H-1B extension stuck due to Senate Democrat’s Immigration Reform Plans

H-1B extension stuck due to Senate Democrat’s Immigration Reform Plans

In a letter to the CEOs of Accenture, Amazon, Cisco, Deloitte, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle, Durbin said an H-1B cap increase can only come as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Durbin’s letter is a response to concerns from comprehensive immigration reform proponents that House Republicans, at the urging of the tech lobby, may try to push a standalone H-1B hike.

In June last year, the Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill that raises the base 65,000 H-1B cap to 115,000. The bill also includes an escalator that can raise it to 180,000. The visa limit for advanced degree graduates of U.S. universities would rise from 20,000 to 25,000 and be restricted to STEM grads.

On the same day the Senate took its final vote on immigration reform, the House Judiciary Committee approved a standalone H-1B bill, the Skills Visa Act which would raise the base H-1B cap to 155,000, and the advanced degree cap to 40,000.

The Skills bill was approved without Democratic support, and the ability of the Republicans to get standalone legislation approved in the full House is in doubt. But even if Republicans succeed in getting something passed, Durbin is telling them that such a bill would go nowhere in the Senate.

Compete America, a major industry lobby group on immigration, earlier this month sent out a statement urging the House to approve the Skills bill. That statement seems to have angered Durbin.

The Senator thought that high tech was committed to supporting comprehensive immigration reform because the industry’s top priorities are addressed in that legislation.

Comprehensive immigration reform proponents have long believed that their path to success means linking an H-1B increase to the legalization of millions of undocumented people.

Offshore firms have been adding employees by the thousands as their revenues increase. Infosys (India based) led the list in 2013 with 6,298  visas approved, just edging out Tata (India based) which had 6258 visas approved last year.  Cognizant, a New Jersey-based IT services provider with major operations overseas, led the list in 2012 but dropped to 3rd. The company had 5,186 visas in 2013 versus 9,281 visas approved in 2012 versus 5,095 in 2011.

H-1B Visas

H-1B Visas taken up by outsourcers

H-1B Visas are used by outsources who move US jobs overseas

Offshore outsourcing companies continued to make up the majority of the top H-1B visa users in 2013. This is based on the latest government data.

These offshore firms have been adding employees by the thousands as their revenues increase. Infosys (India based company) led the list in 2013 with 6,298  visas approved. They just edged out Tata (another India based) which had 6258 visas approved last year.  Cognizant, a New Jersey-based IT services provider with major operations overseas, led the list in 2012 but dropped to 3rd. The company had 5,186 visas in 2013 versus 9,281 visas approved in 2012 versus 5,095 in 2011.

H-1B Visas

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Working long hours is not healthy for employees

A recent Forbes.com article discussed the health concerns of employees working in excess of 8 hours per day and 60+ hours per week. Medical experts are seeing the signs of stress in employees who “binge work.” Heart disease and psychological stress are the leading causes of employees’ medical problems.  Further, binge-working can also have a disastrous effect on your family and social life away from work.

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Employees logging excessive hours also fall into unhealthy traps of over-eating, binge drinking (caffeinated and alcoholic beverages) and not following any type of exercise routine. Often, these unhealthy habits lead to employees with symptoms of exhaustion and depression, which in turn, increases their requests for sick leave. In some cases, binge working leads to poor(er) work performance than if the employee had simply worked a regular 40 hour work week.

You might believe technology is to blame – with employees accessing email and instant messages all hours of the day and night; responding to colleagues 24-7.
But is it really the root cause?

Younger employees, determined to make certain their future is secure with their current employer, often take to social media to document (brag about) their long hours. We’ve already seen news reports of deaths from working excessive hours in young banking and marketing professionals in Indonesia, China and the UK.

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Study Shows Demand for IT Job is Down

Demand for IT jobs down for key positions in the IT Infrastructure

In a recent article in Computerworld they showed the top 11 demanded positions in IT organizations.  That data (source BLS) also showed that the demand for only 4 of the 11 positions was down in year to year comparisons.  The chart below is extracted from the data presented in the article.

Granted the data is only thru 2012, but it agrees completely with what Janco Associates has been reporting for the last several quarters.

See these historical press releases and clipping for 2013 and 2014:

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Top 10 Data Security Risks for Cloud Storage

There is tremendous anxiety about security risks in the cloud. CIOs and CSOs worry whether they can trust their users (both internal and external to the enterprise)  or need to implement additional internal controls in the private cloud, and whether third-party providers can provide adequate protection in multi-tenant environments that may also store competitor data.

Security RisksThere are ten data security challenges in the cloud:

  1. Protection of confidential business, government, or regulatory data
  2. Detection of data breaches
  3. Coordination with the enterprise record management for document retention and destruction
  4. Cloud service models with multiple tenants sharing the same infrastructure
  5. Viability of the service provider in case of a business disruption or financial failure
  6. Data mobility and legal issues relative to such government rules as the EU Data Privacy Directive
  7. Lack of standards about how cloud service providers securely recycle disk space and erase existing data
  8. Auditing, reporting, and compliance concerns
  9. Loss of visibility to key security and operational intelligence that no longer is available to feed enterprise IT security intelligence and risk management
  10. An insider who does not even work for your company, but may have control and visibility into your data

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Google kill switch could kill your disaster recovery

When you are in the process of doing trying to restore you operations you do now want to have things in your way that could make you fail. Google is one such thing that you may not want to have to deal with.

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With Google’s latest Chrome upgrade did just that. Now only extensions or add-ons that originate from the Chrome Web Store, Google’s official distribution channel, can be installed. The new policy currently affects only users of the Windows version of Chrome.

