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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

A Johns Hopkins University analysis has looked at how climate change will increase the risk of power outages for various major US metro areas.

Johns Hopkins engineers created a computer model to predict the increasing vulnerability of power grids in major coastal cities during hurricanes. By factoring historical hurricane information with plausible scenarios for future storm behavior, the team could pinpoint which of 27 cities, from Texas to Maine, will become more susceptible to blackouts from future hurricanes.

Topping the list of cities most likely to see big increases in their power outage risk are New York City, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Fla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Hartford, Conn. Cities at the bottom of the list, whose future risk of outages is unlikely to dramatically change, include Memphis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Buffalo.

Seth Guikema, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, said his team’s analysis could help metropolitan areas better plan for climate change.



Ever since the cloud burst onto the IT consciousness, the primary focus of most organizations has been to prepare for this new data paradigm. The thinking has been that the enterprise needs to be ready for the cloud or risk being left behind.

Lately, however, we’ve seen a subtle shift in attitude on the part of both the enterprise and the nascent cloud industry: It’s not the enterprise that needs to adapt to the cloud, but the cloud that needs to adapt to the enterprise. Across the board, from the large players like Amazon and Google to smaller ones like CloudSigma and DigitalOcean, the goal has shifted from providing the commodity resources that appeal to consumers to more specialized offerings that the enterprise values.

To be sure, there is no shortage of enterprise interest in the cloud already. According to IDG, nearly 70 percent of organizations today utilize cloud-based infrastructure or applications in some way, and IT spending on the cloud is currently averaging about 20 percent growth per year. The thing is, the vast majority of that activity consists of low-level workloads and bulk storage applications that generally go to the lowest bidder, which is usually one of the hyperscale players that can shave margins to the bone and still turn out a decent profit.



Tuesday, 16 December 2014 00:00

The Insider Risk of Temporary Employees

Almost all businesses need temporary workers at some time or another, but December is an especially popular time to bring in extra help.

Of course, if you are hiring temporary employees, you will likely need to set them up with access to your company network, maybe give them an email address, and possibly even authorize them to work with databases that contain sensitive information.

In fact, according to a new study by Avecto, 72 percent of temporary hires are given admin privileges on the company network. We already know that insider threats are a serious concern to cybersecurity. When temporary employees are given network privileges, companies could be unwittingly setting themselves up for a serious security failure. As Paul Kenyon, EVP of global sales at Avecto, stated in a release:

Giving any worker admin rights is akin to giving them the keys to the kingdom. The insider threat has been well documented, but this research demonstrates that businesses clearly haven't got the message.



(TNS) — California has received congressional funding to begin rolling out an earthquake early warning system next year, capping nearly a decade of planning, setbacks and technological breakthroughs, officials said Sunday.

Scientists have long planned to make such a system available to some schools, fire stations, and more private businesses in 2015, but their effort hinged on Congress providing $5 million. The system would give as much as a minute's warning before shaking is felt in metropolitan areas, a margin that experts say would increase survival.

The U.S. Senate approved the allocation this weekend as part of the $1.1-trillion spending package, passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday, that will fund most of the U.S. government through the rest of the fiscal year. Officials plan to announce the funding at a news conference at Caltech on Monday.



Risk management executives are charged with preparing companies for, and protecting them from, a broad array of emerging risks. Today, there is perhaps no threat that poses more danger than a cyberattack, which could result in a data breach or compromising sensitive information. Given the rapid increase in frequency and severity of high-profile cyberattacks in recent months, organizations must confront cybersecurity issues with greater focus, specificity and commitment.

Of note, an astounding 43% of U.S. companies experienced a data breach in the past year, according to the Ponemon Institute’s 2014 annual study on data breach preparedness, a 10% increase from 2013. These alarming trends are compelling companies to create programs centered on cyber risk awareness, education and preparedness. These programs are vital to the company’s performance and growth; the 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute reveals that the average cost to a company from a data breach was about $3.5 million per breach in 2014 – a 15% increase since last year. A company’s intellectual property and customer data may also be compromised in a cyberattack, expanding potential casualties beyond financial losses.



It’s probably safe to say that if one facet of your IT operation needs to be as fail-safe as you can possibly make it, it’s your disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC) setup. Is that something you can reliably entrust to the cloud? It’s one thing to use a cloud-based service like, say, Dropbox to back up the files on your PC. But is the cloud the way to go to back up your entire IT operation?

