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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

A study by research firm IDC carried out on  behalf of Carbonite has revealed that over 80% of small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) have experienced downtime in the past, and that the costs associated with this downtime conservatively range from $82,200 to $256,000 for a single event.

Small businesses are by no means exempt from disruption and the latest Horizon Scan report carried out by the Business Continuity Institute shows that business continuity professionals working for smaller organizations have concerns about the same threats that their counterparts in larger organizations have. What is potentially a greater danger for these SMBs however, is that they often have less capacity to absorb any disruption.

The survey does show that for many SMBs, the threats they face are not going unchallenged. The survey of 700 SMBs worldwide found that 81% of those currently using business continuity solutions are considering improvements to their strategies, while 72% plan to increase investments in business continuity over the next 12 to 24 months.

Small businesses are facing operational challenges stemming from persistent data growth, budgetary constraints and the need to produce more with less which is driving adoption of cloud computing, data analytics and mobility similar to their enterprise counterparts,” said Laura DuBois, Vice President of IDC’s storage practice. “To address these challenges, SMBs have signalled a need and intention to drive material spending on business continuity in the next 12 to 24 months.”

The main driver behind increased investment in business continuity is the threat of downtime which 76% of SMBs surveyed cited as the single biggest reason for purchasing business continuity solutions. The reason for this is clear as the study highlights that the average estimated cost for an hour of downtime for an SMB ranges from $8,220 to $25,600, and typically an unplanned event can last for as long as 24 hours – which could be devastating to a small business.

When it comes to disaster recovery, the stakes are higher for small businesses,” said Mohamed Ali, Carbonite’s President and CEO. “SMBs realize that a business continuity solution can mean the difference between staying in business or losing everything they’ve worked for, and the data shows they are investing accordingly."


How should your clients back up their data? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer many MSPs provide--“a dedicated backup service, of course!”--may or may not be the right solution for every client. In reality, both business-grade file sync and traditional backup services have overlapping functionality when it comes protecting data against permanent loss. Ask your clients the following five questions to determine whether file sync or a dedicated backup solution is a better fit for their needs:



Business users are finding that the self-serve data and integration tools they craved are leading to more confusion and frustration, it seems.

“Last year the buzzwords were data discovery and governed data discovery—everyone wanted to learn as much as possible about those two concepts,” writes Rado Kotorov, vice president of Product Marketing for Information Builders. “Based on the excitement last year, it seemed that data discovery would replace all other styles of BI and analytics. But I found that the excitement over data discovery was replaced at this year’s Gartner summits by confusion and concerns.”

Since Gartner is all about bimodal IT this year — or what the rest of us have called self-service technology — the research firm’s answer to this is “bimodal BI.” The approach basically calls for separating data discovery and analytics from traditional BI reporting.



The American Red Cross has committed $1 million, deployed a total of 9 disaster specialists and is providing relief supplies to support the response. As the response grows, the American Red Cross is working closely with the Nepal Red Cross and the global Red Cross network to coordinate additional support. Our continued activities will focus on the following:

  • Assessments and Coordination: The American Red Cross has deployed two disaster specialists from a regional office in Bangkok to support the response.  An American Red Cross information management specialist has also deployed to support overall Red Cross coordination.
  • Relief/Cash Transfer: The American Red Cross has made relief supplies available to the operation and is deploying three disaster specialists as part of a Red Cross team working to conduct damage assessments, identify key needs and support relief activities.
  • IT/Telecommunications: The American Red Cross has deployed two IT/Telecommunications specialists and a voice & data satellite to support the Red Cross response.
  • Information Management/Geographic Information Systems (GIS): In addition to deploying an information management specialist, the American Red Cross is also providing remote information management and mapping support to the response. The American Red Cross has also deployed a media specialist to Geneva to support the overall Red Cross response.
  • Restoring Family Links: American Red Cross chapters are working with global Red Cross partners to reconnect family members separated by the earthquake. For more information on family linking, please visit the Nepal Earthquake Restoring Family Links page.

Situation Overview:

On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck 48 miles NW of Kathmandu, Nepal at 11:56 a.m. local time.  The earthquake affected up to 8 million people, resulting in more than 5,000 deaths and injuring at least 10,100 people.  The earthquake most severely affected the Western and Central regions of Nepal, and also caused deaths and damage in parts of Bangladesh, China and India.  Casualty figures are expected to rise as relief actors continue to gain access to remote areas. The earthquake displaced an estimated 2.8 million people, many of whom are currently staying outdoors in cold, wet conditions due to both home damage and fears of continued aftershocks. Initial assessments indicate that some 600,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake. 

