No news is good news, or so the saying goes. But when equipment malfunctions and services are interrupted, no news can mean intense frustration for customers and end-users. In today’s quality and satisfaction-oriented business world, you might think that major corporations had understood the importance of good crisis communication. And to be fair, many now make efforts to keep customers informed of the causes of business interruption, the solutions being put in place, and the estimated time when normal service will be resumed. That’s what makes behaviour around a recent outage by one of the top IT and cloud service vendors so hard to fathom.
Ted Julian describes five steps that will help ensure that your incident response plans work when they are required.
Even in the most carefully thought out incident response (IR) plans, there is room for continual improvement. Anyone who has put a response plan into action knows there is a gulf between the theoretical plan and what actually happens given all the variables and complexities that inevitably occur. Because of this, plans often break down; particularly if they haven't been stress-tested based on different real world scenarios.
Whilst not everything will go according to schedule, a thoroughly tested and validated plan will minimise the impact of an incident which, in turn, leads to faster business recovery times. Indeed, no plan is complete until it has been tested with fire drills and functional exercises that assess its effectiveness and identify potential gaps.
Here we outline some practical steps to improving your incident response plan:
In situations where the fastest possible access to data is required – trading floors, for example – CIOs have traditionally turned to flash-based storage systems. No one disputes the performance advantages of flash over traditional disk or tape storage methods, but cost has always been a barrier to a wider adoption. Today, however, the flash technology that once made sense only when extreme high performance was required is now priced to attract the attention of CIOs from a wide range of mid-sized to large companies. To help CIOs determine if flash might be the right solution for their companies, Logicalis US has outlined six key reasons flash storage makes sense for fast access to mission-critical data in mainstream applications:
1. Boosting performance: purpose-built flash storage systems can deliver performance boosts in application response times, accelerated access to information, and increased power efficiency when compared to conventional spinning disks. And, because flash storage is powerful enough to support an organization’s most demanding virtualized cloud environments, along with online transaction processing (OLTP), client virtualization, and business analytic applications, it is garnering attention from performance-hungry CIOs looking for new ways to speed access to business information.
Over the last 12 months, global fatalities from acts of terrorism have risen 30% compared to the previous five year average, according to a new security monitoring service from global risk analytics company Maplecroft, which also identifies China, Egypt, Kenya and Libya as seeing the most significant increases in the risk of terrorist attacks.
The Maplecroft Terrorism and Security Dashboard (MTSD) recorded 18,668 fatalities in the 12 months prior to 1 July, up 29.3% from an annual average of 14,433 for the previous five years. Over the same period the MTSD recorded 9,471 attacks at an average of 26 a day, down from a five year average of 10,468, revealing that terrorist methods have become increasingly deadly over the last year.
The MTSD classifies 12 countries as ‘extreme risk,’ many of which are blighted by high levels of instability and weak governance. These include: Iraq (most at risk), Afghanistan (2nd), Pakistan (3rd), Somalia (4th), Yemen (6th), Syria (7th), Lebanon (9th) and Libya (10th). However, of particular concern for investors, the important growth economies of Nigeria (5th), the Philippines (8th), Colombia (11th) and Kenya (12th) also feature in the category.
Pioneering technology services company, telent Technology Services Ltd, has increased its IT security capability by acquiring a 25% stake in CNS Group, the London-based information assurance and cyber security specialists.
IT Security is an increasingly critical component of services provided across the telent portfolio of service solutions, including Blue Light, Rail, Business and Traffic.
CNS will continue to be run and managed as a separate entity but the two organisations will work closely together.
"This deal is strategically beneficial to both telent and CNS, and enables us to build solutions bringing together telent's scale and ability to deliver end-to-end ICT solutions with CNS's specialist IT security and information assurance capabilities. In addition, this also provides new opportunities for both parties across our combined customer markets, some of which have already been identified and are being jointly developed together," said Chris Metcalfe, Managing Director of telent Technology Solutions.
CNS was established in 1999 and its customers range from FTSE 100 and larger public sector organisations to the SME sector.