I recently had the opportunity to address that question with Lynn LeBlanc, co-founder and CEO of HotLink, a hybrid IT management software provider in Santa Clara. In what turned out to be an enlightening email interview, I asked LeBlanc it there’s any legitimate argument against leveraging the public cloud for disaster recovery. She said there is none:

In fact, the public cloud lends itself very well to disaster recovery. It’s one of its best use cases. Amazon Web Services is the largest and most available infrastructure in the world, and its scale and economics allow IT teams to easily and cost-effectively protect their on-premise workloads from disasters. In fact, some solutions, such as HotLink DR Express, also enable business continuity for a full recovery in the public cloud at a price point that was inconceivable only a few years ago.



(TNS) — In the nuclear plant control room with wall-to-wall panels of colorful knobs, levers and switches, one might think a wrong flip or a misplaced twist could become disaster, showering neighboring communities with radioactivity.

That would be a tricky feat, and an unlikely one, nuclear inspectors say.

“At nuclear power plants there are backups to backups to backups. There are so many redundant systems for a single purpose it would take multiple failures and kind of a completely unlikely scenario in order for a consequence to actually occur,” said Brandon Reyes, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission resident inspector at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in Shippingport.

Nuclear power is an industry in headlines more for the potential dangers it poses to the public, than the energy it affords their lifestyles. It receives a disproportionate amount of scrutiny and concern, says Reyes and his partner, senior inspector Jim Krafty.



Slowly but surely, a more secure credit card is making its way toward your wallet – if it hasn’t already. Whether you call it a smart card, chip card, credit card chip or EMV (Europay MasterCard MA -1.68% Visa V -0.58%) card, you may have heard that the United States is on the verge of adopting a new breed of credit card. These cards will fight fraud, secure your personal information, and protect you from credit card theft.

If you don’t have an EMV card in your wallet yet—and maybe even if you already do—you might be wondering what the new EMV cards are all about, and when they’ll finally become widespread in the United States. Wonder no longer…here is a quick primer on what EMV cards are, why the new smart chip is important, and when American banks, merchants, and consumers will adopt more secure credit cards once and for all.



Information Technology (IT) departments at colleges and universities are tasked with supporting the needs of thousands of students and often hundreds of departments, programs and services, making the school’s disaster recovery and business continuity strategy a top priority to ensure seamless service and network availability. Iron Mountain® Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), the storage and information management company, announced it has signed a multi-year colocation agreement with Suffolk University, a leading private institution located in the heart of downtown Boston serving nearly 9,000 students.

Because both the production and disaster recovery data center deployments were in one facility on campus, Suffolk University’s IT organization decided to revisit their strategy early in 2014. They needed an off-premise solution for disaster recovery and decided that data center colocation was the best option. This solution provided Suffolk University with geographical diversity in a purpose-built data center with 24x7 operations and security to safeguard their infrastructure.

“We’re proud to be local and industry leaders in terms of how we’re approaching business continuity and disaster recovery. Too often, these mission critical functions are put on the backburner, but we’ve never been more aware of our need for IT strategies and resources to address them,” said Tom Lynch, chief information officer, Suffolk University. “After evaluating our situation, we knew we needed to rethink our disaster recovery approach. It didn’t make sense to have production and disaster recovery capabilities both located on our campus, and in Iron Mountain, we found a trusted, remote colocation partner with deep experience, which was important to our team.”

“Our data centers are designed to help organizations like Suffolk University to implement a sound business continuity strategy with the additional benefit of supporting networking services,” said Mark Kidd, senior vice president and general manager, data centers, Iron Mountain. “We look forward to supporting Suffolk University’s data center for their disaster recovery purposes.”

Iron Mountain’s data center is Tier III- certified for both design and construction and holds a LEED Gold certification, providing a resilient and energy-efficient environment. True to Iron Mountain’s dedication to security and compliance, the data center also helps organizations adhere to stringent industry requirements on the storage and management of information, especially in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, finance and education. Complementing the secure and compliant data center colocation, Iron Mountain provides our customers with a suite of comprehensive services for the management of their data center colocation, including total network services, tape handling, infrastructure management, compliant IT asset tracking, disposition and more.


