Are We in a Mainframe Renaissance?

Posted by Rick Fowler, TCC Director of Mainframe

I read an interesting interview on zTalk Business with Reg Harbeck. He interviewed Allan Zander, CEO of DataKinetics about the evolution of mainframe applications. Harbeck, R. (2017, March). The Mainframe’s Renaissance – A Conversation with Allan Zander. Retrieved January 02, 2018, from http://ibmsystemsmag.com/mainframe/trends/ztalk/allan-zander-on-helping-businesses-find-solutions/

Mr. Zander brought up some very interesting points during the interview. He stated that there is that the Fortune 500 are doing right now to make the mainframe play a larger role in the revenue-generating component than in the past. He stated “Applications that are on the mainframe tend to be applications that create revenue for fundamental large Fortune 500 companies so you know by nature now, they tend to be complex. They tend to be a little bit more evolved in what they are doing. They tend to have a little bit more associated with them so when you start talking about technologies like block chain, big data, or analytics and things like that, naturally, what is driving innovation in those areas is how do we increase our wallet share with our customers. How do we become more competitive? How do we use IUT as you know a competitive weapon to help us differentiate ourselves from the past?”

Mr. Zander discussed his vision of what is going to happen next in the mainframe space and referred to it as a “mainframe renaissance.” Here are some of his ideas regarding the future of mainframe computing:

  • Transactional networks are going to grow more sophisticated
  • To add more analytics and to do something with big data, you need attach that metadata to your transactions to start to mine for data intelligence
  • Often the distributed world intersects and pulls data from the mainframe side of the house. This needs to be more easily accessible and those applications become more alive because maybe a disruptive technology enters the field, such as block chain
  • “We want to make it easier from our customers to not worry about how you integrate some of the complex code that they’ve had and that they have running that is so core to their business to make it more accessible for them to actually access the data that they need.”
  • “I really would kind of wish the world would stop at times thinking about the mainframe as a “legacy applications.” It is really not legacy. The fact that the mainframe has been around for a long time does not make it a legacy platform. The fact that the mainframe has been around for a long time makes it a tried, true, trusted, reliable, scalable platform and if you are a business that has a high transactional volume for what you need, you’ve got the most flexibility, the best price performance for what you have and the best options available to you is a platform like that. You know pick the best platform for the job that you have in mind and that is really where I think the mainframe comes into play.”

You can read the full interview here: http://ibmsystemsmag.com/mainframe/trends/ztalk/allan-zander-on-helping-businesses-find-solutions/.

To learn more about TCC’s Mainframe Managed Services, please visit our website https://www.e-tcc.com/managed-services.

Government Cloud Security and NIST Standards

Posted by Mike Boyle, TCC Director of Business Development

Over the past several years, state and local governments have embraced the cloud to manage IT assets and operations. Malicious cyber behavior and inadvertent non-malicious mistakes are difficult to anticipate or change, so agencies and cloud solutions providers must treat security and compliance as a continuously critical priority. Threat intelligence, through monitoring and automated solutions, is the most effective weapon at thwarting the work of hackers. With the proper cloud solution, agencies can take advantage of automatic compliance with critical requirements like the National Institute of Standards and Technology Security Publication (SP) 800-53, Department of Defense Security Requirements Guide IL4 and both physical and technical security.

TCC supports government agency security strategies by building to and maintaining compliance with both the minimum information security requirements established by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-53 Rev. 4: Security Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations moderate-level security controls.

NIST Background

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901 with the intent of making U.S. commerce more competitive and trustworthy. In 2002, Congress signed the Electronic Government Act into law to improve the management of government information and services. As part of that Act, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) assigns NIST with the responsibility of establishing security recommendations for all government agencies and companies that do business with the government.

As a result, NIST published FIPS 200 Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and Information Systems which established and defined families of security control areas. NIST also published Special Publication 800-53 which is a catalog of administrative and technical controls within those families that should be instituted based on a given data set’s security categorization. Most recently, this government department published a further refinement of these standards specifically focused on Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Special Publication 800-171.

