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Summer Journal

Volume 29, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Cybersecurity challenges facing the nation were the topic of much discussion on the morning of Monday, Feb. 8, following the dedication of the new and expanded 60,000 square-foot National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) facility in Maryland that is working to accelerate the development and use of secure, standards-based technology in the private sector.

During dedication remarks, attended by state and federal leaders and private-sector officials, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) said the center would play a vital role in providing the foundation for improved cybersecurity standing in the United States.

“There is no part of our economy that does not face cyber threats; whether it’s the government that has been hacked or the private sector, big or small,” she said. “We’ve got to be able to protect ourselves.”



I spend most of my time looking at how individuals access data, information, and knowledge in ways that allow them to make better decisions and to enjoy themselves. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts about some trends that I think will push demands on corporate IT departments and the IT industry broadly: wearables, machine intelligence, and data visualization.



Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:00

Agile in 2016: Party out of Bounds

For Agilists, 2016 will be a celebratory year. Not only has Agile enjoyed mainstream status for several years now, its success has allowed Agile to become a laboratory for other innovations, from new techniques for ­customer insights to delivery of software as fast as you can produce it.

When you join a party where everyone is having the best time imaginable, the last thing on your mind is how annoyed the people next door are, and how happy the people paying for it are. Those are two major considerations for Agile in 2016, which will appear as the not-too-subtle subtext for several ongoing developments.



Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:00

HIPAA Compliance Can Increase Revenue

If you are a managed service provider (MSP) and you are not helping your clients learn about and comply with HIPAA, you may be missing out on a very profitable trend. Recently, many MSP’s have been using HIPAA assessments to gain business and engage their prospects more efficiently and thoroughly. The fact is, many of the companies you work with may want to comply with HIPAA yet have no real idea how to go about doing it. That’s where you can be an invaluable assistant. If you are interested in making this trend work for you and your patients, read on.

Let’s say, for example, that one of your clients is a data center that handles electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) for thousands of patients. EPHI is private patient-related information that is created, stored and often shared by and among healthcare professionals. Recent data breaches affecting retail, governmental and healthcare agencies have reinforced the importance of keeping all information about a person’s medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, medications and correspondence among physicians confidential. HIPAA’s security rule focuses on safeguarding the confidentiality, availability and integrity of this sensitive patient information. In light of the 2013 Omnibus rule, it is especially important that you, as a MSP, do all you can to tutor data centers such as this in obeying all aspects of HIPAA.



Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:00

FEMA: Disaster Recovery Progress at Pine Ridge

PINE RIDGE, S.D. – Recovery efforts continue in the aftermath of severe storms and flooding that struck the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation last spring.  In the six months since President Obama’s disaster declaration, hundreds of households have received assistance funds and FEMA and the Oglala Sioux Tribe have engaged in the largest housing effort in the tribe’s history.  To support this effort, FEMA has established offices on the reservation, as well as in Hot Springs and Rapid City.

To address the severe housing need on the reservation following the disaster, FEMA initiated a program used for the first time in the continental United States.  Under the effort, more than 300 households have been identified as eligible for either repairs to their damaged home, or replacement with a new manufactured home. As of Feb. 5, 40 new homes have been provided on the reservation, and another 10 homes have been repaired. The program will continue until an expected completion date in mid-summer.  The manufactured homes are being staged at Ellsworth Air Force Base prior to their final delivery to the reservation.

In addition to the housing construction program, FEMA has provided more than $380,000 in financial aid to tribal members.  Of that, more than $170,000 was for home repairs and $210,000 was for personal property and other emergency needs.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $943,000 in low-interest loans to 58 tribal residents and businesses.

A federal interagency disaster recovery coordination team is also partnering with the OST Government to support longer term Tribal priorities such as improving housing and roads, enhancing self-governance capacity, and reducing home and business energy bills.  In addition to FEMA and the Tribal Departments, federal agencies involved in this effort include the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Federal Highways Administration Tribal Transportation Program.

HUD and Oglala Lakota Sioux Housing are co-leading a Tribal Housing Task Force to support the “One Nation One Number” initiative that will assess housing conditions and housing needs on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The OST Department of Transportation is co-leading a Tribal Roads Task Force with the US Army Corps of Engineers to perform similar assessments and recommend solutions for addressing issues related to Tribal roads.

State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:00

DataBank is Expanding North Dallas Data Center

DALLAS, Texas – DataBank, Ltd., a leading super-regional provider of outsourced solutions for data center, cloud and managed services has announced a large-scale addition to the company’s North Dallas data center. The expansion will increase the facility’s available white-floor data center space to accommodate both client growth and market demand.