About Iron Mountain’s Data Center Solutions

For more than a decade, enterprise organizations have trusted Iron Mountain to develop and manage their data center environments with a portfolio of ultra-secure facilities and compliant services. Iron Mountain’s carrier and service provider neutral facilities offer both retail colocation and wholesale data center leasing options. This solution leverages Iron Mountain’s 63-year heritage of protecting information, helping organizations bring the same high levels of security and compliance to their data center environments. The company’s national data center is located within a unique, 145-acre underground location outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with additional data centers in Massachusetts and Missouri. For more information, visit www.ironmountain.com/datacenters.


About Suffolk University

Suffolk University, located in historic downtown Boston, with an international campus in Madrid, is a student-centered institution distinguished by excellence in education and scholarship. Suffolk University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 90 areas of study. Its mission is to empower graduates to be successful locally, regionally, and globally. Visit www.suffolk.edu for more information.


About Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and information management services. The company’s real estate network of over 67 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers with speed and accuracy. And its solutions for records management, data management, document management, and secure shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files, and medical data. Visit www.ironmountain.com for more information.

NEWARK, Calif. – Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for databases, virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, expects a number of advancements in 2015 impacting the storage market, including flash performance and capacity, costs and the sales outlook. 

“I have been in the data storage business since 1984, and I have never seen such dramatic change in such a short amount of time as we have this year,” said Rob Commins, vice president of marketing at Tegile. “The tectonic shifts being driven by virtualization and solid state media are amazing.”

Experts at Tegile offered the following predictions for 2015:

1.	Bigger advances in flash performance and capacity. It is clear that the NAND vendors have thrown Moore’s law out the window, paving the way for even more aggressive density moves than this year. The effects of inline data reduction are keeping capacity demands in check, so users can expect to see very aggressive pricing for solid state drives in the 250GB to 2TB range. PCIe flash and NVDIMMs will make their way into shared storage devices, further driving latencies down. When changes in storage hit $/IOP and $/GB so hard at the same time, everyone wins.

2.	Flash enables Fast Data to emerge from Big Data. Flash is having a transformative effect on enterprises. Even today, Tegile customers are running analytics jobs more than 80 percent faster than they were with traditional storage. In one case, a Wall Street hedge fund is running analytics in four hours that used to take more than 22 hours. This has had a massive impact on their business. The age of the Real-Time Enterprise is becoming a reality.

3.	Hybrid Upstarts take the stage from Industry Oligarchs. The market at large is beginning to understand the dramatic impact hybrid storage has in data centers. It used to take three 42U racks to store a little over 100TB at 75,000 IOPS. Now, that can be delivered in a single 2U array. Acquisition and operating costs are dropping faster than ever. Expect dramatic changes in the aggregate TB consumption curves as inline data reduction becomes a must-have in the enterprise.

4.	The competitive chess board will get even more complex. With all these technology shifts in play, there will be massive shifts in the vendor base. Even more startups will come into play, some may fall out of play, some may get acquired, and as the public market keeps close watch in this space, we may even see an IPO or two. Many of the big vendors are sitting on lots of cash too – meaning more acquisitions are likely.

5.	Hyper-converged systems gain in popularity, but don’t materially displace storage. We’ve seen a few hyper-converged startups do quite well in the market. VMware is even in the game now with EVO:Rail . There are a few use cases such as big retail that make perfect sense for hyper-converged systems to be placed in each store. But there is skepticism on whether this will win in the data center world.

6.	Utility-based purchases empower customers. With storage administrators facing the challenge of squeezing more and more life out of their arrays and finding a way to justify additional storage expenditures to their boss, capacity utilization-based models will grow more popular. Utility pricing helps users eliminate the risk of under- or over-sizing their storage infrastructures.

About Tegile Systems
Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of intelligent flash arrays that balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtual desktop and database applications. With Tegile’s line of all-flash and hybrid storage arrays, the company is redefining the traditional approach to storage by providing a family of arrays that accelerate business critical enterprise applications and allow customers to significantly consolidate mixed workloads in virtualized environments.
Tegile’s patented IntelliFlash™ technology accelerates performance and enables inline deduplication and compression of data so each array has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity. Tegile’s award-winning solutions enable customers to better address the requirements of virtualization, virtual desktop integration and database integration than any 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 snapshot, remote-replication, near-instant recovery, onsite or offsite failover, and VM-aware features. Additional information is available at www.tegile.com. Follow Tegile on Twitter @tegile.