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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 00:00

Should you review your tape archives?

If your only exposure to the world of data storage has been in the context of a small to medium-sized business or a startup, you’d be forgiven for thinking that magnetic tape is a relic from another era of enterprise computing. Once the de facto standard for long-term data retention, the format no longer gets much airtime in an age of cloud backups and tumbling HDD prices.

Nonetheless, rumours of the magnetic tape’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. According to an Information Age article from September 2014, all ten of the world’s biggest banks and telecoms firms, as well as eight of the world’s ten biggest pharmaceutical companies, are tape users. And as trends like big data pick up steam, there’s more interest than ever for organisations to invest in low-cost, high-volume storage for offline data.

For all their advantages, though, tape archives need to be looked after. It can be tempting to think that business records are out of sight, out of mind once they’re filed away in a format proven to last upwards of decades, but this is a mistake. The reasons for creating a tape archive aren’t trivial – regulatory compliance, mainly, and disaster recovery – and you don’t want to discover at the critical moment that your records are patchy.



Sacramento, CA – The California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are continuing to encourage Lake and Calaveras county residents with disabilities, or any survivor with additional needs, who were affected by the recent wildfires, to utilize the many available accessible resources to register for assistance. 

People with disabilities are eligible to receive the same services and assistance that are offered to everyone in the declared disaster area, and both CalOES and FEMA are committed to ensuring services and assistance are available for people with disabilities. 

A direct telephone hotline is operational to process any requests from survivors who may need additional assistance. 

  • 916-381-0330
  • TTY CALL 711

In addition, to serve the whole community, certain accommodations are available at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs).

  • For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, the DRCs are equipped with captioned phones and iPads that can access video remote sign language interpreters.  On-site interpreters are also available upon request.
  • For those survivors who are blind or have low vision, documents are available in large print and Braille.
  • DRCs have accessible parking, ramps, and restrooms.
  • If a survivor cannot transport themselves to the DRC, FEMA will arrange a home visit. 

The first step for any survivor is to register with FEMA. While one-to-one registration assistance is available at a DRC, survivors may also register online or over the phone. 

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov
  • The number to register for assistance is 1-800-621-3362
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362
  • Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week 24 hours a day.
  • FEMA representatives can also register survivors at a location of their choosing if needed.

The application deadline is November 23. For those survivors with a disability, and others with additional needs who require assistance, should not hesitate to contact FEMA and ask for help.

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.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362).  If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who are referred to SBA for a disaster loan must apply to be eligible for additional FEMA assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Watching the Dell/EMC story, as with any big merger, a lot of misinformation is being tossed about, particularly with regard to what is going to happen to parts of EMC once Dell buys them. Much of this is coming out of the various research firms and is being authored by folks that I know and respect. However, most of it that I’ve seen is poorly founded, because it doesn’t start with Dell’s acquisition process, which is unique within the industry. Granted, that process has largely been used for small acquisitions, but it does scale. Given how successful it has been for Dell and how unsuccessful the more traditionally invasive acquisition processes that firms like HP use are, it would seem unlikely that for any acquisition, let alone one of this scale, Dell would throw out the process that works in favor of one that doesn’t work.

The most recent report I’ve seen suggests that within a few months of the acquisition, Dell will effectively blow up VCE (despite commitments to the contrary), because it competes with Dell’s own converged infrastructure unit. VCE is profitable, growing in the double digits, and a multi-billion dollar business, so any suggestion that Dell would off the venture makes Michael Dell seem like an idiot. I assure you he isn’t, I know the guy. Let me explain.



The potential for big problems on the Internet of Things (IoT) makes for scary reading. Last week, The Internet Society released a document titled, “The Internet of Things: An Overview - Understanding the Issues and Challenges of a More Connected World.” It puts security at the top of the list of vital IoT topics, according to a blog at the society’s website by Karen Rose, the society’s senior director, Office of Strategy & Research:

As you will see in the document, we believe the security in the Internet of Things is perhaps the most significant challenge and we believe ensuring security in IoT must be a fundamental priority. Poorly secured IoT devices and services can serve as potential entry points for cyber attack and expose user data to theft by leaving data streams inadequately protected. A proliferation of poorly secured devices also has the potential to impact the security and resilience of the Internet globally.

