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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

(TNS) - A post that appeared on Facebook about 10 a.m. Wednesday declared “THIS IS AN EXERCISE” before detailing a mock emergency.


“There has been an imminent failure at the West Pass Dike. Diablo Dam has failed at 815. Newhalem and Diablo have been evacuated,” read the post from the Skagit County Department of Emergency Management. “Concrete and Hamilton have been evacuated and moved to higher ground. Evacuate to Concrete High School and Concrete Airport.”

As the post went up, an emergency coordination center on East College Way in Mount Vernon was already teeming with activity.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Dam-safety-drill-offers-chance-to-practice-emergency-coordination.html

Thursday, 17 March 2016 00:00

Your Site Has Been Hacked... Now What?

I get it, funds are limited and you probably think you’re too stressed out to even think about paying for website security protection. Your business is probably not “big enough” to be targeted by hackers and then again, what kind of destruction could they even cause? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Early on in my business (about 4 months in to be exact), the Foxtail Marketing website was hacked . We lost our traffic, our good standings with Google, and our site was left unsalvageable. Because the hackers had infected every aspect of our site, we couldn’t trust any of the old code. We had to bite the bullet and buy a new (and expensive) website, wipe our servers, change every password we ever created, and pray that we didn’t leave any backdoors for the hackers to get in again.

Just like a spare tire, you’ll never understand how bad you need website security until it’s too late. But likely for you, it’s not too late. The following guide should help you understand just how badly you need this security.

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/miketempleman/2016/03/17/your-site-has-been-hacked-now-what/

Thursday, 17 March 2016 00:00

BCI: The rising threat of a product recall

The rising threat of a product recall

The number of product recalls in the UK jumped by 26% to a new high of 310 in 2014/15 from 245 in 2013/14 according to a new study by law firm RPC.

The number of vehicle recalls rose dramatically in the last year after several high profile incidents within the motor industry. In the last year the UK has seen 39 different motor vehicle recalls, a 30% increase from the 30 recalled in 2013/14.

The scandal over General Motors’ failure to promptly recall cars with a potentially faulty ignition switch may have prompted other manufacturers to recall more swiftly and more frequently if they identified a potential problem with their car. US federal agencies claimed the fault caused up to 124 deaths. GM recently agreed to pay $900 million in criminal damages to settle the case and eventually recalled 800,000 cars.

Pressure on the motor industry has been further raised by the investigation into Volkswagen over emissions testing, which began in 2014. French carmaker Renault recently recalled 15,000 cars after questions were raised over emissions testing of its cars.

Product recalls may not feature high on the list of threats according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, but they are still a threat to some. Product quality incidents were a concern for 27% of respondents to a global survey and product safety incidents were a concern to 19%.

Gavin Reese, Partner at RPC, commented: “Sometimes it can take a huge scandal to break for an industry to sit up, take notice and ensure their products are watertight. Certainly the automotive industry is now very sensitive to accusations of being slow to recall faulty or non-compliant products. Car manufacturers are looking for irregularities more closely, as well as facing increased pressure from regulators and, therefore, it’s likely that 2016 will also see a high level of vehicle recalls.”

RPC also noted that the number of recalls relating to food and drink has significantly increased, by 50% this year from 56 to 84. After the horse meat scandal in 2013, the National Food Crime Unit was established which works to uncover incidents of food fraud in the UK. RPC says that the creation of this unit as well as the increasing importance being placed by supermarkets on their supply chains may have led to the rise in food product recalls in the last year.

Gavin Reese adds: “The horse meat scandal set off reverberations across the food industry and now a couple of years on tighter measures and an increased scrutiny have clearly made a big difference.”

Streaming analytics, self-service options, and embedding big data insights into the applications that drive the business are the new priorities for organizations as they evaluate their big data strategies.

That's according to a new TechRadar report from Forrester Research that looks at the state of big data in businesses today.

Enterprise organizations have reached a new stage in big data adoption, and in 2016 they will be looking to embed the technology into the applications that power their businesses via integration and APIs.

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http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/big-datas-priorities-streaming-analytics-self-service/d/d-id/1324701

The World Health Organization recently announced that the Zika outbreak was a “public health emergency of international concern”. The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus linked to serious neurological birth disorders. It is native mainly to tropical Africa, with outbreaks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It appeared in Brazil last year and has since been seen in many Latin American countries and Caribbean islands. Public Health England announced that four cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in the UK.  These cases are believed to have been ‘travel associated’ and not thought to have been contracted in the UK, though health officials expect to see more cases of travel associated infections.[1] As we operate in an increasingly global world, with a constant flow of employees traveling for business, how should your organisation prepare for this pandemic?

