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Volume 29, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

Moving security operations away from your security team? This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s something that we see happening more and more. Nimmy Reichenberg explains why this is happening and highlights the advantages of the approach.

Escalating security requirements, the growing risks of breaches and outages, and the shortage of skilled and experienced security staff is forcing businesses to find new ways to make more efficient use of their security specialists. As a result, organizations are directing their security teams to focus on protecting the network from external and internal threats, and increasingly handing over operational tasks to other areas of IT.

I see this as a positive development. However, for this transition to be successful, there are certain processes and conditions that need to be in place first.



Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

Plan the Test, Test the Plan

If your organization has an Emergency Notification Service (ENS) in place, it’s already taken an important step toward communicating faster and more effectively in critical situations. But, if the solution is not routinely “touched,” or better yet, tested, you could still be at risk in an actual emergency. Consider the following recommendations from Send Word Now to create a full and repeatable test cycle, ensuring your alerting readiness.

Set a regular testing schedule and stick with it – It’s important to test your ENS on a regular basis. Test your system frequently with a small group of administrators or other participants. Conduct widespread exercises at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure recipient familiarity with notifications and procedures. As a BC professional, you’ll appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing your solution is working and your people know what to do.



(TNS) - Wichita County officials met with local members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and Texas Amateur Radio Emergency Service (TARES) to hash out some regulations about control of radio networks during emergency weather situations.

County Judge Woody Gossom said ARRL regional members decided to realign the system to have SKYWARN be the parent network of a controlled network rather than a closed one.

Local ARRL member Charlie Byars said in a previous article that a repeater is normally open to all ham radios, but is closed to unauthorized users during severe weather events. He explained that they would take a emergency report, such as a tornado sighting, and refer the information to the National Weather Service.



Business Continuity Awareness Week is upon us and this year the core focus is on a topic close to my heart – Return on Investment. This is a very important area that can be easily overlooked or lost in the activity of running your day to day business continuity or resiliency program. Having clearly defined value drivers for your program outside of the normal areas of RoI can not only help you drive awareness, but also help you gain buy in from other business units.

So how does this relate to using a mass notification platform? Put simply – give your notification system a day job. That day job can be a natural fit like the time sensitive and critical nature of IT alerting, or something less obvious – some examples of these may be:



Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

FEMA: Hurricane Season Approaches

PHILADELPHIA - As the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, FEMA Region III continues to proactively work with its state, local, and federal partners to increase preparedness, coordinate response and recovery capabilities, and empower individuals to take an active role in preparing themselves, their families, and their communities.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, 2016 and lasts until November 30; the greatest potential for storm activity is the months of August and September. A great time to begin planning for hurricane season is Hurricane Preparedness Week, designated May 15 – May 21, 2016.

Everyone should take time to ensure that their family, household, and workplace is properly prepared for a potential hurricane or tropical storm. “It only takes one storm to severely impact a community and disrupt our way of life,” stated FEMA Region III Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “We encourage everyone to prepare and plan for hurricanes and to be informed of what their risk may be.” It takes all of us, as individuals, families, communities, organizations, and as members of the whole community, to prepare for hurricanes and the potential hazards associated with them.

Residents should interact with their local emergency officials and stay informed of their risk and the potential dangers of a hurricane or tropical storm. By engaging with your local officials, citizens gain valuable insight, lend input, and develop relationships for planning and communications before a storm. 

FEMA recommends that everyone have enough supplies to last for several days. Emergency supply kits should include essential items like bottled water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, batteries, medicines, toiletries, non-perishable food items, manual can opener, and first aid supplies.

When planning, think about the potential needs of everyone in the household during an emergency. If your household includes pets, a person with a disability, an infant, or a senior citizen, be sure to take the necessary steps to assist and make them comfortable during an emergency, in addition to having any necessary documents or medications on hand.

For more preparedness information, visit fema.gov, ready.gov, and nhc.noaa.gov.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

(TNS) - When Ryan Blythe leased space for his glassblowing shop in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, he saw a rugged industrial setting that could double as an elegant gallery.

When Seattle building officials looked at his permit application, they saw something else: the most dangerous type of structure to be in during an earthquake.

The Julius Horton building, built in 1914, is like many of its vintage. Its brick walls aren’t bolted to the floors and ceilings. It has withstood past quakes, but they have been mild compared to what seismologists expect: A magnitude 9.0 monster that hits with 2,000 times the power of Seattle’s last major earthquake, toppling walls, dropping ceilings and sending bricks flying with deadly effect.



Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

Contemplating … value vs ROI

Sometimes, often actually, I get worried about the BC industry’s habit to try and redefine commonly understood business terms to mean something different.

Take ROI as an example.

It stand for “Return on Investment”. You can read about it on Wikipedia and there would be little to surprise business folks in that article.

Simply it is a measure of revenue, gain or net profit that flows from an investment. It is used as a tool to choose between different investment options.



The changing scope and scale of disasters, both natural and technological, have altered the ways in which disaster management and financing are addressed and the roles of private-sector organizations specifically. Businesses and nonprofit organizations are increasingly central to the process, offering critical support in immediate disaster response but also contributing necessary redevelopment funding that supports community recovery. Although these new expectations position the private sector as a key leader in community resilience, these responsibilities have not been fully met with established guidance or clear metrics for how and when these organizations should participate in disaster recovery and financing.

This perspective examines key issues confronting the private sector in disaster recovery financing, what roles private-sector entities have played, and where there has been successful integration or leadership of these organizations. The perspective also briefly explores challenges that the private sector faces, with particular attention to issues of information use and application, coordination in response and recovery, and timing of funding. Given continued data gaps in this field, the authors offer opportunities for research and policy analysis.



SAN JOSE, Calif. – RiverMeadow Software™ Inc., developer of the automated cross-hypervisor workload portability SaaS platform announces that Cirrity, a leading, channel-only, secure cloud solutions provider, is actively promoting RiverMeadow's Cloud Migration SaaS to its channel customer base consisting of managed service providers (MSPs), service providers (SPs), and IT resellers. Cirrity offers its channel customers secure cloud infrastructure and solutions that they in turn label under their brands and services that they resell to a broad range of clients across industry verticals.

Cirrity promotes RiverMeadow SaaS to its channel resellers because of its ability to automate the onboarding of servers and business applications to Cirrity rebranded infrastructure. RiverMeadow eliminates the manual steps of migration -- removing friction from the process while eliminating most of the cost under a build your own subscription-based pricing model. Once they've moved, customers then have access to an enhanced set of rebranded Cirrity cloud services including Infrastructure, Desktop, Backup, and Disaster Recovery as a Service.

"Having to use complex, labor-intensive tools or needing to rely on manual migration practices to onboard a customer's servers and applications can be a barrier to closing new business," states Gerry Baron, Cirrity CMO. "With RiverMeadow SaaS automation our channel customers are armed with a faster, better and automated method for migrating customers onto their Cirrity based cloud platforms. This allows them to focus on selling cloud solutions and growing their business."

CAM Business Solutions a Cirrity IT reseller offering Cloud IaaS and solutions to business customers used RiverMeadow SaaS in one of its recent engagements. The project called for migrating a client's legal applications and underlying Window® infrastructure running on Citrix to their Cirrity based cloud environment. The applications consisted of database and web application servers. RiverMeadow migration automation minimized the time and effort required to onboard the customer. CAM was able to quickly onboard the client so they could take advantage of CAM's Desktop as a Service solution based on VMware Horizon.

"Both Cirrity and RiverMeadow have gone above and beyond our expectations when it comes to the implementation of customer engagements. It's like having them on our team. This leverage allows CAM to compete on a larger scale than we would otherwise. Without this partnership, we'd have to pass up bidding for this business," said Michael Bowers, CAM Business Solutions President. "We're ecstatic that Cirrity and RiverMeadow have partnered to add Cloud Migration as a Service available Cirrity channel resellers -- easing the path of customer's workloads into our cloud solutions. We look forward to working with them moving forward."

"We're excited about partnering with Cirrity, and it's channel customer base. Cirrity offers a unique set of cloud infrastructure and services that allow their clients to deliver turn-key, integrated solutions to end user businesses in the market," said Richard Scannell, RiverMeadow CEO. "We look forward to working with the Cirrity team to provide onboarding automation through their channel."

For more information and assistance with migrating applications cross-hypervisor into and between virtual and cloud environments, visit www.courtsquaregroup.com and www.rivermeadow.com.

For more information and assistance with migrating to a Cirrity channel cloud, visit www.cirity.com and www.rivermeadow.com.

About RiverMeadow Software

RiverMeadow Software Inc. sets the standard for cloud migration with its industry-leading RiverMeadow SaaS that automates the migration of physical, virtual and cloud-based servers into and between public, private and hybrid clouds. For more information, visit www.rivermeadow.com or follow the company on Twitter at @RiverMeadow1 and LinkedIn.

