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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

After potentially serious back-to-back laboratory accidents, federal health officials announced Friday that they had temporarily closed the flu and anthrax laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and halted shipments of all infectious agents from the agency’s highest-security labs.

The accidents, and the C.D.C.’s emphatic response to them, could have important consequences for the many laboratories that store high-risk agents and the few that, even more controversially, specialize in making them more dangerous for research purposes.

If the C.D.C. — which the agency’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, called “the reference laboratory to the world” — had multiple accidents that could, in theory, have killed both staff members and people outside, there will undoubtedly be calls for stricter controls on other university, military and private laboratories.

...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/science/cdc-closes-anthrax-and-flu-labs-after-accidents.html

I wouldn’t normally write about sports on this blog …or at all, really, but here’s an unexpected development: Today, famed statistician and data geek Nate Silver revealed that he and his company, FiveThirtyEight, ran a data analysis on whether LeBron James should stay with Miami or move to Cleveland.

It may seem like an unusual mix, but sports is actually Silver’s original stomping ground. He first made a name for himself by developing the Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, a system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance.

As you might expect, the results are a bit controversial. After all, this is the man who gave us “No, really, your polls are wrong about Mitt Romney winning.”

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/nate-silver-on-the-smart-play-for-lebron-james-and-other-data-points.html

Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser in the data center industry.

If it feels like enterprise IT has fallen down the rabbit hole in this age of virtualization and cloud, well, it looks like we’re just getting started. But not all the changes are taking place on the abstract, architectural level. The data center itself is undergoing substantial physical changes as organizations look for innovative ways to boost data productivity while lowering costs.

Examples abound of data centers being built in extreme climates where they can take advantage of naturally cold air or steady winds, but lately it seems that building designs themselves are starting to push an array of unusual envelopes. Take, for example, Foxconn’s latest “green-tunnel” data center, which is literally built inside a long tunnel within the Guiyang industrial park in China. The facility holds up to 12 containerized data centers each packing 504 servers. By leveraging conditions like wind speed and direction, as well as temperature, humidity and geology, the facility is expected to cut power consumption by a third.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-growing-diversity-of-data-center-design.html

It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that someone would enter a school building and declare open season on kids. It’s even harder to determine a strategy for how to mitigate that. There’s a growing catalog of “solutions” to help with the problem.

There are a number of trainings available, including the Run, Hide, Fight video and ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training; there’s the mental health issue; the gun issue; there are myriad solutions — buzzers, cameras, locks, bulletproof desk tops — and we discuss some of these and their relative merits in Active Shooter Mirage (renamed Are Schools Focusing Too Much on the Active Shooter Scenario? for online publication).

It seems school districts are grasping at straws, trying to come up with a fix, including investing millions in some cases on security measures like cameras, which by themselves won’t stop a gunman bent on destruction.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Cops-on-Campus.html

The Business Continuity Institute is delighted to be named Most Respected Training Resource of 2014 at the prestigious Business Excellence Awards.

Voted for by a worldwide network of professionals, advisers, clients, peers and business insiders, the Acquisition International Business Excellence Awards celebrate the individuals and organizations whose commitment to excellence sees them exceeding clients’ expectations on a daily basis while setting the bar for others in their industry. They are given to only the most deserving businesses, departments and individuals who have consistently demonstrated outstanding innovation, performance and commitment to their business or clients over the past 12 months and who have received independent nominations from their clients or industry peers.

Deborah Higgins, Head of Learning and Development at the BCI, said: “To be named Most Respected Training Resource of 2014 is a wonderful recognition of the dedicated and coordinated effort from BCI staff, BCI volunteers and the network of BCI Training Partners and Instructors who have invested in developing and delivering a world class learning experience. Winning this Award will spur us all on to continue providing the highest levels of service and meet the challenges of accessing new and developing markets and promoting the profession of business continuity.”

Speaking about the awards, AI Global Media awards coordinator Siobhan Hanley said: “Our Business Excellence Awards are quickly becoming one of our most popular, with businesses all over the globe eager to showcase the amazing work they’ve been doing to achieve stellar results for their clients while really setting the standards for what can be achieved in their sector. We’re proud to be able to showcase some of the most innovative and committed organizations from across the business world and the winners can be rightly proud of the game-changing work they’ve been doing over the past 12 months.”

To find out exactly which businesses have gone above and beyond this year, achieving outstanding results for their clients while demonstrating unwavering commitment to providing the best possible service, visit the AI website where you can view the winner’s supplement.