Compliance

NIST SP 800-171 provides a tailored, standardized set of mechanisms that non-federal organizations should consider and respond to, but they are not a set of regulations that must be followed. Each business must decide for itself how to solve their security issues. This was done on purpose — there is guidance without mandates. There is no need to rip out mature solutions already in place, yet for those new to the issue, they provide the right questions to ask.

The first step toward compliance is a security assessment. All assessments require comprehensive documentation exhibiting how the mechanisms are implemented and that they are working. In the assessment, there are 109 requirements spread over 14 families – with a couple other associated families.

The first element of each family is a coherent set of policies and procedures that every responsible person in an organization should be trained on and follow. The second element is the technical application of those procedures in system configurations and tools. With each of the requirements answered, government agencies can assume a strong safeguarding of data consistent with the highest standards.

For more information on TCC’s IT Managed Services please visit our website https://www.e-tcc.com/managed-services or contact Mike.Boyle@e-tcc.com.

 

TCC 2018 Early Childhood Conference Sponsorships

Posted by Michelle Thomas, TCC Senior Policy Advisor

We may have just rung in the New Year, but the TCC team is already busy planning our 2018 conference schedule. During Spring 2018, TCC will kick off two new early childhood conference sponsorships: The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Public Policy Forum and the McCormick Center National Leadership Conference.

The NAEYC Public Policy Forum will provide an opportunity for NAEYC members to gather, learn and mobilize advocacy efforts in Washington DC, from March 4-6, 2018. The event will culminate in State Team visits to Capitol Hill to ensure elected officials know who we are, and what our children, families, and educators need to thrive.

The McCormick Center National Leadership Conference will take place in Wheeling, IL, from May 10-12. The conference will bring together early childhood leaders from across the country to hear inspiring keynote speakers, take part in a public policy forum, attend skill-building sessions, and network with other leaders in the field.

TCC Early Childhood Data Systems – Solutions that Work for States

Over the past 18 years, TCC has developed data solutions that support an array of early childhood programs, including: Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) subsidy program, child care licensing, quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), pre-K management system, and professional development registry (PDR) systems.

States

We’ve taken our extensive experience and subject matter expertise to develop products that can be configured to meet any state need.

  • States use Ascend to manage the complex system of early childhood programming and better inform their short and long-term program, policy and investment decisions.  https://www.e-tcc.com/ascend
  • States use eXpedite as an off-line, mobile solution to capture licensing inspection and other early childhood data that may be collected onsite. Field data can be synched to Ascend or any back-end system in a matter of seconds. https://www.e-tcc.com/mobile-workforce-software

To learn more about TCC’s Early Childhood Data Systems please visit our website https://www.e-tcc.com/early-childhood or email Mike.Boyle @e-tcc.com.

 

Planning Your 2018 IT Budget

Posted by Derek Epps, TCC Senior Account Executive of Managed Services

As we say goodbye forever to 2017, companies are starting to look at the New Year. With a new year approaching, it is now time to start planning and budgeting. For many companies, this includes an “IT budget.” The size of the company and the needs of employees will determine how much a company budgets for IT. With technology moving quicker than the year passes, it is hard for smaller companies to keep up with it all. Still, many CFO’s and company executives realize the importance of keeping their systems running smoothly. This usually means either operational or capital expenditures each year that are allocated to technology.

According to https://www.optimalnetworks.com/2015/03/06/small-business-spend-it-annually/ the level of need and how fast a company is growing determines how much money to allocate towards the IT budget. This number can vary from 3%-7%. For a company with an annual revenue of 5 Million dollars, this would mean they would allocate $150,000-$350,000.00 per year. This includes all the software and hardware required to run their business.

In order to plan well, it is important to establish a budget every year. Many companies rely on outside IT consulting or managed services companies to help them plan for the New Year. TCC assists in not only planning budgets, but also analyzes each company by individual and the business as a whole. Because typical hardware warranties are for 3 years, companies should take a serious look at getting on a “hardware refresh” program. The same goes for software, since a general rule of thumb is not to get behind more than 2 versions.

Contact TCC today to start planning for the New Year! https://www.e-tcc.com/managed-services