benefit our customers and partners. We anticipate continuing to advance Xtraction to help advance our overall vision of a modernized IT experience that is closely tied to user-centered IT service management.”

 

To learn more about Xtraction 2016 and pre-defined connectors for other IT solutions, please visit www.landesk.com/products/xtraction.

 

About LANDESK Software

LANDESK, the global authority on user-centered IT, enables users to be their most productive while helping IT embrace the speed of change. Through the integration and automation of IT systems management, endpoint security management, service management, IT asset management, and mobile device management, LANDESK empowers IT to balance rapidly evolving user requirements with the need to secure critical assets and data. With offices located across the globe, LANDESK is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, visit www.landesk.com.

The practice of arguing over the validity of technology benchmark tests may be only about a day older than the existence of benchmark tests. It's a longstanding IT industry tradition to try to prove whose product is better with some kind of showdown and use the results to win customers. But organizations often disagree about what should be tested, who should test it, and plenty of other factors of testing in an effort to ensure the tests are fair (and that their own products come out on top and don't underperform).

One such battle has been brewing in big data recently between Informatica and Talend. It all started with a Talend-commissioned benchmark test conducted by MCG Global Services in October 2015 that said Talend Big Data Integration offered about 10 times faster performance than Informatica Big Data Edition.

Not surprisingly, Informatica objected to the validity of these results, saying the benchmark was not independent because it was commissioned by the winner, and Informatica wasn't consulted. Informatica also said in a blog post that the benchmark test pitted its two-year-old product against Talend's month-old product.

...

http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/software-platforms/big-data-benchmark-showdown-talend-vs-informatica/d/d-id/1324006

Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will include 26 billion devices by 2020. Organizations in virtually every industry are using IoT devices to drive higher levels of efficiency, reduce costs, generate new revenue, and understand customers at more granular levels. However, not all of these organizations are prepared to deal with the deluge of data these IoT devices will bring.

"IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that will need to be processed and analyzed in real time," said Gartner research director Fabrizio Biscotti in a statement. "Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity, and analytics challenges."

One way of addressing these challenges is to put automated, intelligent analytics at the edge -- near where the data is generated -- to reduce the amount of data and networking communications overhead.

...

http://www.informationweek.com/iot/edge-analytics-an-antidote-to-iot-data-deluge-/d/d-id/1323942

Monday, 25 January 2016 00:00

Who would James Bond be without his toys?

Total and unrecoverable annihilation of data isn’t easy these days, as the GCHQ agents who supervised the drilling through The Guardian’s hard drives knew all too well. The hard drives contained data stolen from the NSA by one Edward Snowden. Drilling is still a popular method of destroying data. But is it effective? Putting aside the fact that data can be easily copied and stored in an almost infinite amount of physical places (for example, when you upload or host it online), it’s actually disputable whether or not drilling through disks is effective. James Bond would surely have done that with more finesse, while ensuring that data is destroyed and unrecoverable (in style, of course). I’ll give you a couple of ideas for how he could do it — but let’s start from the beginning.

 Destroying the storage device physically is your best guarantee that the data won’t ever come back to haunt you. It eliminates the risk of a data leak that is technically possible when wiping a disk programmatically, or when highly sophisticated data recovery equipment is used on the drive (tools of this calibre are not commercially available, but we can’t rule out that they one day will be or that some institutions don’t already have them). There is a downside to this method though – you will not be able to use this storage device again. Unlike a hard drive wiped with data erasure software, a physically destroyed disk can only be recycled. In some cases this will be your best option though.

...

http://blog.krollontrack.co.uk/concepts-explained/james-bond-without-toys/

A new report published by the UK Government‘s Science and Technology Select Committee has found that the UK is not well-placed to respond to pandemics and novel epidemics.

As the title suggests, the report ‘Science in emergencies: UK lessons from Ebola’ looked at the lessons that can be learned from the Ebola crisis response. It found that, in a future global pandemic or in a UK epidemic outbreak, the country would be more vulnerable than in the past due to the degradation of the UK’s ability to manufacture enough vaccine to vaccinate UK citizens in an emergency. To respond to this vulnerability, the report recommends that the Government “acts now and negotiates with vaccine manufacturers to establish pre-agreed access to manufacturing capabilities that can be called upon quickly in an emergency.”

Other key points from the report include:

  • The UK Ebola response - like the international response - was undermined by systemic delay. The biggest lesson that must be learnt from this outbreak of Ebola is that even minor delays in responding cost lives. Rapid reaction is essential for any hope of success in containing an outbreak.
  • The UK and other countries were not ‘research ready’ when the outbreak began, prompting a less than optimal and uncoordinated research response.
  • Rapid and reliable communication is integral to delivering an effective response to a disease emergency but throughout the Ebola outbreak the systems to share advice, expertise, epidemiological and clinical data were inadequate.
  • The Government’s communications on Ebola with the UK public were accurate and balanced, but it was disappointing that the Government failed to explain why it went against guidance from the World Health Organization and Public Health England and introduced screening for Ebola at UK ports of entry.  The report recommends that “when interventions like screening are instigated during an emergency, the Government makes the evidential basis for the intervention explicit.”

Read the full report (PDF).

(TNS) - There seemed to be no stopping the snow in Baltimore this weekend, as a historic storm held the region in its icy, gusty grip.

But even as the winds picked up Saturday afternoon, and most people stayed at home with hot chocolate and movies, there were some who refused to be stopped.

On dog sleds, cross country skis and in good old-fashioned sneakers, people hit the nearly empty streets to take stock of the snowfall — more than 2 feet by Saturday evening in some places in Maryland. They were joined by emergency responders, snowplows, National Guard Humvees and others for whom the snow did not mean a day off from work.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Even-amid-historic-storm-some-in-Baltimore-area-refuse-to-be-stopped.html

(TNS) - The powerful blizzard that slammed the East Coast on Saturday quickly surpassed forecasters’ dire predictions, claiming at least 18 lives, flooding coasts, unleashing hurricane-force winds and paralyzing life for residents of at least 20 states from Georgia to Massachusetts.

The storm was well on its way to smashing snowfall records.

Mayors and governors said they did not expect their cities to be back in business until next week.

“Safety is our number one priority – and right now, it is not safe for the general public to travel,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned as the heart of the storm hit his state. Visibility was so low that those walking across the Brooklyn Bridge couldn't see the East River beneath or the Manhattan skyline soaring above. Since Thursday night, 25 inches had fallen in Central Park, nearing the city’s record of 26.9 inches, which fell over two days in 2006.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Storm-brings-heavy-snow-strong-winds-flooding-to-East-Coast-at-least-18-are-killed.html