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Volume 29, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

FEMA, FCC, in Coordination with State Broadcasters and Emergency Managers, test the EAS

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-system">Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, September 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT to verify the delivery and broadcast, and assess the readiness for distribution of the national level test message.

The EAS test is made available to radio, television, cable, and direct broadcast satellite systems and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The message of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of EAS, normally heard and seen by the public:  “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

Significant coordination and regional testing has been conducted with the broadcast community and emergency managers in coordination and preparation for this EAS national test. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine what technological improvements need to be addressed.

Receiving preparedness tips and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and partners are working to ensure you can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies no matter where you are–at home, at school, at work, or in the community. The FEMA App, which can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, is one way to ensure you receive both preparedness tips and weather alerts of your choice. Download the https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app">FEMA App today.

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is available at http://www.ready.gov/alerts">www.ready.gov/alerts.

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Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It has been more than 10 weeks since disaster assistance personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed to West Virginia in response to President Obama’s major disaster declaration of June 25, 2016. The president’s signature on the decree made federal assistance available to eligible survivors of the June 22-29 severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in 12 counties.

Although the deadline for registering for individual financial assistance from FEMA has passed, the recovery continues and FEMA disaster recovery specialists remain on the scene. Survivors of the June storms and flooding, who have registered for FEMA assistance, still have access to the agency for information about temporary housing, help with insurance claims, questions about filing an appeal, and other disaster services and resources.

Registered individuals have access to FEMA’s toll-free Helpline, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. Call 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.

Applicants receiving temporary rental assistance and who have a need for continuing housing assistance must apply to FEMA for approval. FEMA will evaluate the information to determine if the applicant qualifies for ongoing federal rental assistance, based on financial need. Contact the FEMA Helpline for information on how to apply.

FEMA urges registered individuals to “keep in touch” and notify FEMA of address or phone number changes, initiate appeals or reschedule inspection appointments. It is important to keep all contact information current to avoid delays in getting assistance.  

As of the Sept. 7 deadline, 8,974 West Virginia homeowners and renters have applied to FEMA for disaster assistance. To date more than $33.3 million in individual housing assistance grants and nearly $6.4 million in other needs assistance have been approved for residents of the 12 designated counties: Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster.

Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing and essential home repairs. Other needs assistance provides funding for repair or replacement of furnishings and other personal property, transportation and other disaster-related needs such as transportation and childcare. Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. Grants do not have to be repaid to the federal government.

Since the June 25 disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, has approved 735 low-interest disaster loans totaling nearly $47.7 million. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters who have applied for FEMA assistance, as well as to businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. SBA disaster loans may cover the cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.

For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. (TTY users should call 800-877-8339). Individuals and businesses may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster

The State’s and FEMA’s 15 area Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) served 9,531 visitors between June 28 and Aug. 31, while FEMA-contracted housing inspectors have completed more than 7,200 inspections of disaster-damaged properties to verify damage.

Other help available to individuals:

  • Free disaster legal assistance is available to storm survivors. This service offers counseling on insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, home-repair contracts, and the replacement of lost or damaged legal documents and other legal matters. Call the toll-free hotline 877-331-4259.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with post-disaster stress, you are not alone. Help is as near as your phone. Call the Help for West Virginia Helpline at 844-435-7498. In addition, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
  • Contact West Virginia 211 ( for help finding food, childcare, crisis counseling, and many other resources available in your community.
  • West Virginians seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs, as well as volunteering and donating, should visit the state’s Help for West Virginia Disaster website wvflood.com.
  • Individuals who wish to help with flood response and recovery may sign up with West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) at www.volunteerwv.org or wvvoad.org.
  • Additional information on West Virginia’s disaster recovery can be found by calling the FEMA Helpline 800-621-3362 or visiting: www.DisasterAssistance.gov; the flood pages at www.WVflood.com; fema.gov/disaster/4273; twitter.com/femaregion3; and fema.gov/blog.

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting applications for individuals to serve on the new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWs, subcommittee of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

As mandated in the IPAWs Modernization Act of 2015, the subcommittee will develop and submit recommendations for an improved integrated public alert and warning system to the NAC. The subcommittee will consider common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures to ensure standards and operating procedures exist for a national public alert warning system.

Currently IPAWS is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure. Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial alerting authorities use IPAWS as a way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface. 

