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Winter Journal

Volume 28, Issue 1

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The hybrid cloud is now the new normal in cloud computing. The whole point of a hybrid cloud is to design and customize cloud capabilities that address your customer’s unique needs. But today – MSPs typically offer a one-size-fits-all service level agreement. Customers will demand a service provider that is willing and able to customize the service level agreement to meet those unique needs of their organization so that they can take advantage of the flexibility, scalability, cost reductions, and resiliency that cloud computing offers. 2015 will be the year that customers demand customized SLAs.

Service Level Agreements (SLA) serve as a roadmap and a warranty for cloud services offerings. All cloud providers offer some type of standard, one-size-fits-all SLA that may or may not include the following, depending on your requirements:

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http://mspmentor.net/cloud-computing/012315/hybrid-cloud-new-normal-customers-will-demand-custom-slas

Friday, 23 January 2015 00:00

Sharing the plan with employees

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A new study titled ‘An inside look at disaster recovery planning’ has revealed just how little employees know about their organization’s planned response to a crisis. In a survey by HOB, 40% of respondents stated that their company either does not have systems in place to protect data in an emergency, or they are not aware of the existence of these procedures.

The report also revealed that, even if a plan does exist, 52% of employees are unaware of the details. This study shows just how important it is for the details of any plan that involves employees to be shared with them. The worst time to find out what to do in a crisis is once the crisis has occurred.

Over the last decade we have seen a tendency towards more flexibility working environments and a greater trend towards working remotely, however 45% of respondents noted that they either do not have the ability to access company information that will enable them to do so, or they just don’t know if they have access.

If working remotely is one of your possible responses to a crisis, does your organization have the capability to do this? If your office is out of action and Plan B is for employees to work from home, you might be in for a surprise if 45% of your employees suddenly find out they can’t.

“For most businesses, access to and the sharing of information is critical to ongoing successful operations,” said Klaus Brandstätter, CEO of HOB. “The survey revealed that most companies are unprepared to withstand the negative consequences of disrupted operations, as many employees won’t have access to the resources and information needed to remain functional in emergency situations. In today’s world with so many unforeseen pending disasters, it is clearly paramount that companies implement comprehensive disaster recovery plans as part of their overall business continuity strategy.”

http://www.thebci.org/index.php/about/news-room#/news/sharing-the-plan-with-employees-103954

Cosentry has expanded its disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering to help customers improve their data recovery times.

The data center services provider said its expanded DR service is designed to meet a full range of business recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO), with targets ranging from less than 15 minutes to several days based on application importance and budget.

"We anticipate that our customers will be able to implement a disaster recovery solution that meets their own specific requirements as it pertains to availability and the potential for data loss at a price that meets their budget," Craig Hurley, Cosentry's vice president of product management, told MSPmentor. "Our service expansion also looks to address the reality that many of our customers are looking to protect both virtual and physical servers."

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http://mspmentor.net/backup-and-disaster-recovery/012215/cosentry-revamps-dr-service-expands-draas-offering

The September arrests/detentions in Australia of suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporters who had allegedly been planning to kidnap random people, decapitate them and then drape their bodies in the group’s flag and post the entire horrific event live to the Internet has brought to the forefront one of the most serious yet least discussed scenarios in counterterrorism. We term it “Main Street terrorism” and by that we mean terror attacks not on a grand scale, but multiple small attacks carried out by individuals or very small groups in environments where we have traditionally felt safe.

The December hostage situation in Australia is another example. It was an attack on a soft target, a target that would not fit the “traditional” profile of being highly visible or connected to government or military operations, carried out by an individual espousing extremist beliefs but acting essentially alone.

Who remembers the pipe bombs placed in mailboxes throughout the American Midwest during spring 2002? A total of 18 bombs were placed with six of those exploding (injuring four U.S. Postal Service mail carriers and two residents) and 12 others discovered without exploding. Until the suspect was apprehended, how many of us changed our routine for something as mundane as getting the mail because, suddenly, that everyday activity had become potentially deadly?

