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Summer Journal

Volume 28, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

MAX ServiceDesk 2.2s new user interface and account management tools improve MSP productivity, SLA oversight and profitability

DURHAM, NC – LogicNow has today announced the launch of a major update to MAX ServiceDesk, part of the MAXfocusproduct suite, the worlds most widely trusted managed service provider (MSP) and IT support platform. ServiceDesk 2.2 has a streamlined user interface with specific improvements to help MSPs improve productivity and manage their workload more efficiently.

The updates to MAX ServiceDesk are in response to feedback from LogicNows 12,000-strong community of customers, partners, MSPs and industry leaders. The improvements are focused on providing MSPs better management of agent scheduling, time tracking, issue and customer management and further focuses on helping MSPs improve their day-to-day operations.

The new user interface reflects a continued focus on making MAX ServiceDesk easier and more intuitive, shortening the training time for new team members and reducing the time taken managing customer issues. Individual client accounts can also be supervised more closely through improved ticket management that shows the full and detailed progress of each ticket, thereby improving efficiency and customer service. New scheduling tools also enable better management of resources and engineers’ time, reducing overtime burdens.

It is frustrating for IT Service Providers that many of the obstacles inhibiting their growth are the same as those they faced five or even ten years ago – time tracking and productivity management are still causing issues for those ambitious companies wanting to reach the next level,” says Alistair Forbes, General Manager at LogicNow. After detailed consultation with our customer community, we have therefore developed ServiceDesk 2.2 specifically to help overcome these hurdles. Excellent customer and issue management can be a huge deciding factor in the success of an IT service provider when trying to grow or move from break/fix to MSP.

Joe Mitchell, Business Support Engineer at Cloud Computer Services, says: The new UI has really improved - its clearer and less cluttered with better access to and visibility of key information. By placing the most important information on the main dashboard screen, I get a full picture of all the queues, SLA warnings and breaches without needing to dig through menus or produce reports.

All of our agents have seen a marked improvement in efficiency since we moved over to ServiceDesk from our previous solution. The 2.2 upgrade has further improved our internal processes for assigning tickets and accessing client data.

The best feature in this release - by a mile - is the custom views. I can build as many custom views as I like, so I can focus on a particular task or queue without all of the other information getting in the way. For me, getting a clear picture is key and ServiceDesk 2.2 nails that.

The new upgrade will be available globally to new customers and across MAXfocus’ existing and growing MAX RemoteManagement client base.

About LogicNow

LogicNow is the global market leader in the delivery of integrated cloud-based IT Service Management solutions to Managed Service Providers and end user businesses. LogicNow’s products, including its integrated Remote Monitoring and Management platform, hosted email security, enterprise–grade backup and recovery solutions and its service management platform, deliver highly accessible and scalable SaaS solutions under a subscription model. As the provider of the world’s most widely-trusted managed service provider & and IT support platform, LogicNow has a decade of cloud-based application development and deployment expertise, the backing of a 12,000-strong community and the industry vision to define and deliver the future of the MSP market.

Need for open and neutral peering platform for the region drives the move

 

NEW YORKDE-CIX North America Inc. announces today that the company will open an Internet exchange in Dallas, Texas. DE-CIX Dallas will locate its first access points at Infomart’s multi-tenant data center at 1950 N. Stemmons Freeway. The building is home to multiple data center operators, including Cologix, Equinix and zColo, and it also houses new colocation space operated by Infomart itself. The exchange is expected to be ready for service in January 2016 and will expand to additional locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth metro region over time.

 

Dallas is a strong hub for connectivity in the southern United States. The city is also a gateway for Mexican and Latin American carriers to the U.S., driving continued growth in communications traffic. Many carriers have extensive fiber infrastructure in and around Dallas with

Points of Presence (PoPs) inside the Infomart facility.

 

DE-CIX first brought its unique Internet exchange model to the United States one year ago and already serves around 80 networks at its DE-CIX New York exchange. The company, which is wholly owned by eco - the world’s largest Internet industry association - offers an open, neutral alternative for the marketplace and opportunities for reliable and secure Ethernet interconnection and peering.

 

“When we seek out new markets, the first thing we look for is the need for neutral and open peering and interconnection. In Dallas, DE-CIX has detected a high demand for these types of services,” explains DE-CIX’s CMO Frank Orlowski. “DE-CIX Dallas will be an essential part of the Internet ecosystem in the Southwest, opening up a true alternative Internet exchange in Dallas. Our goal is to gain the Number One position in this metro within the next 12 months, providing a powerful and open exchange to maximize the benefits of  peering.”  