The IPAWS subcommittee will be comprised of federal officials from FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce and the National Council on Disability, in line with Congressional mandated membership guidelines.

The FEMA Administrator and the NAC will appoint members from applicants representing the following disciplines to ensure a variety of expert perspectives are reflected in the subcommittee:

  • Local, state and tribal government officials;
  • Emergency managers and first responders;
  • Vendors, developers and manufacturers of communications systems;
  • Broadcasting, cable or satellite industry officials;
  • National organizations representing either people with disabilities, functional needs, the elderly, or limited English proficiency; and
  • Consumer privacy advocates.

Subcommittee appointment terms will begin in 2017 and end upon the termination of the IPAWS Subcommittee in April 2019.  The IPAWS Subcommittee will meet approximately four times a year, twice in person and twice via webinar.

Individuals interested in serving on the NAC’s IPAWS Subcommittee are invited to apply for appointment by submitting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to the Office of the National Advisory Council, by fax, email, or mail. Letters of recommendation may also be provided, but are not required. Applications and/or nominations must also include the following information: the applicant’s full name, home and business phone numbers, preferred e-mail address, home and business mailing addresses, current position title and organization, and the discipline area of interest (i.e., emergency management). Applications will be accepted until October 6, 2016.

Members selected for the council serve without compensation from the federal government.  However, consistent with the charter, members receive travel reimbursement and per diem, under applicable federal travel regulations. Registered lobbyists, current FEMA employees, Disaster Assistance Employees, Reservists, FEMA contractors, and potential FEMA contractors will not be considered for subcommittee membership.

For more information on the NAC, IPAWS Subcommittee and application procedures visit:  www.fema.gov/national-advisory-council.

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Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

Background: The NAC consists of up to 35 members, all of whom are experts and leaders in their respective fields. The members of the NAC are appointed by the FEMA Administrator and are composed of federal, state, tribal, local, and private-sector leaders and subject matter experts in law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, hospital, public works, emergency management, state and local governments, public health, emergency response, standard settings and accrediting organizations, representatives of individuals with disabilities, infrastructure protection, cyber security, communications, and homeland security communities.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

BATON ROUGE, La. — If your house flooded and you did not have flood insurance, you may have received some federal financial assistance for the August flooding. But if your home is in a floodplain and you hold a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, you may be required to buy flood insurance.

This requirement applies when a building has been damaged and is located in an area that is at high risk of flooding. These high-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).

In high-risk areas, there is at least a one in four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. You may be restricted to only rental assistance in a future disaster unless you buy flood insurance and keep the policy in effect.

A flood-insurance policy protects you financially even when a presidential disaster is not declared or if you live in a parish that was not designated for federal assistance.

Once you receive federal financial assistance, you must keep flood insurance coverage at your address even if the damaged building is replaced by a new one. If you sell your home, you are required to inform the new owners that they must maintain flood insurance coverage on the building. Often, an existing flood-insurance policy can be transferred to a new owner with no lapse in coverage.

You may receive a Certificate of Flood Insurance for a Group Policy as a part of your federal Individuals and Households Assistance program (IHP) grant. This policy provides minimal coverage on the home equal to the maximum IHP grant currently available. For the Louisiana August 2016 floods, the required premium provides coverage of $33,000.

  • Group Policies have a term of three years, after which you will be required to purchase and maintain a Standard Flood Insurance Policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until you are no longer the homeowner or renter at that location. In order to avoid any lapse in coverage, it is important to apply for your new coverage at least 30 days before the expiration of the Group Policy.
  • You may cancel your participation in the Group Policy at any time during its policy term, provided that you have purchased your own NFIP flood insurance coverage.

 If you are a renter and receive federal financial assistance, flood-insurance coverage must be maintained on the contents for as long as you live at the flood-damaged rental property. The requirement for flood insurance is lifted once you move from the building.

But, because federal law mandates the purchase of flood insurance as a condition of disaster funding, an applicant who does not comply with the flood insurance obligation may become mostly ineligible for future disaster assistance. It’s that important.

If you do not live in a flood zone but your home was flooded, you do not have to maintain flood insurance. Even without the legal requirement, it is a wise decision to purchase flood insurance.

Even though flood insurance isn't federally required in moderate- to low-risk areas, homeowners and businesses that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders may be required to purchase flood coverage by the mortgage holder. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods.

In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood-insurance claims and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest.

