Regan Technologies Corporation has been selling and implementing storage solution for almost 20 years. We understand storage and its crucial role in an enterprise.
Today I want to tell you about “the object store.” Object storage is not new but it is becoming more relevant in today’s storage market place. Simply put, an object is a file with meta-data “wrapped” around it. Metadata is “data about the data” such as the date it was created or last accessed, who created it, or a number of other tags that can be added like department name, project name, etc. Once in the object store the object can be searched for my any one of the metadata categories. Depending on how you implement it, you can also leave “stubs” or pointers to the object in the directory in which it was originally created, making the fact that the file was moved from its original location to the object store transparent to the end user.
Why do this? Very simply, you can move files with lower priority, larger, or older files out of your expensive high-performing disk to the object store, which has larger slower drives that are less expensive. On average you can see a 40% reduction in primary storage utilization. Your results may vary but it’s a very efficient way to store files. But that’s not the end of the cost savings, as once a file is in an object store it’s out of the backup stream, saving you on your backup costs. The object store is replicated for disaster recovery purposes.
Not all object stores are created equal. The Hitachi Data Systems Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) is an elegant and simple solution. First, it can be sold as an appliance, complete with server, disk, and software. Alternatively, it can be sold as software only, running as a virtual machine on an existing server utilizing existing disk.
One of it’s distinctive features is that it can easily migrate data based on criteria you set from you existing NAS to the HCP. It can also migrate data from a branch or field office using another appliance at the site that removes the need to have primary storage in the field in many cases.
HCP also has many options to archive the very old data. Instead of throwing more iron at the solution, there are places HCP will move that data based on criteria that you set. One example is Hitachi’s erasure coded (ECo) disk which are incredibly large drives (6TB each) and spin down when not be used. HCP call also act as a cloud broker and move data to any number of private or public cloud offerings like Azure, Google, AWS, really any s3 enabled cloud. The metadata stays on the HCP, so it can be easily located, but the payload data moves out to the cloud automatically. Anytime a user clicks to recall a file, HCP brings it right back. The data can also be accessed by application using any restful API.
The data manages itself – it’s an amazing solution. Available as and add-on feature is HCP Anywhere. This is a file sync and share, like Dropbox, but secure in your enterprise, you can send links to the content via email instead of the file, and has the option of making the links expire, or making users within the enterprise authenticate before accessing. We believe that the HCP solution is the best on the market today.
We recently worked with HDS to deliver this solution to a large enterprise system in the federal government. As a primary objective, this agency needed to organize and catalogue a massive amount of still images and video. Because of the solution we proposed, we were also able to consolidate their storage platforms from 3 different systems to a unified single platform. The HCP solution also integrated cloud strategies to meet a long term goal. Another benefit to this solution is it’s scability. This agency now has the tools and platform necessary to scale up and expand as needed to other facilities and locations. In the end, this agency has decided to use this solution as a template for future deployments.
Looking at the bigger, not only did this solution consolidate their environment but will provide cost savings associated with the consolidation. The impact reaches beyond just the “solution” – think about data center space, cooling, power requirements and man hours needed to manage multiple platforms. IT environments can be complex and unwieldy but they don’t have to be. Consider the simplied HCP solution.
~Stephen Clark, Director of Sales
Most of us have heard about the famous biblical battle of David and Goliath. Wikipedia identifies it now as a phrase that has ‘taken on a more secular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath)
Let me introduce you to a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision on Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States.
Amy Howe, a SCOTUS blog reporter, summarizes it here:
“When Congress uses the word “shall,” it intends to create a mandatory obligation. That was the unanimous conclusion of the Supreme Court today in the case of Kingdomware Technologies, a Maryland-based company that provides web, software, and technology services. The issue before the Court was whether a federal law which provides that, as long as certain conditions are met, the Department of Veterans Affairs “shall award” contracts to small businesses owned by veterans applies every time the department awards contracts. The federal government had argued that the rule left some room for discretion, but today the Court rejected that argument. “Shall,” the Court emphasized, was meant as “a command.”
