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Summer Journal

Volume 28, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

The Hyde Group, one of London’s leading social housing providers, has chosen the enterprise mobile workforce software solution from 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com) to help deliver mobile working solutions to staff. This forms part of a wider investment by Hyde in IT as part of its commitment to drive up customer satisfaction and continue to improve business efficiency.

 

The new technology will be used initially by the Group’s Incomes Officers and then rolled out to other staff such as Surveyors and Housing Officers. The new mobile solution will deliver all the information and forms required by an operative straight to their mobile device. This can include dates and times of customer appointments, payment information, stock data, services available to customers and the forms required to access them online. In essence they will have everything they need to do their job at their finger tips, whilst out on site with customers.

 

Mobile technology is one area where Hyde sees an opportunity to boost both efficiency and customer satisfaction further. Hyde’s decision to introduce a professional mobile software solution led to a formal procurement process, as a result of which Hyde entered into a contract with 1st Touch mobile workforce software. 1st Touch software is already being used successfully with many other social housing organisations.

 

Paul Singleton Director of Business Transition & Support at The Hyde Group said: “We took steps to ensure that we properly understood the requirements for a mobile system across the business. We identified what we needed to achieve and what benefits we could expect. As a result of the process we chose 1st Touch, as we are confident in their ability to integrate with our existing systems as well as their experience working successfully with other similar organisations.” 

 

Once deployed the new system will deliver a number of significant benefits. Paul Singleton adds, “One important feature is the system’s ability to work with or without a signal so our employees do not have to interrupt their work if in an area of poor signal. There will also be significant efficiency savings from having the details of customer visits sent directly to our employees’ devices at the beginning of each day, reducing travel times. In addition, staff would previously have to wait until they went home or back to the office to input notes from customer visits. With 1st Touch they will be able to update Hyde’s systems in real time using their device whilst still with the customer.”

 

Robert Dent, CEO of 1st Touch welcomed the news and believes that The Hyde Group is setting the standard for others to follow. In his view, “From working closely with Hyde we have seen the commitment Hyde makes to leverage improved ways of working with new technology and this has impressed us greatly. We have also noted the positive customer satisfaction ratings they aim to achieve and how they plan to deliver both efficiency savings and tangible service improvement. We are delighted that Hyde has chosen 1st Touch to deliver mobile workforce technology as part of this strategy and look forward to working closely with them on other areas where mobile might deliver similar benefits.”

 

(TNS) — Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said Monday the Bird flu outbreak ranks as Iowa’s worst animal health emergency and could cost federal and state agencies up to $300 million in the cleanup, disposal and disinfection process on top of the sizable losses being incurred by producers.

“Animal-health wise, there is nothing that we’ve ever had like it,” said Northey, who held out hope the spread is “winding down,” since Iowa recently has reported fewer confirmed cases of the highly pathogenic flu that has led to the deaths and euthanizing of more than 32.7 million commercial layers and turkeys on 76 farms in 18 Iowa counties. All the infected birds in Iowa have been depopulated and humanely destroyed, he said.

Northey said hotter temperatures and decontamination efforts have slowed the outbreak, although state officials Monday said they were investigating a possible new case. He noted that Minnesota saw a resurge in cases after a brief lull, and nearly 2,300 federal and state response personnel remained at work Monday in the field assessing Iowa’s situation and looking ahead to what might happen once fall weather returns along with migratory bird activity.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/Bird-Flus-Cost-to-Iowa-So-Far-1-Million.html

Private cloud deployments currently command the lion’s share of spending on hosting among enterprises in Europe, a new survey has shown.

Easynet polled almost 700 IT decision-makers at organisations with 1,000-plus employees across the continent, finding that almost half (47 per cent) preferred private hosting solutions for their cloud deployments.

Conversely, just over one in ten enterprises (11 per cent) were mainly using public cloud services, while 26 per cent were sticking with on-premise infrastructure for their hosting needs.

The survey results indicate that most enterprise IT environments are now virtualised, vastly altering their data recovery requirements should they fail.

“As volumes of corporate data continue to grow, European enterprises are acknowledging the importance of cloud computing for storing and managing data,” commented Adrian Thirkill, managing director for enterprise at Easynet.

He added that despite private clouds’ current popularity, more complex hybrid environments are also on the rise – particularly in the UK and Belgium.

It is wise to choose a data recovery company who has a track record in recovering from the type of data loss you have experienced.

From:: http://www.krollontrack.co.uk/company/press-room/data-recovery-news/enterprises-in-europe-prefer-private-cloud,-survey-shows165.aspx

Often crisis management case studies focus on what went wrong in badly handled crises. In this article Charlie Maclean-Bristol FBCI takes five lessons from an incident that was well managed.

After commenting on so many organizations that get their crisis management wrong, it is refreshing to see an organization which in the main have got their response to a serious incident right! The handling of the response to a recent accident at its Alton Towers theme park by Merlin Entertainments has not been quite ‘text book’ but it has been close to it. On June 2nd two cars on the Smiler rollercoaster crashed in to each other resulting in four serious and twelve minor injuries to those on the ride. Subsequently one of the riders had to have part of her leg amputated. Often it takes a poor response and criticism for an organization to ‘put its house in order’ and to improve its response. Here they got it right first time.