Based in Caversham, United Kingdom, the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) was established in 1994 to promote the art and science of business continuity worldwide and to assist organizations in preparing for and surviving minor and large-scale man-made and natural disasters.  The Institute enables members to obtain guidance and support from their fellow practitioners and offers professional training and certification programmes to disseminate and validate the highest standards of competence and ethics.  It has circa 8,000 members in more than 100 countries, who are active in an estimated 3,000 organizations in private, public and third sectors.

For more information go to: www.thebci.org

Attenda is one of the UK’s leading managed services and cloud platform providers, helping UK midmarket organisations to manage and safeguard the availability of their critical business applications. The company has 270-plus employees, who service clients from its head office in Staines and a regional office in Caerphilly, Wales. Attenda operates three datacentres in the UK; including one in Farnborough in partnership with its sister company, Datum Datacentres, which specialises in co-location services.

Since its inception in 1997, Attenda has enjoyed consistent year-on-year growth of 15 percent; and it continues to focus on achieving organic growth by providing exceptional services to its expanding client base.

Protecting clients’ IT environments

Attenda is responsible for managing a diverse range of business critical IT environments on behalf of its clients, including both physical and virtual devices from a variety of vendors. Although each of these clients has a unique set of business requirements and IT systems under management, Attenda must be able to guarantee the same consistent high service levels. Effective patch management processes are crucial to protecting client servers from existing vulnerabilities and emerging threats.

“If client environments are not updated in a timely manner, with the latest approved patches, business continuity could be at risk,” says Richard Booth, Technical Operations Manager at Attenda. “As many of our clients are Internet-based companies, this could quickly impact their profitability — and both of our reputations.”

He adds, “Best-practice patch management is also important for monitoring the software running on client devices and meeting our collective ISO standards certifications for security, quality, IT service management, and business continuity.”

Agent-free patch management

Attenda has been using Shavlik® Protect to safeguard its own and clients’ devices since 2007. “We’ve kept abreast of the patch management tools available on the market, and the Shavlik solution continues to offer the best functionality and value,” comments Booth.

Shavlik reseller Satisnet manages the Attenda account. Nicola Garrett, Customer Account Manager at Satisnet comments: “The Shavlik solution is well suited to Attenda’s operational process needs. Organisations often come to us looking for a solution that can help them to protect client devices from potential vulnerabilities. By ensuring that all software is fully operational, Attenda can differentiate its service offering, whilst providing clients with enhanced security for their servers.”

Unlike other solutions, Shavlik Protect provides Attenda with the flexibility to manage patches with or without agents. This agent-free capability is an important factor, as some clients prefer not to have agents installed on their servers. It also means that the device CPU is not being utilised, so there is no impact on server performance.

The Shavlik solution allows Attenda to see at a glance the different patches that have been released by vendors and evaluate, test, and deploy them to clients’ environments in a controlled manner.

Shavlik Protect is integrated with Attenda’s proprietary monitoring and management platform, Attenda M.O. thus preventing unnecessary alerts being raised during the patching process. As well as safeguarding the security of existing servers, the solution helps to ensure that new servers are always provisioned with the latest patches.

Driving greater efficiency with automation

Some 30 to 40 Attenda employees use Shavlik Protect on a regular basis; the solution is highly intuitive, so training is quick and easy to deliver. These users include the administration team, who schedule patching during the day, leaving night shift engineers able to focus on more technical activities.

“We’ve saved 40 engineer hours a month by automating patch management,” affirms Booth.

“Through using the solution we have been able to make better use of our resources, provide clients with accurate security inventories; and reduce the risk of human error.” Booth concludes: “Using Shavlik Protect makes us more efficient, which means we can offer more value, whilst providing our clients’ with peace of mind about the security of their servers and cloud services provision.”

About Shavlik

Shavlik is a pioneer in agentless patch management and a leader in innovative systems security and management solutions. Since 1993, Shavlik has been at the forefront of patch management, first by providing the only third-party patch management to Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager customers and later asserting industry leadership in the patching of virtual machines. Its products and solutions include Shavlik Protect, Shavlik Patch for Microsoft System Center, and Management Intelligence. Shavlik’s “Just Add Water and Stir” approach allows customers to get up and running in as little as 30 minutes.

Visit www.shavlik.com for more information.

RestartIT Honored for Cloud-Based Data Backup Innovation

BATON ROUGE, La. – Venyu, a leader in business continuitycloud-based virtualization, and battle-tested data recovery, today announced thatTMC, a global, integrated media company, has named RestartIT® as a 2014 Cloud Computing Excellence Award winner. RestartIT is Venyu’s disaster recovery solution, customized to fit a client’s RTO (recovery time objective). RestartIT’s RTO can be anywhere between 12-24hrs for RestartIT+ to nearly instantly with Venyu’s newest innovation: RestartIT+VM.

