Stratifying, Testing Essential for Effective DR

As any IT veteran should know, effective Disaster Recovery is more than just backing up. Much, much more. Recently, Niel Nickolaisen, CTO at Tanner Company in Salt Lake City and a frequent speaker on IT transformation, added three key insights into what IT leaders need to look for in a DR provider.

First is stratifying services into different categories. “Some of my services are so mission critical that they require redundancy,” he notes. “Many of my services are mission critical but require recovery rather than redundancy. Any provider I select needs to know and design for these differences.”

DR testing also ranks high on his list: “They must have the ability to test recovery from a disaster. Even if I choose not to do such tests myself, I want evidence that a company has done it for others – and I get such evidence not by talking with the provider, but by talking with the client that had the test performed.”

Another point Nickolaisen makes in writing for SeachCIO.com was short and to the point. “They (the provider) must demonstrate no single points of failure,” he says. “I want to avoid the provider equivalent of backing up onto the same server.”

Important information for EasyStreet clients about the Heartbleed Bug

heartbleedYou have likely heard a lot this week about a wide-spread Internet vulnerability called the “Heartbleed Bug,” linked to OpenSSL.

In order to assure its clients, EasyStreet has taken immediate action to scan all systems, and is patching any vulnerabilities found associated with this Heartbleed Bug. As patching and protection efforts are implemented, we are contacting those clients directly affected by the work through email.  We do ask our clients and associates to take the recommended steps to protect themselves, such as changing passwords, once their systems have been secured.

You can find more information about the vulnerability here:  http://heartbleed.com

For a list of popular websites and recommended protective actions you should take, click here.

As always, please contact EasyStreet Support if you have any issues or concerns.

Register for EasyStree’ts ‘Top 2014 Trends’ Webinar

top-trends-for-web

Will IT services go the way of electricity?
How long will the transformation take?
Who will be the builders in the future?
Who will be the buyers?

As an IT Professional, you have your own predictions about industry trends.

Join us for an informative webinar as EasyStreet’s CTO Steve Knipple presents an overview of the top trends in IT services based on leading industry reports plus actual client examples, including:
• High performance computing enabled by flash storage
• On-prem clouds to mitigate bandwidth costs and limitations
• Leveraging IT to meet compliance requirements (PCI, HIPAA, etc.)
• Hybridized IT environments for complex customization
• Actual buying patterns and budget breakdowns

Tuesday, April 15
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT
Click here to register.

About the Speaker:
Steve Knipple has 20 years’ experience in IT enterprise strategy, architecture, management and operations. He is a specialist in Corporate IT transformational programs of local, national and international scale. Before joining EasyStreet in 2010, Steve was Senior Manager of Global IT Architecture, Deployment and Operations at Munich-based Wacker Chemical Corporation. He holds an M.S. in Applied Information Management from the University of Oregon.

IT Often Among Those Vying for CMO’s Dollars

Marketing’s influence over how IT dollars are spent continues to be a major topic, promising to impact companies large and small in the coming years.

“The dawn of corporate IT was largely driven by finance and the rise of enterprise systems like ERP and CRM driven by operations and sales,” writes IT pundit and author Patrick Gray in a brief historical perspective on TechRepublic.com. “Marketing is now in on the act, and a function that was once largely regarded as ‘touchy feely’ fluff has become strongly data driven and is setting the agenda for many corporate strategies and IT investments.”

In a growing number of companies, at least portions of the IT budget have shifted over to the marketing area, under control of the CMO. “Marketing and the CMO are newly minted drivers of enterprise IT investment,” Gray notes. “There will be a great battle for the attention (and dollars) of the CMO, and it will be interesting to see if IT can learn marketing before the agencies can develop technical capabilities.”

Almost as an aside, Gray offers this bit of wisdom to his IT readers: “If you don’t have a working knowledge of marketing and customer experience, it’s time to start doing some homework.”

A Challenge for CIOs: Keeping Up

Here’s a statement that’ll get wide agreement from nearly all CIOs, regardless of the size of their business. It’s from Jay Wessel, the VP of Technology for the Boston Celtics, who says: “Staying current is really difficult.”

“There’s so much going on everywhere, and sifting through what’s important and what’s not is tough,” he says in SeachCIO.com. “If you read through the hundreds of technology sites where you can get a big list of everything that’s happening in the tech world that day, you have to ask, ‘Which of these things are at all relevant to the world, or will be relevant next year, next month, in two years?’ And then more specifically, which ones are relevant to me next month, next year, in two years.”

Wessel was interviewed among a group of CIOs offering their observations and advice regarding the biggest challenges for CIOs today.

