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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

IT Infrastructure company Peak 10 shares results of its 2nd National IT Trends in Healthcare study on the topics of compliance, IT outsourcing and cloud security

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – National IT infrastructure and cloud services provider Peak 10 revealed today in its 2nd National IT Trends in Healthcare study, that healthcare CIOs are under pressure to keep up with rapid advancements in interoperability, big data and security challenges.  Peak 10, which published its inaugural National IT Trends in Healthcare study last year, surveyed another 157 C-level executives and information technology professionals across the U.S. again this year.  The study delivers unique insights based on data that illustrate industry challenges and provides a window into the future of the healthcare industry.  Among these, the study shows that hospital groups are moving to outsource IT functions; adopt SaaS and cloud-based solutions; implement telemedicine portals; and rely on analytics and big data to accommodate the rapidly growing analyst-based workforce.

“Technology is changing at a rapid rate and while it is making patient’s lives easier, it is also increasing the amount of information that is at risk of falling into the wrong hands,” says David Kidd, VP of governance, risk and compliance at Peak 10. “Although healthcare organizations have been cautious about moving to the cloud, they are now recognizing the benefits and security in the cloud. This allows for more time to be spent on patients and the organization’s core mission.”

Additional findings from the study include:

·         Now more than ever hospitals are seeing the benefits and efficiencies of moving towards outsourcing and trusting the cloud, cited by up to 50 percent increase in cloud services (IaaS)

·         Data privacy and security are still primary concerns due to recent ransomware attacks on hospitals according to 59 percent of respondents

·         IT budgets are expected to increase in the next 12 months according to 67 percent of healthcare IT leaders

·         Some of the top initiatives that CIOs and IT leaders at healthcare organizations are concerned with, include hardware and software upgrades, EHR systems, analytics and big data initiatives, patient portals and leveraging IT to manage their population health initiatives

·         The main challenges they face are system interoperability issues, meeting security and compliance, and balancing their human capital resources to meet regulatory and business requirements

As the role of information technology in healthcare rapidly evolves, sound technology infrastructures allow organizations to become more efficient but also recognize the barriers they face in protecting patient data and meeting government regulations. In addition to other healthcare IT content and resources from Peak 10, the complete, complimentary research findings from The Peak 10 2nd National IT Trends in Healthcare study can be downloaded exclusively here: http://bit.ly/1V6FAD7.  

“It’s important to Peak 10 to stay ahead of the trends in the Healthcare IT industry and be able to support where needed,” says Christina Kyriazi, product marketing and analytics manager at Peak 10. “By researching and completing studies, such as the National IT Trends in Healthcare study, we are gaining insights to provide the best service for our customers and their staff.”

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Peak 10 is one of the largest healthcare cloud providers in the U.S. based on the number of signed business associate agreements (BAAs). It operates 27 data centers and serves a diverse range of customers in the U.S. and abroad.  To learn more, visit www.peak10.com.

About The Peak 10 National IT Trends in Healthcare study

Peak 10 conducted The Peak 10 National IT Trends in Healthcare study in March 2016 by interviewing 157 IT decision makers across the U.S. A follow-up series of in-depth, one-on-one qualitative phone interviews was conducted with a subset of respondents. The results reflect current market conditions and healthcare IT market trends for the next two years as evidenced by statistics on data privacy and security breaches from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services(HHS).

About Peak 10

Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are flexible and designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus internal IT resources on their core competencies. Peak 10 undergoes annual examinations by third party auditors and helps companies meet the compliance requirements of various regulatory and industry standards such as SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3, HIPAA, PCI DSS, FISMA, ISO 27001 and ITAR. For more information, visit www.peak10.com or the Peak 10 Newsroom for the latest news.

During Business Continuity Awareness Week 2016, RockDove Solutions Offers Tips for Streamlining Accessibility to Business Continuity Plans, Including its Recent Work with Fluidmaster

HERNDON, Va. – Just in time for Business Continuity Awareness Week 2016, May 16-20, RockDove Solutions announced that Fluidmaster, the industry leader in toilet valve technology and repair products, is using its crisis management solution, In Case of Crisis, to mobilize Fluidmaster’s business continuity and emergency response plans and turn them into digital playbooks.

