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Summer Journal

Volume 28, Issue 3

Full Contents Now Available!

Jon Seals

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 17:31

Preparing for Hurricane Season

With less than two weeks weeks until the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, organizations and homeowners alike are hoping that this year’s season mirrors that of 2013, which was one of the quietest in 30 years. So far, most experts are predicting another relatively calm year.

Philip Klotzbach and William Gray from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicted below-average hurricane activity, with nine named stroms, three of which would be hurricance and only 1 would be a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher). According to their research, there is only a 35% chance of a major hurricane making landfall in the United States. the average for the last century has been 52%.



We recently published part 1 of a new series designed to help organizations build resiliency against targeted attacks. In the spirit of Maslow, we designed our Targeted-Attack Hierarchy Of Needs. One factor that significantly drove the tone and direction of this research was Forrester client inquiries and consulting. Many organizations were looking for a malware sandbox to check off their targeted attack/advanced persistent threat/advanced threat protection/insert buzzword needs. Malware analysis has a role in enterprise defense, but focusing exclusively on it is a myopic approach to addressing the problem.  

Part 1 of the research is designed to help organizations broaden their perspective and lay the foundation for a resilient security program. Part 2 (currently writing at a non George R.R. Martin pace) will move beyond the basics and address strategies for detecting and responding to advanced adversaries. Here is a preview of the research and the six needs we identified:



If most problems are due to human error, the next metric for understanding risk and business impact might just be the stupidity index. It’s a somewhat tricky concept in a business sense, because stupidity is often context-dependent. The Peter Principle points this out, by stating that in organisations, people are promoted to their highest level of incompetence. Carlo Maria Cipolla also researched the matter to come up with a number of ‘laws of stupidity’. One of these laws in particular is relevant to business continuity management: “Non-stupid people always underestimate harmful potential of stupid people.”



DENVER – A year ago Tuesday, on May 20, an EF5 tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 and leaving a 17-mile trail of destruction.

A month later, June 20, will be the anniversary of the 1957 EF5 tornado in Fargo that killed 10 and was part of a family of five tornadoes that wreaked havoc for almost 70 miles, from Buffalo, North Dakota, to Dale, Minnesota. The tornado and its damage were studied extensively by T. Theodore Fujita of the University of Chicago, which led to his later development of the 1-5 F-Scale for ranking tornadoes. (The Fargo tornado was ranked in retrospect.) 

Both anniversaries are a poignant reminder of the importance of preparing for tornadoes, point out emergency managers from the North Dakota Division of Emergency Management and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). North Dakota gets an average of 23 reported tornadoes per year, mostly in June, July and August.

The state’s website (http://www.nd.gov/des/uploads/resources/150/tornadotips.pdf) provides these suggestions for what to do during a tornado:

  • In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.
  • In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.
  • In an office building, hospital, or nursing home: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass. Crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
  • In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you. The only fatality in the Northwood tornado remained in his home.
  • At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
  • In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars which could roll over onto you. Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
  • Outside: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
  • In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
  • In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

Research shows that most people wait until bad news is confirmed by a second source before taking action. With tornadoes, act first, emergency officials warn. Take shelter yourself, then be the second source that confirms the emergency for others by phone or social media.

FEMA’s Ready.gov website cites a study of tornado damage in Marion, Illinois, that showed half of all tornado-related injuries came after the tornado, from rescue attempts, clean up, and so forth. Almost a third of the injuries came from stepping on nails. Be very careful when entering any damaged structure, and use battery-powered light if possible rather than candles to minimize the danger of fire or explosions.

A timeline of some of the most significant tornadoes to affect the six-state region covered by FEMA’s Denver regional office, with links for more information, is available at http://www.fema.gov/fema-region-8-tornado-timeline.

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.

Shahid N. Shah, an expert on EMR/EHR systems, says health care organizations are spinning their wheels with interoperability when they should be learning something from the past 50 years of enterprise technology integration.

Sigh. I had hoped health care would be able to learn from the past 50 years of enterprise technology when it came to handling data.