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Main-Street-Terrorism.html

(TNS) — Despite high-profile computer attacks on Target, Sony and other major corporations, Idaho's director of homeland security said cyberthreats remain the "most important and least understood risk" to government and the private sector.

In a presentation Tuesday to the Senate State Affairs Committee, Brig. Gen. Brad Richy said the potential threats range from defaced or misleading websites to data theft and disruption of public services.

"The vulnerabilities are extreme," Richy said. "A breakdown in IT [information technology] services could take it from that sector into our industrial sector, to our water supply or electrical supply."

Cyberattacks are "a trend that's been going in the wrong direction for quite some time," said J.R. Tietsort, who heads up Micron Technology's global security efforts.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Idaho-Emergency-Operating-Plan-Cyberattack-Procedures.html

Friday, 23 January 2015 00:00

Cyber Value-At-Risk

Measures and methods widely used in the financial services industry to value and quantify risk could be used by organizations to better quantify cyber risks, according to a new framework and report unveiled at the World Economic Forum annual meeting.

The framework, called “cyber value-at-risk” requires companies to understand key cyber risks and the dependencies between them. It will also help them establish how much of their value they could protect if they were victims of a data breach and for how long they can ensure their cyber protection.

The purpose of the cyber value-at-risk approach is to help organizations make better decisions about investments in cyber security, develop comprehensive risk management strategies and help stimulate the development of global risk transfer markets.

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http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3914

Thursday, 22 January 2015 00:00

Putting the Cloud inside Your Company Firewall

Some enterprises are attracted by the potential advantages of the cloud for disaster recovery and business continuity. However, they fear the possibility of information being spied on, stolen or hacked after it leaves their own physical premises. A little lateral thinking suggests another possible solution. Instead of moving outside a company firewall to use cloud possibilities, how about implementing cloud functionality inside the firewall? A number of vendors now offer private cloud solutions and they have some customers whose identity may surprise you.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/putting-the-cloud-inside-your-company-firewall/

Big Data is quickly moving from concept to reality in many enterprises, and with that comes the realization that organizations need to build and provision the infrastructure to deal with extremely large volumes, and fast.

So it is no wonder that the cloud is emerging as the go-to solution for Big Data, both as a means to support the data itself and the advanced database and analytics platforms that will hopefully make sense of it all.

In a recent survey from Unisphere Research, more than half of all enterprises are already using cloud-based services, while the number of Big Data projects is set to triple over the next year or so. This leads to the basic conundrum that the business world faces with Big Data: the need to ramp up infrastructure and services quickly and at minimal cost in order to maintain a competitive edge in the rapidly expanding data economy. The convergence between Big Data and the cloud, therefore, is a classic example of technology enabling a new way to conduct business, which in turn fuels demand for the technology and the means to optimize it.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-cloud-the-quickest-way-to-big-data-infrastructure.html

Thursday, 22 January 2015 00:00

Ohio Helps Pay for Tornado-Proof Safe Rooms

(TNS) — Mary Kirstein and her partner hunkered down under a dining-room table, with their cat corralled in a laundry basket between them, as the tornado roared toward their home.

And this didn’t happen just once during Kirstein’s nine years in Houston, where tornadoes seem as common as wide-brimmed Stetsons. It happened time and again. Thankfully, she said, the big one never hit, but a person doesn’t easily forget that fear.

“Tornadoes freak me out,” said Kirstein, a purchaser at Battelle who now calls Hilliard home.

In 2012, while researching tornado safety as part of her role on a committee at work, she discovered that the state of Ohio had a new program to help pay for safe rooms that can withstand even the 250 mph winds that accompany the most-destructive EF5 storms. She filled out an application for the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program, run by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Ohio-Helps-Pay-for-Tornado-Proof-Safe-Rooms.html