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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The three remaining disaster recovery centers in South Carolina will close Friday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m.:

  • Richland County Library Southeast, 7421 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia
  • Williamsburg Recreation Center, 2084 Thurgood Marshall Highway, Kingstree
  • Central Carolina Technical College, 853 Broad St., Sumter

Many services available at disaster recovery centers are also available by calling the FEMA helpline. Survivors of Oct. 1-23 storms and flooding can get help by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585; those who use 711/VRS can call 800-621-3362. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Survivors can use the helpline to:

  • Ask questions about FEMA decision letters.
  • Learn how to appeal FEMA decision letters. All applicants may appeal.
  • Inquire about the status of a registration.
  • Provide change of address, telephone and bank account numbers and insurance information to avoid disaster assistance processing delays.
  • Receive information about FEMA home inspections.
  • Get other questions answered about federal disaster assistance.

Applicants should have their nine-digit FEMA registration number and ZIP code if they want to discuss their application.

For the latest information on South Carolina flood recovery operations, visit scemd.org and fema.gov/disaster/4241.

 
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Thursday, 28 January 2016 00:00

Time for Post-Storm Claims Filing

Record-breaking Storm Jonas, which struck a large portion of the East Coast last weekend, was yet another reminder to have property insurance policies up to date and be familiar with claims procedures. To get the claims process moving, risk professionals whose business suffered damage should contact their insurer and broker as soon as possible.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, business owners need to:

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/time-for-post-storm-claims-filing/

OXFORD, Miss. – As the income tax season nears, December storm survivors don’t have to worry that the disaster assistance they received from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency or from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will boost their tax bill or reduce their Social Security checks or any other federal benefits.

Disaster assistance for temporary housing, essential home repairs, replacement of personal property or for other serious needs does not count as income. Disaster relief payments from the government or donations from charitable organizations will not affect Social Security payments or Medicare benefits. And, disaster recovery grants will not affect any recipient’s eligibility for Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Grants for disaster recovery assistance are not counted as income in determining eligibility for any income-tested benefit programs that the U.S. government funds.

As of Jan. 25, FEMA has awarded nearly $2 million in disaster assistance to Mississippians affected by the December disaster. Storm survivors have until March 4, 2016, to register with FEMA for disaster assistance by using any of the following methods:

  • By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Assistance is available in most languages. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired may call (TTY) 800-462-7585.
  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov by computer, tablet, iPhone, Android or other mobile device.
  • By 711 or video relay services, call 800-621-3362.

Eligibility for FEMA assistance is not dependent on income. The amount of disaster assistance an eligible applicant receives is based on the amount of loss and damage incurred as a direct result of the recent storms and flooding and the amount of their insurance settlement, if any.

After registering with FEMA, some survivors receive a disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration. By submitting the SBA disaster loan application, survivors keep the full range of disaster assistance available as an option. SBA may refer applicants who do not qualify for a home loan to FEMA for grants to replace essential household items and replace or repair a damaged vehicle. But if survivors do not submit their disaster loan applications, further assistance may stop. Survivors are not required to accept a loan offer.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

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’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

 
State/Tribal Government or Region: 

One of the fundamental problems with IT security is that the IT environment is becoming more complex, while both the volume and types of attacks that IT organizations need to defend against continue to grow. All that complexity increases the overall attack surface to be defended, which by definition means more vulnerabilities than ever can be exploited.

To help IT organizations discover those vulnerabilities, SafeBreach this week launched a namesake platform that allows IT organizations to use an automated playbook to launch scripted attacks to discover where IT vulnerabilities lie. SafeBreach CEO Guy Bejerano says SafeBreach has taken years of security research and encapsulated it in the form of a playbook that allows its platforms to launch an artificial attack. The platform then discovers which vulnerabilities are being exploited in those attacks, which allows IT organizations to remediate those issues before they are exploited by real cybercriminals.

Bejerano says as new attacks are developed, SafeBreach will continue to update its platform. That in effect creates something of a spy versus spy cycle of updates between SafeBreach and the hacking community, says Bejerano.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/safebreach-simplifies-discovery-of-it-security-vulnerabilities.html

Small businesses being affected by bad weather

Bad weather conditions are hitting the revenues of over two thirds (69%) of small to medium sized businesses in the UK according to new research from insurance broker Towergate. This is an increase of almost a quarter compared to last year when nearly half (46%) of businesses were affected.

