Friday, February 28, 2014

Top Ten Tech Trends: Perfect Storm

Rapidly evolving technology, policy developments and consolidation are putting new security demands on provider organizations

by John DeGaspari, Managing Editor +Healthcare Informatics Magazine 

"There’s a storm brewing in the healthcare security and privacy arena that will stretch the resources of even the most nimble healthcare provider organizations, as they face challenges on multiple fronts. On the policy side, providers will face steeper fines for breaches, backed up with tighter enforcement. Meanwhile, rapidly evolving medical devices, coupled with the emergence of mobile devices in the workplace, are requiring that providers reevaluate their security policies. At the same time, new care delivery and communication models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and health information exchanges (HIEs), are remaking the healthcare delivery landscape—and the security and privacy policies that go with it.
As if this was not enough, these developments have been taking place at a time when data breaches at healthcare provider organizations are on the rise. In 2013, medical identity theft was up 20 percent compared to the year before, according to a report released last September by the Traverse City, Mich.-based Ponemon Institute. Malicious attacks have increased in number as well as the level of sophistication, say experts.
Meeting security challenges and protecting patient data will require extra vigilance, as well as rethinking how technology and policy decisions can help minimize those risks, according to security professionals interviewed."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

When a disaster occurs, the clock is ticking!

VAULT400 offers hardware disaster recovery. Select the required time for recovery of operations and VAULT400 will present a complete offering to meet your needs.

<24 Hours VAULT400 will port data from our local vault to our multi-platform POD of shared systems (same data center) and provide for remote VPN recovery within 12 to 24 hours. VAULT400 loads the proper operating system and PTF level, ports the data, provides remote VPN access in < 24 hours.

<12 Hours VAULT400 will port your data from our local vault to dedicated serial number assigned equipment pre-loaded with your operating system and PTF level. Equipment is never over-sold and is a true 1:1 ratio – Pre-loading the operating system & PTF’s saves 8 to 12 hours. You are up & running as soon as the data ports over from the vault at network speed. The <12 hour RTO option is optimal for a firm that is looking for minimal down time and an overall cost effective solution.

<1 Hour [Managed Service High Availability] VAULT400 will provide a dedicated system built to your specifications, house and manage the system on your behalf in our secure data center, provide unrestricted 24/7 access, and then install and set up a high availability solution. RTO is < 1 hour With this RTO option, VAULT400 online back-up can also be utilized for cost effective archiving.

VAULT400 gives organizations confidence that their information is securely stored for as long as necessary, yet quickly accessible when needed.

When a disaster occurs, the clock is ticking!

Call 800.211.8798 or visit VAULT400 to learn more. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

IBM Pushes Performance Up, Energy Down With Power8

Article in IT Jungle The Four Hundred by Timothy Prickett Morgan 

Read full article
The IEEE hosted its International Solid-State Circuits Conference recently in San Francisco, which is generally loaded with coming out parties for all kinds of server processors. IBM's top techies from the Power Systems division were on hand to show off some more of the feeds and speeds of the forthcoming Power8 chips, expected sometime around the middle of this year.
Many of the feeds and speeds of the Power8 chip were divulged last year at the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University, which The Four Hundred reported on at the time. Some more details of the Power8 chip were revealed at ISSCC and are shared here
The bottom line, Tim says, is the new Power8 systems give IBM a chance to rethink how it packages and prices the Power Systems-IBM i stack and try to get its entire base to move forward rather than those who are pushed to the cutting edge by the demands of their applications.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Smooth Path for Upgrades

Excellent article in IBM Systems Magazine by Anthony English. Anthony works on IBM Power Systems as a freelance contractor in Sydney, Australia.  
"When it comes to upgrades, the time and effort spent in preparation always pays off. The better the contingency plan, the less chance you’ll need it.
Here are a few tips and tricks that can help your system upgrades run more smoothly. These tips aren’t intended to be a comprehensive checklist or a replacement for official documentation. However, they might provide some ideas on streamlining your upgrade process. Consider your upgrade in three stages:
  1. Preparation
  2. The upgrade itself
  3. Post-upgrade work
A smooth upgrade relies on good preparation work. But the process doesn’t end when you hand the system back to users. After the upgrade, it’s important to spend time revising documentation, checking if users are happy and conducting a post-upgrade review. That will give you the chance to find out what worked well and what could have been done better."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Global Agricultural Supplier Digi-Star LLC Selects VAULT400 as Cloud Backup Solution

