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Summer Journal

Volume 28, Issue 3

Full Contents Now Available!

Jon Seals

Advice from James Leavesley, CEO, CrowdControlHQ.

Social media is no longer the exclusive preserve of the ‘Facebook Generation’ eager to connect with each other or simply a channel for consumer advertisers. It is fast becoming a valuable multi-faceted communications tool with many industries actively using social media networking sites to promote their products and services and drive commercial success.

Mirroring the trend, the finance industry is also waking up to the power of engaging with customers through social media at a time when its clients are increasingly turning to online resources for information and advice. Last year, consultancy giant Capgemini forecast that social media was on its way to becoming a “bona fide channel for executing transactions” and previously a study by Accenture stated that half of US financial advisers had successfully used social media to convert enquiries into clients. So far, so good so what’s the catch?

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1274.html

The answer to this question depends on how fast you want your data back and how much time and effort you are prepared to spend. If your data is both mission and time critical, then full, frequent backups possibly with mirrored systems for immediate restore or failover may be the only solution. Financial trading organisations, large volume e-commerce sites and hospital emergency wards are examples. Other users who do not want to or cannot go down this route will be faced with more basic options.

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/what-are-your-disaster-recovery-options-if-your-data-storage-fails/

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:00

Winter Storms and Power Outages

As the blizzard of 2015 starts to hit hard across the Northeast, with several feet of snow, intense cold and high winds expected, utility companies are warning of widespread and potentially lengthy power outages across the region.

In New Jersey, utility companies say it’s the high winds, with gusts of up to 65 mph, rather than the accumulation of snow, that are likely to bring down trees or tree limbs and cause outages.

Consolidated Edison inc. which supplies electricity to over 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester county, told the WSJ that the light and fluffy snow expected in this blizzard should limit the number of power outages, but elevated power lines could come down if hit by trees.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3921

Federal leaders want to like the cloud. They really do.

Then again, they have to — they’re under a cloud first mandate. And yet, they’re still not gung-ho when it comes to actually pursuing adoption, a recent survey shows.

Every year, MeriTalk surveys federal managers about cloud adoption. In the latest survey of 150 federal executives, nearly one in five say one-quarter of their IT services are fully or partially delivered via the cloud.

For the most part, they’re shifting email (50 percent), web hosting (45 percent) and servers/storage (43 percent). They’re not moving traditional business applications, custom business apps, disaster recovery ERP or middleware.

And it seems they’re pretty happy with that so far. This year, 75 percent said they want to migrate more services to the cloud — except they’re worried about retaining control of their data.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/data-gives-federal-agencies-pause-on-cloud-adoption.html

The recent collapse of an Interstate 75 overpass in Cincinnati, killing a worker and injuring a truck driver, is yet another reminder of the plight of America’s infrastructure, which is estimated to require billions of dollars to bring up to 2015 standards.

The bridge that collapsed had been replaced and was being torn down as part of an extended project to increase capacity on a congested, accident-prone section of the interstate, according to the Associated Press.

President Obama, speaking today in Saint Paul, Minnesota, outlined several proposals, including launching a competition for $600 million in competitive transportation funding and investing in America’s infrastructure with a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal, according to a press release from the White House. Obama also plans to “put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems, and will also work with Congress to act to ensure critical transportation programs continue to be funded and do not expire later this year.”

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/are-critical-infrastructure-issues-finally-being-addressed/

(TNS) — There's something that has appeared on the Diamond School District campus that is so anticipated that it's drawing youngsters away from their recess to watch it in action.

It's a bulldozer, and it's turning ground outside the elementary school in preparation for a new safe room — Diamond, Mo.'s first official community storm shelter.

"If we could do something about it, then let's do it," Superintendent Mike Mabe said of his school district's proposal to try to maximize safety in case of severe weather. "It's just the right thing to do."

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Joplin-Tornado-Spurs-School-Safe-Room-Projects.html

(TNS) — From intuitive improvements — such as better statewide communication and pre-storm protocols — to more sensible plow blades and smarter technology for plow truck drivers, the crews at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) District 9 are becoming more equipped each year to handle Pennsylvania weather as efficiently as possible.

“The key words are ‘situational awareness,’” said Walter Tomassetti, assistant district executive for PennDOT’s District 9, which includes Cambria and Somerset counties. “The focus is on being ahead of the storm.”

Now, when PennDOT officials see major weather coming, such as double-digit snow, representatives from each district statewide have a pre-storm meeting to cover what resources will be needed most — and where. Depending on what’s expected, they also may set up a command center in each district.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Pennsylvania-DOT-New-Technology-tStay-Ahead-Storm.html

On the surface (pardon the pun), NASA’s recent move to the cloud would not seem to have much to do with MSPs who offer cloud-based file sharing. But a closer look into the high-profile project – as recently highlighted on GigaOm – proves otherwise. 

