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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

Gigaom Research and CipherCloud have announced the results of their new ‘Shadow IT: Data Protection and Cloud Security’ study. The research examined the extent of enterprises' cloud adoption, the challenges and the risks.

The results of the study indicate that the cloud market will grow 126.5 percent this year with the majority of the growth in two areas: software-as-a-service (SaaS) growing at 199 percent and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) at 126 percent.



Tuesday, 18 November 2014 17:38

Disaster recovery as a service market report

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) provides organizations with a variety of cost-efficient ways to recover and replicate critical servers and data center/centre infrastructure to the cloud environment in case of any disaster resulting in disruption of services.

DRaaS offers business continuity across a range of organizations and their applications, by ensuring availability of IT infrastructure in an event of disaster.

A new report from Transparency Market Research looks at the DRaaS market, providing industry analysis, global trends and forecasts for 2014 – 2020.




Following on from its success at the Business Excellence Awards, the Business Continuity Institute has now been named Training Resource of the Year (Business Continuity) at the prestigious ACQ Global Awards.

Deborah Higgins, Head of Learning and Development at the BCI, said: “The BCI and our international network of Training Partners and Instructors have invested a lot into ensuring that business continuity practitioners are offered the highest standard of teaching. To be named Training Resource of the Year (Business Continuity) is great recognition of all this effort and something we are extremely proud of. It is important that we do not rest on our laurels however, but use this award as inspiration to develop our services further and continue to provide the best training to those working in the industry all across the world.”

"Exceptional individuals, teams and firms across the marketplace represent the very best in their field from around the world and truly deserve the accolade of being an ACQ Award winner.” said Jake Robson, Editor in Chief of ACQ. “All category winners are in effect, a brand. In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise. You know what you’re going to get with a well-branded product or service. It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables. It’s shorthand for what you are.

All category winners in the ACQ Global Awards 2014 represent this ethos and this year, our dedicated subscribers have once again recognized the genuine leaders in the market. The quality of this year's entries is astonishingly high and a testament to the fact that the profession continues to innovate and deliver high-quality services even in economically challenging times.”

Since 2008, the ACQ Global Awards have been celebrating achievement, innovation and brilliance in their annual awards. Every year, they seek the assistance of their readers in recognizing industry leaders, eminent individuals, exemplary teams and distinguished firms, which they believe represent the benchmark of achievement and best practice in a variety of fields – and every year, they turn to their readers to help as they strive to recognize an ever-widening spectrum of services, markets, industries and organisations that the sector serves.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – State and federal disaster assistance now totals $12.1 million for those affected by the South Napa Earthquake. The current total includes $5.6 million in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), as well as $6.5 million in low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

A recap of the disaster recovery operation by the numbers, as of Nov. 16:

Households Registered: 3,142
Total Grants Approved: $5,670,654
• Housing Assistance Grants: $5,397,952
• Other Needs Assistance Grants: $272,702

SBA Loans Approved: 145
• Home Loans: 142
• Business Loans: 3
Total SBA Loans: $6,525,500

Disaster Recovery Centers:

• Napa Earthquake Local Assistance Center - 301 First Street, Napa, CA 94559
• Solano County Disaster Recovery Center - 1155 Capitol Street, Vallejo, CA 94590

Center Visitors: 1,444
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., until further notice. Closed Nov. 27-28.

FEMA Inspections Completed: 2,592

Homeowners and renters in Napa and Solano Counties who had damage from the South Napa Earthquake have until Dec. 29, 2014 to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA. Disaster assistance includes grants to help pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources.

Low-interest disaster loans are also available from the SBA for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
Disaster recovery officials urge those who registered with FEMA and received an SBA loan application to complete and return the application. Doing so will ensure the applicants are considered for the full range of disaster assistance that may be available to them.
SBA serves as the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps fund repair or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.
Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000—with interest rates as low as 2.063 percent—for the repair or replacement of their primary residence not fully compensated by insurance. Homeowners and renters may also borrow up to $40,000 with interest rates as low as 2.063 percent for replacement of personal property, including vehicles.
Businesses and nonprofits may apply to borrow up to $2 million for the following:
• Business Physical Disaster Loans—Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.

• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) –Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Homeowners and renters who apply for an SBA loan and are declined, as well as those who are not issued a loan application, may be referred to the FEMA Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grant program. Homeowners and renters must return the SBA application, if they receive one, to be considered for ONA.

