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Volume 28, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

HOB has published the results of a new survey which set out to quantify employee knowledge and understanding of their organization’s emergency procedures in the event of a natural disaster or an epidemic.

‘An Inside Look at Disaster Recovery Planning’ surveyed 916 employed people in five cities across the United States: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.

When asked if their place of employment has emergency procedures in place to ensure the security of company information and data, 40 percent of respondents stated their company either does not have systems in place to protect data in an emergency, or they are not aware of the existence of these procedures.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07508.html

Monday, 26 January 2015 00:00

Make resilience your 2015 resolution

As one of the goals for the New Year, companies should take stock of how resilient they are, and take steps to improve their ability to prevent disasters, and to recover should one occur.

“As part of their business continuity management, companies assess the risks they face, prioritise them and then put mitigation plans in place. That’s prudent and best practice, and something every board should insist is being done on an ongoing basis,” says Michael Davies, CEO of ContinuitySA. “In addition, I think that we all understand that the risk climate is becoming increasingly more complex, and the chances of a totally unexpected ‘Black Swan’ event are becoming more likely, that we think companies also need to see business continuity as a way to build a business that’s resilient by nature, intrinsically prepared to bounce back from anything. Companies should also become more proactive in avoiding disruptions associated with disasters rather than reacting to them when they occur.”
In fact, Davies argues, this type of approach can help executives and their boards enhance their oversight of the company, and discharge their obligation to ensure the company’s long-term sustainability.

The formal business continuity plan and management processes should provide the starting point for setting about building a more resilient organization, says Davies.

“Once you have done your best to pinpoint all the risks and put mitigation plans in place, then it’s time to put measures in place to help ensure you are prepared for the unexpected,” he notes. “Based on ContinuitySA’s own assessment of the risk environment and our experience with clients, we think the following seven initiatives will enhance organizational resilience.”

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1270.html

ISO 22318 is a guidance document developed by ISO to address Supply Chain Continuity Management (SCCM).  It has been created to complement ISO 22301 the specification for Business Continuity Management Systems and its associated guidance ISO 22313. 

Before Standards are finalised there is a process of review and comment that helps ensure the quality and consistency of the content they contain.

ISO 22318 despite being called a techincal specification is a guidance document that aims to help those managing BCMS programmes better address the challenge of Supply Chain Continuity.

...

http://www.continuityforum.org/content/news/181704/urgent-call-comments-supply-chain-continuity-iso-22318

GENEVA — The number of people falling victim to the Ebola virus in West Africa has dropped to the lowest level in months, the World Health Organization said on Friday, but dwindling funds and a looming rainy season threaten to hamper efforts to control the disease.

More than 8,668 people have died in the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which first surfaced in Guinea more than a year ago. But the three worst-affected countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — have now recorded falling numbers of new cases for four successive weeks, Dr. Bruce Aylward, the health organization’s assistant director general, told reporters in Geneva.

Liberia, which was struggling with more than 300 new cases a week in August and September, recorded only eight new cases in the week to Jan. 18, the organization reported. In Sierra Leone, where the infection rate is now highest, there were 118 new cases reported in that week, compared with 184 in the previous week and 248 in the week before that.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/world/africa/ebola-infections-dropping-in-west-africa-world-health-organization-says.html

Monday, 26 January 2015 00:00

How Chicago Solved Its Open Data Dilemma

In New York City, obtaining a public data set required an open records request and the researcher toting in a hard drive.

So grab a notepad, Big Apple, and let the Windy City show you how to do open data.

A recent GCN article describes how Chicago simplified the release and updating of open data by building an OpenData ETL Utility Kit.

Before the kit, the process was onerous. Open data sets required manual updates made mostly with custom-written Java code.

That data updating process is now automated with the OpenData ETL Utility Kit. Pentaho’s Data Integration ETL tool is embedded into the kit, along with pre-built and custom components that can process Big Data sets, GCN reports.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/how-chicago-solved-its-open-data-dilemma.html

Monday, 26 January 2015 00:00

Counterintuitive

“I always knew I was going to be somebody. But now I wish I had been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

In April 2014 at a conference on “Redefining Roles: Embracing the Patient as Partner,” one of the speakers, a Ph.D. and President of a division of UnitedHealthcare Corporation, began by taking a step back in time to recount the historical evolution of risk management practiced by the leading doctors of the past.

