Those who violate 10 commandments of business continuity plan fail

When a business continuity plan is non-functional

Failed Business Continuity – This morning about 2:00 AM MST one of the largest providers of cloud services went down.  As I write this it is 11:30 AM MST and the service is still down.

It seems that their entire network – both the east coast and west coast is down.  I talked to their corporate office and at this time they have no idea as to when they will be back up and at the same time the person I talked to said he did not know what their business continuity plan was since this was a nation-wide failure in their network.

They should have followed the 10 commandments that we published earlier.

  1. Analyze single points of failure: A single point of failure in a critical component can disrupt well engineered redundancies and resilience in the rest of a system.
  2. Keep updated notification trees: A cohesive communication process is required to ensure the disaster recovery business continuity plan will work.
  3. Be aware of current events: Understand what is happening around the enterprise – know if there is a chance for a weather, sporting or political event that can impact the enterprise’s operations.
  4. Plan for worst-case scenarios: Downtime can have many causes, including operator error, component failure, software failure, and planned downtime as well as building- or city-level disasters. Organizations should be sure that their disaster recovery plans account for even worst-case scenarios.
  5. Clearly document recovery processes: Documentation is critical to the success of a disaster recovery program. Organizations should write and maintain clear, concise, detailed steps for failover so that secondary staff members can manage a failover should primary staff members be unavailable.
  6. Centralize information – Have a printed copy available: In a crisis situation, a timely response can be critical. Centralizing disaster recovery information in one place, such as a Microsoft Office SharePoint® system or portal or cloud, helps avoid the need to hunt for documentation, which can compound a crisis.
  7. Create test plans and scripts: Test plans and scripts should be created and followed step-by-step to help ensure accurate testing. These plans and scripts should include integration testing— silo testing alone does not accurately reflect multiple applications going down simultaneously.
  8. Retest regularly: Organizations should take advantages of opportunities for disaster recovery testing such as new releases, code changes, or upgrades. At a minimum, each application should be retested every year.
  9. Perform comprehensive recovery and business continuity test: Organizations should practice their master recovery plans, not just application failover. For example, staff members need to know where to report if a disaster occurs, critical conference bridges should be set up in advance, a command center should be identified, and secondary staff resources should be assigned in case the event stretches over multiple days. In environments with many applications, IT staff should be aware of which applications should be recovered first and in what order. The plan should not assume that there will be enough resources to bring everything back up at the same time.
  10. Defined metrics and create score cards scores: Organizations should maintain scorecards on the disaster recovery compliance of each application, as well as who is testing and when. Maintaining scorecards generally helps increase audit scores.

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Threat and Vulnerability Tool – Best in Class according to IT Productivity Center

Threat and Vulnerability Tool – Best in Class according to IT Productivity Center

Threat Vulnerability Assessment Tool Best in class
The purpose of a Threat Risk Assessment (TRA) is to categorize enterprise assets, examine the different “threats” that may jeopardize them, and identify and correct the most immediate and obvious security concerns.

Threat and Vulnerability Tool – Best in Class award concurrent with the release of Version 4.o.  Janco is proud to announce it has recieved a Best in Class by the IT Productivity Center.  This is the third time the IT Productivity Center has issued an award to Janco for this tool.

One of the added features of version 4.0 is that it now comes not only in MS Word and PDF formats, but it also comes as an ePub (eReader) document that can easily be distributed to smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

The Tool comes with a work plan that can be used to conduct the Threat and Vulnerability Assessment as well as a definition of the components of the process including:

  • Administrative Safeguards
  • Logical Safeguards
  • Physical Safeguards

One of the additional features of this template is that it can be used as the core of an enterprises compliance program.

This tool is also included with the Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity Template and the Security Manual Template.

DR/BC Plans and Security Procedures have errors

DR/BC Plans and Security Procedures errors

DR/BC Plans and Security Procedures errors – Janco has reviewed the recovery processes of 148 enterprises that were impacted by the recent hurricanes, fires, miscellaneous business disruption events and found that 53% had some significant error(s) or omission(s) in their DR/BC Plans and/or security procedures. Many were attributed to the length of the business interruption event and the lack of supporting infrastructure such as cell communication (Puerto Rico) or shortage of fuel for back up generators.

