Early data suggests that the current 2014-2015 flu season could be severe, with related human resource business continuity issues for organizations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges immediate vaccination for anyone still unvaccinated this season and recommends prompt treatment with antiviral drugs for people at high risk of complications who develop flu.
So far this year, seasonal influenza A H3N2 viruses have been most common. There often are more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths during seasons when these viruses predominate. For example, H3N2 viruses were predominant during the 2012-2013, 2007-2008, and 2003-2004 seasons, the three seasons with the highest mortality levels in the past decade. All were characterized as ‘moderately severe.’
Earlier this year, Steelhenge launched the Crisis Management Survey 2014 with the aim of developing a better picture of how organizations are building their preparedness for a crisis. Questions ranged from strategic ownership of the crisis management capability through plan development and training to the tools used to support the crisis management team. Respondents were also asked about the challenges they face in creating a crisis management capability and how they rate their overall level of preparedness.
One of the most striking results from the survey, published in 'Preparing for crisis: safeguarding your future', was that less than half of the respondents rated the overall crisis preparedness of their organization as ‘very well prepared’ with 13% responding that they were either ‘not well prepared’ or ‘not prepared at all’. The greatest challenges to crisis preparedness cited by the survey respondents were lack of budget, lack of senior management buy-in, time constraints, operational issues taking precedence and employees not seeing crisis preparedness activities as a priority.
The crisis communications function was found to be lagging behind when it comes to crisis preparedness; while 84% of organizations surveyed had a documented Crisis Management Plan, less than a quarter of respondents recorded that they do not have a documented plan for how they will communicate in a crisis and 41% responded that they do not have guidance on handling social media in a crisis.
In the Business Continuity Institute's 2014 Horizon Scan report, the influence of social media came second in the list of emerging trends or uncertainties with 63% of respondents to the survey identifying it as something to look out for.
Other key themes to emerge from the Crisis Management Survey include:
- Embedding – Less than half of the respondents had a programme of regular reviews, training and exercising that would help embed crisis management within an organization and create a genuinely sustainable crisis management capability.
- Engagement – In the face of high profile crises befalling major organizations year after year, 29% of organizations taking part in the survey still waited for the brutal experience of a crisis before creating a plan. Crisis preparedness is still a work in progress for many, particularly with regard to crisis communications planning.
- Ownership – Ownership of crisis management at the strategic level amongst the survey population lay predominantly with the Chief Executive. However, responsibility for day-to-day management of the crisis management capability was spread widely across a broad range of functional roles with business continuity/disaster recovery and incident/emergency management featuring most with 50% between them.
The report concludes that the fact that a large number of organizations still do not have plans, and such a large percentage of organizations do not run a programme of development to maintain and improve their crisis management capability, suggests that too many organizations are not yet taking crisis management seriously enough. Any doubters as to the value of crisis management only have to speak to organizations who have suffered a crisis. As one survey respondent said "we have suffered a number of potential crisis situations including an actual terrorist attack. Good planning and preparation has stood us in good stead.
Would you put all your investment into shares in just one company? Or into just one piece of property? Or even just into gold? While people are free to put their money where they please, many financial investors have identified diversification of investment as a better solution. Similarly, in business continuity the right mix of safer measures with lower returns and more innovative strategies with higher returns can optimise resilience without requiring unduly heavy expenditure (which in itself could threaten business continuity). This portfolio approach requires a certain attitude and tools, but can pay dividends.
LOS ANGELES — In the most sweeping campaign directed at earthquake safety ever attempted in California, Los Angeles officials proposed Monday to require the owners of thousands of small, wooden apartment buildings and big concrete offices to invest millions of dollars in strengthening them to guard against catastrophic damage in a powerful earthquake.
The mandate to retrofit buildings was part of a raft of proposals made by Mayor Eric M. Garcetti to deal with what is widely viewed as a longtime failure of Southern California to prepare for a damaging earthquake. In a report issued Monday, Mr. Garcetti also proposed that the city take steps to create a new firefighting water supply system, using ocean and waste water, to help battle as many as 1,500 fires that could break out in a major earthquake. Such a temblor is likely to leave large parts of this region without water or power.
The retrofitting requirements must be approved by the City Council, and would have to be paid for by the building owners, with the costs presumably passed on to tenants and renters. The costs could be significant: $5,000 per unit in vulnerable wooden buildings and $15 per square foot for office buildings, Mr. Garcetti said.
It’s that time of year—security experts are looking ahead to the coming months and discussing their predictions. I have seen a number of predictions that I believe deserve further discussion, so over the month of December, I’ll be looking at some of those issues more in depth. Today, I’m going to take a look at cloud security.
A recent IBM study found that 75 percent of security decision makers expect their cloud security budgets to increase in the next five years. At the same time, according to MSP Mentor, 86 percent of CISOs say their companies are adopting cloud computing. So it makes sense that there will also be a greater interest in funding cloud security efforts.
But it isn’t just a matter of securing the data in the cloud. The cloud is also going to have a much stronger influence on the way we approach overall security practices, says Paul Lipman, CEO of iSheriff. That’s because the cloud is changing the entire business computing structure, which will cause it to have a ripple effect into security concerns. In an email conversation, Lipman provided his five predictions for the future of cloud security. In a nutshell, they are:
Knowledge Vault today announced the general availability of its namesake analytics-as-a-service platform that provides more insight into how documents are being consumed and shared beyond anything IT organizations could hope to accomplish on premise.