You can read her whole blog here: http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/06/opinion-analysis-unanimous-court-hands-victory-to-veterans-in-contracting-dispute/
But what does all this mean? This is a total win for organizations like Regan Technologies, who is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and a provider of cutting edge technologies. We are continually trying to carve our way into healthcare communities and organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It’s been an uphill battle as the Goliath’s of the world are already firmly embedded in these organizations controlling the purse strings.
Over the past few weeks, since the decision, we have seen a shift. The VA prefers to use the government wide acquisition contract (GWAC) issued by NASA known as the Solutions for Enterprise Wide Procurement (SEWP). The VA has started to move almost 100% of their procurement to the 25 designated SDVOSB’s on that contract.
There is tremendous opportunity here. The David’s of the IT world, Regan Technologies and all the other small businesses, need to partner with each other to tackle Goliath. We’re not just looking for SDVOSB’s; we are looking for any other partners who are looking to carve their way into one of the largest IT environments in the world. We’ll work together with your capabilities to market effectively in front of the federal government.
To read the whole decision: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/kingdomware-technologies-inc-v-united-states/
Visit our partners page. Send us an email. We want to work with you.
~Christopher Regan, CEO
Normally we use our blog to tell you about some of the more important trends in technology. But today, I’m going to tell you about a more alarming and important trend regarding the suicide rate among US veterans. Regan Technologies is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and we hold our US Veterans who have served our country in the highest regards.
Let’s start with the problem. I’m using a very recently released study from the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs linked here: http://www.militarytimes.com/story/veterans/2016/07/07/va-suicide-20-daily-research/86788332/
So how can this be prevented? That’s not an easy question to answer. The VA has hired over 5300 mental health providers to address the problem. But because many of the veterans who have committed suicide have not utilized the VA services, there is clearly a large unreached population of veterans. This is too large and too important an issue just be left to the VA. We all benefit from the services of all of our armed services from both those who serve and those who have served. Many veterans come home from war with catastrophic injuries that are clearly visible. You many have seen soldiers with new high-tech prosthetics and think how far along medical treatment has come. Unfortunately, there are far more veterans with invisible injuries, that are often more serious, and cannot be fixed with prosthetics such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Try to imagine what it’s like to be in battle, to live each day knowing there is someone who wants to take your life. Imagine the stress of knowing that loved ones on the other side of the world are living their lives missing you, and growing up without you. Think about the sacrifices the men and women of our armed services make every day. Let that sink in. Yet many of us, myself included are too busy worrying about our day to day that we forget those sacrifices were made on our behalf.
We need to ensure that those who serve and have served get the resources and help they need. We need to make sure that our elected officials know about it too. Our veterans need funding for the VA, and for care outside the VA; they need us to help volunteer our time, gifts, and financial resources too. We need to ensure our veterans get the care they need. Below I’ve linked to some organizations that help veterans:
Stop Soldier Suicide’s Volunteer / Donation page: http://stopsoldiersuicide.org/connect/volunteerdonate/
Operation Never Forget: http://operationneverforgotten.org/get-involved/volunteer/
22 Kill: https://www.22kill.com/veterans-advocate/
National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide : http://www.na2evs.org/Donate
Active Heroes : https://activeheroes.org/peer-mentors/
Mission 22 : http://www.mission22.com/themission-1-1/
Please consider helping our veterans today.
~Stephen Clark, Director of Sales
We’ve taken a few weeks off from the blog – summer vacations, year end and just being busy. But we’re back again and today, we’re going to talk about something more close to home – personal habits to keep your information safe. In today’s online world with ransomware, security breaches and identity theft, it can be a difficult task to keep your information private. By practicing some basic safety checks, you can make it more difficult for your information to be accessed.
We all know that there is no Ethiopian prince who is seeking to invest in the US. Along those same lines, the IRS is not going to contact you via email regarding pending litigation. Email phishing is a common practice. There are some ways to identify if an email is valid or if it’s phishing.