About Cirrity
Cirrity is a channel-only, Cisco Powered cloud service provider with locations throughout the continental United States. With industry leading SLAs and high-performance infrastructure, combined with a security and compliance focus (HIPAA, PCI, CSA STAR, ISO 27001, AICPA SOC Type II), Cirrity provides partners and their customers with a secure and highly available Cisco platform to leverage the advantages of cloud computing. Cirrity provides exceptional service with the goal of building long-term, mutually successful relationships. http://www.cirrity.com

Karma Automotive Drives Business Transformation With SAP S/4HANA Managed by Symmetry

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Symmetry, a leading enterprise application management and cloud hosting solutions provider, is proud to announce that it has been awarded the first ever Hewlett Packard Enterprise Service Provider Award for Customer Excellence in the category of "Enabling Workplace Productivity." The customer, Karma Automotive, is a leading manufacturer of world-class luxury hybrid cars designed to challenge habitual thinking about luxury, and forge a path to a more sustainable future.

Symmetry, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Service Provider - Gold Partner, is a recognized leader in management of mission critical applications, cloud-hosted solutions and SAP HANA. Symmetry gives customers access to the world's cutting-edge technology, surrounded by expert and certified support. This includes hosting and cloud services, technical administration, implementation, upgrades and migrations, as well as project-based services and multiple layers of security to uphold data integrity. Solutions can include data recovery services to keep businesses fully operational in the event of a disaster.

Excellence in Enabling Workplace Productivity

As part of its business transformation roadmap emphasizing agility and growth, Karma sought to securely migrate its IT operations into the cloud as well as take advantage of new SAP technology. They were looking for a cloud solution that would scale quickly and easily, while minimizing production disturbances and downtime.

After comparing the costs of an in-house solution to outsourcing, Karma chose to partner with Symmetry for SAP application-management services. These include SAP Basis and Security, SAP HANA cloud hosting, and Symmetry's ControlPanelGRC software. Symmetry's certified SAP HANA cloud infrastructure is built and supported by industry-leading networking and security engineers. It is powered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise servers and storage, and features high availability while eliminating the need for customers to commit to a hardware footprint. 

With Symmetry's SAP HANA cloud solution, Karma accomplished the following:

  • Achieved the ability to break a 1 TB virtualization memory limit as needed, with the capacity to rapidly scale up to 12 TB
  • Deployed new SAP technology featuring in-memory computing and column-based database structure which provides real-time answers to very complex questions
  • Migrated to a tier-one enterprise solution delivering 99.99% uptime
  • Lowered the risk of catastrophic failures
  • Delivered project ahead of schedule and under budget

"The Automotive Industry today is moving at the speed of light. Because our business is conducted in real time and requires instant insight, the systems we use must be intuitive on any device, anywhere, and at any time in order to drive value and be cost effective," said Mikael Elley, Vice President of Planning and IT, Karma Automotive. "SAP Hana Cloud and Fiori provides a platform that allows us to meet these requirements. Symmetry's experience with SAP Hana, combined with their investment in cloud infrastructure powered by HPE, made it easy to choose them to be our strategic partner to move into the cloud." 

"Karma Automotive is an innovative leader that recognizes the need for inventiveness, flexibility, and decisiveness as key qualities in an industry that is undergoing rapid change," commented Pete Stevenson, Chairman and CEO of Symmetry. "With S/4HANA and Symmetry's managed IT infrastructure services, Karma is capitalizing on the speed and large volumes of data that HANA can support. Now they'll benefit from real-time analytics, landscape simplification, and ease of configuration for day-to-day operations while supporting its business transformation and growth objectives."

About Symmetry
Symmetry is a leading applications management and hybrid cloud hosting solution provider with deep expertise in SAP application management. An SAP partner since 2005, Symmetry is certified in SAP Hosting, Cloud and SAP HANA® Operations. As a true extension of your IT team, Symmetry places a laser focus on the customer's experience and offers highly flexible, tailored solutions to meet the unique business needs of enterprise clients. Symmetry supports global enterprises across all industries through a customer centric high-touch approach that delivers deep technical expertise combined with scalable, redundant, high availability cloud infrastructure supported by a 24x7x365 operations support model. With a long history and proven methodology for delivering hybrid solutions comprised of managed private cloud hosting infrastructure with enterprise application management services, Symmetry delivers IT solutions that help reduce the total cost of ownership and maximize the performance and security of our customers' most mission critical systems. Learn more at www.symmetrycorp.com