Knowledge Vault CEO Christian Ehrenthal says that starting with Microsoft Office 365 deployments, IT organizations can use Knowledge Vault to discover and audit content and apply governance policies to documents stored in the cloud. Next up, says Ehrenthal, will be support for Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Box.net.
Knowledge Vault itself makes use of a Big Data analytics engine based on Hadoop that runs on Microsoft Azure to analyze the content of documents that it accesses via the application programming interfaces (APIs) that various cloud service providers expose. That data then gets stored on top of Hadoop as a Knowledge Vault object.
(TNS) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency unveiled a broad series of reforms Friday to address concerns contractors conspired to underpay flood insurance settlements to homeowners after superstorm Sandy.
In a strongly worded letter to private companies that work for the government-run National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate said he had "deep concern" over allegations engineers falsified documents to deny claims.
"We must do better," Fugate wrote. "Policyholders deserve to be paid for every dollar of their covered flood loss."
The reforms include:
Building on previous suggestions, including the establishment of two specialized Ebola treatment centers, a task force on Thursday released its full report on how the state could better handle an outbreak of an infectious disease.
The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, created in October by Gov. Rick Perry after a man was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, called for new education efforts to help health care providers be better prepared to identify new diseases.
The panel’s 174-page report also recommended the creation of guidelines for handling pets that may have been exposed to infectious diseases, a mobile app to help monitor potentially exposed individuals, and the establishment of a treatment facility specifically for children and infants.
"The recommendations contained in this report represent a major step forward in protecting the people of Texas in the event of an outbreak of Ebola or other virulent disease," Perry said in a statement.
Making the case that the time has come for building a more efficient way to manage data center environments, Mesosphere today announced what it is calling the first data center operating system (DCOS) that turns everything in the data center into a shared programmable resource.
Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert says Mesosphere DCOS is based on an open source distributed Apache Mesos kernel project that turns virtual and physical IT infrastructure into a common pool of resources. At present, Mesosphere DCOS can be deployed on Red Hat, CentOS, Ubuntu and CoreOS distributions of Linux running on bare-metal servers or VMware or KVM virtual machine environments running on premise or in Amazon Web Services, Google, DigitalOcean, Microsoft, Rackspace and VMware cloud computing environments.
Liebert says it takes too much effort these days to deploy distributed computing applications. By abstracting away the underlying physical and virtual infrastructure, Mesosphere presents services and application programming interfaces (APIs) that ultimately serve to dramatically increase overall utilization of IT infrastructure.
Cost Effective Solution Enables West Windsor Township to Optimize Technology While Protecting Production and Disaster Recovery Environments
NEW YORK – NYI, a New York company specializing in customized technology infrastructure solutions, announces West Windsor Township, a municipality located in New Jersey, has selected its New Jersey data center to support production and disaster recovery IT environments. West Windsor Township leverages NYI’s MigrAssistservice, designed to help businesses successfully migrate from an existing data center into an NYI facility. The service is based on a multi-phased data center migration planning approach, which can be customized for each client to ensure IT requirements and specific timelines are met.
With its move to NYI’s New Jersey facility, West Windsor Township upgraded its IT infrastructure, moving from a tape back up configuration to a virtualized infrastructure and de-duplication system that replicates the township’s data offsite.
“NYI’s expert support proved quite valuable in our migration from an old, outdated IT architecture to one that leverages best-in-breed technology,” states Christopher Wade, Network and Systems Engineer for West Windsor Township. “The whole migration process took just a half a day; everything was right on point. NYI had the correct IPs set aside, racks correctly labeled and our security access was set up quickly - truly phenomenal service all around.”
“By moving to NYI’s fully redundant and secure facility, I was able to adhere to state guidelines and compliance regulations, as well as greatly enhance our business continuity plan - saving us time and money in the long run,” continues Wade. “As a government entity, we have to be ever-mindful of costs. NYI’s highly cost effective solution was a pleasant surprise for us, considering its state-of-the-art facilities, quality services and exceptional customer service.”
“We understand the complexities and costs involved in moving data environments and work closely with clients who either outsource their data center completely or move to hybrid configurations offering a mix of physical colocation and cloud,” comments Phillip Koblence, Chief Operating Officer of NYI. “NYI looks forward to growing with West Windsor Township and to the completion of its phased infrastructure migration to NYI’s enterprise-class cloud, which will ensure maximum availability and performance.”
NYI’s fault-tolerant data centers offer:
- N+1 or greater critical power and environmental infrastructure
- 120V, 208V, 208V 3-Phase and 48V DC power options
- Redundant Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
- Onsite Diesel Generators with minimum 72 Hour Fuel Supply
- SSAE16, HIPAA, PCI Compliant
- Zoned, triple pre-action fire suppression systems
Located in New York, New Jersey, Seattle and Los Angeles, NYI’s data centers deliver 100% uptime, and 24x7x365 on-site technical support. For more information about NYI, please visit www.nyi.net or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.