United Computer Group was recently selected by Digi-Star LLC, a leading manufacturer of electronic weighing systems for the agricultural industry, to protect their mission-critical data with VAULT400 cloud backup and DR.   

Digi-Star’s search for a data backup service included a number of vendors in addition to UCG’s VAULT400. The vendor of choice would need to provide live customer support; secure, off-site data centers; and the option to add IBM i hardware disaster recovery in the future. UCG’s VAULT400 met and exceeded all major requirements.

The UCG and Digi-Star IT teams completed the VAULT400 cloud backup installation in just a few hours. VAULT400 provides Digi-Star worldwide access to their data twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Digi-Star now enjoys complete backup archival retentions in multiple secure, off-site locations to meet their RPO objectives. 

Digi-Star LLC is a global supplier of electronic sensing equipment, precision sensors, displays and software used by farmers and other equipment operators to precisely measure and analyze valuable data from critical farming processes. Digi-Star LLC is headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, with additional facilities and businesses in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Risk changes in the cloud

Article worth reading in ISACA. ISACA engages in the development, adoption and use of globally accepted, industry-leading knowledge and practices for information systems.

It is 2014. The cloud is here.
Companies are no longer tolerant of security-and-compliance teams telling them they cannot go to the cloud. The benefits of cloud technologies are too many to ignore in a business strategy: commodity pricing, flexible scaling, low staff needs, and (for SAAS) a rent-to-own model.
Risk teams must learn how to adapt to the cloud environment, which means changing how they measure and respond to risk in cloud situations. Risk leaders who refuse to make this change are likely to find themselves irrelevant in their organization, suffering not only career immobility but also standing on the sidelines as they watch their company take on increasing risk with little or no care for mitigation.
Risk leaders should follow four steps to help their companies adopt cloud technologies while minimizing overall risk:
  1. Adopting and adapting application-security-assessment tools. Questionnaires for cloud services need to go beyond the standard set of questions and dig into important questions like framework compliance, monitoring/reporting, and even secure-development practices. By devising (or revising) questionnaires that help uncover where risk will be transferred successfully, where the client will need to mitigate risk, and where risk will be accepted, teams enable their companies to benefit from cloud efficiencies while retaining relevance in the conversation.
  2. Recognizing that going to the cloud has benefits. Yes, it involves some transfer of risk, for instance, physical access control and disaster recovery. And other data center controls traditionally owned by the company get transferred to the cloud provider. But these risk transfers should not be made blindly. Cloud customers should have their providers document how they manage these risks and attest to or provide appropriate proof of compliance. In the end, the transfer of these risks can often be financially advantageous.
  3. Redefining controls required for risk mitigation. In IAAS and PAAS environments, controls such as encryption-at-rest are absolutely required for sensitive data. (In many organizations, data-at-rest has been “overlooked” because data centers provide compensating controls that prevent physical access to sensitive data.) Strict controls on administrative access to systems and resources need to be implemented and validated regularly to ensure cloud providers are not able to gain unauthorized access. In SAAS environments, strong monitoring and reporting tools must be made available to the client for the very same reason.
  4. Educating IT and business leaders on risks being accepted. Risk managers are, by nature, extremely risk averse and the idea of accepting risk is a scary one. But businesses accept risk all the time (often unknowingly). By identifying risk and alerting leaders, risk managers can help the business put risk into business contexts so leaders can make informed decisions.
As we are all aware, moving to the cloud can introduce companies to new risks. Security, audit and GRC leaders who proactively engage business leaders in understanding and managing risks associated with cloud technologies help their companies minimize risk while maximizing cloud efficiencies.
Business is about results. Risk teams that achieve results will become increasingly valuable in their organizations.
John Overbaugh
Managing Director, Security Services
+Caliber Security Partners  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You’re an iSeries Expert.

