The data breach at the IRS that left the personal information of 104,000 taxpayers in the hands of thieves is the latest wrinkle in a mammoth problem faced by tax authorities: Identity theft and its crippling consequences.
An unprecedented surge in online tax scams by increasingly sophisticated criminals has challenged the IRS to respond quickly to get ahead of the fraudsters, especially during this year’s tax season after hackers targeted TurboTax, the country’s largest online filing service.
The vulnerability of taxpayers’ personal data was identified last fall by the IRS’s independent watchdog as the agency’s number one problem. Tax officials estimate that the government has lost billions of dollars in recent years to fraudulent refunds filed by hackers who steal personal information on tax returns, then use it to claim a refund in a taxpayer’s name before he or she files.
FEMA Officials Encourage Those With Concerns about Hurricane Sandy Flood Insurance Claims to Call 866-337-4262
WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) announced the start of Hurricane Sandy flood insurance claims review. The review is part of a broad process to reform NFIP claims and appeals procedures.
FEMA opened the Hurricane Sandy claims review process and began mailing letters to approximately 142,000 NFIP policyholders, offering them an opportunity to have their claims from Hurricane Sandy reviewed. In the review, policyholders who have not pursued litigation or already received the maximum amount under their policy will have an opportunity to have their files reviewed. FEMA will contact policyholders and explain how to request this review.
“Flood insurance issues arising from Hurricane Sandy are of great concern to FEMA,” said Deputy Associate Administrator for Federal Insurance Brad Kieserman. “We are committed to administering a program that is survivor-centric and helps policyholders recover from flooding in a fair, transparent, and expeditious way. I encourage anyone who suspects they may have been treated unfairly to call 866-337-4262.”
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Between 1980 and 2013, the United States suffered more than $260 billion in flood-related damages. Flood insurance is a vital service that protects communities from the most common and costly disaster we face, and those who purchase insurance must be able to count on it being there when it is needed to help rebuild their lives.
Policyholders who incurred losses from Hurricane Sandy from Oct. 27, 2012, through Nov. 6, 2012, and want their claim reviewed may contact FEMA by:
- Calling toll-free at 866-337-4262.
- Email by downloading an application online and submitting it to FEMAemail@example.com.
- Fax by downloading an application online and submitting it to 202-646-7970.
- For individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability using 711 or VRS, please call 1-866-337-4262. For individuals using a TTY, please call 800-462-7585.
As FEMA reviews Hurricane Sandy claim files, the agency will also begin overhauling the claims and appeal process and improving the customer experience. FEMA’s goals are excellent customer experience, responsiveness, transparency, low risk of waste, fraud and abuse, and continuous improvement. While settling these legal matters, FEMA is instituting additional oversight of Write Your Own insurance companies to hold them accountable.
FEMA will continue to work closely with Congress and federal, state, local, tribal, and community officials to ensure policyholders are paid every dollar to which they are entitled and to improve the flood insurance program going forward.
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.
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
It is the rare enterprise these days that does not have some form of shadow IT in its midst. If you think otherwise, maybe it’s time to do a little digging into what your business groups have been up to.
But while the consensus is that the enterprise should embrace shadow IT rather than fight it, there has not been a whole lot of guidance as to how this should be done, other than vague recommendations about becoming more proactive and transitioning IT to cloud brokerage.
Lately, however, the industry has started to see a trickle of actual solutions that enhance the enterprise’s ability to get a handle on shadow IT – not to combat it, mind you, but to help integrate it into a broader computing architecture.
By now you’ll have read the latest forecasts calling for a below-average Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA, Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, North Carolina State University, WSI and London-based consortium Tropical Storm Risk all seem to concur in their respective outlooks that the 2015 hurricane season which officially begins June 1 will be well below-norm.
TSR, for example, predicts Atlantic hurricane activity in 2015 will be about 65 percent below the long-term average. Should this forecast verify, TSR noted that it would imply that the active phase for Atlantic hurricane activity which began in 1995 has likely ended.
Still it’s important to note that the forecasts come with the caveat that all predictions are just that, and the likelihood of issuing a precise forecast in late May is at best moderate. In other words, uncertainties remain.
According to the 2015 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study, released Thursday, 42% of U.S. consumers believe that failure to protect personal and financial information is the biggest threat to the reputation of the financial firms they use. What’s more, three-quarters of respondents said that the unauthorized access of their personal and financial information would likely lead them to take their business elsewhere. In fact, security of personal and financial information is much more important to customers compared to a financial services firm’s ethical responsibility to customers and the community (23%).