Only 17% of enterprises that had major business disruption events in the summer and fall of 2017 had no major issues with their DR/BC plan activation process and security procedures

Janco is currently in the process of determining what were the causes for these defect.  Preliminary  findings are that as a result of the slow economy enterprise cut back on the maintenance of core infrastructure.  This included updating existing DR/BC plans Security procedures with changes, training in those areas, and people being reassigned or leaving the enterprise that were critical for these processes.

Janco’s Solution

Janco has added 17 electronic forms to alleviate this problem in DR/BC plan and its Security Manual Template. Included as a bonus is an eReader format of both templates.  The forms can be completed via tablets and smartphones and stored in a remote cloud location.  With the included security and DR/BC audit programs, it now is easier to highlight those areas of existing plans and procedures which need work to guarantee compliance with security mandates and success in the recovery process.

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China Hidden Competitive Advantage

China Hidden Competitive Advantage – China Owns Key Technology Media  Firms

China Hidden Competitive Advantage
China may control reporting on Best Practices for IT Infrastructure

China Hidden Competitive Advantage – Should the US be concerned that key technology firms and publications are now owned by China?  In March of 2017, China Oceanwide completed its acquisition of IDG.  China Oceanwide is an international conglomerate founded by Chairman Zhiqiang Lu. Headquartered in Beijing, China and include operations in financial services, real estate, media, technology and strategic investment. Following the acquisition, China Oceanwide has nearly 20,000 employees worldwide.

Within two months of the acquisition, there were extensive layoffs in the IDG’s US staffs of both writers and editors.  It has been estimated that between 90 t0 100 seasoned professionals were laid off.

IDG was founded in 1964 and the publications that were included in this acquisition were CIO, Computerworld, PCWorld, and Macworld.  IDG also has its own international news agency, IDG News Service. It is headquartered in Boston and has bureaus in cities such as New York, Beijing, Amsterdam, and Brussels. It provides news, images, video and other editorial content to IDG’s web sites and print publications worldwide.

The insight that IDG has in the technology market is very high. With this level of access to the technology market, should US based corporations be concerned? Will China based enterprises get a competitive advantage over US based enterprises?

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10 step disaster recovery clean up

10 step disaster recovery clean up

Walking into an office after an event has occurred, the facility looks to be a shamble.  There are dirt, mud, and debris all over the entire facility.  Where do you start?

Here is Janco’s 10 step disaster clean up process extracted from the Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Template. In addition to this, consult a professional conservator for further treatment.

10 step program

dr/BC template
Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Template is the industry standard. Over 3,500 enterprises world wide use this as the base fore their DR/BC plan
  1. Wet objects (electronic) – Disconnect from the power source and do not turn it on. In the case of disk drives or other electronic storage devices – inventory all of them and label them.
  2. Mobile Devices – cell phones – Small items like cell phones and mobile devices can be put in rice. The rice absorbs the moisture and after a day or two, they can be turned on. In most cases, this works.
  3. Wet objects (non-electronic) – Rinse with clear water or a fine hose spray. Clean off dry silt and debris with soft brushes or dab with damp cloths. Try not to grind debris into objects; overly energetic cleaning will cause scratching.
  4. Drying Objects – Air dry objects indoors if possible and use portable fans to move the air. Sunlight and heat may dry certain materials too quickly, causing splits, warping, and buckling. If possible, remove contents from wet objects and furniture prior to drying. Storing damp items in sealed plastic bags will cause mold to develop.
  5. Mold Prevention and Cleanup – Exposure to molds can have serious health consequences such as respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation, and infections. The use of protective gear, including a respirator with a particulate filter, disposable plastic gloves, goggles or protective eye wear, and coveralls or a lab coat, is therefore essential. In order to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew, you must reduce humidity. Increase air flow with fans, open windows, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Moderate light exposure (open shades, leave lights on in enclosed areas) can also reduce mold and mildew. Remove heavy deposits of mold growth from walls, baseboards, floors, and other household surfaces with commercially available disinfectants. Avoid the use of disinfectants on historic wallpapers. Follow manufacturers’ instructions, but avoid splattering or contact with objects and wallpapers as disinfectants may damage objects.
  6. Broken Objects – If objects are broken or begin to fall apart, place all broken pieces and detached parts in clearly labeled, open containers. Do not attempt to repair objects until completely dry or, in the case of important materials, until you have consulted with a professional conservator.
  7. Paper Materials – Documents, books, photographs, and works of art on paper are extremely fragile when wet; use caution when handling. Free the edges of prints and paper objects in mats and frames, if possible. These should be allowed to air dry. Rinse mud off wet photographs with clear water, but do not touch surfaces. Wet books and papers should also be air dried or kept in a refrigerator or freezer until they can be treated by a professional conservator.
  8. Office Furniture – Furniture finishes and painting surfaces may develop a white haze or bloom from contact with water and humidity. These problems do not require immediate attention; consult a professional conservator for treatment. Textiles, leather, and other “organic materials will also be severely affected by exposure to water and should be allowed to air dry. Shaped objects, such as garments or baskets, should be supported by gently padding with toweling or unlinked, uncoated paper. Renew padding when it becomes saturated with water. Dry clean or launder textiles and carpets as you normally would.
  9. Art Work – Remove wet paintings from the frame, but not the stretcher. Air dry, face up, and away from direct sunlight.
  10. Metal Objects – Rinse metal objects exposed to flood waters, mud, or silt with clear water and dry immediately with a clean, soft cloth. Allow heavy mud deposits on large metal objects, such as sculpture, to dry. Caked mud can be removed later.
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Minimize breach response cost