 

DE-CIX Dallas will be built on the award-winning DE-CIX Apollon technology platform, which delivers a 100GE-enabled exchange backed by best-in-class Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

 

“It is time for a data center-neutral IXP to arrive in Dallas. Having DE-CIX build a new Internet exchange at our 1950 N. Stemmons Freeway facility is a great addition to the building and the building Meet Me Room,” states Andrew Gold, VP of Corporate Development for Infomart.

 

DE-CIX will run a pre-sales “Sunrise Period” for the new Dallas exchange from August 1–December 31, 2015, where networks that sign on for service at DE-CIX Dallas can take advantage of a promotional offer. For more information, contact DE-CIX Sales.

 

DE-CIX operates Internet exchanges in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, Germany; New York, USA; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

New exchanges are scheduled to come online in Q3 2015 in Marseille, France; Palermo, Italy; and Istanbul, Turkey. For more information about DE-CIX, visit www.de-cix.net.

 

About DE-CIX

DE-CIX provides premium Internet exchange (IX) services and operates several carrier-neutral and independent Internet exchanges internationally. Founded in 1995, DE-CIX has  established an environment for the bilateral settlement-free exchange of Internet traffic, called peering. The company serves 700+ carriers, ISPs and content networks from 60+ countries, including all leading international players  in Frankfurt (Germany), New York (USA), Dubai (UAE), Palermo (Italy), Marseille (France), Istanbul (Turkey), Hamburg (Germany) and Munich (Germany). With 4+  Terabits per second of peak traffic, DE-CIX Frankfurt is the world’s leading Internet exchange. DE-CIX is your one-stop-shop for Peering, Interconnection and additional IX services.

For more  information, please visit www.de-cix.net.

Business decisions can now be smarter and more accurate with artificial precognition

 

LONDON – Massive Analytic, a start-up specialising in innovative precognitive enterprise analytics, has launched its ground-breaking Oscar AP platform for the Azure market place. The company's patented artificial precognition (AP) application is now available to enterprises to analyse their data and make decisions with more certainty, having understood the possible outcomes.

 

Oscar AP's Azure Marketplace deployment runs on Apache's Spark, a leading edge big data technology providing both batch and lightning-fast real-time analytics, granting rapid and efficient responses to businesses. The brain behind Massive Analytic's unique approach to analytics is its ‘artificial precognition' which acts like a trusted advisor, identifying hidden relationships inside data of any size and discovering the likelihood of success for business decisions.

 

Artificial precognition can understand both structured and unstructured data, and is designed to accommodate users of all levels and backgrounds. Its interface is completely code-free and provides one-click machine learning for non-technical business users, making big data accessible for all members of an organisation not just data scientists and IT specialists. By automating data science users can bring more value to their skillsets and their role. Data driven decisions are now accessible across an entire business, bringing insights into the decision cycle more quickly.

 

Keith Brown, managing director of Paythru, a mobile payments pioneer commented "We are excited to be a part of the journey with Massive Analytic and to be using Oscar AP at Paythru. We have specific challenges around delivering real time recommendations and merchant offers to potential customers in malls and physical marketplaces. Oscar AP's approach to analytics would allow us to target our customers better and quicker and ensure that we push contextual offers to them in real time helping end consumers and merchant partners do business better."

 

Oscar AP is available for deployment on a single tenant private cloud for businesses looking for an innovative analytics solution that provides codeless data preparation, precognitive analytics and visualisations. A multi-tenant private cloud offering will be available in Q3. Future deployment options will include an on-premise and a hybrid deployment.

 

Oscar AP is the first business analytics platform to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) alongside big data access to examine a broader picture of enterprise performance that goes beyond the limitations of internal corporate data. It is designed to remove the dependence on high levels of human expertise to analyse data and provide rapid foresight for business decisions.  Users can run machine learning algorithms and advanced statistics using simple point and-click functionality via a browser-based interface. This allows business users to find hidden insights without needing to take time away from data scientists. With its AI-based precognitive analytics just a click away, Oscar AP's functionality transcends current analytics applications.

 

George Frangou, Founder and Executive Chairman explained, "Wisdom is not just in one data set, wisdom comes from lots of different datasets and their touchpoints. When you join data together you create seams of knowledge, information and insight to extract. Traditional tools require a lot of expertise, time and effort to do this. Oscar AP automates this data science so any user can join datasets and then extract the key insights in one click. It doesn't matter if the data is a petabyte with 10,000 variables Oscar AP will analyse it with no coding, no data science background needed. Users can quickly move from data to insight to decision very quickly having the satisfaction of thorough analysis being done"

 

Oscar AP is built to enhance collaborative working across an organisation. With this initial launch on Azure it is available in two editions, both designed to fulfil the self-service analytics needs of different segments of the business. The Reporter Edition allows access to predefined storydashboards that give users a broad overview of the area of business with full drill-down access to underlying data and more-specific information.