“The need for and attention to interoperability in health care is palpable—more and more vendors talk about, and even more customers complain about, how it's missing from products,” Shah writes in a recent iHealth Beat column. “Service vendors are struggling to make it happen and even the government is joining the chorus to help.”



Computerworld — It's a familiar complaint: Executives from a business department learn about a new, often cloud-based product and they want to try it. Only they can't, because IT has decreed that this wonderful new product creates too much risk. The frustrated business execs gripe that IT is standing in the way of progress. As one business executive said, IT is "where dreams go to die."

The problem might not lie in some stubborn dislike by technology professionals for innovative new products. The problem, CIOs and other experts agree, is that most organizations don't have a realistic, balanced or mature system for evaluating and making decisions about technology risk. Especially the risk that always comes with implementing something new.

"Somebody, typically in a line of business, has some SaaS product they want to use, and they provide a business case for it: 'Here's all the good stuff that can result from the use of this. It'll make my numbers. I can access it from anywhere,'" says Jay Heiser, an analyst at Gartner.



By Deborah Ritchie

Technology is changing the way insurers and buyers of insurance interact. This is according to a Swiss Re whose analysis into digital distribution in insurance shows how the internet and mobile devices are empowering consumers everywhere. Despite this development, digital transformation does not spell the end of intermediaries, the report’s authors say.

Today, people can search, review and purchase insurance policies without relying solely on the services of intermediaries. At the same time, developments in Big Data are facilitating access to a rich source of data about customers, which insurers can use to enhance sales and marketing strategies. Digital transformation overall can help insurers become more consumer-centric.



By Wayne Rigby, chairman, Alarm

As the UK emerges from winter into spring, the hopes of better weather will be front of mind for many people. Despite the recent extreme weather, temperatures have been relatively mild for the time of year. Remember 2013, when we saw snow fall and temperatures plummet in the middle of May? A repeat of this will be unwelcome by most I’m sure. At the time of writing this column, it is estimated that insurers face a bill of at least £800m due to the recent storms and floods, with the figure set to rise as flood water subsides and the full extent of damage is revealed. In addition to this, public sector organisations, which already face challenges in maintaining vital services for their communities due to the level of public sector funding cuts, will be counting the cost of damage within their own areas.



Webinar: RestartIT®+VM Eliminates Costs and Complexities of SAN-to-SAN Replication

BATON ROUGE, La. – Venyu, a leader in business continuitycloud-based virtualization, and battle-tested data recovery, today announced the availability of RestartIT+VM – specifically designed to eliminate the complexities associated with traditional replication.  Delivering cloud-based disaster recovery-as-a-service for Virtual Machines (VM), the solution empowers users to automatically restore critical data via VenyuCloud with the click of a mouse. The company also announced today its RestartIT+VM webinar, May 22nd, 2 pm CDT. The complimentary event features Zerto hypervisor-based remote replication technology and demonstrates how easy it is to actively replicate VMs into a recovery platform -- seamless recovery and failover of VM’s in minutes. Registration is now available at: http://try.venyu.com/restartit-vm-webinar.

RestartIT+VM addresses the number one concern for data center managers -- the threat of downtime.  Unlike competitive offerings that focus only on back-up, RestartIT was built to ensure data availability.  Complete server recovery takes just minutes and is powered by Venyu’s world-class data centers.

“RestartIT+VM will revolutionize and further enhance our existing business continuity plan. It provides us the ability to get back to business within a few clicks very quickly, ensuring that our internal and external customers experience minimal disruption,” Sonny Orgeron, Information Technology Manager, Danos.

In addition, RestartIT+VM disaster recovery offering is engineered to minimize risks in VM environments.  Built from more than a decade of disaster recovery experience, the service combines DR-Grade, data protection with the VMware® virtualized recovery platform to provide seamless system recovery. 