The challenge must be faced at several levels. Lev Lesokhin, the executive vice president of Strategy at CAST, makes a very important point at Dark Reading. The IoT, he writes, is not introducing security vulnerabilities. Rather, it is increasing the possible damage that will occur when long-known vulnerabilities are multiplied by the huge increase in sensors and other elements that are deployed.



Wednesday, 21 October 2015 00:00

The Many Flavors of Data Infrastructure

It seems that with each passing day, the software-defined data center (SDDC) becomes more of a fait accompli. Data infrastructure will consist of advanced software architectures resting atop commodity hardware, and all but the largest of organizations will shift their entire data environment to the cloud.

This is both cheaper and easier to do, and it will also provide for much greater flexibility and scalability to meet next-generation workloads.

There is nothing wrong with this vision, of course, and with the advent of software-based networking architectures to supplement virtualized server and storage environments, the dream of implementing a fully abstracted data ecosystem is closer than ever. But just because we can do this, does that mean we should? And does that then mean it is the appropriate infrastructure for every organization or every workload?



Nine out of 10 health care organizations have been breached since 2013.

That is a mind-boggling statistic. And it gets worse. According to Trustwave’s 2015 Security Health Check Report, hackers are causing some costly damage:

[T]he number of individuals who have had their medical records compromised has doubled in the past five years. All told, cybercriminals are wreaking $6 billion in annual damage on America’s largest private-sector industry.

The Trustwave study is just the latest one to report on the serious security issues within the health care industry. An eSecurity Planet article reported on a health care study conducted by Raytheon/Websense, which found that:



Are passwords a dying breed? With every other organization getting hacked, many S&R pros would argue that if passwords aren’t dead yet, they should be. Yet many companies such as LogMeIn and LastPass continue to make strategic acquisitions, proving that interest in password management solutions remain high among enterprises and consumers (check out their press release, here.) It’s hard to have any confidence in a method that appears to be ineffective, frustrating, and highly outdated. Many companies are attempting to gain back consumer trust by offering voice biometrics, multi-step authentication methods, or other authentication alternatives to supplement or replace their existing policies.

Unfortunately, fraudsters are getting smarter and customers don’t want to spend more than 30-seconds logging into their accounts. With the addition of the multiple banking accounts, online shopping IDs, and social media platforms that almost every consumer uses daily, the challenge for these companies to keep all online accounts secure while also providing the painless log-in that customers are demanding can quickly turn into a catch-22. What is easy and convenient for customers is also incredibly insecure, thus making them the perfect bait for cybercriminals.



America's Thrift Stores recently were victimized by malware.

And as a result, the thrift store chain tops this week's list of IT security newsmakers to watch, followed by Bit9 + Carbon BlackESET and the Dridex malware. 

​ What can managed service providers (MSPs) and their customers learn from these IT security newsmakers? Check out this week's edition of IT security stories to watch to find out:



AUSTIN, Texa – Caringo® today announced that BT has implemented Caringo Swarm as the object-based storage component of its BT Compute Storage offerings, extending storage, data protection and sharing to BT customers across the globe.

BT Compute Storage powered by Caringo Swarm with enterprise-level, object-based cloud storage gives customers all the benefits of cloud storage with enhanced security and durability. With enterprise-class, end-to-end protection, performance and reliability, BT Compute Storage powered by Caringo Swarm simplifies life for organizations by making it easy to host sensitive data in their country while meeting rigorous compliance regulations.

“Data services are increasingly becoming a de facto part of enterprises around the globe and the need to quickly and capably penetrate these markets with cloud services requires an intimate knowledge of local rules and regulations,” said Scott Sinclair of Enterprise Strategy Group. “BT is uniquely positioned to parlay their regional expertise and Caringo Swarm’s enterprise features into a strong global cloud proposition.”

BT Compute Storage powered by Caringo Swarm is the first part of the company’s “Cloud of Clouds” offerings. Dedicated nodes are available in the UK and Germany, with planned expansion to all 18 countries in which BT’s IaaS platform is hosted (Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa and the Americas). 