ONA provides reimbursements for personal property losses, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage fees, and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources. FEMA provides 75 percent of the funding for ONA, and Cal OES provides 25 percent.

To apply for assistance, register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.  People who use 711-Relay or VRS may call 800-621-3362.

Multilingual phone operators are available on the FEMA Helpline/Registration. Choose Option 2 for Spanish and Option 3 for other languages. Phone lines remain open 7 a.m to 10 p.m. (PT) Sun.-Sat. until further notice.

Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Teams

Two six-person DSA teams continue to visit quake-damaged communities. The teams include eight young adults – ages 18 to 24 – from FEMA Corps, who work alongside FEMA employees to help communities recover from disasters. On assignment in Napa and Solano counties, the teams are stationed at community centers or walking door-to-door to speak to residents and business owners.

To date, DSA teams have registered 151 residents, updated 101 FEMA applications, completed 170 case inquiries and referred 252 people to other community resources.

Apply to Qualify

To be eligible for federal disaster assistance—such as disaster grants and loans—at least one member of a household must be a U.S. citizen, Qualified Alien or non-citizen national with a Social Security number. Disaster assistance may be available to a household if a parent or guardian applies on behalf of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen or a Qualified Alien. FEMA will only need to know the immigration status and Social Security number of the child.

Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, medical waiver programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Social Security Disability Insurance.

Those who suspect someone of engaging in unscrupulous activity should call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement agencies.

For unmet disaster-related needs, the United Way operates 2-1-1 that covers Napa and Solano Counties. Available 24/7 in 150 languages, the Bay Area 211 helpline connects callers with hundreds of programs to help people find food, housing, healthcare, senior services, childcare, legal aid and more.

For more information on the California disaster recovery, go to www.fema.gov/disaster/4193.

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). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

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 Cal OES protects lives and property, builds capabilities and supports our communities for a resilient California. Cal OES achieves its mission by serving the public through effective collaboration in preparing for, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating the impacts of all hazards and threats.

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations 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.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 17:35

Disaster Recovery and Technological Horrors

In disaster recovery, technology is often a neutral element – neither good nor bad, in itself. Some technologies are better suited to specific needs or offer relative improvements to existing solutions. What determines whether an organisation benefits or suffers is the application of technology. When it is used unthinkingly and incorrectly, the horror stories start. Worse still, many technology-related disaster recovery failures are repeats of catastrophes that were already happening decades ago. What have we learnt since then – or what should we have learned?



Tuesday, 18 November 2014 17:30

The Real Reason Companies Like Data Lakes

Data lakes may be controversial among technologists, but for many companies, they solve a pressing technology problem: bad data integration.

Andrew Oliver, president and founder of Open Software Integrators, has helped large companies build data lakes. While there is debate about what data lakes are and whether they’re even practical at this point — Gartner, in particular, has spoken against the data lake hype (see Oliver’s rebuttal)— in practice, data lakes are typically Hadoop clusters that draw data from multiple sources, Oliver said.

Often, he said, business leaders are just fed up with the bad, point-to-point integration they’ve seen with traditional BI projects.



Recent research is adding impetus to the notion that the cloud will abolish the data center as we know it. And in fact, there is a kernel of truth to this, although the change is not going to be as complete as some cloud enthusiasts would have us believe.

As I noted in a previous post, companies like IDC are projecting a steady increase in new data center construction over the next few years, followed by a drop-off as workloads are moved from internal infrastructure to external resources that are either cloud-based or provided in standard colocation fashion. This is not necessarily a death-blow to the data industry, however, given that scale-out cloud architectures will still require a fair amount of hardware and software – although most of it based on low-cost, commodity designs – so that the amount of actual data center square footage is likely to increase well into the next decade.

So clearly, the enterprise data center will not vanish, but it will change. For one thing, smaller facilities and “data closets” are likely to fade away, leaving larger, scale-out data centers in their place. As well, look for increased density and modular designs rather than today’s rack configurations, says Dell’s Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, with much of today’s hardware-driven functionality replaced by advanced software-defined architectures. The good news, though, is that much, if not all, of this new infrastructure will integrate seamlessly with legacy systems, giving the enterprise crucial breathing room when it comes to building next-generation data environments.



(TNS) — Can public health experts tell that an infectious disease outbreak is imminent simply by looking at what people are searching for on Wikipedia? Yes, at least in some cases.

