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Sample Visio – Project Coordination

Posted in Projects (400),Visio Samples - Stencils (457) by Guest on the June 29th, 2011
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Sample Excel – ITIL Service Operational Production Checklist sample

Posted in Compliances (1300),Sample - IT Spreadsheets - PowerPoints (251) by Guest on the June 19th, 2011
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Sample Visio – Business Goals – Maturity mapping

Posted in Visio Samples - Stencils (457) by Guest on the June 17th, 2011
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Temporary Cooling Systems – Considerations

Posted in Business (600) by Guest on the June 15th, 2011

OPTIONS
1)      Purchase – appropriate equipment for ongoing usage, or to be housed on-site for immediate availability in case of emergencies or as a supplement to existing cooling systems

2)      Rent/release – appropriate equipment for short-term or temporary use, for trial opera­tions, or to avoid significant expense or commitment from all-out purchase

WHY BUY?
Cooling isn’t just for people comfort. If you have a significant investment in electronic, computer, and telecommunications equipment, portable air conditioning is an inexpen­sive insurance policy. Proper temperature control is essential in computer rooms, elec­trical and telephone switching stations, hospitals, restaurant kitchens, for process cool­ing on assembly lines, and spot cooling applications in offices, warehouses, and manu­facturing sites, when material is too hot to handle or package. When people are exposed to hot operations such as welding, brazing, or ovens, spot cooling will make a difference in productivity and quality that’s easily measured. You can purchase portable units for primary, supplemental, or emergency cooling.

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL VENDORS

1)      Can equipment be delivered immediately? If not, how long will it take? Estimated setup time?

2)      Vendor experience/qualifications specific to my industry?

3)      Number and scope of projects like my own that the vendor has accommodated to date?

4)      What is the level and availability of technical expertise and assistance?

5)      Is start-up training provided for in-house maintenance staff?

6)      Is the equipment UL listed?

7)      Does it meet city codes in all our facility locations?

8.      What are the equipment’s limitations?

9)      What are the warranty terms? Is an extended warranty for parts and labor available?

10)  References available?

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK VENDOR REFERENCES
      
1)      How similar to my own are your company’s cooling needs?

2)      How adequately does your equipment do the job for which it was purchased?

3)      What are some equipment quirks or limitations to be aware of?

4)      How reliable is it?

5)      Is it quiet enough?

6)      Was the equipment delivered on time?

7)      Was installation disruptive?

8.      Why was this vendor or equipment chosen?

a.       Were others considered?

9)      What did the selection process entail?

10)  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the provider or equipment?

BUYER BEWARE

1)      Make sure portable cooling equipment is really what you need. Sometimes it’s the only solution, as for rooms to which ductwork or chiller stems cannot be extended. But many ongoing applications can be covered by conventional cooling systems at a lower price, especially in company-owned buildings.

2)      If contemplating a purchase, plan for the future. Accommodating your cooling system needs of tomorrow maybe worth the investment today.

3)      Consider equipment availability in time of urgent need.

4)      Consider the geographic area covered by the supplier.

WHAT NEXT?
1)      Involve appropriate operations managers and facilities maintenance personnel in equipment evaluation and selection.

2)      Request or create a features matrix accounting for options and at-a-glance compari­son of all models being considered.

3)      After pre-qualifying all vendor candidates, request a presentation at your facility. Ideally, test actual applications applied to emergency cooling scenarios.

4)      Request written replies to follow-up questions not answered during vendor presenta­tions.

5)      Rent before you buy to give the equipment a trial run, or buy a single unit at outset and purchase additional units later.

6)      Do your homework now—not at time of urgent need.


http://bestitdocuments.com/Services.html

 

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Printing and Mailing Recovery Services

Posted in eMail (66) by Guest on the June 12th, 2011

OPTIONS

1) Dedicated recovery sites—hotsites devoted to printing/mailing business continuity; subscriber fees paid for availability, space, equipment, and services of fully operational facilities maintained by independent providers 

2) Excess capacity offerings—printing/mailing facilities offer operational resources and time beyond normal workload in order to accommodate disaster recovery 

3) Reciprocal agreements—pacts made by companies having similar printing/mailing requirements and equipment to support each other with disaster recovery 

WHY BUY?
Critical mail applications, including billing and customer service, must be recovered along with data to ensure that data will be put to use. Dedicated printing/mailing recov­ery sites offer high-tech equipment that’s ready to go when you’re ready to recover. Such sites also avoid potentially disruptive lead times of up to six months that are typi­cal when replacing specialized mail inserting equipment.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

1) If temporary relocation is not feasible, alternate site’s proximity to your primary facility should be a priority.

 

2) Up-to-date technology and specific equipment to replicate your environment 

3) Expertise in print and mail finishing, as well as postal regulations

4) Well-documented, organized, accountable methodology

5) Local postal facility’s ability to absorb additional high volume of mail 

6) Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in case of power outage at alternate site

7) Climate control and fire detection/suppression systems 

8. High level of on-site security

9) Telecommunications support

10)  Storage space and systems to warehouse your firm’s printed stock on-site

11)  Transportation accessibility, proximity to food and lodging

12)  Vendor with sound internal business recovery plans

COST CONSIDERATIONS
A detailed cost analysis will often reveal hidden expenses. Then adding up costs, consider the following:

1) Set-up, programming fees

2) Monthly subscription fees 

3) Testing fees

4) Usage costs

5) Cost per piece

6) Warehousing fees


BE PREPARED

In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:

1) Monthly print volume and number of statements rendered

2) Number of pages per envelope

3) Number of computer program applications and their sizes

4) Print format

5) Special printing/mailing requirements

6) Type and quantity of equipment currently used

7) Need for intelligent inserting equipment

8. Control codes for intelligent applications 

9) Number of employees responsible for each function 

10)  Experience processing first class transaction mail 

11)  Business impact analysis for loss of printing/mailing operations 

12)  Turn-around time required

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL VENDORS 

 

1) How many customers are contracted at your site?

