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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

CHICAGO - Understanding severe weather watches and warningswill help to keep you and your family safe during a disaster. FEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS) encourage everyone to learn this life-saving information and act if extreme weather threatens their area.

NWS alerts that are used to warn of severe weather, flood and tornado hazards include:

Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. Gather family members and pets and take shelter immediately. Have your emergency supply kit ready and continue to monitor your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for more information.

Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Flood Watch - Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Flash Flood Watch - Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Flood Warning - Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning - A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately. Do not attempt to drive into flooded areas or walk through moving water.

Be aware that sirens are designed as an outdoor warning system only to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching. A NOAA Weather Radio can be critical to ensure you’re alerted to dangerous weather when indoors.

“The National Weather Service provides accurate and timely warnings and advisories, but they are only effective if people receive them, understand their risk, and take the correct action to protect themselves,” said Teri Schwein, Acting Central Region Director, National Weather Service. “Everyone should make time to prepare themselves before severe weather strikes by signing up for local weather emergency alerts, understanding NWS warnings and developing an emergency action plan.”

“Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) sent to a mobile device are also used to notify individuals of potentially dangerous weather conditions,” said Andrew Velasquez, regional administrator, FEMA Region V. “If you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program, this will enable you to be immediately aware of potentially life-threatening emergencies.”

You can find more information about WEA at www.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts, and for valuable tips to help you prepare for severe weather visit www.ready.gov/severe-weatheror download the free FEMA app, available for your Android, Apple or Blackberry device.

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 twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Happy U.S. National Severe Weather Preparedness Week! I’d have sent a card, but I couldn’t get to the post office due to the icy road conditions and five-foot snow drifts. Let’s hope the awful winter weather is behind us. In any case, winter is followed by spring, summer and fall, and each of these seasons also has the potential to cause weather-related stress and hardship.

Preparing is important, but is also a bit of a hit-and-miss game: Severe weather is selective in its destruction, and precisely what type of weather will cause the damage is impossible to predict. As with many business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) issues, the best approach is to prepare as well as possible from a structural point of view and hope that if an emergency occurs, those steps will help ameliorate the problem.

Providing power is one of the most vital generic steps. Continuity Central has reposted a long list of power contingency suggestions from the Diesel Technology Forum. The top five ideas: Assess the risk, install a standby generator, store a sufficient amount of fuel, maintain the equipment, and consider using a contractor to reserve a generator if an event occurs.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-and-telecom/recent-weather-highlights-need-for-bcdr-preparedness.html

CIO — Target CIO Beth Jacob has apparently fallen on her sword in the wake of the massive security breach in mid-December that compromised 40 million debit and credit cards and swept national headlines. Her resignation was rendered this week effective immediately.

Target CIO Beth Jacob
Target CIO Beth Jacob

Fair or not, Jacob's resignation wasn't entirely surprising.

"If you look at the history of other large data breaches, turnover at the top of the IT shop is not unusual," says retail IT consultant Cathy Hotka.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel says the retailer is now looking outside the company for a CIO to succeed Jacob and help overhaul its network security, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ironically, Jacob, who has a sterling reputation among retail CIOs, was thought of as a great hire by Target in 2008, Hotka says.

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http://www.cio.com/article/749255/Target_CIO_Resignation_Puts_Retail_CIOs_on_Alert

Network World — We were last in Cisco's new data center in Allen, Texas, in the fall of 2010 when the company was just putting the finishing touches on the 160,000 square foot building with 35,000 square feet of "raised floor" (they still use that lingo even though this facility doesn't use raised floors).

This data center, the crown jewel in the company's far reaching Global Data Center Strategy to consolidate and modernize core facilities, was brought online July 7, 2011 and we recently stopped back for an update (see our in-depth tour of the site under construction, or in pictures).

The Allen data center plays a critical role in the company's Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) private cloud, and is paired with a data center in Richardson, Texas, using Cisco's Metro Virtual Data Center architecture. MVDC enables one center to provide coverage for the other key applications, a fail-safe approach Cisco is using to safeguard critical applications.

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http://www.cio.com/article/749253/Revisiting_Cisco_s_Newest_Data_Center

Ahoy, robots!

The $375 billion shipping industry, which carries 90% of world trade, is next in line for drones to take over—at least, that’s what Rolls-Royce Holdings is betting on. The London-based engine manufacturer’s Blue Ocean development team has already set up a virtual-reality prototype in its Norwegian office that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge. The company hopes these advanced camera systems will eventually allow captains in control centers on land to direct crewless ships. The E.U. is funding a $4.8 million study on the technology, and researchers are preparing a prototype for simulated sea trials next year.

“A growing number of vessels are already equipped with cameras that can see at night and through fog and snow—better than the human eye, and more ships are fitted with systems to transmit large volumes of data,” Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2568532/The-drone-boats-replace-cargo-ships-operated-remotely-world.html" target="_blank">said one Rolls-Royce spokesperson. “Given that the technology is in place, is now the time to move some operations ashore? Is it better to have a crew of 20 sailing in a gale in the North Sea, or say five people in a control room on shore?”