With RestartIT+VM, customers have the flexibility to replicate data either to the public cloud or the company’s own private infrastructure.  Unlike more cumbersome systems, the service gives customers the option to pick and choose which virtual machines to replicate, eliminating the need for costly, full infrastructure back-up. 

RestartIT+VM offers:

        Cost-Effective Service:  No requirement for additional hardware or software investments as RestartIT VM is delivered as a service.

        Automated Recovery:  Virtual Machines and network settings are instantly restored via the click of a mouse.

        Easy Replication:  Single VMs can be replicated in under 30 minutes.

        Private/Public:  Data can be restored either to a public cloud or a private system.

        Custom Restoration:  Customers can choose to replicate single or multiple VMs.

“Fast recovery is an essential component of any reliable disaster recovery plan, yet traditional replication is an extremely complicated and cost-prohibitive process,” said Scott Thompson, Venyu’s CEO.  “Architected specifically for VM-based environments, ResartIT+VM uniquely brings the full power of data replication in a new flexible, cost-effective package.”

To find out more or connect with Venyu for back-up, recovery, colocation and managed services, please visit www.venyu.com

About Venyu

Venyu is a premier provider of data center, managed hosting, cloud, virtualization and data protection solutions. By leveraging Venyu's portfolio of innovative, ROI-focused solutions, including VenyuCloud and RestartIT, within secure, highly available data centers, organizations can reduce IT costs while increasing security and scalability. For more information about Venyu and its industry-leading offerings, please visit www.venyu.comYour Data Made Invincible™.

Tegile helps newspaper group overcome slowdowns caused by maxed-out NetApp appliance

NEWARK, Calif. – Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, today announced that The Yakima Herald-Republic has chosen a Tegile Zebi array to address virtual machine performance issues during peak usage hours. The Yakima Herald-Republic covers local and state news that is relevant to Central Washington, including the city of Yakima and the Yakima Valley, as well as national and world news. Part of The Seattle Times Company, the daily newspaper consolidated its computing infrastructure with two sister publications, including a desktop virtualization deployment, to reduce costs and administrative overhead while improving the reliability and security of its business-critical computing operations. The newspaper’s virtual environment was running on a NetApp FAS3240 storage appliance and during peak traffic, its 300 users across the organization’s three properties would experience major slowdowns when attempting to access or use resources within and outside the virtual environment. Backups and snapshots during normal hours would cause the virtual environment to slow to the point where users’ virtual desktops stored on the NetApp appliance would become unresponsive, resulting in complaints from its very demanding user base. With the Yakima Herald-Republic’s current NetApp configuration approaching its peak maximum performance, the company evaluated several solutions before determining the Tegile offering presented the most effective price point for the required feature set while improving the performance of its virtual environment. “After implementing the Zebi array, the performance of our virtual environment improved immensely,” said Geoff Silva, Operations and Technology Director for the Yakima Herald-Republic. “We also noticed an immediate drastic savings in space due to the inline deduplication feature. It’s hard to quantify these savings because our NetApp was disorganized and had data stored across many volumes, but it was nowhere near the 72 percent deduplication and compression savings we have seen after moving all VDIs to the Zebi array.” Tegile Zebi arrays are designed to make the management of VDI easier, faster, more reliable, more scalable and less expensive. Whether used in conjunction with VMware View, Microsoft Terminal Services, Citrix Xen or other solutions, Tegile Zebi arrays allow organizations like Yakima Herald-Republic to centralize operations, manage more machines without sacrificing capacity, mitigate the disruption of IOPS storms with seven times the performance at considerably lower latency, protect data at a vastly reduced cost compared to other arrays, and eliminate wear-leveling problems and data-integrity issues. Using a “best practices approach,” a Tegile Professional Services engineer optimized the existing VDI environment to one that would allow the Zebi array to perform optimally. “We looked into many solutions from different vendors but they couldn’t compete with the included feature set and price point offered by Tegile,” said Silva. “Since implementing the Zebi array, we have received tickets filed with our help desk regarding slow or unresponsive virtual machines. This lack of frustration from our users has helped improve the image of our busy IT department.” 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.