2) How many customers can you simultaneously support? 

3) Who is the closest customer to my location that you currently serve or will accept? 

4) Is recovery time assigned on a first-come, first-served basis? 

5)  What is your level of experience? Industry qualifications? 

6) Is your equipment reserved specifically for disaster recovery? 

7) For what percentage of your business does disaster recovery account? 

8. What is your disaster declaration procedure?

9) What percentage of my monthly volume must be processed at your location?

10) Are my employees permitted to operate your equipment?

 

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK VENDOR REFERENCES

1)  How similar to my own are your company’s system and recovery needs? 

2)  How long have you contracted with this provider? 

3) Why was this vendor chosen? Others considered? 

4)  What did the selection process entail? 

5) Provider strengths, weaknesses? 

6) Any experiences with site activation? Testing? 

7) Is service consistent? Is there a liaison designated specifically for your company?

8. Has the vendor offered recovery planning services/support?

9) Are maintenance and test support adequate? 

10)  Have costs exceeded original estimates?

BUYER BEWARE

1) Vendors that offer printing/mailing disaster recovery services as a sideline. These ven­dors wiul fit you in when regular schedule permits, while those dedicated to disaster recovery will process your work immediately. 

2) Regional hazards – flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc – and potentially hazardous industries in vicinity 

3) Sites served by the same electrical power grid or communications center as your primary facility

4) Inadequate security. Forms containing sensitive information, such as credit cards and check blanks, must be protected. 

5) Inadequate testing – anything less than four times per year

WHAT NEXT?

1) After pre-qualifying all vendor candidates, request a presentation at your facility.

2) Request written replies to follow-up questions not answered during vendor presentations. 

3) Visit actual site(s) of vendor finalists. Include your disaster recovery or security spe­cialist to conduct site surveys and your production manager to inspect equipment and evaluate operations.

http://bestitdocuments.com/Services.html

 

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Transportation and Shipping Services

Posted in Business (600),Compliances (1300) by Guest on the June 10th, 2011

OPTIONS

1.      Same day

2.      Temperature controlled

3.      Overnight

4.      Oversized freight

5.      International

6.      Electronic media

7.      Sensitive, fragile

8.      Air charter

WHY BUY?
When urgency and guaranteed delivery are priorities, specialized shipping and trans­port providers can get mission-critical equipment or supplies where you need them and when. Often providing better care and attention than common carriers these com­panies are aware of business disruption concerns, can accommodate unusual ship­ments, and stake reputation on service performance.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

1.      Excellent track record of on-time, safe deliveries

2.      Wide geographic coverage area that includes all of your company and vendor locations

3.      24-hour service

4.      Service guarantee with specific terms

5.      Transporters who can accommodate your particular goods with appropriate resources

6.      Ability to adequately insure your shipments

7.      Efficient tracking system that provides updates at any time

8.      Ability to reroute shipments in transport

9.      Provider with regularly tested disaster recovery plan

10.  Familiarity with your industry, business practices

COST CONSIDERATIONS

A detailed cost analysis will often reveal hidden expenses. Then adding up costs, consider the following:

1)      Assessorial charges vary from provider to provider and may include additional charges such as for lift gates, special communications provisions, extra staffing to load or unload cargo, and pads and straps for sensitive, fragile shipments. Ask for the total cost, including an itemized list of assessorial charges.

2)      Surcharge for delivery outside of normal service hours or on weekends or holidays?

3)      Additional charge for exclusive vs. commingled transport?

BE PREPARED

In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:

1)      Correct address and phone number of recipient and name of point person

2)      Your need for speed: How quickly must the delivery be made?

3)      Your special requirements: Can the items be flown? Must they be in a temperature-controlled environment?

4)      Your communications requirements. Do you require delay updates while the package is enroute?

5)      Consequences to your business in the event of late or damaged shipments

6)      Your budget—at least a rough idea of what you can afford, to pursue the best ser­vice option within a given price range

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL VENDORS

1.      What distinguishes you from your competitors?

2.     What percentage of deliveries are on time? Of those that are late, how late are they?

3.      Will you inform enroute if a delivery is running late?

4.      What type of tracking system do you use? How is it backed up?

5.      What is your pick-up promise, and how do you measure service? Quantify’ terms.

6.      Do you have the infrastructure to support service claims? How many trucks? How many terminals?

7.      What is your fleet composition? How do you communicate with your fleet?

8.      Is the fleet company-owned and maintained regularly?

9.      In case of a vehicle breakdown, will you provide a back-up vehicle or arrange for air transport at your expense?

10.  References available?

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK VENDOR REFERENCES

1.      How similar to my own are your company’s transportation/shipping needs?

2.      Do you think this carrier can fulfill my needs?

3.      How long have you contracted with this provider?

4.     Why was this vendor chosen? Others considered?

5.      What did the selection process entail?

6.      Carrier strengths, weaknesses?

7.      Is service consistent?

8.      Have you used this provider in a business recovery situation?

9.      Has a delivery ever been late? If so, how late, for what reason, and how was the situation handled?

10.  Do promised services generally meet punctuality and cost approximations?

 

BUYER BEWARE

1)      Carriers who faded you in the past

2)      Those not specializing in priority transport; vague or non-committal regarding delivery terms and guarantee 

3)      Providers who claim they can do more than their resources actually allow

4)      Service promises that are not door-to-door. Air charter typically breaks down on the ground. If your guarantee is not door-to-door, your shipment may be late.