Relief efforts are under way and expected to increase in the coming days. In addition to continued relief efforts in the Kathmandu Valley, the response continues to broaden as humanitarian actors gain access to remote areas. Current humanitarian efforts are focused on search and rescue, medical care and the distribution of relief supplies such as tarps and shelter materials. International search and rescue teams from 18 countries—including the United States—are currently operating in Nepal.  The Government of Nepal has reported that current in-country search and rescue capacity is sufficient to cover all affected areas. The Kathmandu airport is operating 24 hours a day and serving as the primary logistics hub for the relief operation.  However, the large volume of incoming goods and response teams has caused congestion.  Humanitarian responders are setting up additional logistics hubs in the cities of Pokhara and Birgunj to help manage the supply of relief items.

The Nepal Red Cross has mobilized staff and volunteers to conduct assessments as well as provide first aid and search and rescue support in 12 of the most affected districts.  Nepal Red Cross teams have begun distributions of relief supplies and have distributed more than 5,600 tarps and blankets to date. The Red Cross blood bank in Nepal is also providing blood supplies to medical facilities in Kathmandu. The Nepal Red Cross has branches in all 75 districts of Nepal, more than 1,300 sub-branches, 1.1 million members, and 100,000 active volunteers.  The Global Red Cross response is focused on emergency health, shelter, livelihoods, reconnecting families, providing safe and dignified burials and supporting Nepal Red Cross preparedness and response capacity. Additional Red Cross teams from around the world are deploying specialists with expertise in healthcare, logistics, IT/Telecommunications, assessment and coordination and emergency relief.


View the slideshow


Nepal Earthquake


DISASTER UPDATE: Week of April 26, 2015

Arizona – Multi-Family Fire
A multi-family fire displaced 4 families in Maricopa County yesterday. The Red Cross provided the impacted residents with lodging, food and clothing.

Alabama – Multi-Family Fire
Two apartments were affected and eight individuals were displaced due to a fire in Baldwin County yesterday. The American Red Cross provided needed services for the impacted clients such as helping with lodging and casework support.

Kentucky – Hazardous Material Incident
A chemical reaction in Shelbyville created a hazardous environment within a multi family building and prompted an evacuation of approximately fifteen homes yesterday. Nearly 40 people were displaced. The Red Cross opened a shelter for the displaced residents and are supporting ongoing needs.

North Carolina – Multi-Family Fire
An apartment fire affected thirty units and displaced nearly 80 individuals in the city of Thomasville yesterday. Local Red Cross disaster workers were on site to assess the situation and determine the necessary assistance to be provided.

Pennsylvania – Multi-Family Fire
An apartment fire displaced three families in the city of Johnstown on Monday. Local Red Cross disaster workers met with two of the three families at the scene, and will continue to support all impacted families.

Wisconsin – Multi-Family Fire
A twelve unit apartment fire displaced about 20 people in Milwaukee yesterday. The building lost power as a result of the fire. The Red Cross provided food, clothing, lodging and transportation for the affected families. Follow up will be done today to ensure all needs are met.

 Weather Developments

Major Weather Developments that may impact Red Cross units today:
Source:  FEMA Situation Report

  • South Area: Rain, severe thunderstorms including hail and locally damaging winds are forecast
  • West Area: Rain, thunderstorms and snow are expected
  • Northeast Area: Rain is forecast
  • Midwest Area: Rain and snow are expected

Louisiana – Floods and Tornadoes
Severe weather caused flooding and tornado activity that threatened several parishes and affected hundreds of residents on Monday. The American Red Cross communicated with local Emergency Personnel Offices, opened shelters, assessed client’s needs and will be providing shelter, food and bulk distribution today and going forward as needed.

Texas – Floods and Tornadoes
A strong thunderstorm cell and tornado affected dozens of homes and left residents without power in Grimes County on Monday. The Red Cross is providing shelter, food, casework, bulk distribution and support services to affected residents.

 Domestic response

Wisconsin – Multi-Family Fire
Multiple units of an apartment were destroyed and affected scores of residents in the city of Green Bay. The Red Cross was notified and provided shelter, food, casework, bulk distribution and support services for affected residents.