Chrome automatically throws a “kill switch” on extensions that had been installed previously from sources other than the Chrome Web Store. Google called this a “hard-disable,” or one that prevents the user from re-enabling the add-on.

Now, if you have a mission critical application, and for whatever reason Google can kill the application. You now do not have complete control of your environment.

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Mobile data traffic is poised to explode

Janco Associates predicts a tidal wave and explosion  of mobile data traffic. There will be more mobile users, nearly 5 billion by 2018 (up from 4.1 billion in 2013) and more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices, including machine-to-machine connections by then (up from 7 billion in 2013).  Mobile video will account for 69% of all mobile data by 2018, up from about 53% in 2013.

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Mobile data is expected to grow by 11 times in the next four years, reaching 18 exabytes per month by 2018. An exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes.

Mobile data traffic is expected to grow by 61% annually into 2018, with the extra traffic from just one year — 2017 — expected to be triple the entire mobile Internet in 2013.

Cisco forecasts that average global network speeds will almost double from 1.4Mbps in 2013 to 2.5Mbps by 2018. Speeds will be higher in the U.S. where LTE often gives users more than 1Mbps for downloads. Cisco added wearables to its annual study of mobile traffic for the first time this year. In all, there were 21.7 million wearable devices in use globally in 2013, a number expected to reach 176.9 million by 2018, Cisco said.

Most of this wearable device traffic will continue to be channeled through smartphones, using the smartphone as a hub, The amount going through smartphones is now about 99%, and will drop to 87% by 2018.

Cisco conducted a test using Google Glass to look at the traffic it generated. Over 16 days, the total data moved wirelessly via cellular or Wi-Fi was 263MB, with 101MB moved from the Google Play, about 29MB from Google Play Music and 28MB from YouTube. MyGlass took 24MB, while Maps took 17MB.

The demands for a device like Google Glass might not be all that dramatic in terms of total data traffic imposed on a wireless network, but there will be general demands on connections from each app or service and how well a network will be able to handle those the demands at once, even to a single user.

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Cyber Security is not a reality for many companies

Cyber security is a myth in many companies

Cyber securityWhen an internal information breach happens, the perception maybe it’s the fault of lower-level staff ; yet senior managers, who have access to sensitive, unencrypted information, are often more likely to accidentally share information outside the boundaries of a company’s firewall.

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Here are some interesting facts from a recent survey by Stroz Friedberg:

  • 87% of senior managers (versus 75% of all workers) upload sensitive data to personal email or cloud accounts
    • 37% say they do they do this because they prefer using their own PC
    • 14% say it is too much work to bring their work computer home
  • 73% of all office workers are concerned that a hacker could steal their personal or company sensitive information
    • 6% were not concerned at all
  • 61% think that their companies deserve a C grade or less for cyber security
  • 58% of senior managers (versus 25% of all workers) has accidentally send sensitive information to the wrong person
  • 51% of senior managers take files with them when they leave a company
  • 11% of workers who do not send work files through personal accounts are aware of company policies against doing so
  • 37% have had mobile device security training
  • 42% have received information sharing training
  • 54% of lower ranking employees think that cyber security is an IT problem versus the senior management team.
  • 45% of senior management think they are primarily responsible for protect their company form a cyber-attack

Disaster Recovery Plan – 10 Tips

Disaster Recovery Plan Template

Disaster recovery plan template is an easy way to protect your company’s assets.

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Disaster Recovery

Baseline for best practices defined in Janco’s Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Template

As requirements for avoiding downtime become increasingly stringent, administrators need tools and platforms that can help them plan, design, and implement disaster recovery strategies that can meet those needs.

  • Analyze single points of failure
  • Keep Updated notification trees
  • Be aware of current events
  • Plan for worst-case scenarios
  • Clearly document recovery processes
  • Centralize information – Have a printed copy available
  • Create test plans and scripts
  • Retest regularly
  • Perform comprehensive recovery and business continuity test
  • Define metrics and create score cards

10 Questions on Disaster Planning Every CIO Should Have Answers for

10 questions on disaster planning every CIO should have answers for

When the CIO is in the hot seat, will they have the answers to the questions C-Level management and the Board of Directors are asking? Everyone in an enterprise counts on the success of the disaster recovery (DR)plan when it’s needed. The CIO is intimately involved in the technical nuances of the enterprise’s technologies and vendors and a successful plan requires total company buy-in.

When the C-level executives and Board of Directors ask about your company’s DR plan, they want to be confident that the business will continue to be successful and secure, no matter what.

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Questions they will want answers for are:

  1. What risks are faced if core applications go down for a day, a week, or longer?
  2. What are the Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) by fac1lity and application?
  3. How are facilities and applications currently protected and are they all protected the same way?
  4. How is security of enterprise data going to be protected during the event and the recovery processes?
  5. Who are the key decision makers in the recovery process?
  6. Does the recovery plan meet all compliance objectives?
  7. What will happen to key data in the event of a disaster?
  8. Against which types of disasters are we guarding?
  9. What was the scope of the last test of the recovery processes?
  10. What were the results of our latest full recovery test?

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60% of all organizations have BYOD policy in place

BYOD Policy – 60% of all organizations have a BYOD policy in place

BYOD PolicyMost organizations are already making the move to BYOD. According to a survey of IT professionals, more than 60 percent of organizations have a BYOD policy in place. Others, however, are still in the phase of implementing their policies.

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For those organizations – and even for those that have embarked whole-heatedly on BYOD – questions remain regarding which mobility management approach they should take: one that addresses device management, one that addresses application management, or one that encompasses both.

IT professionals expect three benefits from a BYOD management solution:

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved compliance