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http://www.everbridge.com/emergency-management-and-best-practices-for-the-zika-virus-webinar/

Today’s information security landscape is a constantly evolving beast. As attack vectors continue to grow, attacks become more frequent and attackers evolve to be even more sophisticated.

This is what we call “the new normal.”

As a result, the need to continuously adapt to an increasingly hostile environment has resulted in a significant change from the familiar security measures that kept us “comfortable” only a scant 5 years ago.

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https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/03/17/5-years-in-information-security-what-has-changed/

Intermedia's 2016 Crypto-Ransomware Report shows that ransomware is targeting bigger businesses and spreading within corporate networks, which spotlights a widespread gap in business continuity.

Intermedia has released its 2016 Crypto-Ransomware Report, which surveyed nearly 300 expert IT consultants for their perspectives on the scope and costs of ransomware. The experts' opinions contradicted conventional wisdom regarding the threat associated with ransomware: business downtime was ranked as a far bigger cost than the ransom itself.

The survey also found that ransomware is affecting bigger businesses and multiple victims within each business.

Key findings from the report include:

A ransomware outbreak creates two hard choices for businesses: Either spend multiple days recovering locked files from backups, or pay ransom to an organized crime syndicate.

In either scenario, though, businesses are likely to face significant user downtime that overshadows the cost of the ransom. 72 percent of infected business users could not access their data for at least two days following a ransomware outbreak, and 32 percent lost access for five days or more.

As a result, experts observed significant data recovery costs, reduced customer satisfaction, missed deadlines, lost sales and, in many cases, traumatized employees.

This widely observed downtime implies that few companies possess a business continuity solution for a ransomware outbreak. Such a solution enables users to remain productive during a ransomware outbreak. It offers the capabilities to instantly roll back an archive of files to their uninfected state and to immediately access those clean files from alternate devices.

Ransomware is targeting bigger businesses: Ransomware should no longer be seen solely as a threat to individuals and small businesses. Nearly 60 percent of businesses hit by ransomware had more than 100 employees, and 25 percent were enterprises with more than 1,000 employees.

What's more, the virus was observed propagating rapidly within corporate networks: 86 percent of outbreaks affected two or more employees, and 47 percent spread to more than 20 people.

Ransomware is a growth industry: The threat of ransomware is rapidly growing. According to Intermedia's report, 43 percent of IT consultants have had their customers fall victim to ransomware, 48 percent saw an increase in ransomware-related support inquiries and 59 percent expect the number of attacks to increase this year.

To view Intermedia's complete ransomware report, click here.

While developers and IT operations professionals have been excited about the concept of DevOps, data center operators, the people who run the infrastructure for the teams upstream, haven’t generally been involved in the conversation. Jack Story, distinguished technologist at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, thinks that is a mistake.

And people make that mistake because there is a lot of confusion about what DevOps is and isn’t. In a session at this week’s Data Center World Global conference in Las Vegas, Story attempted to make the case that data center operators should be part of the DevOps process and explain what it is.

A lot of confusion about DevOps comes from the misconception that it is about tools and automation. “It is not about automating the processes that you have today,” Story said. “It is not a tool. It is a cultural and organizational change.”

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/03/16/why-data-center-managers-should-care-about-devops/

According to Frost and Sullivan, eight elements make a city “smart”: smart buildings, smart energy, smart mobility, smart health care, smart infrastructure, smart technology, smart governance and smart education, and smart citizens. Increasingly, city leaders are looking to the Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in technology to make their cities – and their citizens – work more efficiently and cost effectively. Smart building technology and sensor data analytics are being instituted in everything from lowering energy consumption to rethinking traffic flow to ordinary infrastructure maintenance.

Businesses, too, are adopting smart technology and sensor data analytics as a way to create better workspaces and improve employee productivity.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/articles/how-communities-are-using-smart-building-and-smart-city-technology.html

Everyone wants the latest, the greatest, the most cutting-edge technology. This is easy to do with a tablet or a smartphone but not when it’s an integrated enterprise data environment. In this circumstance, the only thing worse than falling behind the technological curve is throwing your processes out of whack with fork-lift upgrades.

This is why data infrastructure must evolve rather than change outright. Sometimes the evolution is quick and, yes, disruptive; other times it is slow, almost to the point where users don’t even know it’s happening. But overall, the change must be steady and purposeful or else the enterprise will find itself unable to compete in the emerging digital economy.

Sounds simple, right? It isn’t, of course. But even though each move must be weighed against broader architectural goals rather than simply adding more storage or compute power as in the past, there are still ways to break down the overall process into key steps while still maintaining the flexibility to alter the plan as needed.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/how-to-keep-enterprise-evolution-under-control.html