With all that you are going through, don’t let this vital coverage slip through the cracks. Protect yourself and your family from future financial loss by purchasing and maintaining flood insurance coverage.

For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance, call 800-427-4661 or contact your insurance company or agent.

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Ransomware Threats Jump 300%

Businesses have seen a huge increase in ransomware threats—300% from 2015, according to the FBI, which also reports there were 2,400 ransomware complaints in 2015. In addition to its growing frequency, the means of attack have also improved significantly, as hackers get better at social engineering and at developing malware.

Unlike other types of cyberattack, ransomware attacks are not about extracting data, they are about freezing access, holding businesses functionally hostage, according to Risk Management. When this type of malware infects a system, it encrypts files and documents and demands a ransom, typically in the form of digital currency such as bitcoin, in exchange for a decryption key.

The most frequent targets of attacks, 23%, were government entities, according to Hiscox. The category of business services was second at 18% and finance and insurance institutions followed with 13% of the attacks.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/ransomware-threats-jump-300/

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

What is #SafeForWork?

Every weekday morning, I sit down at my desk and log into my email, Facebook, Slack and LinkedIn accounts. I browse status updates and articles, flipping between cat pictures and business articles. I use my best judgment when clicking through to news articles and websites – I know that one wrong click could, unintentionally, land me in hot water with our IT or Human Resources departments.

A phishing email, profane language, inappropriate pictures – these #NSFW circumstances all compromise my company and my professional reputation.

While your business might not have a robust IT or Human Resources department to monitor internet usage, it's still vitally important that you think about what you do online. What you do on the internet impacts your company's reputation, as well as yours. Are you subjecting your clients to risk of data breach by using freemium file-sharing services? Do you pass sensitive data through unprotected emails?

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https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/23/what-is-safeforwork/

Hardly a week goes by that headlines aren’t touting some tale of a major cloud services provider suffering an outage that leaves customers hanging for hours or days.

In recent years, massive cloud disruptions have hit all the major players, from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Salesforce.com.

A pair of massive service outages involving two of the largest cloud players this month comes at a time when the industry is arguably on the verge of eradicating any lingering concerns about the security or reliability of public cloud.

...

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/cloud-outages-microsoft-google-downtime-offers-reminder-cloud-isnt-perfect

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

The Value of Auditing Corporate Culture

Many successful organizations attribute their superior performance and accomplishments to their organization’s culture. In a 2015 study by Duke University of 1,900 executives around the globe, 79 percent said culture is among the top five things that make their company valuable. But only 15 percent said their own corporate culture is where it should be, and 92 percent said improving their culture would enhance company value.

Many recent high-profile scandals, such as those at Toshiba, Volkswagen, FIFA and Baylor University, have shown the adverse effect of having toxic culture.  Toshiba’s $1.2 billion profit inflation scandal, which occurred over seven years and came to light last summer, was called “the most damaging event for the brand in the company’s 140-year history” by the outgoing CEO.  The Independent Investigation Committee concluded that “there existed a corporate culture at Toshiba where it was impossible to go against the boss’ will.” This led to the dismissal of the CEO, two former CEOs and multiple board members.

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http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/value-auditing-corporate-culture/

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Sampling as a Compliance Strategy

In the technology age in which we live, CCOs often come face to face with a new phenomenon – too much information or data. TMI is not something to laugh at nor ignore. CCOs often face situations where they need to understand what is occurring through a monitoring or audit function. In those cases, CCOs have to decide whether it is worth the cost in money and/or resources (e.g. personnel, time) to review every piece of information to see if some event or trend can be discerned.

Luckily, there is a less burdensome way to solve this problem. It is a well-understood concept – sampling. Even when I took a basic statistics class and learned about sampling, it was easy to see why this would be a good solution — less time, less work and relevant results.

The concept of sampling is a practical solution to many difficult issues that come up for CCOs in managing a compliance program.

...

http://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/sampling-compliance-strategy/

According to the results of a HyTrust survey of 400 attendees at the recent VMworld 2016 conference, more than a quarter (28 percent) of organizations that use a public cloud are doing nothing to encrypt the data they store there.

Thirty-two percent of respondents are encrypting data using the cloud provider's solution, while 21 percent are deploying a separate data encryption solution.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said security was their main reason for avoiding cloud deployments, and 54 percent said their old approaches to security would not work for future cloud deployments.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/28-percent-of-organizations-dont-encrypt-data-in-public-cloud-environments.html

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