5)      Last-transaction progress reporting only affords tracking information up to the ship­ment’s last stop Enroute information is not available.

WHAT NEXT?

1)      Visit the provider’s headquarters. Inspect the facility for security concerns and general efficiency of operation.

2)      Conduct unannounced dry runs with all potential carriers.

3)      Do your homework now—not at time of urgent need.

 http://www.bestitdocuments.com/IT_Security_Methodology_solutions.html

 

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Consulting Services

Posted in Security (1500) by Guest on the June 9th, 2011

OPTIONS

1)      Generalists – offer comprehensive planning and recovery expertise; may be inde­pendent or a product/service provider

2)      Specialists – offer expertise in specific areas, such as computer security, media relations, or telecommunications; may be independent or a product/service provider

3)      Independent consultants – offer either comprehensive or specialized consulting expertise and are not affiliated with a product or service 

4)      Vendor consultants—offer either comprehensive or specialized consulting exper­tise as well as other products and/or services

WHY BUY?
Consultants can guide overall planning and recovery processes or provide expertise specific to a problem area. Consultants, if used properly, may eliminate need for a full-time contingency planner for small companies and can help establish or fortify planning teams in larger organizations.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

 

1)      Experience, longevity, and diversity

2)      Knowledge; understanding of your business/industry

3)      Good consultative skills and a proven methodology

4)      Professional presentation verbally and in writing

5)      Good project management and communication skills

6)      Clearly defined work plan and deliverables

7)      Advice that will result in cost savings

8)      Flexibility, availability

9)      A fit with your corporate culture

COST CONSIDERATIONS

A detailed cost analysis will often reveal hidden expenses. Then adding up costs, consider the following:

1)      Fixed fees tend to err on the high side.

2)      Per diem rates can save you money, as long as the project does not exceed deadline.

3)      Be sure consultants document and can justify expenses according to day, hour, etc.

4)      Retainer fees may be a worthwhile investment, depending on the nature and avail­ability of consultant’s expertise.

BE PREPARED

In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:

1)      Your project scope and objectives as well as how you envision a consultant assisting

2)      Level of planning and recovery expertise within your company

3)      Company profile, including descriptions of computing and telecommunications environment, company locations, number and function of employees, mission­ critical business processes, and corporate culture

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL VENDORS

1)      Level and availability of technical expertise and assistance?

2)      Experience, qualifications specific to my industry?

3)      Planning philosophy?

4)      How many and what types of plans completed?

5)      Approach for achieving a knowledge transfer?

6)      Are copies of a work plan and sample deliverables available for inspection?

7)      Plan maintenance and update services offered?

8)      Views on commercial planning software?

9)      Multi-disciplined consulting team available?

10)  References available?

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK VENDOR REFERENCES

1)      How much do/did you rely on this consultant?

2)      How do end results compare to what was promised?

3)      Was the project completed within deadlines and budget?

4)      Were there any unexpected fee extensions?

5)      Did the consultant actually build a recovery plan and assist with the first test?

6)      Did consultant serve in your company’s best interest, not recommending a practice, product, or service if inappropriate?

7)      How similar to my own are your company’s planning and recovery needs?

8)      Why was this consultant chosen?

9)      Others considered?

10)  What did the selection process entail?

11)  Consultant strengths, weaknesses?

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BUYER BEWARE

1)      Inexperienced consultants who may have been excellent planners but resorted to consulting because they lost their jobs

2)      One-man band operations without the necessary resources

3)      The software debate: Some consultants tend to rely more heavily on or sell commer­cial software. Others downplay software use. Talk to both before deciding what’s right for your company.

4)      The consultant/vendor debate: Consultants affiliated with a company that is selling a planning/recovery product or service may be predisposed to recommending that product or service be included in your plan, say the independents. Not so, say con­sultant vendors who claim to maintain their objectivity and boast resources they say independents can’t offer.

5)      Employ nondisclosure agreement; demand confidentiality.

WHAT NEXT?

1)      Invite finalists to your site to give a presentation. Determine whether or not they are a good fit in terms of style, personality, substance.

2)      Compare sample work plans and deliverables—make sure you’re comparing oranges to oranges.

3)      Request written replies to questions not answered during vendor presentations.

http://bestitdocuments.com/Services.html

 

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IT Education and Training – Considerations

Posted in Business (600) by Guest on the June 8th, 2011

Options

1. Certification programs           
2. Training manuals/video
3. Seminars/conferences 
4. University degree/Certifications

Why buy
Business continuity education comes in a variety of formats and is valuable on many levels. Certification programs can lend credibility and impart knowledge. Seminars and conferences may serve as refreshers or introduce new concepts for consideration or implementation. Training manuals and videos can offer information on specific topics or provide introductory overviews for large groups. Courses taken at institutions of higher education can reinforce learned concepts while simultaneously offering new information. These courses can also be used to gain certification or a degree. 