Intergate.Quincy facility receives federal EPA ENERGY STAR® certification for superior energy efficiency with the highest possible green score

SEATTLE, Wash. – Sabey Data Centers, the largest privately-owned data center owner, operator and developer on the West Coast , announced today that its Intergate.Quincy facility in Central Washington has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 ENERGY STAR certification with a score of 100 points, the EPA’s highest possible green energy performance mark.

John Sabey, President of Sabey Data Centers, said, “This certification confirms Sabey’s leadership role in energy-saving, efficient data center design, construction and operation. We are committed to building the best facilities for our customers’ IT requirements and for the environment.”

Broadly stated, the Energy Star certification signifies that an industrial facility performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.

Intergate.Quincy sets a higher standard. The facility’s Energy Star efficiency performance rating of 100 is the highest level of power consumption efficiency and represents twice the national average for data centers. Intergate.Quincy’s energy intensity, or the amount of energy the data center consumes, is 33% below the national average, according to the EPA’s Statement of Energy Performance for the facility.

Intergate.Quincy is a great example of how engineers and builders can partner with owners early in the development of a project to make smart decisions about the design that affect the long-term performance of the facility,” said Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry, a nationally recognized construction, energy and facility services firm responsible for the design and construction of the data center’s mechanical systems.

On average, 87% of all the energy used at Intergate.Quincy directly powers its computing operations. Apart from IT load, cooling is the largest driver of electrical power in data centers. The dry ambient air in Central Washington offers an additional technique, evaporative cooling, to achieve cooling efficiency. As a result, mechanical costs are lowered by as much as 70%, dramatically increasing the number of free cooling hours. For more than 90% of the year in Central Washington, the combination of nature and engineering can make mechanical cooling unnecessary.

McKinstry performed a systems analysis early in the project development that determined an energy efficient system could be deployed without sacrificing reliability. The mechanical system is designed to scale to multiple Tier levels and respond to the needs of different clients. In order to ensure that the facility would perform at peak efficiency, Mobile Commissioning Assistants -- data center environment simulators jointly created by McKinstry and Sabey -- were used during the commissioning process to verify the design performance.

Mr. Sabey added, “During the EPA’s measurement period, we started up three data center modules at Intergate.Quincy that are not yet operating at their peak efficiency. We expect to run the facility even more efficiently next year, as our customers add load.

Energy efficiency can also be cost effective,” he said. “It allows us to offer competitive rates to our customers by passing through the energy savings, and we do this in an area with the lowest electricity cost in the nation.”

Earlier this year, Sabey Data Centers announced that it has commenced construction of a second data center building as part of the company’s master plan for the 40-acre Intergate.Quincy campus. The new, 135,280-square-foot facility, known as “Building A,” will adjoin the similarly sized “Building C,” which is now almost fully leased. The Intergate.Quincy master plan also calls for a third building to complete a total of 405,000 square feet of data center space.

Electrical power in Grant and Douglas Counties in Central Washington is provided primarily from hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. It is the world’s cleanest and renewable energy source, offered at the lowest power rates in the United States. As of today, the average power rate in Quincy is $.0265/kWh. Based on an annual use of at 1 MW, the annual cost of power at Intergate.Quincy is about $264,114, about one quarter the cost for the same amount of power in San Francisco.

About Sabey Data Centers

With a portfolio of more than three million square feet of mission critical space, Sabey Data Center Properties is one of the oldest and largest privately owned multi-tenant data center owner/developer/ operators in the United States. Sabey specializes in scalable, custom-built solutions including data center ready shell space and fully turnkey data centers managed by Sabey’s award-winning critical environment operations team. Consistently recognized for its reputation for operational excellence through its world-class data centers and sustained uptime, Sabey boasts one of the most sterling tenant rosters in the industry. www.sabeydatacenters.com

About McKinstry

McKinstry is a full-service, design-build-operate-and-maintain (DBOM) firm specializing in consulting, construction, and energy and facility services. The firm’s innovative, integrated delivery methodology provides clients with a single point of accountability that drives waste and redundancy out of the design/build process. With over 1,700 professional staff and trades people throughout the United States and operations in more than 20 states, McKinstry advocates collaborative, sustainable solutions designed to ensure occupant comfort, improve systems efficiency, reduce facility operational costs and optimize profitability “For The Life of Your Building.” For more information, visit www.mckinstry.com.


ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.

You could leap onto your desk, wave both fists in the air, and scream ‘Why, why, why?’ You could organise a whip-round in your company and invite colleagues to give generously to ‘help save our business continuity’. You could even just accept the cut. After all, whose budget isn’t being cut nowadays? Tempting as these options may seem, they do however suffer from (at least) one major drawback. They are unlikely to get your business continuity budget reinstated in full afterwards. You need a better plan. One that can see you through a rough period, help you get your budget back to where it should be, and even prevent a cut in the first place. Read on for further details.



DENVER – Thursday, April 30, is America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action, a grassroots campaign for action to get families, organizations and whole communities better prepared for emergencies. The campaign offers easy-to-use preparedness guides, checklists, and resources to help individuals prepare for common natural hazards and to take action, including downloading alerts and warnings, holding a drill, or safeguarding critical documents.

Despite the devastation that tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters have caused in recent years, nearly 60 percent of surveyed Americans have not participated in a preparedness drill or exercise at their workplace, school, or home in the past year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Denver-based regional office joins the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming in encouraging the whole community to participate in the America’s PrepareAthon! campaign by performing one of these simple preparedness actions:

  1. Sign up for local text alerts and warnings and download weather apps to your smartphone.
    Stay aware of worsening weather conditions. Visit ready.gov/prepare and download Be Smart: Know Your Alerts and Warnings to learn how to search for local alerts and weather apps relevant for hazards that affect your area.
  2. Gather important documents and keep them in a safe place.
    Have all of your personal, medical, and legal papers in one place, so you can evacuate without worrying about gathering your family’s critical documents at the last minute. Visit ready.gov/prepare and download Be Smart: Protect Your Critical Documents and Valuables for a helpful checklist.
  3. Create an emergency supply kit.
    Bad weather can become dangerous very quickly. Be prepared by creating an emergency supply kit for each member of your family. Visit ready.gov/kit for information on what to include in your kit.
  4. Develop an emergency communication plan for your family.
    It’s possible that your family will be in different locations when a disaster strikes. Come up with a plan so everyone knows how to reach each other and get back together if separated. Visit ready.gov/make-a-plan for communication plan resources.

Every state in FEMA Region VIII has shown support for America’s PrepareAthon! this spring by aligning a variety of preparedness activities with the campaign. The National Weather Service in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming held statewide tornado drills to prepare residents for severe spring and summer weather; nearly one million Utahns participated in earthquake drills during the Great Utah ShakeOut; and communities throughout Colorado and Montana will hold wildfire preparedness events on May 2 for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, an America’s PrepareAthon! partner event.

For more information about America’s PrepareAthon!, visit ready.gov/prepare. Follow America’s PrepareAthon! on Twitter using the handle @Prepareathon and #PrepareAthon.


Combined with built infrastructure, natural habitats can protect shorelines from threats
Natural "green barriers" help protect this Florida coastline and infrastructure from severe storms and floods. (Credit: NOAA).

Natural "green barriers" help protect this Florida coastline and infrastructure from severe storms and floods. (Credit: NOAA).

The resilience of U.S. coastal communities to storms, flooding, erosion and other threats can be strengthened when they are protected by natural infrastructure such as marshes, reefs, and beaches, or with hybrid approaches, such as a “living shoreline” — a combination of natural habitat and built infrastructure, according to a new NOAA study.

The study, published in Environmental Science and Policy, assesses reports and peer-reviewed studies on the strengths and weaknesses of using built infrastructure, such as seawalls or dikes, natural infrastructure, or approaches which combine both. The study focuses on how these approaches help coastal communities reduce their risk of flooding and erosion, as well as additional benefits, and the tradeoffs when decision makers choose one type over another.

“When making coastal protection decisions, it’s important to recognize that built infrastructure only provides benefits when storms are approaching, but natural and hybrid systems provide additional benefits, including opportunities for fishing and recreation, all the time,” said Ariana Sutton-Grier, Ph.D., the study's lead author, member of the research faculty at University of Maryland and NOAA’s National Ocean Service ecosystem science adviser. “Natural and hybrid systems can also improve water quality, provide habitat for many important species, and mitigate carbon going into our atmosphere.”

Examples of coastal defenses including natural infrastructure, managed realignment, and hybrid approaches. (Credit: NOAA).

Examples of coastal defenses including natural infrastructure, managed realignment, and hybrid approaches. (Credit: NOAA).