The site, dubbed by DataBank as DFW2, is located in a secured business campus in the Northern Dallas suburb of Richardson, TX. The facility boasts some of the highest specs for a multi-tenant data center in the entire region. Fed diversely with over 20MW of onsite power, the 2N design in both utility and on-site power generation offers DataBank’s discerning clientele the utmost security and uptime availability.

“The expansion will allow us to provide space for new clients needing to deploy in early 2016,” said Tim Moore, DataBank’s CEO. “The market’s acceptance of this facility and the opportunity to easily expand the existing footprint will position us nicely to address the growing demand in Dallas-Ft Worth for the type of quality and level of service we can offer. Additionally, we have begun planning for a new building site to support our continued expansion in the market for several years.”

In addition to the two Dallas sites, DataBank’s super-regional footprint also includes two more enterprise-class data centers in Kansas City, as well as another in Minneapolis. To find out additional details on DataBank data center facilities and suite of managed services, please visit the company website at http://www.databank.com.

About DataBank
DataBank is a leading provider of enterprise-class business solutions for Data Center, Managed Services, and Cloud. We aim to provide our customers with 100% uptime availability of all their critical data, applications and deployed infrastructure. Our suite of services is anchored by our top-tier data center environments and highly available robust connectivity. We offer customized deployments tailored to effectively manage risk, improve technology performance and allow our clients to focus on their own core business objectives. DataBank is headquartered in the historic former Federal Reserve Bank Building in downtown Dallas, TX and has additional data centers in North Dallas, Minneapolis and Kansas City. For more information on DataBank locations and services, please visit http://www.databank.com or call 1(800) 840-7533.

OneMessage available now for iOS and Android smartphones & tablets

SEATTLE, Wash. – OCENS today announces the release of its OneMessage personal messaging service for satellite users. OneMessage is the first satellite messaging app which allows private, real-­person to real-­person communication through texting. Furthermore, OneMessage brings state-­of-­the-­art messaging to the satellite user without the heavy overhead of the popular network-­based messaging services.

Imagine texting family news to your daughter away at college without knowing whether she’ll receive it or simply the first person who happens to be on the dorm wifi when that message arrives. Or receiving a text from somebody without any means to really know who that somebody is. In today’s world of satellite messaging, no imagination is necessary. These issues are reality. But OneMessage changes all this by evolving satellite messaging to allow individuals to send and receive texts to other individuals firm in the knowledge that those friends or family and only those friends or family will receive the message. OneMessage also allows you to communicate with your OneMessage friends using satellite phones without the need costly international texting plans or rates.

From the perspective of the remote satellite user, received messages to a shared satellite device are received and read only by you in your OneMessage app. You immediately know who messaged you and can safely and securely reply just to them. Unlike other satellite messaging apps which can send only one message at a time, OneMessage supports multiple threads with each individual thread held in the app until you are ready to reach out and tap into your satellite device. Threads are then compressed together and snapped through your satellite connection before being parsed by the OneMessage servers off to their respective destinations. On devices like the Iridium GO! all this takes place using OneMessage without you having to even log into the device. A tiny amount of satellite bandwidth is occupied by OneMessage to process your threads.

"We wanted to create an experience bringing the satellite ‘messager’ as close to the messaging expectations of their connected life at home or work as possible," stated Development Lead Scott Johnson. "OneMessage wraps the realities of the satellite world into a package personalizing the messaging relationship between its users."

OneMessage is compatible with the Iridium GO!, other Iridium and Inmarsat handheld phones and docks as well as MSAT terminals through the OCENS Sidekick satellite wifi router, and makes two-­way messaging finally possible through the Globalstar network. It, of course, works with a wide range of satellite broadband services. OneMessage can send and receive through these phones to other OneMessage users or to any cellular telephone number. It can also function in a network environment without any of those devices present. Users on network connections receive push notifications of received messages.

The free app is activated along with a low monthly service fee affording an unlimited number of messages (applicable satellite message fees apply separately). The app includes a handy shortcut allowing you to quickly invite friends and family to connect to you in your satellite world with OneMessage.

