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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

A new report from application specialists Camwood reveals that, in the wake of recent migrations following the conclusion of support for the Windows XP operating system, and with the accelerating pace of change in the IT department, IT directors and managers now see near constant change and migration projects as the new norm. Coping with this change has now become a primary concern for IT departments.

According to the report, 90% of IT decision makers believe that the pace of change in IT is accelerating, and that this presents a significant challenge. 72% find the pace of change in IT ‘unsettling’. 93% also agree that, in the new IT environment, a flexible IT infrastructure is key to their organisation’s success, with 79% believing that IT departments that don’t adapt risk demise.

...

http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/The-end-of-XP-and-a-new-normal-in-the-IT-department.php

BALTIMORE—The Food and Drug Administration is increasingly harnessing data-driven, risk-based targeting to examine food processors and suppliers under the Food Safety Modernization Act. At this week’s Food Safety Summit, the FDA’s Roberta Wagner, director of compliance at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, emphasized the risk-based, preventative public health focus of FSMA.

While it has long collected extensive data, the agency is now expanding and streamlining analysis from inspections to systematically identify chronic bad actors. FSMA regulations and reporting are revolutionizing many of the FDA’s challenges, but so is technology. According to Wagner, whole genome sequencing in particular has tremendous potential to change how authorities and professionals throughout the food chain look at pathogens. WGS offers rapid identification of the sources of foodborne pathogens that cause illness, and can help identify these pathogens as resident or transient. In other words, by sequencing pathogens (and sharing them in Genome Trakr, a coordinated state and federal database), scientists can track where contamination occurs during or after production.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/monitoring-food-safety-from-farm-to-fork/

Hurricane forecasters are sounding a warning bell for the U.S. East coast in their latest predictions for the 2014 hurricane season, even as overall tropical storm activity is predicted to be much-less than normal.

WeatherBell Analytics says the very warm water off of the Eastern Seaboard is a concern, along with the oncoming El Niño conditions.

In its latest commentary forecaster Joe Bastardi and the WeatherBell team notes:

We think this is a challenging year, one that has a greater threat of higher intensity storms closer to the coast, and, where like 2012, warnings will frequently be issued with the first official NHC advisory.”

WeatherBell Analytics is calling for a total of 8 to 10 named storms, with 3-5 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3624

The London Assembly Environment Committee has published a summary of the flood risks facing the UK capital.

24,000 properties in London are at significant risk of river flooding and the Environment Agency estimates that plans currently under development could protect 10,000 of these.

The Committee warns that the risks of flooding may be increasing. The effects of climate change in southern England could mean drier summers and wetter winters. More heavy rain in the Thames region would increase surface water risk and may lead to more river flooding in London.

Ways to reduce flood risk include sustainable drainage and river restoration, which create space for flood waters to be held higher in the river catchment and soak back into the ground. Allowing low-lying areas to flood safely at times of high water flow should protect homes, roads and businesses.

Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee says:

“London needs to bring back its rivers to protect itself from inevitable flooding in the future. The more we can restore natural banks to London’s rivers, the less likely heavy rain will cause the degree of flooding we saw in the early part of this year.”

“Heavy or prolonged rain locally or upstream can cause rivers to flood. Tens of thousands of properties are at high or medium risk of river flooding. This is not just from the Thames, but also from the many smaller rivers that flow into it. A lot of people don’t know where their local rivers are, until they escape their channels.”

Read Flood Risks in London Summary of Findings (PDF).

April 9, 2014

Leave the CIO Alone

Computerworld — My son is a chief technology officer. Some companies have a chief digital officer. Can chief data wrangler be far behind?

What's so bad about being a CIO?

There seems to be a trend to come up with a title to replace "CIO" that encompasses the latest direction of the profession. Titles are reflecting an emphasis on big data, social networking and data analytics.

This doesn't happen with other titles. Take the chief financial officer. I have yet to hear of a CFO becoming the chief mergers officer when the company contemplates its first merger or acquisition. The CFO's role changes to encompass some new duties but that officer remains in charge of finance. And I suspect that most CFOs would not appreciate a change in title every time their role was redefined. And yet, add big data to IT's functions and someone says we need a new title to reflect that. But we really don't. The CIO remains in charge of the enterprise's information and data, big or otherwise.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751249/Leave_the_CIO_Alone

CSO — Symantec has declared 2013 the year of the "mega-breach," placing security pros on notice that they stand to lose big from phishing, spear-phishing and watering-hole attacks.

The company released Tuesday its Internet Security Threat Report for 2013, which found that eight breaches exposed the personal information of more than 10 million identities each. By comparison, 2012 had only one breach that size and in 2011 there were five.

The number of massive data breaches in 2013 made it the "year of the mega-breach," Symantec said. Information stolen included credit card information, government ID numbers, medical records, passwords and other personal data.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751256/Symantec_to_CISOs_Watch_for_the_Mega_Breach_

Federal regulators on Tuesday approved a simple rule that could do more to rein in Wall Street than most other parts of a sweeping overhaul that has descended on the biggest banks since the financial crisis.

The rule increases to 5 percent, from roughly 3 percent, a threshold called the leverage ratio, which measures the amount of capital that a bank holds against its assets. The requirement — more stringent than that for Wall Street’s rivals in Europe and Asia — could force the eight biggest banks in the United States to find as much as an additional $68 billion to put their operations on firmer financial footing, according to regulators’ estimates.