Threats like coastal erosion, storms and flooding can reshape the shoreline and threaten coastal property. With approximately 350,000 houses, business, bridges and other structures located within 500 feet of the nation’s shoreline, erosion is a problem many U.S. coastal communities are addressing.

Coastal flooding caused by extreme weather events and sea level rise is of growing global concern. As noted in this study, in 2012 there were 11 weather and climate billion-dollar disaster events across the United States, including superstorm Sandy, causing 377 deaths and more than $110 billion in damages. While only two of those were coastal events, Sandy alone was responsible for nearly sixty percent of the damages, at $65 billion (the other, Hurricane Isaac, caused $3 billion in damage). Nationally, these made 2012 the second costliest year on record for weather disasters. Only 2005, which incurred $160 billion in damages due in part to four devastating coastal hurricanes, saw more.

“Coastal resiliency and disaster risk reduction have become a national priority, and healthy coastal ecosystems play an important role in building resilient communities,” said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management at NOAA, and co-author of the study. “We know that sea levels are rising and that coastal communities are becoming more vulnerable to extreme weather- and climate-related events. Now is the time to invest in protection to secure our coasts, but we need to make those investments wisely and with a full understanding of the costs and benefits of different approaches.”

Coral reefs protect shorelines from currents, waves, and storms. Healthy reefs have rough surfaces and complex structures that slow incoming waves — dissipating much of the force. (Credit: NOAA).

Coral reefs protect shorelines from currents, waves, and storms. Healthy reefs have rough surfaces and complex structures that slow incoming waves — dissipating much of the force. (Credit: NOAA).

The study points out that there is still a need for built approaches in some locations. However, natural or hybrid approaches can be used in many cases.

Some natural ecosystems can maintain themselves, recovering after storm events and reducing the cost of upkeep. Natural habitats such as coral reefs, marshes and dunes can act as buffers for waves, storms and floods. Natural ecosystems also can, in many cases, keep pace with sea level rise, while built infrastructure does not adapt to changing conditions.

“There is a lot of potential innovation with hybrid approaches,” said Katya Wowk, Ph.D., NOAA senior social scientist, and the third co-author of the study. “Hybrid approaches, using both built and natural infrastructure, often provide more cost-effective flood risk reduction options and alternatives for communities when there is not enough space to use natural coastal protection alone.”

Hybrid approaches, such as combining some habitat restoration with openable flood gates or removable flood walls, provide benefits while also providing more storm and erosion protection than natural approaches alone. The study highlights hybrid approaches in the New York City metro area and in Seoul, South Korea, to deal with their monsoon flooding events.

Recently planted rows of American beachgrass will help protect a dune in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. (Credit: NOAA).

Recently planted rows of American beachgrass will help protect a dune in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. (Credit: NOAA).

“One of the challenging aspects is that these approaches are very new, so we are still learning what works best in which situations and under what circumstances,” said Wowk.

The authors suggest that every location where hybrid and natural approaches are being implemented provide opportunities for monitoring so we can learn as much as possible about each approach, including longer-term cost effectiveness.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to what is best for a community in providing coastal protection from flooding,” said Bamford. “We all have to work to innovate, test, monitor, and develop a better suite of options that includes more natural and hybrid infrastructure alternatives for providing coastal protection to communities around the world.”

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.


Despite the fact that we often see the terms used simultaneously, there actually are significant differences between business intelligence (BI) and data analytics.

If you’re a bit fuzzy on how they differ, Lillian Pierson recently posted a succinct video post explaining the key difference between business intelligence and data science (the rest of us would call that data analytics or Big Data analytics).

Pierson is the founder of Data Mania, a data science consultancy and education company, as well as author of “Data Science for Dummies” (2015). Previously, she worked as a project engineer consultant and a spatial data scientist. I highly recommend following her on Facebook, which is how I found this video.



The private cloud is the best way to bring enterprise applications and data to a scalable, flexible infrastructure.

The private cloud is a waste of money and will never compare to the public cloud.

With such stark differences of opinion throughout the IT industry, it’s no wonder most enterprises are in a quandary over how much, if anything, to invest in the private cloud.

But as I’ve mentioned in this space numerous times, it does not matter what your peers are doing or what they think. All that really matters is finding solutions to the problems that impede data productivity, and if the best solution happens to be on internal cloud infrastructure, so be it.



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