 

The Studio Edition allows business users to build storydashboards, use advanced machine learning in one click and predict outcomes while displaying key information. Coming later will be the Data Scientist Edition aimed at those who want total control to build tailored, optimised, analytical workflows and algorithms for organisational analytic processes.

 

For more information or to arrange a demo of Oscar AP, please visit: www.massiveanalytic.com

 

About Massive Analytic
Massive Analytic is a London-based AI company, with patented world leading technologies and global big data heritage. Founded in 2010, Massive Analytic has a disruptive vision for changing the way we interact with data using artificial precognition.

The company is privately funded and its innovation has been recognised and awarded with a Small firms' Merit Award for Research and Technology (SMART) for innovation and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant from Innovate UK (formerly the UK Technology Strategy Board). It has been accepted into the Lockheed Martin Virtual Technology Cluster.

Massive Analytic is a Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner and was a Top 20 finalist from 600 startups in 19 countries in the Microsoft Azure accelerator in August 2012, winning membership of the BizSpark Plus programme. It was a CODE_n 2014 finalist, a Tech Market View Top 12 finalist and a 2014 Tech Tour selected company.

For more information, visit: www.massiveanalytic.com

Teaching prospects about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) could help managed service providers (MSPs) boost their revenues, according to RapidFire Tools.

The company behind the Network Detective application and reporting tool this week released a survey that revealed many MSPs are using HIPAA compliance assessments to increase business and better engage prospects.

...

http://mspmentor.net/managed-services/072115/can-hipaa-compliance-assessments-give-msps-competitive-advantage

If there’s one conversation that invariably creates a lot of hand-wringing among the IT professionals I’ve spoken with in recent years, it’s the one that centers on “shadow IT.” Buying and implementing technology independent of the IT organization—a practice that is probably most widely associated with marketing organizations—raises all sorts of hackles among these IT pros, and they’re not afraid to share their thoughts on why it’s a bad idea.

But there’s a fascinating dimension to all of this. Gartner has famously predicted that by 2017, marketing organizations will spend more on technology than IT organizations themselves spend. If that’s the case, it seems to me there’s a question that’s begging to be asked: If it’s marketing that’s driving the tech spending, then who’s the substance, and who’s the shadow?

I recently had the opportunity to discuss the marketing vs. IT topic with Chris Vennitti, vice president, contract staffing services at the HireStrategy subsidiary of Addison Group, a Chicago-based staffing and recruitment firm that specializes in IT. Vennitti lives and breathes this stuff, so I opened the conversation with the notion that the way things are going these days, you really do have to wonder which is the shadow—the marketing organization or the IT organization. I asked Vennitti for his thoughts on that, and he clearly accepted the legitimacy of the question:

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/from-under-the-rug/shadow-it-is-the-it-organization-becoming-the-shadow.html

British businesses are beginning to take a more sophisticated approach to disaster recovery (DR) planning, but most still fail to test their provisions frequently enough.

This is according to a new report from Plan B, in which 200 IT professionals and decision-makers at UK firms were polled on their DR practices.

It found that many are adopting hybrid DR plans, using a wide range of in-house and outsourced solutions to suit the “budget and criticality” of different IT systems.

However, fewer than a third (31 per cent) of respondents test their plans more than yearly, the researchers found, and just one in five (21 per cent) do so “properly” – trialling every component of their DR strategy in a single dry run.

This could put them at risk of missed recovery time objectives due to unforeseen bottlenecks, as well as data loss due to incomplete backups.

“Buyers are getting smarter, which is really good news for the business continuity world, but we still need to promote testing as an area to take more seriously to reduce IT downtime,” Plan B managing director Tim Dunger told Computer Weekly.

It is wise to choose a data recovery company who has a track record in recovering from the type of data loss you have experienced.

From:: http://www.krollontrack.co.uk/company/press-room/data-recovery-news/report-uk-firms-not-testing-dr-plans-frequently-enough795.aspx

The updating of NFPA 1600, the Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs, has reached a new stage. The Second Draft Report has now been posted and NITMAMs are now being accepted.

