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Volume 29, Issue 2

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The earthquake in Ecuador has left me thinking about how many of the country’s businesses will survive and if many of them had business continuity plans in place? As quickly as details of the incident came onto the TV, they seem to have vanished again, as the news circus moves on to the deaths of Victoria Wood and Prince.

The earthquake got me thinking about the justification in carrying out business continuity and how we sell it to organizations to ensure that it adds value, and is worth spending the time and money to develop it. For a long time I asked many people, ‘where are the case studies which prove that business continuity works’? I was looking for an example of an organization that has put in place a business continuity program that could prove that they would fail without it. There may be case studies out there, but it seems as an industry, that there is not the well quoted example that everyone refers to. Therefore, case studies are probably not the way to justify implementing business continuity.

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Is Your Data Storage Childproof?

The Internet of Things is in its infancy right now, and like most infants, if will make you rethink everything you do, and provide moments of joy and inconvenience in equal measure.

Everything Gets Counted

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Originally posted on Rentsys Recovery Services' blog.

Medical Provider Struck by Hackers!

Insurance Giant Suffers Massive Data Breach!

Millions of Patients Have Data Stolen!

It seems like there are new headlines about data breaches in the healthcare industry every month — if not more frequently. In the last few years, electronic protected health information (ePHI) has become the primary target for hackers, and it's easy to see why.

According to a recent report by Reuters, ePHI fetches 10 to 20 times more than credit card data on the black market. That's why organizations that handle healthcare data are prime targets for data breaches and theft. In fact, 28.5 percent of the entire U.S. population was affected by just two — Anthem and Premera — healthcare data breaches that were discovered in 2015.

Starting to feel a little overwhelmed? Don't worry. Here are five things you can do to keep your ePHI safe from prying eyes.

Encrypt Everything


In 2013, two laptops were stolen from a secure office at a hospital in California. The laptops contained ePHI such as financial information, health conditions and demographic information. Unfortunately, the data wasn't encrypted, so the hospital had to notify 729,000 individuals that their ePHI had been compromised. The hospital implemented policies and procedures to reduce risks to the patients' ePHI, but the damage was already done. Had the laptops been encrypted, the hospital could have protected the information.

recent article by Health Data Management points out that it's easy to encrypt everything, since encryption tools are embedded in current operating systems and come with nearly every device. (If a device doesn't have built-in encryption functionality, that's a sign that it's outdated and shouldn't be used to handle ePHI in the first place. We talk about that more below.) Yes, encrypting all your data costs time and money, but it's a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the cost of recovering from a breach.

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This is part 1 of a multi-part series on the evolution of analytics in disaster recovery

It may seem odd to discuss the role of analytics in the field of disaster recovery. These disciplines appear to have little in common. Wikipedia describes Disaster Recovery (DR) as a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disasterAnalytics is described as the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data.

In this series I'll discuss how analytics will improve resilience, lower risk and enhance business continuity. I'll explore how analytic DR services could come to market, which parties stand to benefit most, and some of the challenges that lie ahead. Part 1 will discuss how analytics will enhance disaster recovery (near term) and a vision in which analytics and automation are combined to improve risk management. 

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Your data is doubling every 18 months, your profits aren’t.

This makes data storage a growing part of your business, and it’s being disrupted.

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The IT analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion devices connected to the Internet. When your alarm clock goes off in the morning it will notify your coffee maker to begin brewing. Five million new devices are attached to the Internet every day streaming digital information to be captured, analyzed, and turned into useful information. Technology innovations such as Cloud computing, smartphones and new distributed database structures (e.g. NoSQL) have replaced legacy IT systems to provide rapid, scalable IT services. The pace of business is accelerating and our reliance on technology has never been greater. Speaking at a recent conference of business leaders in Davos, Switzerland John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco told an audience that "Forty percent of the companies in this room won't exist, in my opinion, in a meaningful way in 10 years unless they change dramatically". 

Today’s economy is being increasingly defined by digital technology. Companies have designed IT systems that connect them to their customers, suppliers, and partners in real time. Data from transactions and interactions is captured and analyzed resulting in faster decisions which reflect current market conditions. The Internet of Things (IoT) is allowing any device with an on-off switch to be connected to the Internet or each other. This includes cars, fitness trackers, coffee makers, jet engines, traffic lights, water systems, etc.

As companies race to integrate digital technology their reliance on IT is increasing. The loss of IT systems or applications is felt immediately by customers, suppliers, and business partners. In many cases customers can fire you with two clicks of a mouse. The cost of downtime is increasing. A study by IDC revealed that for the Fortune 1000 the average total cost of unplanned downtime per year is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion. The average cost of a critical application failure is $500,000 - $1M per hour. 

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Cloud computing, with its varied forms of private, public, and hybrid services capabilities, represents an IT platform that is extremely flexible, scalable (based upon need), and highly cost efficient when leveraging the pay for consumption models in the marketplace. But, do these advantages really provide a solid foundation for building your resiliency platform to protect your critical business operations?

The question may be best answered when evaluating the specific results that must be achieved during an event.

While resiliency requirements have changed quite significantly over the past several years, specifically in the form of decreased time to recover and increased currency of the data, the basic tenants have remained intact. The deep rooted disciplines for resiliency in the form of resource availability, system integrity, data protection, with complete connectivity to resume business functionality are still the underlying building blocks for success. These disciplines must not be compromised without sacrificing the integrity of the recovery efforts to ensure business viability. When exploring cloud alternatives the first area to assess is how the resources will be provided to meet recovery requirements. Traditional recovery vendors balance the need for availability of assets during a wide scale event through a 100 per cent allocation strategy whereby all assets were freed up to support a recovery.

