The Pipeline

So many regulations, so little time
The federal government has created such an alphabet soup of regulations it’s a wonder anyone can keep track. But because that’s what agencies must do, administrators might thank the information technology gods for software such as Symantec’s new Control Compliance Suite 8.2.

Symantec said the software helps assure agencies that they are in compliance with regulations such as the Federal Information Security Management Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The software supplies content for those regulations, in addition to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Basel II.

It also provides framework content for the International Organization for Standardization’s 17799 standard, Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Special Publication 800-53.

A new feature of the Control Compliance Suite is agentless reporting and database discovery. “With Version 8.2, we’re fully agentless for full scalability,” said Indy Chakrabarti, product marketing manager at Symantec.

The product’s automated tools detect drift from secure baselines, identify accounts with blank passwords and notify managers when administrative accounts receive new members.

Customers can produce evidence-of-review reporting so that managers can assess user privileges to make sure no one has access to more information than they should have.

“We’ve augmented database activity auditing,” Chakrabarti said, to answer questions such as, “‘Who’s doing what? Did a regular user just give himself super-administrator privileges?’”

This latest release also includes agentless Unix reporting, Oracle patch assessment and database discovery, database activity auditing on Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and support for mobile devices that connect to Microsoft Exchange servers.

Freewheeling with Rugged Mini
Many computers used in hospitals are wheeled around on carts so they can zip from room to room along with the doctors and nurses as they visit patients.

One problem with all that mobility is that the computers depend on batteries for power, and PCs are notoriously power-hungry. Moving parts such as hard drives, cooling fans and optical drives suck up a lot of energy.

But when batteries are taxed to the max and recharged frequently, they tend to fail more often than usual.

Frequent recharging is also inconvenient, of course. That’s why Tangent’s Rugged Mini could be useful during rounds. It’s a small PC designed for hospitals and other environments that require long battery life and power-saving features.

The Rugged Mini has only one moving part: the hard drive. It has no fan and instead uses a convection-based passive cooling system.

The CPU consumes only 37 watts of power at 100 percent utilization, compared with the 75 watts to 125 watts that typical PCs consume. The Rugged Mini takes only 18 watts when turned on but in idle mode, thanks to Intel’s Enhanced Speed Step technology. It eats 6 watts in standby mode.

The Rugged Mini is a little dynamo that weighs less than 4 pounds and measures 9 inches x 7 inches x 2 inches. It’s easy to mount on carts, kiosks, large LCD monitors or walls.

The Rugged Mini also lets you go wireless with its Intel 2915 ABG Wi-Fi card, which is compatible with Cisco Systems’ Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol. It has VGA and DVI ports so you can connect it to a touch screen or LCD monitor.

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