When submitting information online, make sure the site you are using is secure. Look at the URL and make sure it shows “https” and not just “http”.
Before posting pictures and videos online, remember they may contain GPS data showing where the picture was taken. Along those lines, avoid posting on social media when you are on vacation – it’s a great way for thieves to know when you aren’t home.
Avoid giving out personal information unless it’s an absolute requirement. Many sites ask you for a birthdate when it’s not really needed. Personally, I have chosen a fake birthdate that I use when these sites ask for it. Many sites will also ask for an email address in order to access their site. I typically use a fake email address as well. Unless the site states they are going to email access, they are just looking for your personal information.
Not all threats to your personal information are going to come via email. Has anyone gotten a phone call from “Microsoft” stating there is an issue with your computer? There is no way Microsoft is monitoring your computer at that very moment and detecting any sort of issue. If you don’t recognize the phone number where they are calling from, ask them for it and call it back to verify.
Credit cards are another easy target, especially by skimmers. Skimmers are small devices that take your credit card information off from the magnetic stripe. Many stores are converting to chip readers which provide added security. If your credit card company has not sent you a chip card, call and ask for one.
Keep in mind it’s not just you that needs to keep information safe. Children are becoming easy targets. Monitor the sites they visit and make sure they aren’t downloading any viruses. If they have a smartphone, take a look at their apps. There are some apps that have been linked to illicit sites.
Lastly, make sure to keep your devices updated. Many apps have regular updates to fix security holes. The longer your device isn’t updated, the more susceptible it may become.
Remember, it’s your information and you should try to keep it that way.
~Donna Regan, Marketing
It’s no secret that technology is all around us. Everyone uses a smart phone, computer, or fitness device. Even our cars are full of technology. My kids are probably more savvy on technology than me. But this isn’t news. What struck me this week is how technology is being used these days.
I was reading an article about a man who lived for 555 days without a heart. He lived for 1.5 years with a piece of technology in his chest and in a backpack designed to perform the function of a heart until a suitable donor was found for him. Think about that for moment; 1.5 years having technology replace a vital organ. I find it absolutely amazing.
That got me thinking about how technology is elevating the way we think and the way we interact. I don’t know anyone in my life walking around with a backpack doing the job of a heart but my own community is doing some pretty cool stuff.
Our school system will be creating a makerspace in each of our elementary schools. A makerspace is a collaboration space where students and teachers will use their hands, minds and technology to create and learn. It’s about experimentation, failure and success. It goes along with the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. My blog from April 25th is all about the importance of STEM.
Our library just announced the construction of a “Collaboratory”. It’s a state-of-the-art makerspace area within the library. It will house a variety of technology including laser cutters, 3-D printers and a long arm quilting machine. In a library? Where we read and speak in hushed tones? Yup. It’s not just a building of books – it’s a learning space. And what better way to learn than through technology?
Being in the technology field for almost 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of technology improvements mostly related to business. I’ve seen servers shrink and data capacity grow. Technology has certainly made an impact on business. Personally, it’s hard to get excited about that stuff. But seeing how technology is being embraced by the community? That puts a smile on my face. I’m excited to be a part of it and even more for my kids to be a part of it.
~Donna Regan, Marketing
Working for a reseller, I’m exposed to a lot of technology. Don’t get me wrong, as CTO of a hospital, I was exposed to a lot of technology too. But not to the extent I am now. Over the past few years, I’ve been introduced to some technology that has made me say “I wish I knew this about this before, it would have made my job less stressful”. I would have made some very different decisions if I had only had the opportunity.
There are so many manufacturers out there and you know all the big players. You see them weekly. But is that all you are seeing? These larger technology firms already have their footprint in your environment so they can get your attention easier. There’s nothing wrong with having them, they all provide value. What about the technology companies that you aren’t seeing? There are some smaller manufacturers that can bring as much value as the larger ones and can bring some innovative technology with them.