About OCENS, Inc.OCENS data services, software and apps merge easy-­to-­use applications with unprecedented content offerings to affordably deliver data over satellite phones to remote users around the world. OCENS weather, ocean and fishing services provide access to the largest collection of GRIB and classical data that can be found anywhere. Using patented pull-­me technology, OCENS WeatherNet provides fast access to the world’s widest selection of weather and ocean information over PC and Mac platforms. GRIB Explorer processes highly compressed GRIB information into unique decision products for use on PC, Mac or iPad platforms. MetMapper transforms static weather charts and satellite imagery into dynamic planning tools. OCENS’ iPhone, Android, Windows phone and Blackberry apps provide weather and messaging services to the smartphone community. Its SpotCast weather service provides multi-­day, multi-­point forecasts of weather and ocean conditions for any point on earth in a highly compact form. OneMail provides clean and quick access to your Gmail account through satellite connections. OCENS augments its software core with satellite equipment, satellite accessories such as the Sidekick satellite wifi router, and airtime solutions it provides in cooperation with all the major satellite providers.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) is the proud recipient of the Outstanding Emergency Management Public Information Award from the Emergency Management Association of Texas (EMAT).

It’s always an honor to be recognized for a job well done,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Communication with the public is critical for a successful response to any disaster.”

In 2015, lessons learned from multiple weather activations led HCOHSEM to implement Joint Information Center (JIC) Strike Teams that could be quickly deployed for short or no-notice incidents. The teams are composed of disaster trained public information officers from various agencies.

We are honoring the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management for its implementation of JIC Strike Teams,” said EMAT President, Jeb Lacey. “Because during an emergency getting critical information to the public is crucial to saving lives and establishing trust.

HCOHSEM is also pleased to announce that Harris County Citizen Corps Teen CERT Coordinator Rosie Flores received the EMAT Community Service Award. Flores has worked with numerous school districts in Harris County since 2004 to promote and incorporate emergency preparedness training at area high schools. The local Teen CERT program is successful because Flores has made it her mission to help students get the training they need to develop strong leadership skills and a sense of responsibility to their community.

HCOHSEM and Ms. Flores were recognized at the Annual EMAT Leadership Symposium held in San Marcos, Texas.

The Emergency Management Association of Texas is dedicated to the advancement of the field of emergency management both statewide and nationally. It engages in an array of efforts to advance a statewide emergency management agenda and to promote the professional growth of the emergency management practitioner.

TfL partners with digital preservation specialist Preservica to help preserve and protect 150 years of rare London history


Transport for London (TfL), London’s historic transport network has begun extending its use of the AWS Cloud to protect its archive of over 140,000 digital and digitised files dating back to 1857, including all transport records from the London 2012 Olympic Games.


TfL has partnered with Digital Preservation specialist Preservica to transfer its extensive digital collection to the Cloud. The Preservica digital preservation system, hosted on AWS, will ensure all items in the archive remain readable and useable by future generations by actively managing and migrating files to newer formats as old formats become obsolete.


TfL’s archive holds over 150 years of London history leading up to the 21st Century. The archive contains a complete collection of all transport materials related to the London 2012 Olympic Games, featuring maps, modelling work and passenger flows. Frequently drawn on by worldwide organisations planning similar events, the 2012 records are matched by a complete set of files relating to the London 1948 Olympic Games.

Older material records the city’s social history dating back to the nineteenth century, including information on some 500,000 staff from 1863 to the end of WWII.


Preserving these records and making them accessible for the public, researchers and historians is a top priority for TfL, allowing them to be used to chart genealogical, social and economic patterns of historical London.

The project will initially preserve up to 2.5 Terabytes of digital content in the Cloud, in order to ensure it is accessible into the future.


Tamara Thornhill, Corporate Archivist at TfL, said: “Safeguarding our rich corporate history in the Cloud not only ensures the treasures of London’s social past are safe and accessible, but also allows our archivists to manage that information far more efficiently. It was also important for us to not just use the Cloud to store digital content, but to also have a complete digital preservation platform that would allow us to actively migrate files to newer formats over time to ensure they remain useable and readable for future generations”


The move to the Cloud will be done in stages, with 2.5 Terabytes of born digital content to be moved from the outset while paper holdings are digitised and ingested into Preservica over time.


Preservica CEO Jon Tilbury says: “TfL joins a growing number of government organisations using Preservica Cloud Edition for long-term digital preservation, including several County Councils and The UK Met Office. TfL holds some of the most significant elements of London’s social history in its records, and we’re delighted that Preservica will play a part in not only ensuring those records are accessible for generations to come via the Cloud, but also future proofed against technology and file format obsolescence.”


The initial archive will become accessible to researchers in 2016, and follows the launch of the online catalogue at: http://www.tflcorporatearchivescatalogue.co.uk/.


About Preservica

Preservica is a world leader in digital preservation technology, consulting and research. Our active preservation solutions are used by leading businesses, archives, libraries, museums and government organisations globally, to safeguard and share valuable digital content, collections and electronic records, for decades to come. These include the UK National Archives, the Met Office, Texas State Archives, Wellcome Library and HSBC, to name a few.