Executives from financial services firms seem to know this already: 83% agree that the ability to combat cyber threats and protect personal data will be one of the biggest issues in building reputation in the next year.
The study found that this trend is already having a very real impact: 44% of financial services companies report losing 20% or more of their business in the past year due to reputation and customer satisfaction issues. When asked to rank the issues that negatively affected their company’s reputation over the last 12 months, the top three “strongly agree” responses in 2015 from communications, marketing and investor relations executives at financial services firms were:
Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, has been struggling through extreme storms and some of the worst flooding in years over the past few days. Roadways were blocked, drivers were left stranded, and homes were completely destroyed due to the flash flooding.
More than 1,000 residents have been displaced and area businesses have come to a screeching halt. Once the storms and flash flooding started, I reached out to some of my clients in the area to make sure they were okay and find out what they were doing to help affected individuals and businesses.
CHICAGO – Today, CNA announced an enhancement to its comprehensive package policy for mid-sized businesses, CNA Paramount®, to offer broader, more flexible, proprietary General Liability coverage, expanding the carrier's one-stop shopping experience.
The new enhancement includes industry-specific General Liability Extension Endorsements (GLEEs), providing customers with coverage designed for their business needs. Through these industry-specific GLEEs and CNA Paramount's modular structure, agents can customize coverages for the precise and unique needs of their clients.
"CNA's deep industry expertise allows us to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of our customers," said Katie Wilson, vice president, Underwriting. "This latest enhancement to CNA Paramount reflects our desire to address every aspect of a customers' insurance portfolio and safeguard their specific interests."
The seven proprietary GLEEs include:
- Architects and Engineers
- Financial Institutions
- Real Estate
- Basic General Liability
"Our new General Liability coverages, together with our proprietary Property coverages, make CNA Paramount the most flexible and contemporary package on the market," Wilson added.
CNA Paramount General Liability is currently approved in 46 states.
Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country's eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 13th largest property and casualty company. CNA's insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages. CNA's services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. "CNA" is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the "CNA" service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.
Fast tracking organisations to compliance readiness and reducing risk
LONDON – Apt Search, the UK’s first recruitment specialists fully dedicated to the data driven markets of e-discovery and information governance, and BigRed Consulting, UK-based information governance experts, have released a joint whitepaper to help organisations recruit successfully in the areas of e-discovery, security and information governance. The whitepaper, Information governance – the skills and knowledge organisations need, looks at current personnel challenges faced by organisations and career opportunities now open for individuals.
Twenty-eight percent of organisations  plan to hire for security, compliance and governance roles in 2015. Enticing good prospective candidates to the recruitment table with specialist knowledge of their career paths and aspirations – and the appropriate level of remuneration – is key. According to Apt Search, the shortfall of talent will create a significant gap between what the market is able to supply in terms of skilled staff and what businesses will need. The whitepaper, titled ‘Information governance – the skills and knowledge organisations need’, is targeted at organisations that want to boost their in-house capabilities in the areas of e-discovery, security and compliance. It provides strategies that can be put in place now to manage the expected skills shortfall.
Amit Pandit, Managing Director at Apt Search, explains, “Information governance is a broad discipline that touches on most aspects of the business. It has become a real challenge to find and hire the right people to lead it – 20 percent of CIOs in regulated industries are forecast to lose their jobs in the next few years through failures in information governance . In the past, companies were quite prescriptive. That view has more recently broadened. Organisations are now starting to find the most appropriate people with a wider skillset such as IT and e-discovery, and from project management or compliance backgrounds.”
Tony Ratcliffe, Consultant Director at BigRed Consulting Group, adds, “Information governance as a holistic discipline is swiftly gaining importance in organisations and the role can offer a pathway to the board level for the right person. In the US, the CEO and CIO are starting to be joined by the CIGO – chief information governance officer – and the Information Governance Initiative, the industry body for information governance, is actively consulting on the CIGO role. Contrary to popular belief, information governance does not only affect larger organisations. We have also seen that small to medium sized enterprises are now increasingly at risk of losing their larger, information governance savvy clients, if they are not able to provide proof of effective IG controls. These larger clients, compelled by their own IG programmes, are now pursuing evidence from their supply chains, particularly, in respect of security around their own information held by their suppliers and business partners. Greater awareness of information governance and specialist audits will help to identify risks and provide a path for business owners to address them.”
Key issues covered by the whitepaper include:
- The information governance challenge
- What makes a good information governance person
- Shifting importance of information governance at board level
- Tips for in-house recruiters in identifying the best candidates
- Tips for individuals seeking a role in information governance.