One of the things that really stands out about some of these smaller manufacturers is their approach. They too really want your business but it’s not about them being successful – it’s about how successful you can be with their solution. When I say successful, I don’t just mean from a technical perspective. There are perks and benefits outside of the technology. Many times, they offer free training for your staff or discounts on annual maintenance. They may use you as a case study or success story highlighting your success. They really take the time to get to know your environment. You are a much bigger fish to them.
Heed my advice, some of these smaller manufacturers are worth looking at. If your business partner (reseller) is truly engaged with you and is a trusted partner, listen to them. They will be there through the whole process – introduction, proof-of-concept, configuration, order, post order and beyond. If they are making the suggestion to look at something different, they have good reason.
If you are a CIO, CTO, director, or manager, I plead you to be different. Schedule some time to at least listen to your business partner and get educated on all of these newer technologies and smaller companies. It could be the best thing you ever did for your business and your career.
~Andrew Trogden, CTO
Dark Web. We’ve heard the term bantered around a lot these days. It sounds so…nefarious. And to be quite honest, it can be. But what is the dark web? And is it really something to fear? In short, yes. It can be a very dangerous place.
To put it in context, think of the internet as an iceberg. We all know what we see on top of the water is just a small fraction of the iceberg – that’s the internet we use everyday. The majority of an iceberg is underwater and cannot be seen except by a select few with specialized tools. All that ice below the iceberg? That’s the dark web.
So what happens on the dark web and why do people use it? To be honest, there is a lot of nefarious activity on the dark web. It’s where assassinations are planned, human trafficking occurs and child pornography resides. But it’s also where a lot of stolen information goes.
Here’s an analogy for you – if your car gets stolen, it goes to a chop shop. It’s a shop that isn’t on Google Maps. It gets disassembled and the pieces are sold off. The dark web is where stolen data goes to get disassembled and sold off. The dark web is the digital black market. And it’s very possible that your information is out there. And the dealers selling that information use a tool called The Onion Router, or TOR, for short. It’s how they mask their IP addresses and access the dark web.
How do you know if your company or private data is out there? As an average internet user, you won’t know. We’re not just talking about personal data like credit card or social security numbers though. While a breach of that data is absolutely crippling, what about your company IP? You could have been developing code for a year that suddenly breached and now someone else has your idea. What about plans for a patented widget?
So going back to the analogy about your car. Now that your car (your data or IP) may have been stolen, how do you go about getting it back? And how do you prevent it from being stolen again? Using a solution by Sovereign Intelligence, that information can be located. That solution can uncover information you may not even know had been compromised. Sovereign Intelligence scours the dark web to get to the places the average internet user cannot. In addition, our solution from DarkTrace helps keep data safe by monitoring behavior inside your network (see our blog from last week) and to ward any potential threats.
The dark web is not for the average internet user. As its name implies, it’s dark. And nefarious. And full of illegal activity. But if your information or IP is out there, it can be recovered by the experts at Sovereign Intelligence.
~Donna Regan, Director of Marketing
~Andrew Trogden, CTO
~Stephen Clark, Director of Sales
Cyber ransom is not new; in fact, it’s been around for years. But we’re seeing more and more headlines around it lately.
After hospital ransomware attack, time for some blunt talk about cybersecurity
--Yahoo! News 4/16/2016
Big Paydays Force Hospitals to Prepare for Ransomware Attacks
--NBC News 4/23/2016
Michigan Power and Water Utility hit by Ransomware Attack
Cyber ransom traditionally has been done via viruses and spyware, but now there is a category called Ransomware which clandestinely installs itself on a system without the user’s knowledge. It then restricts access to this system and demands that the user pay a ransom to remove the malware. Some will even encrypt the users information making it nearly impossible to use.