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The last full day of DRJ Spring World 2016 was a very good one. We started with some very popular General Sessions in the morning, as usual the Exhibit Hall was the place to be to between sessions and workshops, and ended the day with some excellent Breakout Tracks and Workshops. A big thank you to everyone who made DRJ Spring World 2016 such a huge success.

 

General Sessions

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It was another exciting and busy day for everyone at DRJ Spring World 2016 on Tuesday. We had the second morning of our General Sessions, a buzzing Exhibit Hall with  many software demonstrations and meetings, our afternoon Breakout Tracks and the special Zika session. 

Networking/Demonstrations

DRJ conferences are the number one in the industry for a few key reasons. We offer outstanding networking opportunities. We bring in the best in innovation, education and leadership to ensure our attendees learn all they can. The exhibit hall is unmatched for the product demonstrations, consultations with vendors, and meeting opportunities. DRJ is your best choice for a BC/DR conference.

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DRJ Spring World 2016 officially kicked off on Monday with General Sessions 1-3, the day long Senior Advanced Track, many software demos and presentations in the Exhibit Hall, Breakout Sessions in the afternoon, and ended with an excellent evening of relaxation and hospitality thanks to Regus.

 

General Sessions

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DRJ Spring World 2016 is underway! The conference started on Sunday with registration, the opening of the Exhibit Hall, pre-conference courses and the Sunday Workshops.

 

Exhibit Hall

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I stumbled on a trade article this morning where Google asks vendors to change the way they make storage disks and break away from the 3.5 inch hard-drive dimensions inherited from old floppy disks. Read the article here.

In this article, Google asks storage vendors to do two main things – change the form factor and design them to be more cloud-friendly. The article also states that Google isn’t interested in Solid-State Drives (SSDs) because they’re too expensive. To this I say, “Huh?” 

Solid pricing

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Get your head in the cloud – understanding cloud computing services and their DDoS risks

When something explodes in popularity, it’s only natural to pretend you understand both what it is and why it’s so popular. Snapchat. Pilates. Justin Bieber. All things it is fine to fake familiarity with.

However, in the past couple of years cloud computing services have become majorly in-demand, and with the way they’re taking over (as well as the way they could simplify your life and save you money) it is no longer okay to nod along with a cloud computing discussion, pointing upwards at random intervals and generally not understanding what’s going on. Leave that to people you like less.

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Originally posted on Rentsys Recovery Services' blog.

Employees of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center received a nasty surprise on February 5 when they discovered that a hacker had infiltrated the network and taken the computer systems hostage using ransomware. In exchange for the decryption key, the hacker demanded 40 bitcoins, which is approximately $17,000. In the interest of restoring the network quickly, the CEO decided to pay the ransom.

The hospital reported that patient care wasn’t compromised, but the incident is yet another example of the sobering prevalence and potential impact of cybersecurity threats.

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Your original job application is not as important as your company’s payroll database, or even the email database. So, why are you using the same storage policy for both?

 

IT organizations can actually drive up the cost of storage unnecessarily by treating all data as if it were the same and storing it all on the same media. Stop using one policy to rule all of your data. It might be simple, but it is killing your bottom line.

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Red Button?

I am sitting here in front of 1 petaybte (1,000 terabytes) of disk.  The production database is on it and we are currently running about 12,000 transactions against it every second.  Lights are blinking, and I can just feel the breeze as the orders swoosh by me, to and from the Internet, serving all the customers who are purchasing from my online stores. 

But there’s the big red button. I can push it, right? I’m the manager. The team has been telling me for months that the system can recover, but they never thought in a million years that I’d actually push it. Sally, the sliver-tongued sales rep from Vendor X, thought I wouldn’t have the nerve. Dave, the over-zealous IT guy, considers me a tech-ignorant putz who thinks a “blade server” is someone you’d encounter at a Japanese restaurant. Sorry folks. I don’t make a major purchase just for display.

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In order for your business continuity plan to be effective and purposeful, you need to be aware of what is making the news. In recent weeks we’ve learned a lot about the Zika virus. A virus that has been present for many years, but really wasn’t making the headlines until recently.

 

There are lots of unknowns about the Zika virus and the impacts it can have on your organization. In light of this, we’ve got a special Tuesday workshop session scheduled at Spring World 2016.

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DRJ Spring World is a little over a month away and we’re really looking forward to seeing you in Orlando. To help you keep up-to-date with what we’ve got planned for you at our 54th conference, we’re continuing with our blog posts highlighting key features from the agenda. 

 

This week we’re taking a closer look at our pre- and post-conference courses. These courses are the best way for you to maximize your learning opportunities at Spring World. With our pre- and post-conference courses you’re exposed to more in-depth learning opportunities with some of our most experienced instructors. 

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We’ve been blogging about the range of sessions available to you at DRJ Spring World 2016, highlighting the technical, emergency response and information sessions. This week, we’ll take a closer look at the Senior Advanced Track.

 

The countdown clock is on for Spring World 2016 and the DRJ team is busy finalizing the last details and ensuring everything is ready for you in Orlando, Florida from March 13 - 16. To learn more about our 54th conference, browse the Spring World 2016 website and be sure to download the conference agenda

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