Minimize breach response cost with operational strategy

Minimize breach response cost
Policies and procedures need to defined and be in place in order to minimize breach response cost

While the costs of a data breach can vary widely on a case-by-case basis, CIOs who understand the drivers behind the expense will be better positioned to take steps needed to protect their organization.

Here are 6 way to minimize breach response cost:

  1. Eliminate data you do not need.
    You can potentially dramatically reduce your exposure by destroying records of past customers.  You cannot lose data if you do not save it. In 2015 one company served 69 million customers, yet when they were breached that year, they exposed 78 million records. The extra nine million records most likely come from former customers. Each of these individuals had to be notified and offered credit monitoring, driving up costs.
  • Do not store street address if there is no real business requirement.
    When a breach occurs, companies are typically required to notify affected individual via old-fashioned, handwritten “snail mail.” But they can use alternative methods of notification, such as email or public announcement if they do not have a valid mailing address. Physical, written notifications can cost up to $2 per person, and the cost quickly adds up. It may be worth asking twice what the business need for those customer addresses is and considering not capturing these addresses to reduce the exposure to notification requirements.
  • Utilize logs to prove proof a breach or data loss did not occur.
    One industry study shows that in 44% of incidents, public notification is not required. To avoid notification, companies must prove that, even if they were attacked, no records were improperly accessed. To do so, they use systems logs. Without logs, a company may be forced to assume a breach occurred because it cannot prove otherwise.
  • Follow PCI rules and protect credit card data.
    For breaches that involve credit card data, reimbursing card companies for fraudulent transactions can amount to a staggering cost, from $3-$30 or more per card. New chip cards are designed to reduce fraud, and early data show they are having the intended effect – MasterCard reported a 54% reduction in counterfeit card fraud costs at retailers who have switched to chip cards.
  • Use experts who know the breach response landscape.
    Your breach response effort is not a good time to reinvent the wheel. Missteps happen fast and have serious consequences. Credit monitoring alone can cost $5 to $30 per person. Data breach specialists, such as PR consultants or data privacy lawyers, often have seen as many as hundreds of data breaches and are highly practiced at helping you craft a genuine story that keeps confusion – and costs – down.
  • Be prepared for additional audits and compliance reviews.
    In the wake of a breach, a company may be audited and investigated by a number of regulatory agencies. While it’s not guaranteed to occur, it is likely, and there are simple steps you can take to prevent sensational fines if it does. To start, CIOs and  CFOs should be strong advocates for the implementation of the security controls recommended by external auditors or by regulators themselves.