As for determining what new technology will remain relevant, his answer is pretty direct. “There’s no good answer because if people could predict that, they’d all be rich, including myself,” he says. “So I’m constantly filtering in my mind what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense, what I think is important and what I think is not important. That’s a challenge.”

More Storage in the Cloud Seen as a 2014 Priority

A late-2013 TechTarget survey of more than 1,200 IT professionals in North America indicates increased spending for 2014 in cloud technologies, especially for storage.

More than half – 55 percent – of respondents said they see cloud spending increasing this year. And more than a third – 34 percent – plan to use external cloud services to bolster their storage capacity. “Interest in Storage as a Service cuts across companies of all sizes, with a slight tilt toward midsize and small firms,” according to SearchStorage.com.

Thirty percent of respondents labeled cloud storage a deployment priority in 2014, a major jump from last year’s 18 percent. “And while some of those projects are likely inspired by spiraling capacity requirement, storage managers are also looking to make better use of their on-premises storage resources, with 24 percent looking to implement compression, data deduplication or some other data-reduction technology,” the article continues.

Overall, the TechTarget IT Priorities Survey showed 54 percent of IT professionals holding larger budgets for 2014, compared to 45 percent in 2013, while only 11 percent said their budgets are lower for 2014 than for last year.

IT Needs Partnership In Technology Decisions

Deciding who makes technology purchasing decisions may feel like quicksand in many businesses these days.

Recent findings in Forrester’s study on “Understanding Shifting Technology Acquisition Patterns” have some CIOs concerned. The report says IT was removed from 6.3 percent of new technology purchases in 2013, and “no-IT” decisions are expected to increase to 7.2 percent by 2015. At the same time, IT-only technology purchases are predicted to drop from 23.7 percent in 2013 to 21.6 percent by 2015.

“But this obscures a far more important trend: a steady partnership between business and IT in technology purchasing, maintaining a steady 35.4 percent (2013) to 35.8 percent (2015), even as the cloud booms and open source continues to rise in importance,” writes technology pundit Matt Asay on TechRepublic.com

Forrester also predicted that technology purchases where the line of business initiates the purchase and includes IT in the decision is estimated to rise from 9.0 percent in 2013 to 10.4 percent by 2015.

“This doesn’t translate into the imminent demise of IT,” Asay states. “Instead, we’re far more likely to see increased partnership between the two groups, even if the line of business shoulders an increased burden for initiating technology purchases. As such, the successful CIO will be the one who helps the line of business manage the purchases they’re inclined to make.”

New Technology Points to Growing Need for a CAO

Recent developments in technology are consuming more and more of the CIO’s attention in businesses around the world, and there’s a growing momentum to bring on the Chief Automation Officer (CAO) to make sure the business and IT are cooperatively strengthening the business overall.

“When organizations look at automation in a holistic and focused way from the highest level, they can regain control and value from their existing IT enterprise while they move ahead of the competition,” says Tijl Vuyk, founder of Redwood Software in Tech Decision Maker. “To do this effectively, they will need a CAO.”

“The CAO will be responsible for organizing and coordinating all of the enterprise processes under a single value chain and one set of governance rules,” he explains. “Much like an enterprise architect, they will be responsible for the architecture and implementation of an enterprise-wide approach to automation.”

Like CIOs, CFOs or CEOs, these CAOs must understand the fundamentals of the business, as well as the technical requirements to keep it moving ahead. “They’ve got to be extremely practical,” Vuyk adds. “They will have decision-making abilities for the business and IT. Their job will be to make sure that the company uses automation wisely, correctly and pervasively.”

Vuyk believes installing a CAO can enable CIOs to better focus on technology for transformation of the company, which is now vital in the rapidly changing digital world.

Onsite Storage Puts Business Data at Real Risk

Keeping critical business data onsite is now regarded as one of the biggest dangers facing businesses. Specifically, intellectual property is at risk from outages knocking out file servers, servers failing completely, and problems with backup routines resulting in failed data recovery.

“If a fire, flood, or other disaster hits the office, the backup hard drives or tapes will be destroyed along with the computer systems,” according to Bloomberg Business Week. “Physical hard drives and onsite computer servers can fall prey to viruses and other equipment failure. Employers or outsiders can steal equipment from the office or while it is in transit to a safe location.”

In a recent Symantec SME Disaster Preparedness Survey, 44 percent of respondents said their businesses would lose 40 percent of their data if a disaster struck the onsite data center.

“Far better is to use outsourced services to move your company data into an enterprise-grade data center, devolving responsibility to qualified experts who can maintain uptime and recover data with minimal downtime,” writes Mark Walker, an expert on outsourcing and managed services, writing on Business2Community.com. “Your business will save cash and guarantee its intellectual-property protection.”