Traditional methods like firewalls and virus scanning software are no longer enough. They are not always real-time in nature and usually identify the malware after it has traversed the network. The approach needs to be proactive, looking for changes in the patterns of users and/or their devices. This can be done in a number of ways and there are some products you can buy. One such product is Darktrace. Darktrace is an appliance that sits on the network and monitors the network traffic. It has an algorithm that it uses to define “what is normal” in the way of user and device behavior. If there is any deviation from normal it will alert the network administrator and can even take action to stop the offending user / device.
Even the best practices won’t work when an employee comes to work with a non-sanctioned device that contains the malware. Think about your laptop that your teenage child used without your knowledge to download a game from a pirated site? You bring it to work and unknowingly breach security by introducing malware to the network. Darktrace would alert you that either a new device is on the network or that a known device is now acting very differently than it usually does. This is the power of “behavioral analysis.”
As long as you have data on your network, you are at risk. And it’s just a matter of time before an attack happens and succeeds. Be prepared. Would you like to see it for yourself? Watch a demonstration on our website here.
If you’re interested in seeing even more please contact me at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
~Andrew Trodden, CTO
Almost simultaneously this morning I received notifications from both Facebook and LinkedIn that I would be celebrating my 19th anniversary at work this month. I chuckled knowing 19 Years ago Facebook or LinkedIn weren’t even around. At the time, our only solution set was Sun Microsystems. And I chuckled again knowing they are no longer around. Oh my, how the world has changed.
Back then, it was all about integrating high performance computing platforms – Big Iron - into high end insurance and financial services organizations. But we’ve evolved over the last 19 years and reinvented ourselves nearly every year of our existence. We have shifted from a handful of large commercial customers to dozens of federal government entities which often struggle to keep up with leading edge (or even current) technologies.
We’ve started looking less at the large manufacturers and more at the small boutique companies. Innovators are now no longer the large organizations, they are the small businesses and startups that are only a few years, or months, old.
Our mission has changed. It is now not to deploy traditional, often commodity, hardware, software, and services – it is to introduce you to what’s coming next. If you are struggling to keep up with infrastructure to keep your business running smoothly you will soon be hit with the Internet of Things (IoT). Remember having a single Blackberry server? Well, it is no longer enough to have a single mobile device management platform – managing and securing the number of devices that are going to be introduced into your environment is going to be a nightmare if not planned for and designed today.
Every light bulb, every thermostat, every door, window, security system, surveillance camera, and things you can’t even imagine today are going to be connected. It’s not just your door bell, or your cell phone/tablet/laptop that you’ll have to secure but who connects to what and what connects and can create an enormous amount of chaos if not planned appropriately. And it’s these boutique solutions that we offer that take that chaos and make it manageable. We’re not walking away from Big Iron just yet but there are some finer details that these smaller solutions address.
Change is inevitable. Embrace it.
~Christopher Regan, CEO
We’re a technology company but that you already knew. We’ve spent almost 20 years making sure our customers have the latest in technology through education, demonstrations and installations. We’ve had some of the largest firms in the country as clients offering them servers, storage, professional services and cyber security.
But in the last few years, we’ve also done work with another much smaller organization. We’ve been helping our local STEM academy. For those who aren’t familiar with STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and it encourages students to broaden their horizons about those topics – to ask questions and seek answers. Through the STEM programs and camps, my children have explored robotics, the way light travels, volcanoes, weather and space.
Regan Technologies believes in supporting our local community. We feel one of the best ways to encourage young minds is to provide the fuel they need to explore. The children of today are the innovators of tomorrow. Who knows, perhaps they will be the ones leading the mission to Mars or down to deepest depths of the ocean. Maybe they will figure out how to decrease pollutants or develop a cure for cancer. Or maybe they will figure out how to simply make vegetables more appealing to their kids The opportunities are endless.
The point is, they won’t be able to achieve any of those things without support. I encourage everyone to support their local STEM academy. If you don’t have one in your area, start one. Be engaged with your children about science. Encourage their curiosity. To find out more about our local STEM academy, go to their Facebook page found here.
~Donna Regan, Director of Marketing