Telecom drag on IT Job Market

Telecom drag on IT Job Market – 39,200 jobs eliminated in last 12 months

Telecom drag on IT Job Market – telecommunications hiring has been suffering this year. The industry dropped 700 jobs in June, making a total of 39,200 jobs lost in 2017. That comes as no surprise considering the whirlwind of telco mergers and acquisitions. Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo’s Internet properties led to a massive cut, Windstream’s purchase of EarthLink eliminated hundreds of employees, and Vonage recently laid off 90 people due to acquisition redundancy.

Telecom drag on IT Job Market
48,800 IT jobs have been added to the IT Job market despite a loss of 39,200 telecom jobs in the last 12 months.

Janco has just completed its analysis of the first six months of the IT job markets growth and adjusted its forecast for IT job market growth the remainder of this year.  In summary, the IT job markets should grow at the about the same rate as it did in 2016 even though IT job market growth currently is behind what occurred in the first six months of 2016.

The CEO of Janco Associates, Inc., Mr. M. Victor Janulaitis said, “There continues to be a shrinking of telecommunication jobs.  In the last 12 months alone, there as been a loss of 39,200 telecommunication jobs while the rest of the IT job market is expanded by 88K new jobs in the same period.  This is a trend that we think will continue for the next few quarters.”

The CEO added, “In the last 3 months over 14,600 jobs have been added in the Computer System Design and Related Services sector of the IT job market. Based on our conversations with scores of CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs; we see that trend continuing. As a result, we forecast that the overall IT Job market will grow by over 60,000 jobs in the next six months. This would result in the creation of 72,000 new IT jobs in 2017. That should equal the rate of IT job market growth that was seen in 2016.”

Janco interviewed 113 CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs in the last several weeks as part of it’s IT Salary Survey process ( https://www.e-janco.com/salary.htm ).  Janco’s CEO said, “C-Level executives interviewed after the election were optimistic that there will be more incentives for increased IT spending and hiring.  It seems the tide has turned and they now feel there will be  less growth in IT budgets for the remainder of this year.” He added, “Hiring prospects are marginal at best, except for IT Staff at the worker level in the latter part of this year.”

Janulaitis added, “There is little demand for new executive and senior management positions over the next few quarters.  On the bright side there looks to be an increase the headcount for IT staff towards the end of this calendar year.  The trend to IT job creation is up and if a  tax reform is implemented one would expect that IT jobs would be the first ones that were opened to be filled.”

More information can be found on Janco’s analysis of overall labor picture and the IT job market on Janco’s website.

Janco is an international consulting firm that follows issues that concerns CIOs and CFOs and publishes a series of IT and business infrastructure HandiGuides® and Templates including a Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Template, Security Template, IT Job Descriptions, and its semi-annual IT Salary Survey.

eCommerce obsoleting traditional retail

eCommerce obsoleting traditional retail – Infrastructure needs to change

eCommerce obsoleting traditional retail
One of the best ways to communicate and understand a company and its operating culture is through its policies. Designing and writing policy and communicating it effectively is an essential skill for professionals to have. By having policy carefully developed and communicated, employees will clearly know what the organization expects from them, the degree of control and independence they will have, and what the benefits and consequences are in regard to adhering to policy.

eCommerce obsoleting traditional retail with brick and mortar businesses impacted the most.

eCommerce is changing the way both business and consumers shop. Retailing is changing at lightning speed coupled with an ever-tightening decision horizon, changing consumer expectations and an unrelenting flood of data. eCommearace is disrupting classic retail models.

Traditional infrastructure models for merchandising, supply chain, and store operations are now triggered autonomously by novel and unexpected sources that are facilitated by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and voice and IoT sensors connected to a digital core.

Consumer wearables, smart appliances and homes, driverless vehicles, drones, virtual reality headsets, and online games are becoming points of brand interactions – from demand to execution. What has served retailing well in the past now is a serious liability with it being unable to drive business success.

  • By 2020, 83% of mobile users globally will use their device to access the Internet
  • By 2020, there will be 75 billion connected devices
  • By 2025, the Internet of Things (IoT) will have potential economic impact of $4 trillion – $11 trillion a year, with impact in retail up to $1.2 trillion
  • By 2025, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will represent up to $182 billion market opportunity

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Top 5 Hot Jobs

Top 5 Hot Jobs

Chief Digital Office (CDO) & Chief Mobility Officer (CMO) Hot C-Level Jobs

Top 5 Hot Jobs – CDO & CMO Hot C-Level Jobs that are not only new but also hot.  In the case of Chief Digital Officer (CDO), we have found that one in five companies now have some in that role.  In addition, half of those enterprises hired the incumbent in the last 12 months. The case is not quite as strong for the Chief Mobility Officer (CMO) as we found that only one in ten organizations have an individual other that the CIO assuming those responsibilities.