BT Compute Storage Powered by Caringo Swarm is secure to the core and includes:
•	End-to-end encryption using AES 2048-bit
•	Hashed and validated data using SHA-1 fingerprinting to prevent tampering
•	Privately held encryption keys for our Amazon S3® compatible and BT SCSP object storage access APIs
•	Dedicated, isolated data storage areas that remove the risk of leakage
•	Data storage in state-of-the-art BT facilities under 24/7 surveillance with authorized-only access

“BT Compute Storage allows enterprises to extend file storage, data protection and sharing across a remote-office storage infrastructure,” said Neil Lock, Vice President, BT Compute, BT Global Services. “Object-based storage is a great way to make data accessible on any device to better support an organization’s BYOD strategy, whether it’s for long-term backup or file sync-and-share services in the cloud. We chose to partner with Caringo because of their leadership in object storage. Swarm offers a rich feature set and the resilience that we need to ensure our customers have the security and reliability they demand.”

“We are excited to be working closely with BT to offer cloud storage services to customers around the globe,” said Jonathan Ring, CEO and founder of Caringo. “BT has a stellar history of enabling customers to conquer the challenges of the rapidly changing business environment and they are doing this once again by leveraging their regional expertise and highly reliable and secure infrastructure  to provide unrivaled cloud services. We look forward to continued collaboration and success with BT.” 

About Caringo
Caringo was founded in 2005 to change the economics of storage by designing software from the ground up to solve the issues associated with relentless data growth. Caringo’s flagship product, Swarm, decouples data from applications and hardware providing a foundation for continued data access and analysis that continuously evolves while guaranteeing data integrity. Today, Caringo software is the foundation for simple, bulletproof, limitless storage solutions for the Department of Defense, the Brazilian Federal Court System, City of Austin, Telefónica, BT, Ask.com, Johns Hopkins University and hundreds more worldwide. Follow @CaringoStorage and visit www.caringo.com to learn more. 

Caringo is a trademark of Caringo, Inc. All others are trademarks or trade names of their respective owner

With an increasing amount of businesses falling victim to cyber-attacks and suffering significant reputational damage and loss of trust as a result, 4C Strategies will provide UK and Swedish members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce with guidance on how to ensure they can deliver an effective response in the face of an unexpected cyber incident.

Prevent and manage cyber-incidents

On Thursday 22nd October, 4C Strategies UK Partner, Dr Aarti Anhal, will be speaking amongst a panel of cyber security experts at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK’s event, ‘Demystifying Cyber: Same old wolf in new sheep’s clothing.’

“The word “cyber” seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment” says Dr Aarti Anhal. “Many businesses feel they need to create shiny new processes, often technology-driven, to deal with this genre of threat. Yet they fail to realise that some of their existing risk management processes can be used to prevent and manage cyber-incidents. We are delighted to be sponsoring this event and supporting the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK in raising awareness of what it takes to be cyber-ready.”

Cyber resilience experts raising awareness

Hosted by Collyer Bristow, the leading law firm with renowned expertise in defamation, privacy and reputation management, the event forms part of the Chamber’s In the Spotlight series, with a topical discussion of information security and cyber related incident management, from individual defamatory attacks to enterprise-wide crises.The event will enable SCC corporate members to listen to a panel of cyber resilience experts who are set to discuss issues including online brand protection, legal remedies for cyber breaches and the safeguarding of business value and reputation during a cyber-attack.

“Awareness of cyber threats is of utmost importance to companies today” says Ulla Nilsson, MD of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. “We are pleased to be able to provide our Membership with the opportunity to learn more about threats and preventative measures in this space.”


Further information

4C Strategies has been a corporate member of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK since 20­12 and regularly supports the Chamber’s events and initiatives. For further information on the work 4C Strategies are doing in this area and for post-event access to the presentation, please contact Daisy Balding at the London office at daisy.balding@4cstrategies.com, visit our website at www.4cstrategies.com or call 0203 795 2350.For further information on the Swedish Chamber of Commerce please visit www.scc.org.uk.


About 4C Strategies

4C Strategies is a leading international provider of risk management solutions. We provide our public and private sector clients with the skills, tools and End to End solutions they require to "Build, Verify & Track" their Readiness capabilities across the risk, business continuity and crisis management spectrum.




About the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK was founded in 1906 and has around 400 Member companies, representing not only Swedish but also British and European companies interested in strengthening their existing ties with Sweden and the UK or expanding to new markets. Today the Swedish Chamber is one of the largest and most active foreign Chambers in the UK, as well as the largest Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the world.