On October 20, 2014, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation won dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit seeking damages arising out of three data breaches that occurred between 2008 and 2010. Dennis Palkon, et al. v. Stephen P. Holmes, et al., Case No. 2:14-cv-01234 (D. N.J. Oct. 20, 2014). Wyndham prevailed, but the litigation carries key cybersecurity warnings for officers and directors.
Businesses suffering data breaches end up litigating on multiple fronts. Wyndham had to defend itself against the shareholder derivative action and against a Federal Trade Commission action. In other data breach-related cases, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and state regulatory agencies have asserted jurisdiction. Regulatory actions only compound exposure from private civil actions.
Officers and directors play a key role in cybersecurity. Wyndham’s directors supported the company as it defended its conduct and procedures before the FTC. However, they also had to satisfy their fiduciary duties to assess whether the breaches were the result of negligent or reckless conduct by Wyndham’s officers, which may have required the company to file its own civil action against its officers. It is not difficult to imagine situations in which a Board of Directors determines that the company’s officers acted wrongfully or negligently and end up with a choice between suing the company’s own officers for their conduct or foregoing such a lawsuit and facing derivative litigation from shareholders.
The hyperscale data center industry has made no secret of its desire to leverage renewable energy to the greatest extent possible. When you start measuring density in megawatts, any solution that helps cut the power bill is welcome.
Lately, much of the activity has centered on wind, with top-tier data producers signing long-term agreements with wind farms near their newest plants, or in some cases building capacity on-site.
Google, for example, recently teamed up with Dutch utility Eneco to provide wind energy to the company’s new facility in Eemshaven in the Netherlands. The goal is to run the plant on 100 percent wind that is sourced from Eneco’s farm in nearby Delfzijl, and in fact, the data center is expected to draw the full output of the facility for the 10-year lifespan of the contract. The data center is expected to go on-line in mid-2016.
Earlier today, we published a report that dissects global risk perceptions of business and technology management leaders. One of the most eye-popping observations from our analysis is how customer obsession dramatically alters the risk mindset of business decision-makers.
Out of seven strategic initiatives -- including “grow revenues,” “reduce costs,” and “better comply with regulations,” -- “improve the experience of our customers” is the most frequently cited priority for business and IT decision-makers over the next 12 months. When you compare those “customer-obsessed” decision-makers (i.e. those who believe customer experience is a critical priority) versus others who view customer experience as a lower priority, drastic differences appear in how they view, prioritize, and manage risk.
Customer obsession has the following effects on business decision-makers’ risk perceptions:
- Now on board: CeBIT, EY, Salesforce, Accenture (through Smart Service Welt), EnBW and TRUMPF
- Digitalization of the economy: fuelling business networking
The CODE_n network continues to expand; with previous partners: CeBIT, EY and Salesforce now joined by Accenture (through Smart Service Welt), EnBW and TRUMPF, enhancing the innovation platform initiated by the GFT Group in 2011. All of the partners involved in the CODE_n alliance will also be part of the CODE_n event in Hall 16 at CeBIT 2015 in Hanover, Germany – a unique display of groundbreaking business models around the theme of ‘the internet of things.’
STUTTGART – “We’re extremely proud that all these renowned companies are becoming a committed partner to CODE_n,” states Ulrich Dietz, CEO of the GFT Group and the initiator of CODE_n. “We embarked on this concept of searching for the world’s most innovative startups in 2011, with the aim of bringing them together with established enterprises. CODE_n provides a neutral platform for novel business models to meet traditional industries and exploit any new potential together, with all sights on the digitalization of the economy. It’s a concept that works! And it fires people up: we still plan to go a long way with CODE_n.”
For Mark Smith, Managing Partner at EY, the focus lies in supporting founders of new businesses during the transformation process. He commented: “New companies are a catalyst of digitalization. Not just during the startup phase, but also during the first years of a company, or when it’s stepping into the international arena – all of which can be like running through an obstacle course. So as a consulting company, we see it as our duty to help startups on their path to growth. Also, working together with established companies isn’t always easy, with all the different structures and working practices.” Medium-sized enterprises and large companies often find it difficult to find young talents with new and unconventional ideas and gain their loyalty. Yet it’s precisely these people who are needed to develop innovative business models and not lose the connection with the market. “We want to combine experience with innovation, stability with dynamism, and through this provide sustainable growth impetus for Germany as a business location,” says Mark Smith. “For us, long-term collaboration with CODE_n is the ideal platform for this.”
