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Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) both provide peace of mind by warehousing mission-critical data in the cloud. So what’s the difference? Orchestration and workflow are the key components, according to a recent video blog by Jason Buffington, Enterprise Strategy Group principal analyst. Those, in turn, affect agility and business outcome.

“From a data flow perspective, most backup technologies transform the data as part of transmitting it to the secondary repository, on-premises or in the cloud, which is what necessitates doing some kind of a restore to get it back,” Buffington says. “That transformation usually optimizes for storage, but it can limit the immediate usability or the recoverability of the data unless you restore it or basically transform it back to its original state.”

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Several states and cities have moved toward digitizing existing paper records, both to save space and to promote broader access to public documents. However, digital media is constantly evolving, and few national standards exist to regulate the creation and maintenance of electronic public records.

In Illinois, the Secretary of State’s office issued these guidelines for local governments seeking to digitize their records:

  • Legal Responsibility: Just as with paper records, electronic records must be retained for any period required by law, and agencies must produce the records in response to public records requests.

  • Longevity of Digital Records: Copies should be made of digital documents, with the original digital information stored off-site in a controlled environment.

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When the California Natural Resources Agency consolidated IT resources from 29 departments, boards and commissions into a centralized private cloud, two of the biggest benefits were reduced costs and faster provisioning. The agency increased storage capacity by 300 percent, shrunk its physical storage footprint by 30 percent, reduced overall IT capital expenses by 42 percent and sped up provisioning by 70 percent.

But the new model also has the benefit of ensuring extremely high levels of uptime. For the agency, this isn’t merely a matter of convenience. Many mission-critical applications depend on the availability of the data center, meaning that downtime can severely impede the agency’s operations.

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The goal was simple: Make it easier for Minnesotans to get outdoors.

With this in mind, in 2008, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources brought free guest wireless to Itasca State Park, a 32,000-acre site that boasts the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Pat Arndt, the communications and outreach manager for the DNR Parks and Trails Division, says that provisioning Wi-Fi helps residents overcome two challenges that otherwise keep them out of the parks: a lack of time and a lack of information. Arndt notes that people often work on a Saturday, Sunday or a half day.

“If Mom or Dad could be hooked up and get that project done or check in at the office on a Saturday morning and still spend the weekend with their family camping at one of our beautiful state parks, it seemed like a good compromise,” she says.

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How about both? Migrating to a cloud data center means organizations don’t need their own data center, so this appears to be an either/or question. But actually, few existing organizations have figured out how to completely get rid of their own data center.

One strategy is to repurpose existing older hardware as the data center is downsized to handle the remaining load. But there’s a good argument for migrating to a new hyperconverged infrastructure even as you’re shutting off servers and SANs, because it’s cheaper to maintain.

If you think you’re going to need 20 to 50 servers forever just to handle local applications (such as printing, DHCP and DNS, file servers, environmental/security systems and Voice over IP), a small hyperconverged infrastructure may be the answer to keeping things running while getting rid of high-end network, storage and server hardware and management expertise.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies added 13 cities to its What Works Cities initiative, which helps cities enhance their use of data to improve services, inform decision making and engage residents. The following cities join eight existing participants:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Bellevue, Wash.
  • Cambridge, Mass.
  • Denton, Texas
  • Denver
  • Independence, Mo.
  • Las Vegas
  • Lexington, Ky.
  • St. Paul, Minn.
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Tacoma, Wash.
  • Waco, Texas

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Local government IT leaders continue to be challenged by staffing, according to a Public Technology Institute survey of city and county IT professionals about operational issues. Among the concerns:

50% are very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their ability to attract and hire security and risk assurance staff

36% believe there’s a high or very high potential of IT staff being hired away by private-sector employers

25% say there’s a high or very high potential of IT staff retiring

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The town of Plainville, Conn., recently swapped out high-pressure sodium streetlights for 1,424 light-emitting diode fixtures to slash energy consumption. Of the new LED lights, 123 will offer a little something extra: chips that provide Wi-Fi hotspot technology.

The Hartford Courant reports that the town elected to bring free Wi-Fi service to selected retail and commercial areas. Plainville will pay $3,700 yearly for the Internet service, which will be offset by an estimated $75,000 in annual electricity and maintenance savings from the new energy-efficient streetlights. Town Manager Robert Lee said Plainville seeks advertisers for the network to fund the operational costs, according to the Record-Journal.

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The past year has marked the beginning of a significant shift toward new threats that are more difficult to detect, according to the McAfee Labs 2016 Threat Predictions study. Here are several types of attacks expected to increase over the next five years:

  • Below-the-OS attacks in BIOS and firmware
  • Fileless threats
  • Exploits of remote shell and remote control protocols
  • Encrypted infiltrations
  • Sandbox-evasion malware

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