Faced with that potentially onerous bill, Wall Street titans are expected to pare back some of their riskiest activities, including trading in credit-default swaps, the financial instruments that destabilized the system during the financial crisis.

...

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/regulators-set-to-approve-new-capital-rule/

Mistrust of the public cloud is driving many enterprises toward the pursuit of private clouds. For critical data and applications, this may seem like a no-brainer as it is wiser to keep the important stuff on trusted infrastructure.

Not all private clouds are the same, however, and unless you happen to be a platform developer, you’ll end up placing your trust in someone else’s technology, just as you do with physical and virtual infrastructure.

At the moment, it seems the private cloud is shaping up to be a battle between VMware and the OpenStack community, says cloud broker RightScale. And according to the firm’s latest survey, nearly a third of enterprises are looking to turn legacy vSphere and vCenter environments into private clouds. But that doesn’t mean the market is a lock for VMware. OpenStack deployments are on the rise, driven largely by a desire to avoid vendor lock-in, even as vCloud Director adoption is starting to flag.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/options-abound-for-the-private-cloud.html

LINCROFT, N.J. – In the weeks after a federally declared disaster, emergency teams from government agencies, nonprofits and volunteer organizations work together to help survivors make their way out of danger and find food, clothing and shelter.

After the immediate emergency is over, the long work of recovery begins.

And as New Jersey survivors of Hurricane Sandy have learned over the past 18 months, full recovery from a devastating event like Sandy may take years.

Communities throughout New Jersey have been working hard to repair, rebuild and protect against future storms. In many cases, the challenges they face are formidable.

At the invitation of individual communities and in partnership with the state, FEMA’s office of Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination works with residents and municipal officials in impacted municipalities to develop a strategy for full recovery.

For communities that require assistance, the FDRC can provide a team of recovery specialists with a broad array of skills. Among them: civil engineering, architecture, land-use planning, economic development, environmental science and disabilities integration.

The FDRC is activated under the National Disaster Recovery Framework, which provides a structure for effective collaboration between impacted communities, federal, state, tribal and local governments, the private sector, and voluntary, faith-based and community organizations during the recovery phase of a disaster.

Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator consult with impacted municipalities and assist with long-term planning, helping these communities determine what their priorities are and what resources they will need to achieve a full recovery.

In major disasters or catastrophic events, the FDRC is empowered to activate six key areas of assistance known as Recovery Support Functions.

The RSFs are led by designated federal coordinating agencies: Housing (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development); Infrastructure Systems (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers); Economic (U.S. Department of Commerce); Health and Social Services (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Natural and Cultural Resources (U.S. Department of Interior); and Community Planning and Capacity Building (FEMA).

Working in partnership with a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator and a Hazard Mitigation Adviser, the FDRC oversees an assessment of impacted communities and helps to develop a recovery support strategy. That strategy helps these hard-hit communities gain easier access to federal funding, bridge gaps in assistance, and establish goals for recovery that are measurable, achievable and affordable.

Here in New Jersey, approximately 12 communities have partnered with FDRC to prioritize their goals for recovery, locate the resources needed to achieve those goals and rebuild with resiliency.

In the Borough of Highlands, FDRC has assisted this severely impacted community in developing a plan for a direct storm water piping system that will decrease flooding in the low-lying downtown area. FDRC has also collaborated with the community on designing a more resilient, attractive and commercially viable central business district called the Bay Avenue Renaissance Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has initiated a feasibility study on their plan to protect the town from future flooding via a mitigation effort that includes installing floodwalls, raising bulkheads and building dune barriers.

In the devastated Monmouth County town of Sea Bright, FDRC worked with the community to create a plan for the construction of a beach pavilion that will serve as a year-round community center, library, lifeguard facility and beach badge concession. FDRC is also working with Sea Bright officials to develop a grant application to fund streetscape improvements in the downtown area of this beachfront municipality

In Tuckerton, FDRC worked with municipal officials on a plan to relocate its heavily damaged police station and borough facilities to a former school building that is much less vulnerable to flooding.

In partner communities throughout the state, FDRC subject matter experts are working to help residents envision a future that incorporates a strong infrastructure, increased storm protection and an enhanced environment that reflects the vision of the community.

http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4086/updates/sandy-one-year-later
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.

DENVER - Crisis counseling services will continue over the next nine months for survivors of the Colorado flooding disaster in September 2013 because of a $4 million federal grant. FEMA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration have awarded the $4,058,060 grant to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through the 2014 Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP).  

The new grant will allow counselors to continue door-to-door services and community outreach counseling programs. Since the disaster, Colorado Spirit crisis counselors have:

  • Talked directly with 18,178 people and provided referrals and other helpful information to more than 88,000;
  • Met with nearly 1,200 individuals or families in their homes.

CCP was established by the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide mental health assistance and training activities in designated disaster areas. The program provides the following services:

  • Individual crisis counseling and group crisis counseling to help survivors understand their reactions and improve coping strategies, review their options and connect with other individuals and agencies that may assist them;
  • Development and distribution of education materials such as flyers, brochures and website information on disaster-related topics and resources;
  • Relationship building with community organizations, faith-based groups and local agencies.