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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

Full Contents Now Available!

Jon Seals

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:22

Severe Weather Safety: What You Need to Know

CHICAGO – Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere.

Spring flooding is common throughout Minnesota—whether along the Red River, Mississippi, or another one of the state’s many bodies of water. In addition, communities in Minnesota regularly face severe storms and tornadoes that leave behind costly damages for residents to recover from. Everyone should be ready for these risks.

March 2 – 8, 2014 marks the third annual National Severe Weather Preparedness Week – a partnership between FEMA and NOAA to encourage all Americans to learn their weather risks and take steps to prepare.

The first step is to know your risk – understand the types of hazardous weather that can affect your community, and the impact it may have on you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for alerts from your local emergency management officials. Consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio to get the latest updates on severe weather in your area.

Understand the hazards for which you are at risk and then take action: Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Post your plan in your home where family and visitors can see it. Create or refresh an emergency kit for needed food, supplies and medication—make sure to keep a kit in your car, at the office and at home, so you are protected regardless of where you may be. For a list of items to include in your emergency kit, visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

Don’t forget to consider pets when making emergency plans, and also take into account any unique needs you or your family might have so you’re best prepared for unforeseen emergencies.

It is also important to take the time to assure you’re fully insured. Remember, homeowners insurance typically does not cover flood damage, and there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy becomes effective. Contact your insurance agent to review your insurance coverage so your home is financially protected.

“Over the past several years, Minnesota has been significantly impacted by costly flooding and dangerous tornadoes,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “Taking steps now to prepare will ensure you are ready if severe weather threatens your area this year.”

For even more readiness information follow FEMA Region V at twitter.com/femaregion5 and facebook.com/fema. Individuals can always find valuable severe weather preparedness information at www.ready.gov/severe-weather or download the free FEMA app, available for Android, Apple or Blackberry devices.

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.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

 

CHICAGO – As dangerously low temperatures persist throughout the Midwest, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to remain heat safe, and avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

“Carbon monoxide—often called "the silent killer”— is a poisonous gas you cannot see, taste, or smell,” said Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “We encourage everyone to stay warm as these subfreezing temperatures continue throughout the area, but do so safely when heating homes, businesses and vehicles.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning often results from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages. Symptoms of poisoning can include headache, nausea and drowsiness, while exposure to high levels can be fatal.

Stay heat safe by taking the following precautions:

• Choose a CO alarm from a recognized testing laboratory and follow manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting. Test these alarms at least once a month.

• Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.

• Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.

• Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.

• Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or an unventilated garage. The carbon monoxide gas might kill people and pets.

• Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.

• If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials.

• Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.

• Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

And during cold weather, remember these tips for you and your family to stay safe:

• Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold;

• Dress in layers and keep dry;

• Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance;

• Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.

• Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.

• Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket and flashlight – and keep the fuel tank above half full.

You can find more information and tips on being ready for winter weather and extreme cold temperatures at http://www.ready.gov/winter.

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.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

CIO - "There is no silver bullet to disaster recovery," says Jack Bailey, engineering manager at cloud computing provider iland.

"When outage horror stories take over headlines, executives tend to have kneejerk reactions and look to adopt whatever disaster recovery offering they can implement fastest," he says. "But every organization and location is unique, and failing to thoroughly assess your situation may lead you to adopt a solution that is expensive overkill or cheap and inadequate."

And while most IT executives and data management experts acknowledge that there isn't one failsafe solution to protecting and recovering data, they agree that there are certain steps organizations should take.

 ...

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9246760/12_Ways_to_Disaster_Proof_Your_Critical_Business_Data

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:20

Three Signs You’re Not Ready for Big Data

Are you really ready to move on Big Data?

Author and speaker Phil Simon doesn’t think so. He’s not talking about you specifically (or at least, not necessarily), of course, but he does doubt the rash of recent surveys and reports claiming that most organizations are deploying Big Data right now.

He has his reasons for disagreeing, but I’ll let you read that. What I think has more value in this piece is his assessment about which organizations are NOT ready to leverage Big Data. It makes a nice checklist.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/three-signs-youre-not-ready-for-big-data.html

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:19

5 Tips for Data Manipulation in Excel

Computerworld — If you work with data much, you don't need a statistical model to predict that the odds of consistently getting data in the format you need for analysis are pretty low. Those who do a great deal of data cleaning and reformatting often turn to scripting languages like Python or specialty tools such as OpenRefine or R.

But it turns out that there's a lot of data munging you can do in a plain old Excel spreadsheet -- if you know how to craft the proper formulas.

In a presentation at the recent 2014 Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR) conference, MaryJo Webster, senior data reporter with Digital First Media -- a newspaper group in New York -- shared some of her favorite Excel tricks. The goal of these tips, Webster said: Learn at least one new thing that will make you say, "Why didn't I know this before?"

...

http://www.cio.com/article/749169/5_Tips_for_Data_Manipulation_in_Excel

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:11

Trends and Predictions for Retailers

Last year, retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies faced challenges stemming from evolving regulatory compliance, brand exposure, reputational risk and increasingly complex global supply chains. No doubt 2014 will prove to be a pivotal year for organizations to demonstrate their focus and commitment to strong governance, risk management, and compliance in order to truly emerge as leaders. Here is a look at some top trends that have influenced the industry, and a few predictions that will shape the year ahead.

2013 Key Trends:

Increased Volume and Complexity of Regulations. In 2013, the retail/CPG industry faced a flurry of new and amended regulations spanning environmental compliance, conflict minerals reporting, product safety, data privacy, anti-corruption, product packaging and labeling to name a few. Ensuring compliance and staying one step ahead of regulators requires that retail and CPG organizations establish more centralized and collaborative compliance programs.