During the early settlement of the United States, the principal medical treatment consisted of “blood letting.”  In the 1700s, during the Yellow Fever epidemic, Benjamin Rush, a physician signatory of the Declaration of Independence, bled 100 to 125 people per day. Other treatments included “purging,” “sweat boxes,” “mercury ointments” and “medicinal hanging.”  The treatments sound worse than the illnesses.

Before anesthesia, medicine was a horror show, with surgery often resulting in death from shock.  Successful amputations were based on the speed and strength of the surgeon often at the expense of the fingers of surgical assistants.

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http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/counterintuitive/

The hybrid cloud is now the new normal in cloud computing. The whole point of a hybrid cloud is to design and customize cloud capabilities that address your customer’s unique needs. But today – MSPs typically offer a one-size-fits-all service level agreement. Customers will demand a service provider that is willing and able to customize the service level agreement to meet those unique needs of their organization so that they can take advantage of the flexibility, scalability, cost reductions, and resiliency that cloud computing offers. 2015 will be the year that customers demand customized SLAs.

Service Level Agreements (SLA) serve as a roadmap and a warranty for cloud services offerings. All cloud providers offer some type of standard, one-size-fits-all SLA that may or may not include the following, depending on your requirements:

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http://mspmentor.net/cloud-computing/012315/hybrid-cloud-new-normal-customers-will-demand-custom-slas

Friday, 23 January 2015 00:00

Sharing the plan with employees

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A new study titled ‘An inside look at disaster recovery planning’ has revealed just how little employees know about their organization’s planned response to a crisis. In a survey by HOB, 40% of respondents stated that their company either does not have systems in place to protect data in an emergency, or they are not aware of the existence of these procedures.

The report also revealed that, even if a plan does exist, 52% of employees are unaware of the details. This study shows just how important it is for the details of any plan that involves employees to be shared with them. The worst time to find out what to do in a crisis is once the crisis has occurred.

Over the last decade we have seen a tendency towards more flexibility working environments and a greater trend towards working remotely, however 45% of respondents noted that they either do not have the ability to access company information that will enable them to do so, or they just don’t know if they have access.

If working remotely is one of your possible responses to a crisis, does your organization have the capability to do this? If your office is out of action and Plan B is for employees to work from home, you might be in for a surprise if 45% of your employees suddenly find out they can’t.

“For most businesses, access to and the sharing of information is critical to ongoing successful operations,” said Klaus Brandstätter, CEO of HOB. “The survey revealed that most companies are unprepared to withstand the negative consequences of disrupted operations, as many employees won’t have access to the resources and information needed to remain functional in emergency situations. In today’s world with so many unforeseen pending disasters, it is clearly paramount that companies implement comprehensive disaster recovery plans as part of their overall business continuity strategy.”

http://www.thebci.org/index.php/about/news-room#/news/sharing-the-plan-with-employees-103954

Cosentry has expanded its disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering to help customers improve their data recovery times.

The data center services provider said its expanded DR service is designed to meet a full range of business recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO), with targets ranging from less than 15 minutes to several days based on application importance and budget.

"We anticipate that our customers will be able to implement a disaster recovery solution that meets their own specific requirements as it pertains to availability and the potential for data loss at a price that meets their budget," Craig Hurley, Cosentry's vice president of product management, told MSPmentor. "Our service expansion also looks to address the reality that many of our customers are looking to protect both virtual and physical servers."

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http://mspmentor.net/backup-and-disaster-recovery/012215/cosentry-revamps-dr-service-expands-draas-offering

The September arrests/detentions in Australia of suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporters who had allegedly been planning to kidnap random people, decapitate them and then drape their bodies in the group’s flag and post the entire horrific event live to the Internet has brought to the forefront one of the most serious yet least discussed scenarios in counterterrorism. We term it “Main Street terrorism” and by that we mean terror attacks not on a grand scale, but multiple small attacks carried out by individuals or very small groups in environments where we have traditionally felt safe.

The December hostage situation in Australia is another example. It was an attack on a soft target, a target that would not fit the “traditional” profile of being highly visible or connected to government or military operations, carried out by an individual espousing extremist beliefs but acting essentially alone.

Who remembers the pipe bombs placed in mailboxes throughout the American Midwest during spring 2002? A total of 18 bombs were placed with six of those exploding (injuring four U.S. Postal Service mail carriers and two residents) and 12 others discovered without exploding. Until the suspect was apprehended, how many of us changed our routine for something as mundane as getting the mail because, suddenly, that everyday activity had become potentially deadly?

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Main-Street-Terrorism.html