CEO of CNS Group, Kevin Dowd, commented: "We are an ambitious firm and we're keen to put this strategic investment to good use, enhancing our customer offering, growing CNS and taking the company to the next level. We'll be looking at better ways of delivering our services, investing in our delivery platform and developing more offerings to sit alongside our existing proprietary technology."
Dowd continued: "Our association with telent will also mean that we can target bigger deals and we're aiming to improve our market share in this sector."
For more information, please visit: www.telent.com.
Company surpasses $60M in run-rate revenue and 2,700 customers
HOUSTON – Alert Logic (www.alertlogic.com), the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, today announced GAAP revenues for the quarter ending June 30, 2014 of $13.8 million, up 36 percent from the second quarter of 2013. Alert Logic’s annualized revenue under contract in the month of June 2014 exceeded $60 million, and is tracking ahead of the company’s plan to reach a $70 million run-rate by the end of 2014. Alert Logic currently has more than 2,700 customers using its Security-as-a-Service solutions to protect their networks and data across cloud, hosted and on-premises environments.
“At the outset of 2014, we felt we had the opportunity to build our business to $60 million in revenue by mid-year, and break through $70 million by year-end,” said Gray Hall, Alert Logic’s CEO. “Our ongoing progress is a testament to strong customer demand for modern security tools and services designed from the ground up to protect cloud-based applications.”
Alert Logic’s notable highlights for Q2 2014 include:
· Product Updates: Alert Logic released new security solutions for the Microsoft Azure platform, making Alert Logic Threat Manager and Alert Logic Web Security Manager available on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
· Recognition: Alert Logic was recognized for its innovative approach to cloud security by receiving a Silver Award in the Cloud Security category as part of Network Products Guide’s 9th Annual 2014 Hot Companies and Best Products Awards. Additionally, TMCnet recognized Alert Logic Threat Manager with ActiveWatch as part of its 2014 Cloud Computing Excellence Awards.
· International Expansion: Alert Logic announced its international expansion into EMEA, which will include a UK-based datacenter and Security Operations Center, as well as expanded sales, marketing and support teams. The EMEA presence will address the growing demand for security and compliance solutions from European customers by providing local support for the needs of those businesses and industries.
A privately held company, Alert Logic publicly reports its Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) revenue results and growth rates quarterly, in addition to its annualized recurring revenue under contract. Alert Logic’s financial statements have been audited in accordance with GAAP since 2005. All Alert Logic revenue is derived through long-term subscription contracts, consistent with the company’s Security-as-a-Service business model. Alert Logic’s solutions are sold directly to enterprise customers and through a diversified channel of resellers and cloud service provider partners.
Alert Logic specializes in providing a portfolio of Security-as-a-Service solutions for customers of hosting and cloud service providers. More than half of the largest managed hosting and cloud service providers use Alert Logic to secure their customer environments, making Alert Logic the de facto standard for securing infrastructure in hosted and cloud environments. Alert Logic’s Security-as-a-Service solutions provide customers four distinct advantages: market-leading security tools, a fully outsourced and managed Security-as-a-Service delivery model, integrated 24×7 Security Operations Center (SOC) services to monitor and provide expert guidance, and the ability to deploy wherever a customer has IT infrastructure, including the cloud.
Additional Resources Available:
@alertlogic on Twitter
About Alert Logic
Alert Logic provides security and compliance for cloud, hybrid, and on-premises infrastructure, allowing customers to benefit from deep security insight and continuous protection at a lower cost than legacy security offerings. Fully managed by a team of experts, the Alert Logic Security-as-a-Service solution provides network, system and web application protection immediately, wherever your IT infrastructure is deployed. Alert Logic partners with the leading cloud platforms and hosting providers to protect over 2,700 organizations worldwide. Built for cloud scale, our patented platform manages Petabytes of data, analyzes 255 million security events monthly, and identifies 40,000 incidents a month that are managed by our security operations team. Alert Logic is based in Houston, Texas, and was founded in 2002. Alert Logic recently expanded internationally by establishing UK offices in London and Cardiff. For more information, please visit www.alertlogic.com.