What to look for
1. Certification programs
2. Proven Methodology
3. Reputation for excellence and industry credibility
4. Program based on a defined, organized body of knowledge
5. Organization that caters to certification levels beyond basic
6. Program requirements that are evaluated on a regular basis to ensure currency with industry practices
7. Established, experienced, respected instructors
8. Competence is specialized technical areas
9. Seminars/Conferences
10. Clear course content and objectives
11. Interactive sessions that result in skill knowledge transfer
12. Presenters with practical experience, examples to relate beyond the theoretical
13. Courses that fulfill academic requirements, apply toward continuing education credits
14. Training manuals / videos
15. Information attributable to known, respected names in business continuity profession
16. How-to-formats that include methodology and tools
17. Well organized, inviting, accessible presentations
18. University degree/certification
19. A detailed course description
20. Satellite campuses or other alternate, conventional locations
21. Part-time options for professionals

 
Cost Considerations
A detailed costs analysis will often reveal hidden expenses. When adding up costs, consider the following:
1. Are materials fees included in the purchase price?
2. Are follow-up sessions or materials necessary or does the initial program serve completely?
3. Are registration fees refundable in the event of cancellation?
4. Are there associated consulting fees or ongoing membership fees to be aware of?
5. Is a cancellation fee charge if a course is dropped?
6. Is a fee charged if a course sign-up is late?
 

Be prepared
In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:
1. Your current level of knowledge and expertise
2. Short-term and long-term aspirations
3. Number of people involved
4. Time limitations scheduling considerations
5. Other resources you’ve relied on in the past
6. If prerequisites classes have been completed 

Key Questions to ask potential vendors
1. Certification programs
2. Who recognizes your certification?
a. How many people have you certified?
b. How many in each of the past three years?
3. Who is on your board of directors?
a. Is the organization for profit or non-profit?
4. Is there a written examination, interview, or other mechanism for assessing students’ knowledge?
a. How is experience measured?
5. How often and where is certification testing offered?
6. Does the program require continued education? 
a. Must continued education be documented for periodic re-certification?
7. Seminars / conferences
8. What will learn? 
a. Is the focus on theory or practical application?
9. Are sessions interactive?
a. Is there opportunity for hands-on experience?
10. Does content reflect current industry practices?
11. Are instructors certified?
12. Training manuals / videos
13. Who is the intended audience? 
a. What other companies have used this resource?
14. University degree / certification ?
15. What are the qualifications of the person teaching the course?
16. Who is target audience? 

Key questions to ask vendor references
1. Certification programs?
2. Why did you choose the become certified? 
a. Why this program?
3. At what level are you certified?
a. How difficult, time consuming was course work?
4. Did you find yourself challenged? 
a. What did you learn? 
b. How have you applied what you learned?
5. Has your certification afforded you professional benefits or advanced?
6. Seminars/conferences
7. What level of knowledge transfer was attained?
a. What new skills did you leave with?
8. Did presenter allow time for questions, one-on-one follow-up?
9. Was presentation based on current, timely information?
10. Training manuals / videos
11. Was information presented in an interesting, logical format?
12. What are common comments from users?
13. Have there been noticeable gains in reader / viewer expertise?
14. University degree / certification ?
15. Which courses have you taken?
16. Why did you take the course?
17. What have you learned from the course(s) taken?
18. Would you sign up for additional courses? 

Buyer beware
1. Seek a “try before you buy” option to asses true scope and benefit, and request a money-back guarantee.
2. Avoid inflexible registration, refund, and cancellation policies.
3. What Next?
4. Request sample course materials. Compare scope, content, and teaching method.
5. Request class description, including, syllabus, target audience, course objectives, and schedule.
6. Request preview or sample copies of materials considered.
7. Request a course description, including fees, objectives, prerequisites, schedule, etc.

http://bestitdocuments.com/Services.html

 

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Web-Based Planning Software

Posted in Sample - IT Spreadsheets - PowerPoints (251),Web Services (250) by Guest on the June 7th, 2011

DEFINED
Web-based planning software—designed to help users construct a business continuity plan by automating the planning process and by facilitating the creation, execution, mainte­nance, and printing of plans from any location with Internet access
  
WHY BUY?
Web-based planning software offers the advantages of traditional plan automation software along with all of the advantages of Web technology. Web-based planning software reduces desktop support, eliminates end-user workstation setups, and offers a browser interface with which the majority of users are comfortable. A Web-based tool allows plans to be built, maintained, executed, and printed over the Internet or intranet.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1)      Easy to use, with understandable menus and features
2)      Browser independent, database independent, and compatible with operating systems/platforms
3)      Allows for global replaces and deletes, so that changes need to be made only once
4)      Ability to “hide” information from specified users for security reasons
5)      Ability to integrate word processing documents, Visio, and Excel spreadsheets
6)      Ability to import existing information from other data sources
7)      Ability to print a plan to a single document or to print sections as needed
8)      Ability to publish plan in PDF format to post on a Web site ore-mad
9)      A plan assistant or wizard that guides users step by step through plan construction and methodology
10)  A tool that incorporates a proven methodology
11)  The ability to customize both the program and the methodology
12)  Technical support, such as telephone assistance and training
13)  24-hour emergency support
14)  Vendors that offer on-site product demonstrations

COST CONSIDERATIONS
A detailed cost analysts will often reveal hidden expenses. Then adding up costs, con­sider the following:
1)      What are maintenance/upgrade costs?
2)      What is included in the annual fee?
3)      Fees for telephone assistance or emergency support?
4)      Fees for training classes or on-site demonstrations?
5)      What is included in the licensing fee?
6)      Is any additional hardware needed?