The research found that SME finances are being hit by bad weather – with staff unable to travel to work (25%), reduced demand for goods or services (24%) and poor weather conditions preventing work (19%) topping the factors for lost earnings. This is compounded by the fact that over a third of SMEs (37%) don’t have a business continuity plan, and as a result lose two working days each year on average due to weather chaos.

The findings also reveal that over the past five years, more than a third (37%) of small businesses have experienced property damage from bad weather. Yet three in five aren’t insured against flooding, high winds, thunder and lightning, snow, ice or hail – risking footing the bill for £74,000 worth of property damage on average. With an estimated 5.4 million SMEs in the UK, the total bill from weather damage could be as high as £240 billion.

Adverse weather has consistently featured in the top ten of the Business Continuity Institute's Horizon Scan Report and in a global survey of business continuity professionals, more than half of respondents (52%) claimed they were concerned about the possibility of a weather related event disrupting their organization. 

Commenting on the findings, Drew Wotherspoon from Towergate, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and are responsible for livelihoods up and down the country. But too many firms are not protecting themselves against the erratic nature of British weather, leaving themselves open to footing the bill for substantial damages and losing out on business earnings.

It’s vital that small business owners take heed of weather warnings and take precautionary measures to allow them to weather the storm and get back to business as quickly as possible. There are few practical steps business owners can take to make sure they’re equipped - from putting a backup plan in place to taking out specific policies against the elements.”

As snow pounded the east coast of the United States this weekend, government entities rushed to do their part in helping citizens cope with the effects of the storm. And amid all those efforts were several jurisdictions that turned to a tool becoming more common in state and local government: maps.

“Unfortunately a lot of the best technology comes out of disasters or major events,” said Christopher Thomas, director of government markets for the geographic information systems (GIS) company Esri.

Among the mapping applications were internal dashboards, which government agencies used to coordinate snow plows and other crews and public-facing informational maps. Thomas said he sees increasing interest in use of GIS at all levels of government. In fact, he said, that's one of the biggest shifts in the field -- in the past, it used to be cities like Chicago and Los Angeles that paid attention to the latest trends in GIS.

...

http://www.govtech.com/data/7-Ways-Local-Governments-Are-Getting-Creative-with-Data-Mapping.html

KEMP, Texas – Industrial lighting specialist Larson Electronics has announced the release of a new 18 watt magnetically mounted LED spotlight constructed for industrial use and approved for outdoor environments.

The MLBLT-18W-LED-25 industrial LED spotlight from Larson Electronics is designed to provide a high output and ruggedly durable lighting solution for applications where corrosion resistance and waterproof lighting is required. This powerful LED spotlight produces 1,530 lumens of light, operates on 120 to 277 volts AC, and features an adjustable trunnion bracket mounted to a 100 pound grip magnet and 25’ of power cable. The 25’ of SOOW cord is fitted with an optional industrial grade cord cap for easy connection to common wall outlets. In addition to the powerful 100 pound grip magnetic base, this light features a unique dual bracket design that allows the operator to guide the light through a full range of vertical and horizontal movement. The housing on this unit is constructed of precision machined aluminum for excellent strength and durability, is powder coated for corrosion resistance, and has an IP65 rating for ingress protection against direct exposure to water jets from all directions. This LED light is equipped with an impact resistant polycarbonate lens for increased safety compared to glass lenses. This 18 watt industrial LED light is offered in a focused 25° spot beam for distance or a 60° flood beam for a diffused wide angle beam. This light provides a cool white light output with a color temperature of 5000K and a color rendering index of 85 for maximum illumination. This light is ideal for indoor and outdoor applications and industrial operations where wet conditions are commonly encountered. 

“This unit is an ideal work light for utility work and hunting, as well as industrial, military, and security applications,” said Rob Bresnahan with Larsonelectronics.com. “Equipped with a magnetic base and a dual bracket design, this light can be attached to any metallic surface and adjusted to focus the light where ever needed to provide optimum output.”  

Larson Electronics specializes in portable industrial lighting equipment, high mast light towers, explosion proof light fixtures, power distribution systems, LED lighting and more. To view their wide range of products, visit them on the web at Larsonelectronics.com or call 1-800-369-6671 for more information. Larson Electronics will be attending the 2016 OTC show in Houston, Texas from May 2nd to May 5th. Visit them at booth 6716 to inquire about their lighting solutions for many industrial applications.