Communication in the workplace is challenging enough under the best of circumstances, but in workplaces that can have as many as four generations struggling to communicate with each other, even simple exchanges can result not only in miscommunications, but in misunderstandings that can create serious problems.
One person who has given this problem a lot of thought is Dana Brownlee, a corporate trainer and management consultant whose background in technology includes stints at AT&T Bell Labs, IBM Global Services and EMC. In a recent interview on the topic of multigenerational communication issues in the workplace, I asked Brownlee if, in light of her technology background, she had any sense of whether these issues are more or less prevalent in an IT organization, compared to other organizations.
“My experience has been that IT is such a rapidly developing field, that there's a Darwinian effect that forces anyone who's successful in the field to change, learn, and adapt, early and often,” she said. “As a result, I've tended to see less of these generational communication issues in IT. I'm sure there are exceptions, but that's my general observation.”
The overwhelming response to our range of programmes at Buckinghamshire New University has been indicative to us of the interest in our focus on our resilience, and our emphasis on the ‘New’ in our name. Resilience is not new – organisations have been good (or bad) at it for years. The upsurge in interest in Organisational Resilience is about the need to be able to understand, blend and apply the constituent elements – risk, impact, security, crisis, emergency, disaster, business continuity, change, personnel management are a few of them. With many specialists around who cover some of the areas but few, understandably, who cover all, our aim is to provide a resilience perspective to every programme that we run.
For the MSc Organisational Resilience that is a given. However, in our programmes on Cyber Security, Business Continuity and Security Consultancy, that same approach is applied. By looking outside the specialism, but by retaining that specialist focus, the effective resilience super-practitioner/manager/professional/director is able to contextualise their own actions, plans and ideas and to build and develop an interlocking and intertwined capability. Finally, we are beginning to see the need expressed by both specialists and non-specialists for such a capability to be developed. However, this is not an anodyne function that is grey and bland; it is a multi-faceted and interlinked organisational enhancement that offers significant challenges; it needs confident, capable and educated leaders.
The statement that investments in resilience pay huge dividends when disaster strikes rings true, but the conversation can’t end there.
As a longtime local and state emergency management director, one of my final challenges remains unmet: the ability to gather the combined resources of a community to consider the challenges of restoration prior to a disaster.
Here’s why: Knowledge of risks is often known, but that information is diffused among a number of agencies. Those who know the most about risk rarely have an opportunity or a forum, outside of their own professional discipline, to educate or share their knowledge with others. We need discussions outside of our respective disciplines because no one group or profession possesses either all of the answers or a clear understanding of all of the negative impacts that could arise from a disaster.
Sexual assault is always avoidable.” Far short of the 140 characters allowed by Twitter, but enough to cause an immediate “twit storm.” The unfortunate tweet -- generated by a consultant hired by Massachusetts to handle its Twitter communiqués -- was meant to cap off the state’s recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If awareness was the tweet’s goal, it achieved it in spades. The tweet immediately set off a firestorm of controversy.
Joe Fitzgibbon stumbled into a similar twit storm. The Washington state representative tossed off a flippant -- but arguably amusing -- tweet after the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Arizona Cardinals in a football game last fall. “Losing a football game sucks,” Fitzgibbon wrote. “Losing to a desert racist wasteland sucks a lot.” The reference to Arizona’s arid climate and less-than-liberal immigration laws set off an interstate uproar, testimony to the power of a handful of words moving through the ether.
Words aren’t the only way Twitter can do damage. The New York City Police Department in April created a hashtag -- #myNYPD -- allowing citizens to quickly and easily post pictures to the department’s Twitter page of NYPD’s finest in action. The public largely responded by tweeting the department’s less-than-finest moments: a veritable gallery of the city’s men and women in blue clubbing, tear gassing, handcuffing and tackling Gotham citizens. “It was unfortunate to see what happened to the NYPD,” says Anil Chawla, author of an online white paper Twit Happens: How to Deal with Tweet Regret in the Public Sector. “It probably gives other government agencies pause.”