Indeed, there are some things that all cloud transitions have in common, whether it’s the nation’s space program or a 10-person SMB. To illustrate our point, we wanted to examine this story through the lens of a managed service provider and their clients. Here we go…

...

http://mspmentor.net/infocenter-cloud-based-file-sharing/what-can-msps-learn-nasa-s-trip-cloud

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:00

The inevitability of a cyber attack

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Research published by ISACA has shown that close to half (46%) of respondents to a global survey of IT professionals expect their organization to face a cyber attack in 2015 and 83% believe cyber attacks are one of the top three threats facing organizations today. Despite this, 86% say there is a global shortage of skilled cyber security professionals and only 38% feel prepared to fend off a sophisticated attack.

It is not just IT professionals who are worried about cyber attacks, the Business Continuity Institute’s own Horizon Scan report showed that cyber attacks and data breaches are two of the greatest threats to organizations. It is therefore vital that they have systems and people in place to combat these threats or, should any attack be successful as they all too often are, have processes in place to manage the aftermath.

Data breaches at a series of high profile retailers in 2014 made the issue of data security particularly visible to consumers and demonstrated the struggles that companies face in keeping data safe. Finding and retaining skilled cyber security employees is one of those challenges. In fact, 92% of ISACA’s survey respondents whose organizations will be hiring cyber security professionals in 2015 say it will be difficult to find skilled candidates.

“ISACA supports increased discussion and activity to address escalating high profile cyber attacks on organizations worldwide,” said Robert E Stroud, International President of ISACA. “Cyber security is everyone’s business, and creating a workforce trained to prevent and respond to today’s sophisticated attacks is a critical priority.”

 

http://www.thebci.org/index.php/about/news-room#/news/the-inevitability-of-a-cyber-attack-103917

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jolt Consulting Group, a leading provider of management and technology consulting services in the field service industry, today announced the successful completion of a significant service evaluation project for a major Canadian utility company.  PowerStream, a community-owned energy company, provides electric power and related services to 370,000 residential and business customers located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario.

 

PowerStream engaged Jolt Consulting Group in the summer of 2014 to:

  • help the utility identify "best practices" for service delivery in utility companies;
  • determine and chart the desired future business processes and flows for its service operations;
  • develop a technology architecture map to enable the future service delivery processes;
  • identify and evaluate utility specific Workforce Management (WFM) software vendors whose solutions would aid in achieving that desired future state.

 

A team of Jolt consultants worked closely with the project team and the key stakeholders from PowerStream during numerous onsite discovery and planning sessions.  Jolt Consulting Group evaluated several utility specific Workforce Management software solutions and recommended the most qualified vendors to PowerStream for further in-depth evaluation. Jolt Consulting Group also led efforts to diagram current and future state process flows, evaluate vendor solutions, provide vendor recommendations, thoroughly document findings, and prepare interim and final reports.

 

Mike Matthews, Senior Vice President of Operations & Construction at PowerStream commented: "The Workforce Management project is a major undertaking here at PowerStream. We believe it will streamline and enhance our service delivery, boost customer satisfaction, and improve our efficiency. We have been very pleased and impressed with Jolt Consulting Group's WorkForce Management expertise, timeliness, thoroughness and professionalism, and we look forward to further collaboration with the Jolt team as we continue with this critical project for our organization."

 

About Jolt Consulting Group

Jolt Consulting Group is a provider of transformational business and technology services for organizations in the field service management ecosystem.  We enable organizations to better connect with their customers through comprehensive business analysis, effectively managing change, assisting with the development of proactive maintenance strategies, and by selecting and deploying enabling technologies. We provide a range of business and technology services aimed at producing tangible results that have a meaningful impact on our clients' businesses. The results empower our clients to grow revenues and profitability, and to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our team is comprised of industry veterans who collectively have more than 120 years of service industry experience and expertise.  We have led service organizations, run technology companies that offer solutions to the service industry, served as service industry analysts, and have deployed dozens of solutions in service organizations across a wide variety of industries.  Jolt Consulting Group is headquartered in Saratoga Springs, NY.

For more information, call us 1.877.249.6262 or visit our website at www.joltconsultinggroup.com.

 

About PowerStream

PowerStream is a community-owned energy company that provides power and related services to more than 370,000 customers residing or owning a business in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario. It is jointly owned by the Cities of Barrie, Markham, and Vaughan.