Available on premise or in the Cloud, Preservica’s award-winning digital preservation and access software is a complete, standards-based (OAIS ISO 14721) trusted repository that includes connectors to leading Enterprise Content and Records Management systems to ensure long-term usability, trustworthiness and preservation of vital digital records, emails and content.

Visit: www.preservica.com Twitter: @preservica


About TfL:

TfL is responsible for the day-to-day to operation of the Capital's public transport network, managing London's main roads and planning and building new infrastructure. It manages London's buses, the Tube network, Docklands Light Railway, Overground and Tram. We also run Santander Cycles, London River Services, Victoria Coach Station, the Emirates Air Line and London Transport Museum.

As well as controlling a 580km network of main roads and the city's 6,000 traffic lights, we regulate London's taxis and private hire vehicles and the Congestion Charge scheme.

To make sure our customers' journeys run as smoothly as possible, we invest in the latest technology so that it's easier for to plan and make journeys. And we make all of our travel data freely available to other organisations, so they can create apps and maps as well.

Thenue Housing Association has introduced mobile workforce technology from 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com). The software will be used to support the Association’s strategy to deliver more services digitally through its mobile operatives. Initially, these include estate management and tenancy services along with pre and post void inspections.


A registered Scottish charity, Thenue Housing owns and manages over 3500 properties spread across 6 main communities in the Glasgow region. They chose 1st Touch as it had a proven integration with the Association’s Aareon back office system. In addition, they had received a number of strong references from other users of the software whilst researching the options available on the market. Another factor was the system’s unique Smart Airtime facility. This enables operatives to send data back to base in compressed and encrypted bursts, whenever a signal becomes present. By utilising this function, users can continue working and do not need to waste time looking for a constant signal.


Commenting on the news Brian Gannon Head of Housing at Thenue noted, “We see our Digital Strategy as a very sound investment and 1st Touch is an important element of this. Not only will its deployment boost customer service delivery but it will also deliver significant efficiencies for the business. Naturally, any resources we save as a result can be redirected towards helping those tenants in greatest need, especially those struggling with the impact of Welfare Reform.


“We looked at a number of different solutions but 1st Touch won through. We were aware that they are a leader in the market in the supply of enterprise mobile workforce software for social housing. However, the main driver for us is the software’s ability to integrate with our existing back-office Aareon QL system. With 1st Touch we can now have live real-time data going straight from the mobile device into Aareon and that is a real step forwards. In addition, the system’s Smart Airtime feature will ensure that communicating this data is exceptionally easy, as the system doesn’t require a constant signal. We were also impressed that these processes are already in place at other 1st Touch customers and that we were able to read the testimonials from numerous happy users. We look forward to identifying other areas where 1st Touch software can help us.”


For his part, Greg Johns CEO of 1st Touch noted, “Thenue Housing Association has a clear digital vision and could see the very real benefits that our software will deliver. Whilst we are delighted at the efficiencies this will bring to their business, it’s especially pleasing that the savings they derive will ultimately help those tenants who need support the most.”

About 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com)

Southampton based 1st Touch, a subsidiary of Aareon AG (www.aareon.com), has enabled dozens of social housing organisations to embrace new technologies, such as mobile working, to achieve significant savings, greater productivity and more cost-effective use of resources. The system’s flexibility through simple customer control over mobile and customer service forms creation and amendment is also widely acclaimed.


Of particular note is 1st Touch 360. This intuitive new dashboard solution, streamlines processes by delivering a single, 360 degree-view of all key metrics and customer data access points. As a result, all the information needed to conduct any customer visit is collated in one central easily navigable location. With such cross-functional visibility, tasks which would previously have required numerous customer visits by different teams are now resolved in one visit from a staff member operating in a multi-functional role. There is Integration to multiple back office and other enterprise software applications, so that data is entered only once.


1st Touch has a clear focus on the Social Housing and Local Government markets. Many social housing providers and local authorities, at large, now benefit from the fast and tangible, best of breed benefits that 1st Touch technology delivers across the enterprise.


To date, over 50% of the social housing market, which has deployed mobile technology, has chosen to implement 1st Touch. In total, over 1.6 million properties are managed across 130 customers/Housing Associations using 1st Touch.


In local government too 1st Touch has been adopted for a wide range of mobile workforce uses. Ready to use applications for local authority organisations include: Public Buildings, Highways/Street Services, Environmental/Waste Management, Revenues and Benefits, together with Planning Control and Trading Standards.

1st Touch software is available on a wide variety of platforms including: Windows Mobile, Apple and Android.