Under NFPA rules, anyone wishing to make an allowable amending motion at an NFPA Technical Meeting must declare their intentions by filing, within the published deadline, a NITMAM (Notice of Intent to Make a Motion).

The Motions Committee of the NFPA Standards Council, in accordance with NFPA rules, then reviews each NITMAM to determine whether the intended motion is a proper motion.

The deadline for NFPA 1600 new edition NITMAMs is August 21st 2015.

http://www.nfpa.org/1600

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides two main types of assistance following natural disasters, such as the Texas storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred May 4 through June 19.

Individual Assistance is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to individuals and families who have sustained losses due to disasters.

  • Texas homeowners, renters and business owners in designated counties who sustained damage to their homes, vehicles, personal property, businesses or inventory as a result of the May 4 through June 19 severe storms and floods may apply for disaster assistance.
  • Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other serious disaster-related expenses.
  • Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, medical waiver programs, welfare assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.
  • As a FEMA partner, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal long-term disaster recovery funds for disaster damages not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. They do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Public Assistance can fund the repair, restoration, reconstruction or replacement of a public facility or infrastructure damaged or destroyed by a disaster.

  • FEMA will provide a reimbursement grant of 75 percent of eligible costs, with the state and local governments sharing the remaining 25 percent of costs. Eligible entities include state governments, local governments and any other political subdivision of the state, Native American tribes and Alaskan Native Villages. Certain private nonprofit organizations, such as educational, utility, irrigation, emergency, medical, rehabilitation, and temporary or permanent custodial care facilities also may receive assistance.
  • Although funds are awarded to government entities and nonprofits, the Public Assistance program is intended to benefit everyone — neighborhoods, cities, counties and states. Public Assistance dollars help clean up communities affected by disaster-related debris, repair the roads and bridges people use every day getting to work and school, put utilities and water systems back in order, repair hospitals and emergency services, rebuild schools and universities, and restore playground equipment in public parks.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

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. 

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for childcare, medical, dental expenses and/or funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, those who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

For more information on Texas recovery, visit the disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4223, Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/femaregion6 and the Texas Division of Emergency Management website, https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem.

Visit www.fema.gov/texas-disaster-mitigation for publications and reference material on rebuilding and repairing safer and stronger.

Can you share too much information (TMI) online? As organizations use more public cloud services, IT service providers should be careful about what cloud-based file sharing services they recommend. And, while the rise in public and hybrid clouds isn’t a bad thing, as an MSP you need to explain to your clients the risks associated with the public cloud so they can make an educated decision about what mix of public and private cloud services is right for them. Here are a few of the risks you should highlight:

...

http://mspmentor.net/infocenter-cloud-based-file-sharing/072015/3-public-cloud-risks-share-your-clients

SAN DIEGO – InsureWell, the leading digital insurance marketplace platform for income protection, announced a broad strategic partnership today with Algebraix Data, a pioneer in making advanced analytics accessible and affordable to enterprises of all sizes. The two industry leaders are teaming up to drive innovation in big data analytics, advanced informatics and machine learning within the life insurance industry, as well as other opportunities across the emerging FinTech space.

Today the rapid evolution of technology across all areas of life and business is creating a proliferation of structured and unstructured data. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to develop new insurance products, predictive services and risk modeling approaches using data analytics.

The collaboration will bring together InsureWell's customer analytics and digital placement platform expertise with Algebraix's mathematically precise data integration and deep business analytics experience, supported by its client-focused data scientists. As part of the venture, Algebraix will use advanced analytics modeling methods and tools to help InsureWell leverage internal and external data in risk profiling and new product development.

"The application of 'big data' analytics is a critical area of innovation within the insurance industry. Working closely with Algebraix and select insurance carriers, InsureWell is focusing on bringing new digital models, product opportunities and distribution platforms to market," said Bill Unrue, CEO, InsureWell.

"To win in today's highly competitive data economy, every enterprise needs fast, accurate business intelligence. Yet implementing advanced analytics can be technically and financially daunting. In collaboration with InsureWell, Algebraix has solved this cost/difficulty problem for the insurance industry by making high-value business analytics not only accessible but easy to implement and affordable," said Charles Silver, CEO, Algebraix Data. "In essence, we do the heavy lifting."

About InsureWell

InsureWell.com is a leading consumer advocate and national online insurance marketplace for individuals, small businesses and financial intermediaries. The company leverages technology, data analytics, and informatics to enhance the consumer digital experience and develop next-generation technology-enabled insurance solutions. InsureWell works with the major carriers in the market.

For additional information, please visit www.insurewell.com.