Top 5 hot jobs
Chief Digital Officer is one of the hottest jobs in the technology arena. Other hot jobs are Chief Mobility Officer (CMO), Digital Brand Manager, Data Scientist, and Social Media Specialist.

Many of the hot new jobs often report to the operational side of the business, instead of the traditional IT organization under the authority of the CIO.  Part of the reason for that is that almost half of all IT functions report up thru the financial side of the enterprise, not the operational side.

The five hot new jobs are listed below and have links to pages describing the major roles and responsibilities they have:

All of these jobs have one thing in common.  They are addressing the issues, roles, and responsibilities of the new age marketplace.  Without the Internet, e-commerce, and mobile users there would be no need for these positions.

But, as it is these are the new jobs that have been created by these new technologies and changes that have taken place.

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Women CIOs comprise over 20% of all CIO roles

Women CIOs  hold over 20% of all CIO roles according to data analyzed by Janco Associates

Women CIOs – In the process of capturing public data on CIO compensation, Janco has found that well over 1 out of 5 CIOs is a women.

Women CIOs and other C-Level positions

According to the CEO of Janco Associates, at least two thirds of large public companies doing CIO searches require the recruiter to include women in the candidate pool. Further, when “all else is equal”, between a male candidate and a female one, companies are tending to choose the latter specifically to enhance the diversity of perspectives on the management team.

Unfortunately, even with this data, there are still too few women in senior, experienced roles to populate the candidate pools of all diversity-minded companies. So it’s not enough to decide at the CIO level to hire a woman. The relevant decisions must be made and opportunities offered earlier, at the developmental stage of potential finance leaders.

Companies need to provide more mentors who can share wisdom about things like where to invest time and ways to be motivated.

For those with leadership potential who prioritize family and stability over always making the best career move, the path to the C-suite may be inherently more difficult in CEO and finance than in other functions, like IT and human resources.

10 point DR power checklist

10 point DR power checklist defined in Janco DR/BC Template

10 point DR power checklist — After an event that disrupts a network, availability of power to recover and run the network often is critical.  Below is a 10 item check list of what to consider in your disaster recovery – business continuity plan.

  1. Electricity, water, broken wires do not mix.  Before anything else validate that the power source and power distribution systems are dry and functional before power is turned on.
  2. Understand the minimum power requirements to be operational.   Have a clear understanding of a facility’s critical loads.
  3. Have an adequate fuel supply to operate backup power sources. Make smart fuel and technology choices, considering things such as if natural gas pipeline service were to be disrupted in your community. Make sure that you have sufficient fuel storage capacity onsite for an extended outage.
  4. Set reasonable response times for standby generator.  Frequent outages of a few seconds, a few minutes, or more, can have significant cost implications for businesses. While some other generators take up to two minutes to engage, diesel-powered generators are uniquely able to provide full load power within 10 seconds of a grid outage.
  5. Maintain your equipment and test it operations. Standby generators should be exercised periodically to ensure they will operate as designed in the event of an outage.
  6. Understand your environment and geography.  Even the best generators won’t work underwater when subjected to extreme flooding.  Check unit location for protection from flooding and ensure you use the proper gauge extension cord.
  7. Set up generators in an “open environment”. Use generators or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices such as heaters in an open area or outside near an open window. Carbon monoxide fumes can build up and poison people.
  8. Quarterly review your load.  Know when there are any new demands or critical circuits to protect.  If you’ve added new computers or other power-hungry devices, consider updating switchgear.
  9. Meet all mandated compliance requirements. Make sure you have the proper permits and records on operations.
  10. Optionally contract for a rental power source.  Consider a rental generator power for use in the event of an extended outage.

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Top 10 WYOD Best Practices

Top 10 WYOD Best Practices expand beyond BYOD

Tio 10 WYOD Best Practices - Policy
WYOD Policy that address all of the issues generated by this technology.