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to make extremely accurate forecasts about the spread of dengue fever in Brazil and flu in the U.S., Japan, Poland and Thailand by examining three years’ worth of Wikipedia search data. They also came up with moderately successful predictions of tuberculosis outbreaks in Thailand and China, and of dengue fever’s spread in Thailand.

However, their efforts to anticipate cases of cholera, Ebola, HIV and plague by extrapolating from search data left much to be desired, according to a report published Thursday in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. But the researchers believe their general approach could still work if they use more sophisticated statistics and a more inclusive data set.



In the long history of IT, many innovations that originally began life as supercomputer projects over time wound up being more broadly applied. A new class of supercomputers that IBM is building in collaboration with NVIDIA and Mellanox for the U.S. Department of Energy is likely to be just such an innovation.

Under the terms of a $325 million contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, IBM is building supercomputers using a new “data centric” architecture capable of processing 100 petaflops using five petabytes of dynamic and flash memory. Based on IBM OpenPOWER processors, each system will be capable of moving data to the processor, when necessary, at more than 17 petabytes per second.

Dave Turek, vice president of technical computing for OpenPOWER at IBM, says what makes these systems unique is that IBM is designing them in a way that processes and visualizes data in parallel, but also allows processing of data to be distributed across storage and networking elements.



SACRAMENTO, Calif.  – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) inspectors have completed more than 2,000 inspections of homes damaged or destroyed by the South Napa Earthquake. Homeowners and renters in Napa and Solano counties became eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance on Oct. 27 following the presidential declaration for Individual Assistance. FEMA must verify damages for every application.

Those affected by the South Napa Earthquake have until Dec. 29 to apply for disaster assistance. Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for rent, essential home repairs, personal property replacement or other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources.

Damage inspections are free and generally take 30 to 45 minutes. They are conducted by FEMA contract inspectors who have construction and/or appraisal expertise and have received disaster-specific training. Each inspector displays official photo identification.

Inspectors document the damage but do not determine the resident's eligibility for disaster assistance. They check for damage to the building structure and its systems, major appliances and any damaged septic systems and wells. Residents should tell the inspector about other important losses such as clothing, personal property, medical equipment, tools needed for a trade, and educational materials.

Inspectors then relay this information to FEMA on their handheld tablet, which they call their inspector pad. They use their pads to download work assignments and communicate throughout the day.

Applicants are reminded to keep the contact information on their applications current so an inspector can reach them. To update their information, applicants should call FEMA's Helpline at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Contact information can also be updated online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

FEMA procedures for home inspections follow:
• An inspector calls the applicant to set up an appointment at a mutually convenient time and advises the applicant of documentation needed to complete the inspection, such as insurance policies and photo identification. 

• The inspector tries a minimum of three times to contact the applicant. The inspector will call at different times on different days in the hope of finding someone at home.

• If attempts to reach the applicant are unsuccessful, the inspector posts a letter on the applicant's door with a phone number to call for an appointment.

• If applicants have relocated to another area and cannot return for the mandatory damage inspection, they can authorize an agent or proxy to be present on their behalf.

• As part of the inspection process, homeowners will be asked to show proof of ownership, such as a tax bill, deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy showing the property's address. Renters must show proof of occupancy, such as a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was their primary residence at the time of the disaster. Both homeowners and renters must also be prepared to show a valid driver's license or other photo identification.

To speed the inspection process, applicants should:
• Make sure their home address number can be easily seen from the road.
• Keep their appointment or notify the inspector if a postponement is necessary.
• Stay in touch with FEMA, which may include telling neighbors where they can be contacted.
• Let FEMA know during the registration process if they need a reasonable accommodation, such as an American Sign Language interpreter, during the inspection.

If applicants discover additional damage to their property, they can request another inspection by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585.

Besides the above personnel, residents and businesses may be visited by loss verifiers from the U.S. Small Business Administration, insurance adjustors, and local building officials, as well as others involved in the recovery process. Building officials typically charge fees for permits, though these are sometimes waived after disasters.

FEMA inspectors do not tag dwellings. FEMA inspectors must follow written guidelines to perform inspections on dwellings previously tagged as unsafe to enter or unsafe to occupy by local officials.

For unmet disaster-related needs, the United Way operates 2-1-1 that covers Napa and Solano Counties. Available 24/7 in 150 languages, the Bay Area 211 helpline connects callers with hundreds of programs to help people find food, housing, healthcare, senior services, childcare, legal aid and more.

For more information on California disaster recovery, go www.fema.gov/disaster/4193.