Fluidmaster has two plans available via the In Case of Crisis app: a business continuity plan for its incident management team who were previously using flash drives and binders, and a general emergency response plan for every worker in its headquarters. By making these plans more accessible and actionable, the In Case of Crisis app is helping to strengthen Fluidmaster’s resiliency during any crisis.

“Our incident management team has embraced In Case of Crisis due to its quick ability to view organizational recovery plans on any mobile device and even when Wi-Fi is not available,” said Deborah Wright, senior program coordinator of Fluidmaster. “Employees might not be able to get a signal on their phones – a real concern in earthquake-prone California – but with the mobile app they won’t need one since business continuity plans will already be at their fingertips.”

During Business Continuity Awareness Week 2016, RockDove Solutions is offering organizations the following business continuity best practices:

  1. Increase accessibility to plans -- Organizations should use mobile technology so business continuity plans are available to all important internal and external stakeholders and employees on their smartphones or tablets at all times. This empowers them to perform their emergency response tactics sooner, which leads to a faster recovery.
  2. Update your plans frequently – Sharing the most up-to-date recovery plans and procedures is crucial for achieving optimal business resilience. With new threats emerging every day, from weather emergencies to cyber attacks, a mobile app can help you quickly distribute updated plans to make sure everyone is prepared to respond to a crisis and get back to normal business as soon as possible. 
  3. Communicate in real-time – Digitizing business continuity plans allows organizations to push real-time updates and alerts to relevant stakeholders and employees even if they are out of the office, which can help to prevent dangerous delays in your business’ recovery.
  4. Practice your plans – Recovery begins when a crisis starts, so it is important to be confident in your business continuity plans. Take time to run through drills with all stakeholders to make sure they can react quickly and decisively and to ensure there are no potential gaps or vulnerabilities within plans.

 For more, visit www.rockdovesolutions.com.

About RockDove Solutions

RockDove Solutions, developer of the adaptable mobile crisis management solution In Case of Crisis, helps organizations turns their crisis management, business continuity, emergency preparedness, and workplace safety plans into accessible and actionable digital playbooks. Serving hundreds of public and private institutions, in the rapidly growing enterprise mobile marketplace, the company’s award-winning, customizable crisis app prepares companies to quickly and effectively respond to crises. For more information, visit www.rockdovesolutions.com.

(TNS) - In a training exercise, the Frederick County Health Department practiced distributing medication to the public last week in a scenario in which thousands may have been exposed to aerosolized anthrax.

According to Barbara Rosvold, director of public health preparedness at the county health department, the drill went smoothly.

The practice scenario involved a widespread release of anthrax through the air, though the department did not specify a pretend source for the release.

In the scenario, the anthrax was detected by a sensor in Washington, D.C., necessitating an emergency action plan in the surrounding areas, Rosvold said.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/County-distributes-sample-medication-in-anthrax-release-drill.html

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

HDD vs SSD – which lasts longer?

Many comparisons can be made between a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a Solid State Drive (SSD); cost, speed, data storage capacity – there’s no end of areas to consider. However in this post, we’ll be looking specifically at the durability of HDDs and SSDs to assess if there is any difference in life expectancy between the two data storage types.

Physical failures

It’s important to firstly note that any life expectancy figures for HDDs and SSDs alike cannot be 100% guaranteed. These estimates assume manufacturer’s recommended environmental conditions and do not take into consideration extremes of temperature, humidity and physical mishandling. In fact, out of almost 2000 devices surveyed between January and March 2016, at least 30% had sustained some form of physical damage to cause the media to stop working and/or cause data loss.

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http://blog.krollontrack.co.uk/making-data-simple/hdd-vs-ssd-which-lasts-longer/

Moving security operations away from your security team? This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s something that we see happening more and more. Nimmy Reichenberg explains why this is happening and highlights the advantages of the approach.

Escalating security requirements, the growing risks of breaches and outages, and the shortage of skilled and experienced security staff is forcing businesses to find new ways to make more efficient use of their security specialists. As a result, organizations are directing their security teams to focus on protecting the network from external and internal threats, and increasingly handing over operational tasks to other areas of IT.

