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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

Here’s a humbling prediction for IT: By 2018, the CMO’s IT budget could “outstrip” the CIO’s budget, according to Gartner.

And that’s fine with CMOs, who now see marketing as the natural home for Big Data projects, according to a recent Harvard Business Review Blog post written by Jesko Perrey and Matt Ariker of McKinsey & Company.

Predictably enough, CIOs see the situation a bit differently. But the naked truth is that both CMOs and CIOs “are on the hook for turning all that data into above-market growth,” Perrey and Ariker note.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/can-the-chief-data-officer-help-everyone-just-get-along.html

In publishing its “Security Research Cyber Risk Report 2013,” an annual update, HP has delved into a number of the most vexing contradictions in security and risk management. The report’s goal, states HP, is “to provide security information that can be used to understand the vulnerability landscape and best deploy resources to minimize security risk.”

Key findings included these:

“Research gains attention, but vulnerability disclosures stabilize and decrease in severity.” The number of publicly disclosed vulnerabilities remained stable in 2013, as the number of high-severity vulnerabilities dropped for the fourth year in a row. Asks HP, “Is this a good indication of the improving awareness of security in software development or does this indicate a more nefarious trend – the increased price of vulnerabilities on the black market for APTs resulting in less public disclosures?”

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/governance-and-risk/hp-report-elaborates-on-contradictions-in-security-risks.html

CIO — Last year, Yahoo made headlines for rescinding its once-liberal work-from-home policies in the interests of "productivity" and "accountability." But not having a plan in place for keeping the business running if your employees physically cannot get to the office -- in the event of a winter storm, hurricane or even day-to-day concerns like a family illness or car trouble -- could put you at a significant disadvantage.

Here's how you can prepare your workforce - and your business - for the inevitability of employees working from home.

Business As (Un)Usual

The good news is that most organizations already embrace technologies like the cloud that ease employees' capability to connect and collaborate from almost anywhere.

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http://www.cio.com/article/747867/How_to_Prepare_Your_Business_And_Your_Employees_to_Work_Remotely

CIO — How can CIOs and IT executives help their teams be more productive (besides providing them with free food)? Here are the top 11 tips -- from CIOs, IT executives, productivity and leadership experts and project managers -- for getting the most out of your IT team.

1. Set goals -- and be "Agile." "Be Agile in your goal setting," says Zubin Irani, cofounder & CEO, cPrime, a project management consulting company. "Have the team set goals for the quarter -- and break the work into smaller chunks that they can then self-assign and manage."

2. Communicate goals, expectations and roles from the get-go. "Provide your team with background information and the strategic vision behind [each] project, activity, task, etc.," says Hussein Yahfoufi vice president, Technology & Corporate Services, OneRoof Energy, a solar finance provider. "Not only does providing more background and information motivate employees more, [it makes them] feel more engaged."

...

http://www.cio.com/article/747843/11_Ways_to_Improve_Your_IT_Team_s_Productivity

February 7, 2014

Translating Compliance

At a time when several large companies are being investigated for bribery in China, organizations doing business there would do well to have strong policies and training programs in place, experts advise. They also caution that using a “cookie cutter” approach for compliance is not enough.

“There are several ongoing investigations right now for hiring of relatives of foreign officials,” Michael Volkov, chief executive officer of the Volkov Law Group, LLC said in a webinar, “Navigating the Waters of Anti-Corruption Compliance in China.”

He pointed out that Qualcomm, a wireless technology company, “is under investigation for hiring relatives of foreign officials and giving them jobs strategically. This is a serious investigation, and Qualcomm is a reputable company with a sophisticated compliance program.”

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/translating-compliance/

CIO — All readers have their share of successful and failed software projects. Everyone has a favorite war story. But for software project managers, either in a company or in a consulting organization, there's surprisingly little up-to-date information about what causes budget overruns and schedule slips.

Of course, management consultants worth their name will claim that their methodology will fix the problem — and they'll almost certainly have a two-dimensional graph showing how their expertise will take your organization up and to the right. Reductio ad Gartner Group.

Things aren't that simple. The Standish Group's Chaos Reports — a sort of CSI for IT murders — provide solid evidence that the success of software projects depends upon dozens of factors.

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http://www.cio.com/article/747788/23_Signs_Your_Cloud_Project_May_Be_in_Trouble

Network World — The growing number of natural disasters and the rise in data loss has increased the significance of having an effective disaster recovery (DR) strategy. Thankfully new capabilities are helping smaller companies keep pace.  Here's a look at the prominent trends shaping disaster recovery today:

* Cloud Services: As the adoption of cloud services increases, enterprises are realizing the cloud can become part of their disaster recovery plan. Instead of buying dedicated resources in case of a disaster, cloud computing allows companies to pay for long-term data storage on a pay-per-use basis, and to only pay for servers if they have a need to run them for an actual disaster or test.