Download Article

But are you spending too much time babysitting your data?

iSeries Users: Save Time and Backup Hassles with UCG’s VAULT400 ‘Top 10’

United Computer Group, Inc.’s VAULT400 hybrid (local and cloud-based) backup and disaster recovery solutions have a number of ways to save you time and boost backup operations. But, for iSeries environments, we’re focusing specifically on our own ‘Top 10’ ways use of VAULT400 can help iSeries users work smarter, work faster, and reclaim their time. A few things to ponder while you wait for your next backup window to finish...

1.  Fast, ‘over the wire’ backup/restore that leaves tape in the dust. (Hint: Our online backups even beat the backup speeds of many TSM environments.) Compare us to traditional backup, whether full tape backup or disk-based backup solutions like VTLs. Even TSM. You’ll find it hard to beat VAULT400’s fast performance. Our secret? It’s all in VAULT400’s efficient use of very small data blocks.

2.  Affordable, complete cloud-based disaster recovery. What good is fast backup if you can’t recover fast? There’s a better way than struggling with tape to meet your organization’s RTOs. VAULT400’s Cloud Disaster Recovery (CDR) service lets you back up securely online to VAULT400’s iron-clad cloud environment. Then, if disaster strikes, we’ll fail over your iSeries environment from the cloud within just 24-48 hours. That includes restoring your connections, systems, associated servers, and more.

3. End-to-end encryption without the overhead. No need to buy costly  encryption software. With VAULT400, you get built-in encryption whether your data is at rest or in-flight. In fact, you get VAULT400’s complete backup/recovery system with built-in encryption for less than most encryption solutions.

4. Uses less bandwidth and less storage for backup. VAULT400 architecture is designed to use as little bandwidth and storage as possible. That means faster backup/restore times. It also means less money spent to store your backup data. VAULT400 algorithms evaluate your data, offering unbelievable compression with very small footprints for sizable data sets. For IFS systems, that means 2:1 compression. For non-IFS systems? It’s common to see 10:1 compression—or significantly greater. Curious? Ask us to walk you through a concrete example based on an average 100GB database.

5. Extreme DB2 compression. DB2 environments are a perfect example of IFS backup savings. For DB2, we routinely see 10:1 compression with iSeries customers. We’ve also seen as high as 25:1 compression ratios! How much could that save you on bandwidth or storage? It could easily mean the difference of hundreds of gigabytes per database backup, per week.

6. Forget tape multiplexing. Shorten backup windows with concurrent LPAR backups. Many iSeries environments now manage multiple LPAR environments from the same system. VAULT400 helps you shrink backup windows further by streaming multiple LPAR backups at the same time.

7. Easy command interface, easy management. Anyone who’s ever waded through the intricacies of tape or VTL operations will appreciate how easy VAULT400 makes it to automate data protection.

8. Multiple platforms beyond iSeries? We’ve got you covered. You’ll find VAULT400 one of the few solutions to offer robust, similar backup/restore operation across virtually any operating system.

9. DR testing that works like a charm. VAULT400 automation makes it easy to run routine tests of your iSeries DR procedures. We help companies perform over 400 successful DR tests each year.

10. Help that’s there when you need it most. Every vendor talks about how great their support is, but United Computer Group’s VAULT400 customers speak for themselves with a 98% customer satisfaction rating. Ever need answers? We’ve got ‘em and are happy to help!

We are dedicated to the swift, sure handling of your backup and restore data. With VAULT400, you also know one thing: You always get your data back. If you truly want to reclaim your time, contact us today at 800.211.8798. We’ll show you more ways VAULT400 can collapse your backup windows and streamline your DR.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Update: Third of Internet Explorer users at risk from attacks

Microsoft confirms both IE9 and IE10 contain vulnerability, urges customers to upgrade to IE11; leaves Vista users out in the cold

+Computerworld +Gregg Keizer  - "Microsoft on Friday said that both Internet Explorer 10 and its predecessor, IE9, contained an unpatched vulnerability, but that hackers were currently exploiting only the newest, IE10.