So what are the five lessons learned from this incident?

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/business-continuity-news/304-feature1322

Using Twitter and Google search trend data in the wake of the very limited US Ebola outbreak of October 2014, a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Purdue University and Oregon State University have found that news media is extraordinarily effective in creating public panic.

Because only five people were ultimately infected yet Ebola dominated the US media in the weeks after the first imported case, the researchers set out to determine mass media's impact on people's behavior on social media.

"Social media data have been suggested as a way to track the spread of a disease in a population, but there is a problem that in an emerging outbreak people also use social media to express concern about the situation," explains study team leader Sherry Towers of ASU's Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center. "It is hard to separate the two effects in a real outbreak situation."

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/business-continuity-news/306-news7600

For many people, IT security is about keeping the bad guys out of the data centre by using firewalls to control external access and anti-malware programs to prevent hackers from infecting servers. That is only half the picture however. The threat that has also been growing comes from people already within the security perimeter of the data centre. They have legitimate access to servers, but are misusing that access either unintentionally or deliberately to take data out. The challenge in resolving this kind of insider threat is that it is typically not a malware attack, but a personal ‘manual’ attack.

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/data-loss-prevention-and-the-insider-twist-to-it-security/

The Office of Personnel Management has some explaining to do.

Cyberthieves have pilfered the personal information of millions of federal employees – notably including the private data of those with security clearances – and the story seems to grow worse by the day.

While investigating a cyberattack on the information of about 4 million feds, officials discovered “a separate intrusion into OPM systems that may have compromised information related to the background investigations of current, former, and prospective Federal government employees, and other individuals for whom a federal background investigation was conducted,” Samuel Schumach, OPM’s press secretary, said Sunday.

...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/06/14/after-hack-attacks-opm-has-some-explaining-to-do/

WASHINGTON – Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) call center pilot program to serve and support policyholders with the servicing of their claims.

Flood insurance claims can be complicated, and policyholders may have questions in the days and weeks following a disaster.

The NFIP call center is reachable at 1-800-621-3362, and will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CDT) Monday through Friday. Specialists will be available to assist policyholders with the servicing of their claims, provide general information regarding their policies, and/or offer technical assistance to aid in recovery.

For those who prefer to put their concerns in writing, a “Request for Support” form is posted at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program, which can be filled out and emailed to FEMA-NFIP-Support@fema.dhs.gov or faxed to 540-504-2360.

Call center staff will be able to answer questions, such as “How do I file a flood insurance claim? What type of documentation is needed? Can I still obtain disaster assistance even though I have a flood policy?” as well as more complicated insurance questions about the extent of coverage, policy ratings, and more.  The call center will also be open to disaster survivors who have general questions about the NFIP.

“Flood insurance provides residents with the ability to protect themselves financially against the most common disaster we see in America,” said Roy Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration. “We’re providing this new resource to ensure that the people we serve have another way get information they may need to understand how flood insurance works and how to navigate the claims process.  This hotline also provides us with a direct connection to policyholders themselves should they have concerns to report about how their claims are being handled and enabling us to take prompt action to ensure that they receive every dollar they are owed under their policies.”

Flood insurance plays a critical role in assisting survivors on their road to recovery. Like other types of insurance, it does not cover all losses, but it is the first line of defense against a flood. While the policy payouts won’t make the insured whole, our top priority is to ensure policyholders get what they are due under their coverage. This initiative is part of FEMA’s ongoing commitment to effective, long-term improvements to the NFIP.

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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.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 00:00

Selecting the Right Kind of Cloud

Saying that the cloud is becoming more specialized is like saying the days are getting longer now that summer is here: It is such a natural phenomenon that it barely needs to be stated.

But I’m going to state it anyway, because this facet of cloud computing alone will probably do more to capture critical enterprise loads and break down the psychological barriers to cloud adoption than any mere technological development.

Across a number of fronts, organizations are gaining the ability to deploy not just the cloud, but a highly specialized data ecosystem tailored to specific functions, industry verticals and even individuals. In a way, this follows that same pattern of software development in general, except that now the application software is backed by a cloud component that caters to its every whim.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/selecting-the-right-kind-of-cloud.html

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 00:00

Mastering IT Risk Assessment

The foundation of your organization’s defense against cyber theft is a mastery of IT risk assessment. It is an essential part of any information security program, and in fact, is mandated by regulatory frameworks such as SSAE 16, SOC 2, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, HIPAA and FISMA.

Compliance with those frameworks means that your organization not only has to complete an IT risk assessment but it must also assess and address the risks by implementing security controls.

In the event of a breach, an effective IT risk management plan—which details exactly what your IT department is going to do and how they’re going to do it—and implementation of the critical security controls that have the potential to save your organization millions of dollars in direct response costs, legal fees, regulatory fines, and costs associated with rebuilding a damaged corporate reputation.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/mastering-it-risk-assessment/