BE PREPARED
In order to bid for your business, vendor will want to know:
1)      Your timeframe and budget
2)      Your performance requirements for a software planning tool
3)      What customizations you would like built into the program
4)      Number of individuals that will be utilizing the product
5)      Type of computer platform on which the software will be used
6)      Level of technical and planning expertise within your company
7)      Number of employees needing training and education at start-up
8)      Corporate database and browser standard
  
KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL VENDORS
1)      How does your product differ from its competitors?
2)      How long has the software been on the market?
3)      How many years has your company been in business?
4)      Was the product developed in-house or by a contract developer?
5)      Is responsive technical support available?
a.       How is it made available?
6)      What type of training is available for employees?
a.       How difficult is it to understand and utilize the software without training?
7)      How often is the software updated?
a.       How will the notified of updates?
8)      Is there a conversion path for upgrades or must users re-enter data when the program is changed?
9)      What types of companies / industries utilize your product?
10)  What kind of security controls are available?
11)  How can the product be customized?
12)  Does the product offer database technology, word processing, or both?
13)  Is the system tied to specific word processor or database programs?

KEY QUESTION TO ASK VENDOR REFERENCES
1)      What made you choose this product over its competitors? What others were considered?
2)      How similar to my own are your company’s system and disaster recovery needs?
3)      How long have you been using this vendor’s software tool?
4)      Are you pleased with the software’s performance?
5)      What did the selection process entail?
6)      Vendor or product strengths, weaknesses?
7)      Is the product easy to use? What’s the “learning curve”?
8)      How helpful were the training classes?
9)      Is the product flexible enough to meet changing needs?
10)  Did you have the product customized? In what way?
11)  Are security features sufficient?
12)  How accessible and responsive is the software provider when a problem occurs?

BUYER BEWARE
1)      Turn-key’ packages that bundle hardware and software may seem like a quick fix, but the hardware and the database supplied may not meet corporate standards.
2)      Know what you need. “Unlimited” user licensing may seem attractive, but how many concurrent users do you really need? You maybe paying for something that you will never use.
3)      A tool that does not have a conversion path will leave you stranded. Be sure a conversion path is available so that you are not reinventing the wheel – and re-keying all of your data – every tune technology changes and the product is upgraded.
4)      New software products may sound appealing, but do your homework If the vendor does not have a proven track record and/or lacks experience in the industry, the product may be insufficient to meet your needs and the vendor may go out of business.

WHAT NEXT?
1)      Involve all necessary departments – such as IT support and upper management – in product evaluation and sel
ection.
2)      Request a demonstration disk for review and comparison.
3)      Request an on-site demonstration of the software.
4)      Inquire into the availability of an evaluation copy of the product.

5)      Compile a concise and detailed list of all products/vendors being considered and opinions of each request follow-up responses to questions not answered during vendor presentations.

http://www.bestitdocuments.com/Services.html

 

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Sample Visio – Nokia Horizon Manager

Posted in Security (1500),Visio Samples - Stencils (457) by Guest on the June 6th, 2011
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Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Posted in Business (600) by Guest on the June 5th, 2011

Options

· Standby—guards against brownouts and blackouts by puffing power from the battery

· Line-interactive—provides battery power during blackouts and protects against surges and brownouts with an inverter for automatic voltage regulation

· On-line—isolates equipment from any type of power disturbance by converting incoming power from AC to DC and then back to AC before exiting the UPS

Why Buy?
Power loss, among the leading causes of business disruption, not only brings opera­tions to a halt without warning, it can jeopardize worksite safety, impair security sys­tems, damage equipment, and lose data Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) ensure power continuity while traditional electrical power sources are down.


What To Look For

1) Products listed with UL in the United States, CSA in Canada, CE and TIN in Europe

2) Management software that is compatible with multiple UPSs at various locations

3) Vendor-offered power analysis

4) Battery management system to increase battery life, run time

5) Adjustable option switches that allow users to tailor voltage transfer levels to site specifications, disable alarms, and change ‘low battery” warning settings

6) Customizable warning methods, such as paging and network broadcast messages

7) Site wiring fault indicators and front-panel indicators, including “low battery,” “replace battery,” and load meter

8. Communications that fit user applications, such as RS232 and contact closures

9) Tight output voltage regulation

10)  Ability to correct for surges and sags

11)  Superior noise attenuation addressing load and line-generated harmonics

12)  Versatile and sufficient output connections

13)  Unattended shutdown software and bypass system

14)  Magnetic isolation

15)  Optional run-time availability

16)  Sine wave output on battery

17)  Vendors with engineering capabilities to meet special needs

18)  Vendors equipped to respond in crisis situations and who offer 24-hour field service

COST CONSIDERATIONS
A detailed cost analysis will often reveal bidden expenses. Then adding up costs, consider the following:

1) Price ranges are substantial. A single-station UPS providing five to 10 minutes of backup power will range from $100 to $160. UPSs with extended run time can cost from $800 to $2000. On-line tips can cost up to 20 percent more for comparable sizes.