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http://www.cio.com/article/747840/Disaster_Recovery_Options_for_Smaller_Companies

Network World — A few years ago the only cloud game in town was the public cloud, but today private and hybrid clouds are also true contenders. In fact, private cloud implementations address a prevalent set of challenges and issues that public clouds cannot and can help speed up and smooth the way of cloud adoption.

Here are five core tenets you should assess when weighing private cloud against public cloud options:

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http://www.cio.com/article/747839/5_Things_to_Consider_When_Weighing_Public_Cloud_Against_Private_Cloud

Leading Unified Communications Provider Offer Solutions to Enhance Customer Profitability 

CROSBY, TX – Abletek, a leading provider of unified communications, announced a new program today that enables businesses to migrate from hardware-based technology to cloud-based services. This transition has been accelerated largely due to the maturity of cloud-based services, and their ability to deliver a dramatic competitive advantage across several industries. The impetus for Abletek's initiative lies in advancements that have made this technology cost-effective for the majority of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Abletek's cloud-based services enhance their customers' mobility, security and strategic IT capabilities. 
	The primary reasons that many SMBs look into cloud-based services are for the inherent benefits of mobility, freedom and workforce flexibility. Abletek has been able to eliminate the notion of being "chained" to on premise equipment such as servers or traditional desktops. The average employee is in-and-out of the office and can hardly afford to spend time making additional trips to the office to retrieve files, access certain programs and collaborate with team members. According to Global Workplace Analytics, "Regular telecommuting grew by 79.7% between 2005 and 2012...".  It's no secret that the days of the 9 to 5 business are long gone and the increase in the resulting mobile workforce has created a need for employees to stay connected with company data while having the freedom to be away from the office. Virtual workspaces now allows for complete collaboration across various departments regardless of location or hardware. 
	Further flexibility can be found in the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) environment. Employees can access company data across multiple devices, operating systems and much more. For example, salespeople can create sales presentations at the office, drive out to an appointment, and make last minute revisions on their iPad while accessing all of the programs, tools and files that are hosted in the cloud. Businesses that can operate on-the-fly have a huge advantage over their competitors.  This is why so many organizations are moving towards this type of technology. 
	Additionally, cloud-based services have enhanced security features as well. SMBs should make certain that providers deliver enterprise-grade services such as virus, malware, spyware and rogue employee protection. Customers should also expect 24x7x365 network monitoring and system support so they can always be confident that their data is safe and accessible. Abletek offers solutions with security measures in place that are on par with military-grade data encryption and have built-in redundancy across the network. 
Lastly, the growth in cloud-based services has enabled providers like Abletek to take over the day-to-day management of technology so the customer can concentrate on growing their business. Most business owners have recognized the benefits associated with getting their staff "working ON the business" rather than "working IN it." 
 "Many cloud-services have evolved from being a cheap, low-cost alternative to becoming more secure than the majority of on-premise solutions," stated Bill Parker, President of Abletek. "There are significant advantages of moving from on-premise equipment to the cloud and it is our role to educate our customers as well as make it an easy transition."	
  
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.

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Hi-tech risk management firm Risk Toolbox, Inc. has launched an innovative cloud-based service, CertTool, to assist businesses with the collection and management of Certificates of Insurance (COIs).  

Managing COIs is a complex, labor-intensive and often inaccurate process associated with high administrative expense and poor levels of compliance.  Risk Toolbox's unique method can reduce costs 50% or more while eliminating 70% of data entry.  

"We are very pleased to be able to offer a comprehensive risk management solution that removes a considerable administrative burden while reducing exposure to unnecessary third-party claims," says Martin Mick, CEO of Risk Toolbox.  "CertTool is an ideal service for property managers, contractors, retailers and public entities who are required to collect COIs from their tenants, vendors and contractors. In addition, insurance agencies are providing CertTool as a value-added service to their own clients."

This advanced online B2B risk management product uses proprietary algorithms to rapidly evaluate, monitor and communicate with all parties involved in the process.  Compliance verification and notification are automated, inherently improving timeliness, attention to detail, and better rates of insurance coverage compliance.

CertTool has garnered early acceptance by private and public companies, business services and municipal governments.  "We expect a great 2014," says Mick.  "Once you see the system in action it practically sells itself."

CertTool is a subscription-based system operating in real-time from any device with access to the Internet.  To learn more, visit our web site at http://risktoolbox.com or email info@risktoolbox.com to schedule a demonstration.