The Cloud Computing Excellence Award, presented byCloud Computing Magazine, recognizes companies that have most effectively leveraged cloud computing in their efforts to bring new, differentiated offerings to market. Venyu’s RestartIT was selected by the magazine after the panel of judges reviewed the company’s well-documented data backup and recovery case study--Stonetrust Commerical Insurance.

“Venyu is providing Stonetrust with the ability to eliminate data outages because information is always backed up and accessible--24x7--within our secure data centers,” said Scott Thompson, CEO, Venyu. “We are honored that RestartIT was chosen as a 2014 Cloud Computing Excellence award winner.”

The insurance company chose Venyu to provide managed hosting services and cloud-based data backup to support their business operations. Venyu helped the company save more than $50,000 by eliminating costly IT capital upgrades as well as hiring additional IT support staff to manage a larger, in-house data center. As an essential element of any disaster recovery plan, Venyu’s data backup automatically saves all data changes, while securing information in the company's commercial-grade data centers.  

“Recognizing leaders in the advancement of cloud computing, TMC is proud to announce Venyu as a recipient of the Fourth Annual Cloud Computing Excellence Award,” saidRich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Venyu is being honored for their achievement in bringing innovation and excellence to the market, while leveraging the latest technology trends.”           

The results of the 2014 Cloud Computing Excellence Award were announced viapress release and will be published in Cloud Computing Magazine.

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™.

About TMC

TMC is a global, integrated media company that supports clients' goals by building communities in print, online, and face to face. TMC publishes multiple magazines includingCloud Computing,M2M Evolution,Customer, andInternet Telephony.TMCnet is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries, and is read by as many as 1.5 million unique visitors monthly. TMC produces a variety of trade events, includingITEXPO, the world's leading business technology event, as well as industry events: Asterisk World; AstriCon; ChannelVision (CVx) Expo; Cloud4SMB Expo; Customer Experience (CX) Hot Trends Symposium; DevCon5 - HTML5 & Mobile App Developer Conference; LatinComm Conference and Expo; M2M Evolution Conference & Expo; Mobile Payment Conference; Software Telco Congress, StartupCamp; Super Wi-Fi & Shared Spectrum Summit; SIP Trunking-Unified Communications Seminars; Wearable Tech Conference & Expo; WebRTC Conference & Expo III; and more. For more information about TMC, visitwww.tmcnet.com.

Transaction Creates Trucking Industry Market Leader in Data Processing & Management 

DALLAS — Blackhill Partners, an investment bank and corporate advisor specializing in complex situations, represented Xerox Corporation in its sale of TripPak to Pegasus TransTech.  

TripPak is a major provider of document management, invoicing and other products and services for the transportation industry under the brand names TripPak SERVICES ™ and ACS Advertising.  Pegasus TransTech delivers business solutions that streamline document capture and transmission, billing, collections, payroll and other revenue-cycle processes for the transportation and logistics industries.

The combined company will now provide revenue-cycle and data management solutions for over 3,000 truck fleets and third-party logistics customers.

"The market dynamics are very competitive right now, and they’re creating an attractive environment for divesting assets that don’t fit an organization’s strategic objectives,” said Jeff Jones, Managing Director of Blackhill Partners. “Our corporate clients continue to realize full valuations by divesting business units that don’t align with their long-term goals."

Along with Jones, the Blackhill team included Lance Gurley, Vice President; and Joel Brown, Associate.

About Blackhill Partners
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Blackhill Partners, LLC is an investment bank and corporate advisor specializing in complex situations. Blackhill’s professionals have advised on over $40 billion of mergers, acquisitions, financings and restructurings across a broad range of industries, with particular depth in energy and industrial businesses. www.bhpllc.com

About Xerox
Since the invention of Xerography more than 75 years ago, the people of Xerox (NYSE: XRX) have helped businesses simplify the way work gets done. Today, Xerox is the global leader in business process and document management, helping organizations of any size be more efficient so they can focus on their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., more than 140,000 Xerox employees serve clients in 160 countries, providing business services, printing equipment and software for commercial and government organizations. Learn more at www.xerox.com.

Prof. Dr. Norbert Pohlmann PhD, Ilijana Vavan and Ulf Heggenberger support sales and business development of the Hamburg-based start-up secucloud.