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Major releases expand Talari’s routing integration, introduce data segmentation and deliver manageability from the cloud to ease SD-WAN deployment while improving branch security

SAN JOSE, Calif.Talari, the proven technology innovator and market share leader of Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions that help businesses perform brilliantly with the creation of a smart network that proactively manages capacity, quality and performance, announced today the availability of Talari Adaptive Private Networking (APN) 5.0 operating software and Talari Aware 2.0 centralized management and orchestration system. These two major releases extend Talari’s SD-WAN solution by delivering enhanced routing capabilities, improved integration with IPsec, cloud-based centralized SD-WAN management, cost-effective redundancy and multi-tenant capabilities.

"Companies are beginning wide-scale deployment of SD-WAN solutions in order to take advantage of low-cost broadband to support real-time application and bandwidth demand. But growth has been held back by the difficulty of deploying SD-WAN and a reluctance to add another appliance to branches, as well as perceived security issues with using broadband for sensitive data.” said Donna Johnson, Talari Senior Director of Products. "The introduction of Talari APN 5.0 and Talari Aware 2.0 delivers an easy and flexible way to deploy a SD-WAN solution that greatly simplifies SD-WAN branch integration, allowing customers to expand their adoption of emerging SD-WAN and cloud technologies at their own pace without requiring a rip-and-replace deployment model.”

Highlights for the releases include:

  • Support for BGP and OSPF routing protocols simplify deployments by eliminating static routing configurations.
  • VRF (virtual routing and forwarding) offers a data segmentation mechanism that enables a single device to securely host multiple customers or departments.
  • IPsec tunnel termination allows Talari appliances to actively integrate with traditional and popular IPsec infrastructures.
  • Standby WAN links enable efficient use of expensive wireless and satellite links in a manner that is cost-effective while maintaining maximum uptime.
  • Talari Aware in Amazon Web Services brings an easy-to-deploy, elastic SD-WAN management solution to the cloud that can be leveraged in a standalone manner or as a disaster recovery option for on-premises Talari Aware deployments.

Johnson continued, “These releases highlight Talari’s continued commitment to evolving our products and expanding the SD-WAN market by delivering a comprehensive and customer-proven solution that addresses the key challenges facing IT organizations.”

Talari APN 5.0 and Talari Aware 2.0 are available today.

About Talari

Talari, the leading provider of Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions, is changing the way companies think about, create and manage their WAN by giving the network brainwidth. Only Talari’s THINKING SD-WAN proactively manages capacity, reliability and performance, packet by packet—to keep critical applications running, reduce costs and liberate IT to innovate new ways for the company to be brilliant. To learn more about Talari, visit www.talari.com.

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Talari is a trademark of Talari Networks, Inc. Other company, product and service names mentioned herein may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Legal systems innovator Zylpha (www.zylpha.com) and Converge TS (www.convergets.co.uk), the UK’s only dedicated Cloud computing provider for law firms, have launched a joint report on the issues affecting IT in legal practices. Called The Legal Landscape 2016, the report uses case management experience from firms and organisations that are currently investing in innovation to both drive efficiencies and boost client care. The many insightful contributions included come from: Anthony Collins, DAC Beachcroft, Genus Law, Olliers, Poole Alcock, South London Legal Partnership and Total Conveyancing Services.

 

Amongst the key areas of concern that these organisations have for the year ahead, are: cybersecurity, agility and the digitisation of UK courts and online services. The contributors’ thoughts and opinions are summarised for each of these areas within the report.

One of the report’s main findings is that many firms are now re-examining risk as cybersecurity takes centre stage in the press. As law firms are under obligation to protect client data by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office, the processes for securing data and systems from cybercrime will be an unavoidable practice priority in 2016.

 

The report highlights how ‘agility’ will also become increasingly essential as location becomes less important. As clients are demanding that law firms are able to provide them with access to legal services anytime and anywhere, the ability to work from remote locations at times to suit clients needs will become a prerequisite. This in turn will drive concepts like mobile working and BYOD.

