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Jon Seals

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

2015 Technology Predictions: An MSP Perspective

Somehow it got to be the week December 15, which seems crazy to me because wasn’t it just last week that I was already breaking my week-old New Year’s resolutions? But end of year means that it’s time for predictions about 2015. What events and trends will rock the managed services world in 2015? Here’s this humble blogger’s take.



(TNS) — The hacking group behind the Sony cybersecurity attack has made its first physical threat.

In a message sent at around 9:30 a.m., the group — calling itself Guardians of Peace — issued a warning along with what appears to be files related to Sony Pictures CEO and Chairman Michael Lynton.

“We will clearly show it (our Christmas gift) to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the hackers wrote.

The hackers also invoked the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, urging people to keep themselves “distant from the places at that time.”

“The world will be full of fear,” they wrote. “Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”



(TNS) — The hostage crisis at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney, Australia, unfolded in a way impossible a decade ago.

Much of it played out on Facebook and text messaging (already there as of 2004), and on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media as yet unborn in 2004. To be a hostage-taker or hostage as of 2014, it seems, you need good social-media skills.

"There's an unprecedented degree of immediacy to such crises now," says Lawrence Husick, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and co-director for the Center for the Study of Terrorism. "All the players are so acutely aware they're being watched. It's Shakespearean: All are walking that stage."



Rentsys Recovery Services plans to offer its BlackCloud Virtual Office business continuity solution to managed service providers (MSPs).

The College Station, Texas-based business continuity solutions company today announced it will work with MSPs, healthcare software companies and regional data center providers.

Rentsys introduced BlackCloud Virtual Office last month, and now, MSPs can offer this business continuity solution to their customers.



Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

6 Corporate Holiday Gift-Giving Tips and Ideas

By Rachel Weingarten

If the idea of buying holiday gifts for your friends and family isn’t enough to send you into a tailspin, there’s the added pressure of trying to figure out what to buy for those you work with. With so many rules–both written and unwritten—it’s all too easy to make a corporate gift-giving gaffe. But, with some thoughtfulness and a little planning, it is possible to give just the right gift to just the right person.

“Remember, gifts are a form of communication in the same way as what you write and what you say,” says Stephen Paskoff, CEO of workplace learning company ELI. “Give clients, employees and colleagues gifts in line with your organization’s values and standards, and keep in mind that what you give directly reflects your judgment and professionalism.”

Sure, you could always give a gift card, but they can feel too impersonal. The trick is to balance thoughtfulness and appropriateness. Here are some tips for giving corporate gifts that strike that balance, along with some suggestions to help inspire you:



Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters cost insurers $34 billion in 2014, down 24 percent from $45 billion in 2013, according to just-released Swiss Re sigma preliminary estimates.

Of the $34 billion tab for insurers, some $29 billion was triggered by natural catastrophe events (compared with $37 billion in 2013), while man-made disasters generated the additional $5 billion in insured losses in 2014.

Despite total losses coming in at below annual averages, the United States still accounted for three of the most costly insured catastrophe losses for the year, with two thunderstorm events and one winter storm event causing just shy of $6 billion in insured losses (see chart below).



Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Using a Risk Model as a Common Language

The central purpose of a common risk language is to assist management with evaluating the completeness of its efforts to identify events and scenarios that merit consideration in a risk assessment. Either management begins a risk assessment with (a) a blank sheet of paper with all of the start-up that choice entails, or (b) a common language that enables busy people with diverse backgrounds and experience to communicate more effectively with each other and identify relevant issues more quickly.

In a Corporate Compliance Insights column earlier this year, we provided a suggested language for executive management and directors to use in the Boardroom to focus the board risk oversight process. This month, we discuss the merits of a common language for use by the entire organization.

The sources of uncertainty an enterprise must understand and manage may be external or internal. Risk is about knowledge. When management lacks knowledge, there is greater uncertainty. Thus sources of uncertainty also relate to the relevance and reliability of information about the external and internal environment. These three broad groups – environment, process and information for decision making – provide the basis for an enabling framework summarizing the sources of uncertainty in a business.



Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

2015 risk predictions

What emerging risks are likely to have an impact on organizations during 2015? Experts from The Institute of Risk Management give their views.

Political instability caused by low oil prices, increased shareholder activism and the business threat posed by a potential UK exit from the EU, are among chief concerns voiced by some of the UK’s leading risk experts for 2015.

As the year comes to a close, members of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), were asked to identify key risk areas for 2015. A broad range of oil and gas, political, healthcare, regulatory and insurance risks were highlighted as potential flashpoints.



Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

2015 cyber risk and data protection predictions

Businesses in 2015 are expected to experience increasing challenges as they struggle to contend with the burgeoning threat of complex cybercrime. EY analysis has outlined some of the key areas that cyber risks threaten to impact in the coming year, including the difficulties in the insurance sector of underwriting cyber risk, the raft of regulation coming out of both the EU and the UK, the importance of integrated risk functions in firms, and the cyber risk of supply chains moving to the cloud.

Insuring against cyber risk

Cyber risk poses a serious and growing threat to businesses across the UK, and companies are increasingly looking to insurers for protection against financial losses in the face of attacks. Certain sectors already require firms to take out cyber risk under regulatory compliance. However, cybercrime is not a traditional area of risk for insurers, and the burden of underwriting the risk is proving to be very difficult.

Shaun Crawford, Global Head of Insurance at EY, comments: “Cyber risk will certainly be one of the biggest challenges to the insurance market in 2015. Cybercrime is a moving beast, making it impossible to quantify the risks neatly or to calculate them in an informed or consistent manner. With so much unknown, it’s not surprising that premiums are wildly different across the market, and without cross-market stability, the industry will most likely be operating on significant indemnity losses.



MSPs specializing in cloud-based file sharing, may not be shocked to discover that end users frequently share data via insecure means. What might come as a surprise, however, is the fact that 20 percent of those files contain data directly related to compliance (or lack thereof).   

This statistic comes from a recent study that analyzed roughly 100 million files shared through public-cloud applications. You can see all the findings in this infographic, but here are a few key takeaways, specifically for MSPs:

Non-compliance is the norm, not the exception

Based on the numbers, most businesses are struggling to stay compliant. Some have not made it a priority at all. The compliance data that was shared on public-clouds included personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), and customer payment card information.

This fact presents opportunities for MSPs. Conveying to companies the importance of compliance and the risk of having their data vulnerable gives you the opportunity to bring them a solution. Creating a cloud file sharing system that stays compliant can bring them extreme value.



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