 ...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/trends-and-predictions-for-retailers

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:10

The Risk of Offshoring Security

CSO — Over the past twenty years or more, corporations in nearly all industries have been outsourcing and offshoring at hyperdrive.

Venture capitalist firms, public shareholders, various types of financial firms, and corporate executives are driven by the temptation of reducing labor expenses, so they're delegating accountability and responsibility to foreign parties. Often the money saved by offshoring simply goes back into the pocketbooks of executives. They also often get bonuses, sometimes in seven or eight figures, to reduce as much domestic labor as possible.

But the costs of this trend are insurmountable.

First of all, with more and more Americans, Canadians, and other people in developed countries out of work, our economies are being destroyed. That doesn't reflect in the stock market -- not yet, anyway. But it will, probably within the next decade. Often the millions of chronically unemployed or underemployed (such as working at McDonald's or Walmart) have BAs, MAs, or even PhDs. Many more have significant licenses and certifications in various trades.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/749186/The_Risk_of_Offshoring_Security

CIO — "There is no silver bullet to disaster recovery," says Jack Bailey, engineering manager at cloud computing provider iland.

"When outage horror stories take over headlines, executives tend to have kneejerk reactions and look to adopt whatever disaster recovery offering they can implement fastest," he says. "But every organization and location is unique, and failing to thoroughly assess your situation may lead you to adopt a solution that is expensive overkill or cheap and inadequate."

disaster recovery, disaster planning, data protection
 

And while most IT executives and data management experts acknowledge that there isn't one failsafe solution to protecting and recovering data, they agree that there are certain steps organizations should take.

What are the necessary precautions companies should take to protect critical files and applications in the event of disaster? Dozens of data storage, data management and disaster recovery experts share their advice. Here are their top 12 suggestions regarding how to disaster-proof data (files and applications).

...

http://www.cio.com/article/749180/12_Ways_to_Disaster_Proof_Your_Critical_Business_Data

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — With the success of its free open online course system, called MITx, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds itself sitting on a wealth of student data that researchers might use to compare the efficacy of virtual teaching methods, and perhaps advance the field of Web-based instruction.

Since its inception several years ago, for instance, MITx has attracted more than 760,000 unique registered users from about 190 countries, university officials said. Those users have generated 700 million interactions with the school’s learning system and have contributed around 423,000 forum entries, many of them quite personal.

As researchers contemplate mining the students’ details, however, the university is grappling with ethical issues raised by the collection and analysis of these huge data sets, known familiarly as Big Data, said L. Rafael Reif, the president of M.I.T. 

...

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/big-data-means-big-questions-on-how-that-information-is-used

Interoperability testing reveals 300 percent faster backups vs. local disk

Newark, Calif. – March 5, 2014 – Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, today announced that it has aligned with Veeam® Software, innovative provider of Protection for the Modern Data Center™, to provide organizations with an easy-to-use, easy-to-manage VM-aware backup and restore solution.

Tegile’s Zebi new generation of flash-driven storage arrays are designed to make server virtualization easier, faster, more reliable, more scalable and less expensive, allowing IT personnel to manage more hypervisors at a significantly lower cost than with standard hard disk-based arrays. When used in conjunction with Tegile Zebi storage arrays, Veeam Backup and Replication™ completes backup jobs 300 percent faster than local disk while performing restore operations 20 percent faster in Tegile lab testing compared to standard disk systems, helping organizations meet their most-demanding recovery time objectives with as little manual management as possible.
“While virtualization offers a tremendous amount of benefits on the server side, its use can add layers of complexity to the storage and backup side of the equation,” said Warren Adair, the Vice President Information Technology at Donahue Schriber Realty Group. “With both Veeam and Tegile being VM-aware solutions, they simplify the management of virtual machines independently but when used together, they take it to an even higher level. The combined attributes of Veeam and Tegile make it possible for us to concentrate on managing our business rather than our backup and storage processes.”
Veeam Backup & Replication provides fast, flexible, and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data. It unifies backup and replication in a single solution, increases the value of backup, and reinvents data protection for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments.

Zebi arrays leverage the performance of SSD and low cost per TB of high capacity disk drives to deliver five times the performance and up to 75 percent less capacity required than legacy arrays. Tegile has architected the performance benefits of SSDs throughout the data path, giving every application a performance boost. One-click virtual machine optimized storage creation can deploy hundreds of virtual machines and desktops in minutes, not hours.

“The simple fact is that trying to backup and store virtualized data with 20- to 30-year-old management techniques just isn’t going to cut it,” said Rob Commins, VP Marketing of Tegile Systems.  “The combination of Veeam’s VM-aware backup and Tegile’s VM-aware storage is a nice marriage.  It allows the IT guys to figure out which VM is associated with which array to simplify management and provide ease of use while ensuring that backups and restores can occur magnitudes of order faster than local disk.”

About Tegile Systems
Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of flash-driven enterprise storage arrays that balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtualization, file services and database applications. With Tegile’s Zebi line of hybrid storage arrays, the company is redefining the traditional approach to storage by providing a family of arrays that is significantly faster than all hard disk-based arrays and significantly less expensive than all solid-state disk-based arrays.

Tegile’s patented MASS technology accelerates the Zebi’s performance and enables on-the-fly de-duplication and compression of data so each Zebi has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity. Tegile’s award-winning technology solutions enable customers to better address the requirements of server virtualization, virtual desktop integration and database integration than other offerings. Featuring both NAS and SAN connectivity, Tegile arrays are easy-to-use, fully redundant, and highly scalable. They come complete with built-in auto-snapshot, auto-replication, near-instant recovery, onsite or offsite failover, and virtualization management features. Additional information is available at www.tegile.com. Follow Tegile on Twitter @tegile.