The extension of the vulnerability to IE9 followed confirmation earlier yesterday that active attacks are compromising the newer IE10 and hijacking PCs running the browser.

"Microsoft is aware of limited, targeted attacks against Internet Explorer 10. Our initial investigation has revealed that Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 10 are affected," a Microsoft spokesperson said via email today.

With both IE9 and IE10 vulnerable, it means that about a third of all those using Internet Explorer are at risk."  Read more.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

IBM i Education at Its Best!

Join UCG at the 29th Annual Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association (WMCPA) Spring Technical Conference

United Computer Group will be a sponsor at the 2014 WMCPA Conference being held March 11 through 13 at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin.

Keynote speakers are Richard Dolewski, President and Co-Founder of iTinuum, a Managed Service Provider, and Tim Rowe, Business Architect Application Development & Systems Management for IBM i. A special 7.1 Systems Management Workshop will be presented by Larry Bolhuis, owner of Frankeni Technology Consulting, covering system components and their management.

There will be over 30 sessions across two days conducted by industry experts and professional speakers. A standout this year is a special event on Tuesday, “Women in Information Technology,” headlined by top corporate female IT leaders. For additional information visit

UCG's +Michael Seday will be on hand to discuss IBM i related business issues, Enterprise Management Software (EMS), and VAULT400 cloud backup and DR solutions. If you would like to reserve a specific discussion time, call Michael at 800.211.8798 ext. 175, or email him at

We hope to see you there!

Click here to register

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Enrich Customer Service, Reduce Costs, and Deliver Significant ROI

Enterprise Management Software (EMS) Application for Distribution Management

S2K Distribution Management Software has emerged as a leading cost-cutting measure for today's most competitive businesses. Our money saving technology gives companies the opportunity to integrate their distribution system and implement long term growth strategies that ensure future success. Distribution Software provides powerful information systems to enrich customer service, reduce costs, and deliver a significant return on investment. By putting our innovation to use, companies across the world can now create end-to-end integrated enterprise solutions.

As part of the Distribution Software suite, we offer cutting edge inventory management and purchasing applications that equal superior efficiency for your business. Our comprehensive business software delivers consistent returns on your technology investment.

Product Overview

  • Access stock status information across all locations and automate transfer requests
  • View substitutions, complementary items, and sales history
  • Create orders easily from past sales history or customer shopping list screens Increase order totals by up-selling promotional items
  • Schedule follow-up activity and track customer communications
  • View detailed shipping information, including carton contents and tracking numbers

Learn more by visiting, call United Computer Group at 800.211.8798, or email                 

Download PDF                   

Monday, February 03, 2014

IBM's X86 Exit Strategy: IT Jungle Talks to UCG's Jim Kandrac

IBM's X86 Exit Strategy: Arguing The Good And Bad 

"The news that IBM is selling its X86 business traveled like a flash of lightning. Then comes the thunder, which lasts longer and speaks louder. The thunder is the interpretation, the explanation, and the ramifications of the X86 decision. IBM, no doubt, puts considerable effort into making major business decisions like this one and then an equal amount of effort into making the decisions sound good to as many people as possible."

"I do not believe that it will negatively affect the IBM Power i business," says Jim Kandrac, the founder and president of United Computer Group, an IBM business partner located in Independence, Ohio. "Power and Intel really haven't played together in years. In some cases, UCG provided the 'X' as a service to clients. In other cases, the clients sourced their own, because of a brand preference, and it was handled by a different IT unit. Many mid-market shops have different sandboxes and i and Intel boxes are separate. Due to politics or religion, those purchases are separate in most cases. I view IBM selling off X as a proper strategic move. It apparently was not 'core' to the growth of IBM and at the end of the day it may be better for IBM, their clients, Lenovo, and partners. Unless hardware is blended with software and services, it is a commodity."  Read more.