2) Investing in a fully featured unit now may save on expenses of future add-ons and upgrades later.

3) Determine if installation is included in the purchase price.

BE PREPARED
In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:

1) Specific application, installation location—office or industrial

2) Input / output voltage requirements and KVA rating

3) Battery time desired

4) Load requirements; what equipment will be supported by the UPS and how much power does it draw.

5) Look for this information on equipment labels. Load priorities; what’s mission-critical?

6) Aggregate electrical load can be obtained by taking ammeter readings of electrical distribution boxes at

7) Peak operating times, from listings on electrical distribution boxes, or as peak demand readings on your electrical bil

 

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL VENDORS

1) What is the unit’s run time?

2) What is its voltage range?

3) Are visual and audible alarms included?

4) What are its battery management capabilities?

5) Is noise filtering technology employed?

6) Is the UPS compatible with power management software?

7) Is the UPS generator-compatible?

8. Do you offer battery and preventative maintenance?

9) Do you employ factory-trained field service engineers?

10)  Do you offer dedicated service?

11)  Has the unit met IEEE 587 or IEC 664 test requirements for surge suppression?

12)  Does the unit include modem, fax, and network protection to safeguard from surges coming through phone lines or network data lines?

13)  Will you repair or replace equipment damaged due to a UPS malfunction?14)  What are the specifics of the warranty, extended warranty?

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK VENDOR REFERENCES

1) Was the unit delivered on time?

2) Was installation easy, quick?

3) Are you satisfied with performance, service?

4) Provider and product strengths / weaknesses?

5) Any experiences with activation?

a. Results?

6) Any experiences with testing?

a. Results?

7) How similar to my own are your company’s power needs?

8. Why was this vendor/product chosen?

a. Were others considered?

9) What did the selection process entail?

10)  In retrospect, were you either over- or under-sold?


BUYER BEWARE

1) A UPS should supply the load with an ideal sine wave or stepped sine wave output. Square sine waves can damage loads or cause malfunctions.

2) Determine the transfer time when switching to battery power. Although most UPSs have transfer times of  2 miliseconds or less, transfer time of even half a second can cause computer failure.

3) In order to get extended battery run time, are you over-buying in terms of KVA?

4) Don’t mistake TVSS surge suppression for power conditioning.

 

WHAT NEXT?

1) Involve IT support as well as appropriate operations and facilities maintenance per­sonnel in equipment evaluation and selection

2) Create a features matrix accounting for all possible offerings, for at-a-glance com­parison of all models being considered

3) After pre-qualifying equipment, request a demonstration

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IT Education and Training

Posted in Business (600) by Guest on the June 5th, 2011

Options

1. Certification programs           
2. Training manuals/video
3. Seminars/conferences 
4. University degree/Certifications

Why buy
Business continuity education comes in a variety of formats and is valuable on many levels. Certification programs can lend credibility and impart knowledge. Seminars and conferences may serve as refreshers or introduce new concepts for consideration or implementation. Training manuals and videos can offer information on specific topics or provide introductory overviews for large groups. Courses taken at institutions of higher education can reinforce learned concepts while simultaneously offering new information. These courses can also be used to gain certification or a degree.

 

What to look for
1. Certification programs
2. Proven Methodology
3. Reputation for excellence and industry credibility
4. Program based on a defined, organized body of knowledge
5. Organization that caters to certification levels beyond basic
6. Program requirements that are evaluated on a regular basis to ensure currency with industry practices
7. Established, experienced, respected instructors
8. Competence is specialized technical areas
9. Seminars/Conferences
10. Clear course content and objectives
11. Interactive sessions that result in skill knowledge transfer
12. Presenters with practical experience, examples to relate beyond the theoretical
13. Courses that fulfill academic requirements, apply toward continuing education credits
14. Training manuals / videos
15. Information attributable to known, respected names in business continuity profession
16. How-to-formats that include methodology and tools
17. Well organized, inviting, accessible presentations
18. University degree/certification
19. A detailed course description
20. Satellite campuses or other alternate, conventional locations
21. Part-time options for professionals

 

 
Cost Considerations
A detailed costs analysis will often reveal hidden expenses. When adding up costs, consider the following:
1. Are materials fees included in the purchase price?
2. Are follow-up sessions or materials necessary or does the initial program serve completely?
3. Are registration fees refundable in the event of cancellation?
4. Are there associated consulting fees or ongoing membership fees to be aware of?
5. Is a cancellation fee charge if a course is dropped?
6. Is a fee charged if a course sign-up is late?
 

Be prepared
In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:
1. Your current level of knowledge and expertise
2. Short-term and long-term aspirations
3. Number of people involved
4. Time limitations scheduling considerations
5. Other resources you’ve relied on in the past
6. If prerequisites classes have been completed

 

Key Questions to ask potential vendors
1. Certification programs
2. Who recognizes your certification?
a. How many people have you certified?
b. How many in each of the past three years?
3. Who is on your board of directors?
a. Is the organization for profit or non-profit?
4. Is there a written examination, interview, or other mechanism for assessing students’ knowledge?
a. How is experience measured?
5. How often and where is certification testing offered?
6. Does the program require continued education? 
a. Must continued education be documented for periodic re-certification?
7. Seminars / conferences
8. What will learn? 
a. Is the focus on theory or practical application?
9. Are sessions interactive?
a. Is there opportunity for hands-on experience?
10. Does content reflect current industry practices?
11. Are instructors certified?
12. Training manuals / videos
13. Who is the intended audience? 
a. What other companies have used this resource?
14. University degree / certification ?
15. What are the qualifications of the person teaching the course?
16. Who is target audience?