Top 10 WYOD Best Practices – Employees bringing their own smartphones into the workplace started the BYOD trend requiring enterprises to deal with the serious security implications that come from these devices. The decision for employees to wear their own device (WYOD), such as an apple watch that can link to your Wi-Fi; capture audio, video and data; store; and transmit poses similar problems for IT departments.  Employees and individuals outside of the enterprise can use these devices, sometimes discretely, to access and share business content.

This puts corporate data and infrastructure at risk, and reinforces the need for IT managers to focus on securing the content, rather than the device that’s in use. Wearable devices simply add another level of access and security concern to what we’ve already seen with the BYOD trend.

Here are top 10 best practices for WYOD:

  1. Have a strategy for how, when and why WYOD devices can be used
  2. Implement an acceptable use policy
  3. Identify the connectivity options that are available to both internal and external users
  4. Approved devices should be easily connected to the available secure access points
  5. Define a management process for the WYOD devices
  6. Plan for the activity WYOD devices will add to the network
  7. Make collaboration tools a priority
  8. Secure the end points and isolate sensitive/confidential information and locations
  9. Be prepared for little to no advance notice on upgrades
  10. Formalize your 7 x 24 support

For more information on this go to WYOD Policy.

IT Job Market to expand

IT Job Market to expand as CIO and CFO confidence is high

Year to year comparisons show IT Jobs increased at double the rate of 2017 – Janco’s forecast of 136,500 new IT jobs stays firm

Information Technology job market spiked up with double the number new jobs in January of this year versus January of last year.  The CEO of Janco Associates said, “This increased demand for Information Technology professions remains firm with more hiring on tap for at least the next several months.  From our conversations with many CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs we feel this is the start of a boom in demand for IT professionals. Janco’s forecast of 136,500 new Information Technology jobs for 2017 is on track with 11,800 new jobs added in January. ”

Projected IT job market growth
Janco forecasts that over 124,700 new Information Technology Jobs will be added in the remaining 11 months of 2017
YTD IT Job Market growth
January 2017 had double he number of Information Technology jobs created than January 2016
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Walmart denies hack occurred

14,600 emails addresses and passwords posted – Walmart denies hack occurred

Walmart denies hack occurred
Incident Communication Plan

Walmart denies hack occurred after email address and passwords were posted.   – Over 14,600 email addresses and plain-text passwords associated with Sam’s Club’s online store were dumped on Pastebin, a text sharing site. Walmart denied a hack occurred.

The title of the password dump said that the accounts listed belonged to the retail giant. The company which has over 650 locations across the US and tens of millions of members.

Walmart said “.. looked into this issue and there is no indication of a breach of our systems. It is most likely a result of one of the past breaches of other companies’ systems. Because customers often use the same usernames and passwords on various sites, bad actors will typically test the credentials they obtain across many popular sites. Unfortunately, this is an industry-wide issue,” said a Walmart spokesperson.

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That is no way to inspire confidence in the security of an enterprise’s website.

To survive an incident such as a business interruption, security breach, or a product recall, organizations need more than a successful communication strategy – they need an incident communication plan.

The overall objectives of a incident communications plan should be established at the outset. The objectives should be agreed upon, well understood, and publicized. For example, will the primary objective of the communications plan be for communications only to employees, and only during a disaster? Or is the intent to advise customers of interruptions to service? Or is it for investors and stockholders? Or regulatory agencies? Or is it some combination of these?

eReader versions of the DR Plan and IT Job Descriptions

eReader version of DR/BC Plan and IT Job Descriptions – 273 jobs

eReader version of DR Plan and IT Job Descriptions have just been released by Janco.  Both of these offering now can be put in an enterprise’s catalog of electronic documents which can be shared across the network.

eReader books by Janco
eReader books by Janco

The .epub version can be read by most (if not all mobile devices) including iPad, Surface, generic tablets, SmartPhones, and computer desktops.  With this step forward a great collaboration tool is now in the hands of individuals who can review, write notes on, share, and utilize as a handy set of reference tools.

The eReader version are fully indexed, have a hot link table of contents and meet industry standards for mobility.

Over the course of the next several months Janco will be adding .ePub options to most of its product line.  Products that are next in line for this include.

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