The Power of Social Networking

Posted September 12, 2009 by jjnathan
Categories: Uncategorized

Due to the nature of my father’s job, through my senior year in high school my family moved about 15 times throughout the United States and around the world. I made good friends everywhere that we lived, but unfortunately, lost touch after we moved. Recently, through the power of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, I have reconnected with many old friends who I would not have been able to easily find without these wonderful websites. I would  like to say thanks to social networking websites for enabling me to reconnect! If you have not already, you should check out:

http://www.facebook.com

http://www.twitter.com

http://www.linkedin.com

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Lunch with President Elect Obama and Mayor Fenty

Posted January 11, 2009 by jjnathan
Categories: Uncategorized

obama-fenty-jj1January 10, 2009 is a day my family and I will remember forever. My wife, sons and I went on a trip to DC to tour the Smithsonian. We stopped for lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl, and within a few minutes of standing in line to order our food, President Elect Obama and Mayor Fenty came into the restaurant to eat their lunch! Both President Elect Obama and Mayor Fenty greeted all the patrons and shook everybody’s hand – they are two very impressive leaders, indeed! It was a meeting we will talk about and remember forever!

 

Federal Continuity Directive – FCD 1 and FCD 2

Posted February 15, 2008 by jjnathan
Categories: Uncategorized

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Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work with a number of companies and talented consultants/subject matter experts to provide business continuity, disaster recovery, continuity of operations (COOP) and continuity of government (COG) planning services for government and commercial clients. In summary, we work with our clients to produce a comprehensive, actionable and cost-effective continuity plan to enable them to save lives, protect skill sets and get back to serving customers and achieving their mission after an emergency or disaster.

In the federal government space, for years the primary documents that provided guidance on business continuity, disaster recovery, COOP and COG included:

  • The Computer Security Act of 1987
  • OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Information Resources, Appendix III, November 2000.
  • Federal Preparedness Circular (FPC) 65, Federal Executive Branch Continuity of Operations, July 1999
  • Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 67, Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations, October 1998
  • PDD 63, Critical Infrastructure Protection, May 1998
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The Federal Response Plan (FRP), April 1999
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology 800-34, Contingency Planning Guide for Information Technology Systems

In May 2007, President George W. Bush published an important nationally focused continuity directive:

  • NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD 51 and HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-20

    In February 2008, the Department of Homeland Security released these two federal continuity directive (FCD) documents, which will affect all Executive Branch Agencies under the United States federal government:

    • FCD 1 Federal Executive Branch National Continuity Program and Requirements
    • FCD 2 Federal Executive Branch Mission Essential Function (MEF) and Primary Mission Essential Function (PMEF) Identification and Submission Process

    These documents are intended to supersede FPC 65 and FPC 60, and as a result, our clients have been asking questions including, but not limited to:

    1 – What is materially different among the legacy PDD and FPC documents and the new FCD?

    2 – How will the FCD(s) affect my organization?

    3 – When does my organization have to comply with the FCD(s)?

    4 – What are the specific FCD compliance requirements?

    To provide these answers and more, we have developed a paper “The Practical Aspects and Implications of FCD 1 and FCD 2 on You and Your Organization”. Our intent is to keep this document “open source”, adding lessons learned and best practices from the industry as the FCD is applied and evolves. If you are interested in receiving this timely paper, please send an email to:

    fcd1and2@amicususa.com

    please send your feedback, edits, comments and modifications to this paper via the same email address and your valuable input will be incorporated into future versions of this document, and with your permission, you will be added as a contributor.

    The SWOT Analysis

    Posted December 14, 2007 by jjnathan
    Categories: Uncategorized

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    On a recent client engagement, we were asked to develop and discuss a number of strategies for our client from both an operational and financial perspective. As we started developing the report, we needed a framework to capture and present this important information. Although a number of strategic tools were available, we used the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) matrix. We have applied SWOT analyses on dozens of engagements, and we find that it continues to be one of the simplest, most effective strategic tools in the management consultant’s toolbox. If you need a strategic framework, consider the SWOT matrix – its power is its simplicity!

     

    Operating System Virtualization

    Posted December 13, 2007 by jjnathan
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    Linux is becoming my operating system of choice, but many of my clients have standardized (?) on Microsoft Office for document handling. Google Docs, OpenOffice, Abiword and other opensource suites are good for content development, however, I have found that Microsoft Word documents (at least through 2003) must be viewed and formatted using Microsoft Word prior to sending the deliverable to my client. Also, many of my client’s systems require Microsoft Internet Explorer for web access, and although I could use a solid program such as IEs for Linux, I need a robust IE environment to access certain client systems. This is where operating system virtualization shines! Operating system virtualization allows me to run a host operating system (Linux) and a guest (Windows XP). I have experimented with VMWare’s Player and Server over the past few years, but for the past year I have been using Innotek’s Virtual Box on Ubuntu Linux. Virtual Box provides a stable environment for my XP guest OS, and I can do anything within the virtual OS that I can do on a native Windows XP machine, including folder sharing between Ubuntu and Windows. With my Dell 640m and 1.5 Gb of RAM, the speed of both my guest (Ubuntu Gutsy) and host (Windows XP) is fast. Good job VMWare and Innotek for making virtualization easier for all that need it!

    Small Business Financing

    Posted December 12, 2007 by jjnathan
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    When people ask me “what does Amicus USA (AUSA) do?”. The best answer that I can give is that since 2002, AUSA has been providing venture management, venture capital and business development services to a select group of emerging small businesses. We recently started using a service called Virgin Money (formerly Circle Lending) to raise capital for one of our clients. The concept is superb – Virgin Money formalizes the borrowing / lending of funds between a small business and family and friends, as well as providing a number of other services. The online features are good, but the follow-up and contact from my Account Manager has been a pleasant surprise as well. Until the credit situation in the United States improves in Q3 or Q4 2008, Virgin Money provides an effective method to provide small business with the funds it needs to make payroll, pay bills, grow and prosper.

    Skype and Fios – Better, Cheaper, Faster

    Posted December 11, 2007 by jjnathan
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    In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I worked in telecommunications as a Senior Account Manager for MCI WorldCom selling telecommunications services, which included local / long distance, frame relay, ATM, and various flavors of DS-X and OC-X. Cisco Systems and a number of smaller players were promoting VoIP and the convergence of voice, video and data on one network as the next big IT and telecommunications wave. A few years ago I started dablling with home office VoIP by using Packet 8 and Sunrocket (out of business and no longer providing service). Using my cable modem, the call quality of both services was decent – at least as good as a cell phone, and often better than a land line. When we moved into our new house, I had Verizon’s basic Fios internet and television service installed, and for the past six months I have been using SkypeOut (about $3 per month) with the VoSky Call Center and the Linksys CIT-200. Fios provides a consistent 5000 kbps download and about 1800 kbps upload internet connection for a very reasonable (under $50 per month) cost. The VoSky Call Center allows me to use my SkypeOut with any standard RJ-11 phone, and the CIT-200 is a solid wireless Skype enabled phone. The Skype call quality to cell phones, land lines, other VoIP and Skype users is superb, and the cost is unbelievable – with my usage, less than US $0.007 per minute (total)! Some drawbacks are that Skype’s E911 functionality does not exist, and caller ID is not displayed on the receiver’s end, however, for the cost and quality of the Skype / Fios service, I am willing to work around these issues. I hope Ebay keeps Skype, or hopefully Skype finds a new home at Google – the Skype / Fios combination is hard to beat for better, cheaper and more efficient phone service.