 

 

Key questions to ask vendor references
1. Certification programs?
2. Why did you choose the become certified? 
a. Why this program?
3. At what level are you certified?
a. How difficult, time consuming was course work?
4. Did you find yourself challenged? 
a. What did you learn? 
b. How have you applied what you learned?
5. Has your certification afforded you professional benefits or advanced?
6. Seminars/conferences
7. What level of knowledge transfer was attained?
a. What new skills did you leave with?
8. Did presenter allow time for questions, one-on-one follow-up?
9. Was presentation based on current, timely information?
10. Training manuals / videos
11. Was information presented in an interesting, logical format?
12. What are common comments from users?
13. Have there been noticeable gains in reader / viewer expertise?
14. University degree / certification ?
15. Which courses have you taken?
16. Why did you take the course?
17. What have you learned from the course(s) taken?
18. Would you sign up for additional courses? 

Buyer beware
1. Seek a “try before you buy” option to asses true scope and benefit, and request a money-back guarantee.
2. Avoid inflexible registration, refund, and cancellation policies.
3. What Next?
4. Request sample course materials. Compare scope, content, and teaching method.
5. Request class description, including, syllabus, target audience, course objectives, and schedule.
6. Request preview or sample copies of materials considered.
7. Request a course description, including fees, objectives, prerequisites, schedule, etc.

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Data Mirroring and Extension

Posted in Information Rights Management (100) by Guest on the June 4th, 2011

Data Mirroring and Extension

Options

1)      Remote data mirroring extender chassis
2)      ESCON channel interface
3)      On-channel compression for ESCON interface
4)      0C3 and T3 network interface
5)      SNMP-based monitor and control system
6)      Identically configured redundant system or redundant chassis with spare cards
7)      Vendor-supplied cabinet
 
Why Buy?
Data mirroring copies production data on Direct Access Storage Devices (DASD) or RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) from one location to another. When mirroring occurs in real time, information at the second site is always a mirror image of information at the production site. If a disaster happens, operations can be restored very quickly from the mirror-image disk. Companies acquire data mirroring extenders to increase the dis­tance between the primary and the recovery site, which enhances disaster protection. Remote mirroring’s impact on production application response time is a function of the distance between the primary and recovery site; however, the right data mirroring extender can send information faster or farther while minimizing impact to response time.
What To Look For

1)      Hardware-based system designed specifically to extend remote data mirroring
2)      System latency between 35 and 50 microseconds
3)      On-channel compression for ESCON channel interface
4)      Bi-directional network support so the extender can send and receive data at the same time
5)      Open mirroring support so the extender works transparently with any data mirroring unit that has an ESCON channel, without any software or hardware changes
6)      Built-in diagnostics for the network interface
7)      SNMP MIB and HP OpenView for complete SNMP-based monitor and control system
8)      Text-based monitor and control system for faster remote access
9)      Rack-mount chassis available in vendor cabinet or customer cabinet
10)  Full configuration, implementation, and testing assistance with on-going 24×7 support
11)  Secure web-based access to vendor’s customer support database for status of support issues and other support information
12)  Certification or validation testing with storage vendors’ remote data mirroring products
13)  Base system that includes two ESCON channels, two network interfaces, a monitor, and control system 

Cost Considerations
A detailed cost analysis will often reveal hidden expenses. When adding up costs, con­sider the following:

1)      Charges for the DASD or RAID mirroring
2)      License fees for the software that resides on the RAID or DASD control unit
3)      Price of the base remote data mirroring extender and options included in this charge
4)      Price for additional options not included with the base remote data mirroring extender
5)      Telecommunication costs and savings from On-Channel Compression
6)      D/R vendor fees remote data mirroring service purchased from a D/R vendor
7)      Installation fees
8)      Shipping and handling fees
9)      Daily operation expenses
10)  Additional testing fees
11)  Charges for on-going maintenance and customer support

Be Prepared
In order to bid for your business, vendors will want to know:

1)      The data mirroring product you have installed or will be installing
2)      The distance between your primary site and recovery site
3)      The wide-area network between your primary site and recovery site
4)      The mode of mirroring you plan to use or are using (synchronous, asynchronous, semi-synchronous)
5)      The read/write ratio of the data you are or will be mirroring remotely
6)      Pre-production, production, and post-production testing requirements

Key Questions To Ask Potential Vendors

1)      Is the data mirroring extender designed specifically for the remote data mirroring application?
2)      Is the data mirroring extender’s latency 50 microseconds or less?
3)      Does data compression occur directly on the channel interface, before the channel extender’s CPU receives the data?
4)      Can you provide a dose or exact estimate of how much bandwidth the application will require?
5)      Can the data mirroring extender be reconfigured to work with a new mirroring prod­uct on the fly?
6)      Can the data mirroring extender send and receive information simultaneously?
7)      Is the extender certified with the storage vendor’s data mirroring product?
8)      Will a disaster recovery provider be a reference for the vendor’s customer support?
9)      Is there a storage expert on staff with experience sizing and configuring customer stor­age applications?
10)  What does the warranty cover?
Key Questions To Ask Vendor References
1)      How long have you contracted with the vendor?
2)      Why was this provider chosen? Were others considered?
3)      What is your response time requirement for the remote data mirroring application in synchronous, semi-synchronous, and asynchronous mode?
4)      What compression ratios are you achieving?
5)      Vendor strengths, weaknesses?
6)      What is your experience with customer support? 