HAMBURG – Security is one of the basic human needs. Therefore, we carefully protect almost everything in our everyday life – houses, cars and capital. Simultaneously, our virtual reality is becoming more real than ever – just like its dangers. There is an urgent need for a security solution, which enables small companies and private users to protect their Internet data streams without much effort. This is the daily business of secucloud – from now on supported by the business and security experts Prof. Dr. Norbert Pohlmann, Ilijana Vavan and Ulf Heggenberger. They will strengthen the team surrounding Dennis Monner, former head of Hamburg’s firewall provider gateProtect.

Dennis Monner, Founder and CEO of secucloud: “We are very pleased about the opportunity to benefit from knowledge of business experts, who have participated in successful and known companies like Kaspersky, Juniper Networks and Vodafone. It is a great honour that Prof. Dr. Norbert Pohlmann PhD, the German IT corypheus, has taken the chairmanship of our Board and supports our idea.”

The successful IT-Security professional has 15 years of experience - Pohlmann has been a member of the Board at Kaspersky Labs since February 2014. Moreover, he advises the German policy as a member of the IT-Security Taskforce in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, is a member of “eco”, the biggest European Internet association and member of the Scientific Advisory of Data Security and Data Protection. Furthermore, Pohlmann is Professor for informatics for distribution systems and information security and director of the Institute of Internet Security at the University in Gelsenkirchen (Germany). Last but not least, he is founder and chairman of the TeleTrust “IT Security made in Germany” organization.

Ilijana Vavan has more than 20 years of experience in successfully building and expanding IT companies. She now supports secucloud operatively as a board member. Before joining secucloud, Vavan was responsible for the Sales network of the IT-Security-Company Kaspersky Lab in the EMEA region as Executive Vice President, reporting directly to Eugene Kaspersky (founder and CEO of Kaspersky). As Enterprise Sales Director, she was also leading the sales organization of Juniper Networks in over 26 countries.

Ulf Heggenberger, former CEO of EWE TEL GmbH and long-term Vodafone manager, is an expert in the Telecommunications field. With Heggenberger on the board, secucloud benefits from his well-established contacts to various CEOs and leaders of different Internet Service Providers. In response, private users and medium-sized companies will be able to subscribe to the secucloud solution directly at their ISP in the future.

 

About secucloud

Our declared mission is to protect private households, small companies, and distributed systems against threats from the Internet. Cyber attacks are not only increasing at a rapid pace, they are also targeted at an increasingly wider range of devices. It is not only Windows PCs that are under threat – Apple Macs, Linux, iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and even smart home systems are falling victim to attack. secucloud offers a solution that can protect all these devices. Using high-end IT security systems otherwise only reserved for large corporations enables private consumers and small companies to access IT security with the highest of level of security available. With multiple different security systems connected in series, we attain a near perfect level of security that desktop applications cannot even begin to compete against – and all this at a minimum cost. For more details visit http://secucloud.com.

Here in Alabama, residents are no strangers to natural disasters.  Civic histories of many cities and towns throughout the state include references to natural disasters such as fires, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Alabamians know they must be prepared.  Every home should have a smoke alarm; every home should have an emergency supply kit packed and ready.

What not everyone realizes, however, is that being prepared doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster preparedness website, www.ready.gov is a destination site for information about getting your family prepared for a disaster.

“FEMA urges residents of every community in every state to Be Informed, Have a Plan and Prepare a Kit,” said Albie Lewis, federal coordinating officer for the Alabama recovery. “Each of these may be critical in a family’s ability to recover from disaster.  A family preparedness kit, particularly, is one of the most important tools at your disposal to keep your family safe in a disaster.”

Commercially available disaster kits can range from $75 to $300 and up, but most of the pieces of a disaster kit already may be in the home and just need to be gathered together and stored in one place.

“The rule of thumb for residents who are survivors of a disaster is that they should be prepared to take care of their family’s needs for the first 72 hours after a disaster strikes,” says Art Faulkner, director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency.  “It may take that long for responders to get to you.”

FEMA recommends that an emergency preparedness kit include food and water for each member of the family for three days, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, non-electric can opener, local maps and personal sanitation items such as hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties.

Water supplies should be sufficient to meet both health and sanitation needs.

Family emergency kits also should include important family documents such as wills or property deeds, personal identification and any prescription medicines a family member may be taking.

Other items to consider include sleeping bags or blankets, paper towels, books, puzzles and games for children, pet food and medications for family pets.

It’s helpful to have cash in case banks are closed and there is no power for ATMs.

The emergency supplies can be stored in an easy-to-carry plastic storage container or duffel bag, making them easy to grab and go when an emergency forces people to leave their home.