I see this as a positive development. However, for this transition to be successful, there are certain processes and conditions that need to be in place first.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/technology/1114-why-you-should-move-security-away-from-security

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

Plan the Test, Test the Plan

If your organization has an Emergency Notification Service (ENS) in place, it’s already taken an important step toward communicating faster and more effectively in critical situations. But, if the solution is not routinely “touched,” or better yet, tested, you could still be at risk in an actual emergency. Consider the following recommendations from Send Word Now to create a full and repeatable test cycle, ensuring your alerting readiness.

Set a regular testing schedule and stick with it – It’s important to test your ENS on a regular basis. Test your system frequently with a small group of administrators or other participants. Conduct widespread exercises at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure recipient familiarity with notifications and procedures. As a BC professional, you’ll appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing your solution is working and your people know what to do.

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http://blog.sendwordnow.com/plan-the-test-test-the-plan

(TNS) - Wichita County officials met with local members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and Texas Amateur Radio Emergency Service (TARES) to hash out some regulations about control of radio networks during emergency weather situations.

County Judge Woody Gossom said ARRL regional members decided to realign the system to have SKYWARN be the parent network of a controlled network rather than a closed one.

Local ARRL member Charlie Byars said in a previous article that a repeater is normally open to all ham radios, but is closed to unauthorized users during severe weather events. He explained that they would take a emergency report, such as a tornado sighting, and refer the information to the National Weather Service.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/County-ham-radio-operators-hash-out-rules-for-emergency-situations.html

Business Continuity Awareness Week is upon us and this year the core focus is on a topic close to my heart – Return on Investment. This is a very important area that can be easily overlooked or lost in the activity of running your day to day business continuity or resiliency program. Having clearly defined value drivers for your program outside of the normal areas of RoI can not only help you drive awareness, but also help you gain buy in from other business units.

So how does this relate to using a mass notification platform? Put simply – give your notification system a day job. That day job can be a natural fit like the time sensitive and critical nature of IT alerting, or something less obvious – some examples of these may be:

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http://www.everbridge.com/bc-awareness-week-give-mass-notification-a-day-job/

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

FEMA: Hurricane Season Approaches

PHILADELPHIA - As the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, FEMA Region III continues to proactively work with its state, local, and federal partners to increase preparedness, coordinate response and recovery capabilities, and empower individuals to take an active role in preparing themselves, their families, and their communities.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, 2016 and lasts until November 30; the greatest potential for storm activity is the months of August and September. A great time to begin planning for hurricane season is Hurricane Preparedness Week, designated May 15 – May 21, 2016.

Everyone should take time to ensure that their family, household, and workplace is properly prepared for a potential hurricane or tropical storm. “It only takes one storm to severely impact a community and disrupt our way of life,” stated FEMA Region III Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “We encourage everyone to prepare and plan for hurricanes and to be informed of what their risk may be.” It takes all of us, as individuals, families, communities, organizations, and as members of the whole community, to prepare for hurricanes and the potential hazards associated with them.

Residents should interact with their local emergency officials and stay informed of their risk and the potential dangers of a hurricane or tropical storm. By engaging with your local officials, citizens gain valuable insight, lend input, and develop relationships for planning and communications before a storm. 

FEMA recommends that everyone have enough supplies to last for several days. Emergency supply kits should include essential items like bottled water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, batteries, medicines, toiletries, non-perishable food items, manual can opener, and first aid supplies.

When planning, think about the potential needs of everyone in the household during an emergency. If your household includes pets, a person with a disability, an infant, or a senior citizen, be sure to take the necessary steps to assist and make them comfortable during an emergency, in addition to having any necessary documents or medications on hand.

For more preparedness information, visit fema.gov, ready.gov, and nhc.noaa.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. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

(TNS) - When Ryan Blythe leased space for his glassblowing shop in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, he saw a rugged industrial setting that could double as an elegant gallery.

When Seattle building officials looked at his permit application, they saw something else: the most dangerous type of structure to be in during an earthquake.

The Julius Horton building, built in 1914, is like many of its vintage. Its brick walls aren’t bolted to the floors and ceilings. It has withstood past quakes, but they have been mild compared to what seismologists expect: A magnitude 9.0 monster that hits with 2,000 times the power of Seattle’s last major earthquake, toppling walls, dropping ceilings and sending bricks flying with deadly effect.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Buildings-that-kill-The-earthquake-danger-lawmakers-have-ignored-for-decades.html