Buyer Beware

1)      A data mirroring extender that does not use a hardware-based design specific to remote data mirroring extension may have a lot of software overhead. This extra processing time can increase the impact of remote mirroring on production application response time.
2)      Data compression maybe implemented on network interface or within the chassis instead of on the ESCON channel Link-based and internal compression will not generate powerful compression ratios so you may not save as much bandwidth as possible.
3)      The data mirroring extender may not be able to send and receive data simultaneously. If so, you will need a separate communications link for each mirroring system, which will increase communications costs dramatically.
4)      The data mirroring extender may not really work transparently with any ESCON-based mirroring stem, requiring on-site support and downtime to reconfiguration if you change or add a different mirroring system.
5)      If the base chassis does not include two ESCON channels, two network interfaces, and a system monitor at no extra charge, you maybe overpaying.
 
What Next?
1)      Request a presentation from all vendor finalists at your company’s location.
2)      Seek written follow-ups to questions not answered during the vendor presentations.
3)      Request a head-to-head test for vendor finalists.

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Monitored Circuit VRRP and OSPF

Posted in Networking (340) by Guest on the June 1st, 2011

History
The current RFC for VRRPv2 (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol) is 2338. It stipulates using either RIPv2 or OSPF. Unfortunately the Check Point state table is unable to update as fast as OSPF can converge. This can potentially result in two issues: asymmetrical routing and/or dropped sessions in the case of a failover.

As a result, Nokia introduced VRRP Monitored Circuit (VRRPmc). If one interface on a Nokia device fails, they are all shut down and fail over to the slave device.

An issue that can arise if using VRRPmc (high availability failover), and OSPF in conjunction is that VRRP addresses are not injected into OSPF. Trying to route the traffic directly to the IP addresses of the physical interfaces instead of through the respective VRRP addresses does not work.

Response

The only way to overcome this issue is to run a script on the Nokia GWs that will facilitate in injecting the VRRP IP addresses into OSPF.  Although a Nokia script, it is untested on the latest release of the Nokia IPSO platform (3.3), and unsupported.

Summary of VRRP:

VRRPv2

– Backup of router interface address (real IP address)
– When in master mode responds to ICMP echo 
– Requires use of routing protocol to recover from single interface failure
– Cannot track other interface’s (whether up or down)

VRRP Monitored circuit

– Uses a virtual IP address (not real address)
– VRRP IP can be configured to respond to ICMP echo request

       Generally used with static routes (not additional routing protocols)
– Can track multiple interfaces (whether up or down)

#!/bin/sh

# (C)2000 Nokia, All Rights Reserved

# This script is designed to affect OSPF when VRRP fails over. It has

# received minimal testing under pre-release versions of IPSO 3.3, though

# it should work under IPSO 3.2.x. This script may not work at all for you.

# It is provided as-is without warranty, expressed or implied. Use at your

# own risk, etc.

#

# This script is designed to run continuously on the primary node of

# a pair of Nokia Application Platforms running VRRP Monitored Circuits

# and OSPF. It could potentially be modified to work with RIP, but RIP

# has a really slow convergence time so there’s really no point.

#

# To use the script, modify the following two variables to include the

# interfaces on which VRRP is active as well as the OSPF Areas that

# the system is participcating in. If you are using the backbone area,

# specify it as “backbone”.

INTERFACES=”eth-s1p1 eth-s1p3″

OSPFAREAS=”29 backbone”

# We will assume we are okay at first.

ok=1

while [ 1 ];

do

# Initialize some variables we will use in the loop

numifs=1

okifs=1

# Debug info

#date

# We determine an interface is okay by determining if it has a VRRP MAC

# address. If it does not have a VRRP MAC address, it can be said to be

# not OK.

for X in $INTERFACES

do

numifs=`/bin/expr $numifs + 1`

ifconfig $X | grep 0:0:5e:0:1: > /dev/null 2>&1

                               if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then

                                              okifs=`/bin/expr $okifs + 1`

                                              #echo “$X is okay”

                               else

                                              #echo “$X is not okay”

                               fi

               done

# If the number of “OK” interfaces matches the number of VRRP interfaces

# then we are now OK and should turn back on OSPF.

               if [ $numifs -ne $okifs -a $ok -eq 0 ]; then

                               #echo “VRRP is okay, resuming OSPF”

                               for X in `echo $OSPFAREAS`

                               do

                                              /bin/dbset ipsrd:ospf2:area:$X t

                               done

                               ok = 1
<
/h4>

               fi

# If the number of OK interfaces does not match the number of VRRP interfaces

# then we are not OK and should turn off OSPF.

               if [ $numifs -ne $okifs -a $ok -eq 1 ]; then

                               #echo “VRRP is NOT okay, killing OSPF”

                               for X in `echo $OSPFAREAS`

                               do

                                              /bin/dbset ipsrd:ospf2:area:$X

                               done

                               ok = 0

               fi

# Now we sleep and try again

               sleep 1

done

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