 

Another main theme of the report is the increased digitisation of the Courts and the growth of online services. Firms expect to see further improvements in processes and accessibility to case management files with more systems becoming electronic and digital in 2016. The government’s £700m investment in the Autumn Statement in November will also modernise the courts and justice system. Law firms will need to ensure they have the right electronic systems in place to be able to operate in this new world, although questions remain about whether it is the courts or firms that will be doing the ‘catching up’.

 

Commenting on the report Tim Long CEO of Zylpha notes, “Our aim, in this joint report, is to look at the key issues affecting law firms’ IT and to record case management experience. In contrast to many other reports, which broadcast the agenda only of those who produce them, we aim to deliver an overview from some of the key protagonists of legal innovation, both in practice and in-house. In short, their views are a snapshot of the rapidly evolving world of legal process automation and we hope they will either underscore or inspire the efforts of others in the legal sector. The key themes to emerge from the research are a real portent of those areas where legal IT faces significant challenges. From Cybersecurity and Agility through to the digitisation of the Courts there’s a great deal here to define 2016 as a tipping point in favour of legal technology. My thanks go to the contributors for their candour and high quality input.”

 

Converge TS Technical Director Andrew Taylor says, “2016 will be the definitive year for law firm technology and innovation.

Improvements to IT security will be far greater as firms seek to offer greatly enhanced data security to win more contracts. In addition, the move to ‘IT as a service’ will signal a change in the future make up of the IT team with many viewing it as a cash flow friendly OPEX ‘operational’ cost rather than a CAPEX ‘capital expenditure’ one. ‘Paying per user’ will become a far more cost efficient method of delivering technology as firms look to scale IT as necessary to meet business objectives.”

Those wishing to view a copy of the report online should visit: www.zylpha.com/legal-landscape-2016

LONDON – Sopra Steria, a European leader in business change and digital transformation, has today announced a strategic alliance with SAS, a leader in analytics, to deliver an end-to-end managed service and outcome based data and analytics offering. Sopra Steria is also the first strategic partner to meet the SAS Gold-level status requirements in the United Kingdom, due to their significant investment in and commitment to maintaining a comprehensive knowledge of SAS solutions and expertise in the Financial Services industry.

 

The combination of SAS’s breadth, depth and maturity with Sopra Steria’s business insight, scalability and long history in delivering SAS services will help form SAS Service Offerings that cover both on-shore and off-shore delivery models, underpinned by a SAS Centre of Excellence.

 

Melba Foggo, Sopra Steria’s Managing Director for Financial Services, comments: “Business analytics is a key driver of superior business performance. This partnership with SAS strengthens the development of our SAS centre of excellence and accelerates our ability to continually shape flexible service offerings that drive value for our clients.”

The strategic partnership will span across Customer, Fraud, Financial Crime, Credit Risk, Regulatory, Finance and HR & Operations functions and will include service offerings such as:

  • Platform Management: cloud-based hosting, architecture design, administration and modernisation
  • Data Management: data architecture, data integration and data quality
  • Visualisation: environment administration, in-memory data management, reporting and data exploration and analysis.
  • Analytics: Decisioning and Execution, Predictive Analytics, Model Automation and Model Management

Steven Toft of SAS says: “We are delighted to recognise Sopra Steria as the first Gold-level partner in the United Kingdom to meet the partner program requirements. Their expertise combined with our SAS platform will provide powerful business intelligence offerings for customers.”

 

Sopra Steria will continue to work closely with SAS to collaborate on the development of new analytics offerings and expand their solution portfolio beyond Financial Services to Sopra Steria’s other key lines of businesses.

 

About Sopra Steria

Sopra Steria, European leader in digital transformation, provides one of the most comprehensive portfolios of end to end service offerings in the market: Consulting, Systems Integration, Software Development, Infrastructure Management and Business Process Services. Sopra Steria is trusted by leading private and public organisations to deliver successful transformation programmes that address their most complex and critical business challenges. Combining high quality and performance services, added-value and innovation, Sopra Steria enables its clients to make the best use of information technology. With 37,000 employees in over 20 countries, Sopra Steria had pro forma revenue of €3.4 billion in 2014.

Sopra Steria Group (SOP) is listed on Euronext Paris (Compartment A) - ISIN: FR0000050809

For more information, please visit our website www.soprasteria.com

 

About SAS

SAS is a leading provider of analytics software products. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 75,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.