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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

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.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07058.html

Here’s what I see coming in the new year:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

...

http://blog.cutter.com/2013/12/20/it-to-secure-its-role-in-selectingimplementing-cloud-solutions

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.

ABOUT Abletek

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:

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http://www.cio.com/article/744941/2013_IT_Outsourcing_Year_in_Review_Grading_Our_Predictions

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.

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http://www.cio.com/article/744885/3_Trends_That_Will_Make_Life_Harder_for_CIOs_in_2014

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.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/two-steps-to-designing-your-own-big-data-architecture.html

Conventional Big Data wisdom holds that in order to derive any value from technologies such as Hadoop, organizations need to invest in a cadre of data scientists to build complex analytics applications. The problem with that thinking is that by the time an organization assembles all the software and hardware expertise needed to launch a Big Data application, multiple years will have gone by.

Datameer is one of a handful of application providers that are challenging Hadoop conventional wisdom. Fresh off garnering an additional $19 million in funding this week, Datameer is making the case that what organizations really want is access to Big Data analytics applications that are about as complicated to use as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/datameer-raises-19-million-to-challenge-hadoop-conventional-wisdom.html

Windstorm Xaver: Model shows a large area of high winds in the lower atmosphere pushing waters of the North Sea into the coasts around western Europe. Courtesy WeatherBELL Analytics.

Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters worldwide reached $44 billion in insured losses in 2013—down from $81 billion in 2012, according to a Sigma preliminary report by Swiss Re.

The study found that total economic losses from disasters in 2013 totaled $130 billion and 25,000 lives were lost. Hurricane Haiyan alone, which hit the Philippines in November with record-breaking winds, claimed more than 7,000 lives. In 2012 total economic losses were $196 billion and 14,000 lives were lost.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/2013-disaster-losses-down-from-2012/

We all (most anyway) know that social media and digital communications play a primary role in creating, expanding and responding to crises today. But it all seems sort of a mishmash, so I found these comments from Dallas Lawrence very helpful in distinguishing the three roles that social and digital media play:

First, social media is an instigator. Were there not a social platform that allows us to send out our every thought, or record every stupid thing that happens, the crisis wouldn’t have occurred.

The next role is that of accelerant. A similar crisis may have happened 20 years ago, but it would not have metastasized so quickly without social media. So Lawrence stresses we must be prepared to act immediately instead of waiting and seeing.

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http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2013/12/the-three-roles-of-social-media-in-crises/

HEATHSVILLE, Va. – Hickory Ground Solutions, LLC, of Heathsville, Va., is helping to ease the pain of potential tornado destruction in Central Oklahoma's oil industry with supply chain mapping analysis.

This area gets hit hard with a lot of tornados. It can be devastating, said Bart Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of Hickory Ground Solutions and a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Hickory Ground Solutions is teaming with Supply Chain Visions LLC, a consulting firm based in Boston, Mass., and Arlington, Va., on a contract from the Small Business Administration (SBA). The contract is part of SBA's Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program.

The goal is to establish a plan that will identify other organizations in the area to assist with linking manufacturing businesses together to rebuild the local communities.

The team will work with economic development and planning organizations in the area to develop a detailed plan.

They will study what resources are available and the financial impact on the community. Another goal is to increase small business participation.

The team's mapping methodology will provide the necessary framework to grasp the underlying supply chain flows – and their interdependencies – in order to identify opportunity.

Founded in 2008, Hickory Ground Solutions is an operationally mature, customer-centric, and process driven 8(a) Native American Owned business. HGS is an innovator in the delivery of strategic consulting services to achieve measurable and lasting business results; including various IT Solutions from API architectures to Cyber Security Training, Cyber Risk Analysis, Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Solutions, and Training.