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/are-drone-cargo-ships-the-next-step-in-supply-chain-automation

CIO — WASHINGTON — Federal CIOs, who consistently list cybersecurity as one of their top concerns, aren't likely to sleep any better after listening to Dave Aucsmith.

Aucsmith, senior director of Microsoft's Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments, offered a sobering assessment of the current state of play in information security Tuesday at a conference for federal IT professionals hosted by the software giant.

"I do not believe you can create secure computer systems," Aucsmith says. "So where does that leave you? Systems have to adapt and change in the presence of your adversaries, and you have to understand your adversary in order to adapt and change those systems."

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http://www.cio.com/article/749236/CIOs_Must_Look_to_Adaptive_Security_Systems_in_Face_of_Evolving_Threats

Do you remember the car you were driving 20 years ago? How about the TV set you watched? These and other products were perfectly suited to that era, and with the proper upkeep would probably be fully functional today – although by now you likely would have moved on to newer, better things.

So why do we continue to populate our data centers with seriously aging technology, particularly now that we are on the cusp of a brave new computing world?

According to a recent survey by Brocade, a good number of facilities operate with technologies and architectural designs that date back 20 years or more. While it’s true that much of that infrastructure has been, or is in the process of being, revamped with virtualization and other techniques, the fact is that much of the hardware and software infrastructure is simply not up to the task of handling the diverse and dynamic data loads of a mobile, software-defined data ecosystem. Clearly, the data center is in need of substantial modernization, and sooner rather than later.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/a-thoroughly-modern-data-center.html

DENVER – FEMA, in conjunction with the State of Colorado, announced on Tuesday that Colorado will receive a Disaster Case Management Grant in the amount of $2,667,963.  The money will be used for the Disaster Case Management Program for survivors of the devastating floods in Colorado last September.

“The State is excited to receive this FEMA program. It will provide the necessary funding for local case managers to assist individuals with the greatest or most challenging unmet needs,” said Emergency Management Director Dave Hard, Colorado Division of Homeland Security of Emergency Management.

Case managers meet one-on-one with survivors to assess their unmet needs as a result of the disaster. Unmet needs are items, support, or assistance that have been assessed and verified by representatives from local, state, tribal and federal governments and/or voluntary and faith-based organizations and that have not been covered by other resources.

Case managers can:

  • Qualify clients for long term recovery services;
  • Assist clients with disaster recovery plans; and
  • Refer clients to agencies for services that match their needs. Needs might include:
  • Volunteers to help in repairing or rebuilding a house;
  • Building supplies, and
  • Furniture, appliances, household goods.

President Obama signed a major-disaster declaration for Colorado on Sept. 14, 2013. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper requested the Disaster Case Management Program, a federally funded program administered by the State.

 The Disaster Case Management Program augments state and local capacity to provide services in the event of major disaster declaration that includes Individual Assistance.

 “This is another step in the recovery process. We recognize that people are still rebuilding their lives and this program is designed to link people who have unmet needs with organizations that may be able to help them,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas McCool.

March 6, 2014

Q & A De Jour

Question from a client:

Dr. Vali:  Why do so some people at work turn everything into a negative emotional spin?

Hmmm…Well…. Some human beings are just difficult and obnoxious. Others have real problems and struggle every day.  Still others think emotional upheaval is a functional way to communicate due to their imprinting, life experience, family of origin training, health, or maybe even karma. Others have been victims of trauma and are seeking serenity through their storms. Or maybe it’s you. I have seen wonderful people who, for reasons unknown, set each other off into spins that were unexpected…almost like an allergy attack!  I was once called to consult for a company where two top players who had never worked together were put on a project which led them both to become uncharacteristically violent. It was totally without precident. They just could not be in the same room together. As a consultant, a first question I ask is if the spin is accute (like a sneeze and just happened recently and unexpectedly) or chronic (a pattern of disorder that repeats itself.) Then I start looking for reasons.

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http://www.improvizion.com/q-de-jour/

By Luke Bird

I was recently watching the Sochi Winter Olympic Games and hasn’t it been amazing? The speed and adrenaline of the race and jump events are enough to raise the blood pressure of the calmest person! These finely tuned athletes from around the world dedicate years of their life training day after day as they try to maximise their performance and it got me thinking...

Everybody knows the age-old saying “practice makes perfect”. The idea being that you can become progressively better at something the more times you do it. This certainly is the case with business continuity. If we anticipate an issue or problem before it occurs and we practice how to fix it in advance of it happening then we can reduce the overall impact or even prevent it happening in the first place: but in my experience I’d have to say it’s not as simple as that.

How do you practice responding to an incident that can be caused by any number of different reasons, at any time, and may also result in different impacts occurring depending on its magnitude? The truth is we couldn’t possibly prepare and practice our response for every conceivable business disruption even if we trained until the next Olympics! We have to be generally prepared for everything!

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1153.html