To download the free whitepaper please visit http://bit.ly/1PSt9K0
About Apt Search and Selection
Apt Search and Selection are the UK's first recruitment specialists fully dedicated to the data driven markets of e-discovery and information governance. Based in Central London, the team has extensive knowledge in delivering opportunities and talent across highly regulated markets, law firms and international consultancies. For organisations, Apt Search will assist in recruiting and headhunting highly skilled individuals for permanent, temporary and fixed term contract positions across Europe and Asia.
APT Search proactively supports individuals in the management of their long term career aspirations by analysing their skillset and identifying current and future opportunities in e-discovery, information governance, litigation support and data analytics.
Contact +44 (0) 203 643 0248 or visit www.apt-search.co.uk
BigRed Consulting Group provides strategic consulting on all aspects of information governance (IG), assisting businesses that wish to drive competitive value from information, comply with the numerous external legal obligations, such as privacy and retention, while minimising the associated costs and risks that come with growing volumes of information.
BigRed also offers interim leadership that will educate the business and steer the design and implementation of an effective and sustainable company-wide IG programme that will fit the unique business information landscape. Experienced BigRed consultants are able to provide impartial, tailored advice with recommendations based on the results of a comprehensive IG audit, as BigRed retains its independence from information management technology solution providers.
Contact +44 (0) 207 043 0740 for advice on a compliance audit or visit www.bigredcg.com
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution market expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.4% over the period of 2014-2019, driven by Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) adoption
- Miradore Online, the only remaining free MDM solution with support for all major platforms and unlimited amount of devices, growing faster than the market
- Largest growth opportunities in small businesses, nonprofits and the public sector
HELSINKI, Finland – Miradore, the pioneer in IT and mobile device management solutions, announces new Business and Enterprise pricing plans for its popular cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) suite Miradore Online. The new plans complement the free version, which is popular especially within SMEs and the public sector.
The company also reports 22% month-over-month growth in the number of mobile devices managed on the system. In 2014 Miradore’s revenue growth was 40.9%.
According to a recent report by analyst firm TechNavio, the MDM solution market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.4% in 2014-2019, driven by increasing BYOD adoption. Miradore Online continues to outpace the market growth significantly.
The new pricing plans offer features for organizations to take better control of their mobile data and devices, such as application management for Android devices, and premium support. Miradore Online continues to have a totally free plan which supports unlimited number of devices.
Miradore’s user base demonstrates another reason for the continuous growth – the company’s CEO Marko Ruusinen comments: “We’ve seen increasingly versatile types of organizations starting to use Miradore Online – small and medium size businesses, NGOs, non-profits, schools, universities and other public sector users. For them to select Miradore Online is not a surprise, as it remains the only totally free solution supporting all major mobile platforms, with an unlimited amount of devices to manage”.
“These new plans are paid-for, with a small per-device cost, as they bring numerous powerful features which enterprise users prefer. However, the free version will remain free, as it has been a great marketing tool for us – currently Miradore has the number one Google search position for the ‘free mdm’ searches in most countries. We don’t need sales people for Miradore Online, and so there are no upfront costs or minimums commitments; our premium plans start at €0.50 per device,” Ruusinen states.
With Miradore Online’s free plan, organizations of all sizes can manage and secure their data and mobile devices, whether they are company-owned devices, or employee devices that are approved for business use. Out of the devices managed by Miradore Online, iOS has 43.5%, Android 36.3% and Windows Phone 20.2% shared accordingly. Windows Phone’s large share is explained by the platform's popularity in Miradore’s home market, the Nordic countries.
Some of the organizations using Miradore Online include a retail chain with 195,000 employees, a European airline company and several hospitals. Launched in early 2014, Miradore Online is available directly on Miradore’s website as well as through leading IT service providers.
In the enterprise world, keeping a business afloat is not enough. The true mark of success comes when a company brings innovation and evolution to the forefront. And the most successful businesses find ways to constantly grow and change with the flow of the market.
But how does an enterprise go about identifying, fostering and delivering the right innovations? How is it possible to have this level of coordinated effort flow through departments and provide the outcome that the business needs? In a term, the answer is program management.
First, program management is not project management. Program management involves goals that generally affect the company as a whole—often the bottom line. And managing programs requires commitment. It involves long-term strategy and in many cases an ongoing dedication to improvement of processes, products and people.
Of course, program management isn’t something that can be started on a whim to bring about competitive change in a company. To help the enterprise begin a successful program management process, Satish P. Subramanian wrote the book, “Transforming Business with Program Management: Integrating Strategy, People, Process, Technology, Structure and Measurement.”