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Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

Colocation solutions are providing IT leaders with yet another way to streamline operations at the workplace. As more businesses aim to expand their ability to handle growing data and applications capacity, colocation has become the standard alternative to in-house data center investments.

Colocation providers help companies develop system architectures to support high density data center footprints associated with virtualization and consolidation efforts. If using an in-house data center, such activities often lead to significant heat generation and can necessitate significant investments in cooling infrastructure.

Data center colocation can also pay dividends by enabling organizations to mix and match facilities across one national platform. An interconnected multi-facility solution is ideal for providing the critical disaster recovery options.

Colocation solutions are providing IT leaders with an efficient way to streamline operations at the workplace. Read more in this Insights Blog >

The community can be law enforcement’s biggest resource when searching for suspects or gathering information. Agencies are able to leverage the eyes and ears of their residents when an emergency happens and more information is needed. But often citizens are not quick to report crimes or share information. They may be scared or possibly guilty of being involved in a situation. How do we remove the aspect of fear to utilize such a great resource when it comes to solving crimes and finding wanted suspects?

Anonymity is key to giving the community a safe place to share their information. In Texas, over 1.4 million anonymous tips have been submitted which resulted in 200,000 arrests and $1.4 billion of recovered property and narcotics since 1981[1]. Nixle Tip Watch allows residents to text information to law enforcement-anonymously. The Oakland Police Department was the one of the first city to adopt the anonymous tipping function with Nixle. As a current Nixle user, they needed to take another step towards “fuller and more protected citizen participation.[2]

...

http://www.everbridge.com/nixle-in-action-empowering-residents-through-anonymous-tipping/

Data center migrations aren’t something most people do every day. They’re typically a once-in-a-career event — twice if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it). No matter which camp you’re in, moving networks, servers, data and applications from one location to another tends to elicit a string of four-letter words.

Slow. Pain. Ouch. Nope. (Not the words you were thinking?)

This is for good reason.

In helping hundreds of companies migrate everything from single applications to full data centers, we’ve identified seven common mistakes people make during data center migrations, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/01/27/7-biggest-data-center-migration-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them/

EMC CEO Joe Tucci, responding to an analyst’s question on this morning’s earnings call about the status of the Dell deal, let it be known in no uncertain terms that the deal is going forward as planned.

Responding to a question (which starts at around the 39 minute mark) from Maynard Um of Wells Fargo, Tucci admitted that there has been a lot of noise about possible pitfalls in this deal, but he insisted the reports of problems have been largely based on bad information.

“This is a really big deal. And there is a lot of noise in the system. And there are a lot of people with lots of opinions. And a lot of them are not based on a lot of facts. As we are doing this, there’s a tremendously increased market volatility, and I think it’s really fair to say that this environment has not been kind to any security,” Tucci said in the call.

...

http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/27/emc-ceo-tucci-maintains-deal-with-dell-still-on-track-to-close-later-this-year/

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.

###

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.

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