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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

As businesses increasingly rely on external parties for critical services, they become more vulnerable to business interruptions. This is especially true when such businesses know little about their third party vendors' resiliency and recovery capabilities, according to a new PwC US whitepaper, which examines the effects that vendor resiliency, or lack thereof, can have on an organization's business continuity strategy.

Entitled, ‘Business continuity beyond company walls: When a crisis hits, will your vendors' resiliency match your own?’, the PwC report also notes that risk becomes greater when the organization has a limited understanding of its own business interruption threats, resiliency status and recovery capabilities and strategies.

"In a world of ever increasing dependence on third party vendors, you need to know if you can count on the other party when a crisis strikes," said Phil Samson, principal in PwC's Risk Assurance practice and the firm's Business Continuity Management services leader. "It's all about transparency - asking the right questions and pushing the right levers to determine whether your vendors will be able to weather a serious business interruption and quickly resume business as usual. The more you know about your own needs, your vendor's capabilities, and the robustness of your resiliency plans, the more comfort you'll have about staying on track toward your long-term strategic and operational goals even when faced with adverse developments."

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07169.html

Last week, news about yet another data breach at major retail outlets surfaced. As Krebs on Security reported, Michaels Stores Inc., which includes Michaels Arts and Crafts and Aaron Brothers stores, admitted that its stores suffered two different eight-month-long breaches over the past year. Approximately three million credit card numbers were compromised in these attacks.

These breaches are a big deal—especially as seen in conjunction with other high-profile retail breaches. Millions of consumers have been victimized in these security breakdowns, at no fault of their own.

It is no wonder that a new survey from research firm GfK found that an overwhelming majority of consumers, 88 percent, voiced concerns over the privacy of their information and data. According to eSecurity Planet:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/consumers-uneasy-about-privacy-as-more-companies-report-data-breaches.html

In an ideal world, all energy would be free, data resources would be unlimited, and every day would be Christmas, Easter and your birthday rolled into one.

But as my grandma always told me, “this ain’t a perfect world, kid.” As you can probably guess, grandma wasn’t one of those sweet, little old ladies who sat in rocking chairs all day knitting sweaters.

Enterprise executives, and the environmental lobbies that are prodding them, need to get real about two key aspects of the burgeoning “green data center” movement. The first is that no matter how often you place the word “free” in front of an eco-friendly endeavor – free heat, free cooling, free power – none of it is truly free. There is both a financial and environmental cost to everything we do.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-green-data-center-in-the-real-world.html

April 21, 2014

For your bookshelf

n the coming months there will be some new books from us and our alumni which aim to contribute to areas of organisational resilience and assist in knowledge development; perhaps even encourage some debate:

‘In Hindsight’, edited by Robert Clark, is a collection of case-study based analyses related to continuity and organisational resilience carried out by an international cohort of our postgraduates with backgrounds and experience in multiple sectors

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http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/for-your-bookshelf/

Enterprises today are still choosing to outsource many IT functions despite the sometimes negative views of the practice. For many businesses, the only way to affordably provide skilled IT services is to sign on with an outsourcing company. If your company is considering the option of outsourcing some of its IT processes, management should create a list of areas of concern and go through each scenario prior to signing on the dotted line with an outsourcer.

The foremost concern for the enterprise should, of course, be security and privacy. How would email, smartphones, instant messaging, VPNs, and even documents and paperwork be affected by outsourcing some IT services to a company overseas? Are your networks ready to handle such risk? Are proper governance and procedural documentation in place to spell out what is and is not allowed and how outsourcing issues will be handled?

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-tools/before-you-outsource-consider-risks-and-security.html

Avalution was named Business Continuity Provider of the Year (BCM Service) at the 3rd annual BCI North America Awards held during DRJ Spring World 2014.

Cleveland, OH – Avalution Consulting – a leading provider of business continuity consulting and software solutions – is honored to announce that they were named Business Continuity Provider of the Year (BCM Service) at the 3rd annual BCI North America Awards.

The 2014 BCI North America Awards, held during the DRJ Spring World Welcome Reception, span 10 categories and recognize the outstanding contribution of business continuity professionals and organizations living in or operating in North America. Winners were chosen by a panel of BCI-appointed judges.

Robert Giffin, Director, accepted the award on behalf of Avalution. After the ceremony, Giffin commented, “Our amazing employees continue to be the premier resource in building or expanding a business continuity program.  This award is further recognition of Avalution’s role as one of the few top-tier consulting firms in this space.”

Thank you to the BCI – and our clients – for this wonderful recognition,” added Brian Zawada, Director at Avalution.  “Building on what Rob said, this award is a testament to our consultants’ hard work and commitment to helping each of our clients prepare for a wide variety of disruptive incidents in the highest quality, most cost-effective manner possible.”

All winners from the BCI North America Awards 2014 are automatically entered into the BCI Global Awards 2014, which will take place in November during the BCM World Conference and Exhibition 2014.

Avalution was named BC/DR Company of the Year at the 2012 BCI North America Awards, and Catalyst business continuity software was named Innovation of the Year at the 2012 BCI Middle East Awards.

About Avalution Consulting
Avalution is the premier provider of business continuity and IT disaster recovery consulting and software solutions in the U.S. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Avalution is an ISO 22301-certified firm and maintains a contract on GSA Schedule 70.

Avalution also offers two unique, web-based business continuity software solutions. Catalyst – available in Basic, Pro, or Enterprise versions – combines a simple user interface and on-screen guides with Avalution’s consulting methodology to make continuity planning easy and repeatable for every organization. No long-term contracts are required, and a 30-day free trial is available via bccatalyst.com. The Planning Portal, built on Microsoft SharePoint, delivers highly customizable tools and processes to assist organizations in managing and executing their business continuity and IT disaster recovery programs. Demonstrations are available upon request.

866.533.0575 | www.avalution.comwww.theplanningportal.com | www.bccatalyst.com

Among the previous articles you’ve read in our blog, you may have noticed that besides discussing how good business continuity management can save organisations from disaster, we also like to point out where it can also simply save you money. Here’s one of those cases. Satellite communications may intuitively seem to be more expensive than landline links. It’s easy to assume that with project and launch costs running into astronomical amounts, it won’t necessarily be the cheapest option for making phone calls or network connections. But is that really the case?

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/smart-satellite-communications-and-business-continuity-benefit/

CSO — As "bring your own device" (BYOD) reshapes the way organizations handle technology, how do we handle the uncertainty of legal liability and security concerns?

The answer lies in considering how BYOD changes the entire organization. Change is scary. More so when the impacts of the change, including legal liabilities, are unclear and relatively untested.

Change is also an opportunity. Employees are excited about BYOD and the chance to use devices they prefer. This gives security an opportunity to support the business, enable individuals, and improve security.

To ensure BYOD increases value while also increasing security requires different thinking and an approach that brings people together in a series of conversations.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751585/3_Ways_the_Right_Conversation_can_Reduce_BYOD_Legal_Liability

The enterprise industry is changing, and with it the data center itself. Virtualization, software-defined infrastructure and cloud computing are all changing the equation that organizations use to build and finance their data support capabilities, which has led many pundits to predict the end of the data center as we know it.

And perhaps it’s true, as I mentioned a few days ago, that we are on the verge of utility-style virtual data environments, but the bottom line is that no matter how services and applications are delivered, they have to reside on physical infrastructure somewhere. So even if enterprises of all stripes start shedding their local data centers for on-demand virtual infrastructure, it’s a safe bet that demand for enterprise-class hardware and middleware will remain vibrant for some time.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/a-new-era-for-data-center-hardware.html