For Frank Riemensperger, Country Managing Director of Accenture in Germany and co-chairman of the Smart Service Welt working academy, CODE_n is the ideal platform to leverage the expertise of Smart Service Welt to foster transformation in the economy. He commented: “We understand the ideas behind startups and the strengths of traditional industries. By pushing ‘networked products’ and ‘as-a-service’ solutions, there’s an opportunity for tremendous growth potential. Enterprises have a lot to gain by being open to the innovative ideas of young entrepreneurs.”
Salesforce is now in its second year as a CODE_n partner. Joachim Schreiner, Senior Vice President Enterprise Sales, commented: “Startups are close to our heart at Salesforce. The drive to continuously reinvent yourself and push ahead with innovations is part of our DNA, so startups are a good fit with Salesforce. We want to build the biggest possible innovation ecosystem and our cloud solutions can help new and established enterprises to pave the way forward into a digital future. We rub shoulders with startups and established business partners at CODE_n. It’s a place where we can discuss new business models together and provide tangible support. We’re also working with many of our customers on the transformation to Industry 4.0 and we can’t wait to see the solutions the startups will come up with in the CODE_n CONTEST.”
CeBIT has provided an arena for the innovative business models of 50 CODE_n finalists from the very beginning. Oliver Frese, Head of CeBIT at Deutsche Messe said: “When CODE_n appears at CeBIT, it really pulls in the crowds. In 2014 alone, there were several thousand visitors to the 5,000 square meters covered by Hall 16.” The theme for CeBIT 2015 – d!conomy – is totally in tune with the trend toward digitalization and its impact on the economy and society as a whole. It’s a mega-trend and it will keep us occupied for years to come. CeBIT and CODE_n should dictate the pace of developments and be a source of inspiration for all sectors of industry.”
Two partners who are new to CODE_n are EnBW and TRUMPF – both established companies who are currently transforming their own business models in preparation for a digital future. Uli Huener, Head of Innovation Management at one of Germany’s leading energy companies EnBW, Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, sees the new partnership with CODE_n as a logical part of this, commenting: “The energy industry overall is facing a pivotal time of change. EnBW will also find its course and develop new business areas which can only happen when led by innovation. The impetus for this comes from inside our company, but also from the outside, especially from young entrepreneurs. Under the umbrella of CODE_n, we can bring both sources of inspiration together – to the benefit of all parties.”
For TRUMPF, the motivation for becoming a partner of CODE_n lies in the central topic of Industry 4.0. TRUMPF, a global frontrunner in the hi-tech industry, manufactures machine tools, lasers and electronics for industrial applications. Dr. Peter Leibinger, Vice Chairman of the Managing Board at TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG stated: “We want to make a concerted effort to enter the digital economy, and for us, Industry 4.0 and the ‘internet of things’ are a daily constituent of our work. To accelerate internal innovation processes, we tap into inspiration from outside. And in the future we will also get this through the CODE_n ecosystem.”
And this is precisely what CODE_n has now developed into – a global ecosystem for digital pioneers, for which the starting point is the competition for startups, CODE_n CONTEST (submission closing date: December 14, 2014, connect.code-n.org). This has been complemented by CONNECT, SPACES and EVENTS. CONNECT is a digital platform that allows young and established companies to network; SPACES offers an opportunity for startups and innovation departments at companies to work together on future-oriented projects in an innovative environment; EVENTS will regularly stage inspiring events for business entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, starting in 2015.
Ulrich Dietz: “When the first wave of startups got underway 15 years ago, people said that the ‘new economy’ will quickly take the top spot from the ‘old economy’. There was a fundamental flaw in this antagonistic construct, with consequences we now understand. Here and now, it has to be the new and the old together! We have to build on given strengths: it’s our industrial core. Startups come along like a breath of fresh air, so the established companies have to hoist the sail to pick up momentum to carry them into the digital future. With CODE_n and our strong partners, our aim is to aid this process.”
Initiated by the GFT Group in 2011, CODE_n is a global innovation platform for ambitious founders and leading companies. Featuring elements such as the CODE_n CONTEST, EVENTS, CONNECT and SPACES, the overall CODE_n initiative offers an ecosystem designed to network digital pioneers and support the development of new, digital business models. CODE_n stands for “Code of the New,” the DNA of innovation.
CODE_n will bestow the CODE_n Award for the fourth time in 2015, this time going by the motto “Into The Internet of Things." For more information online go to www.code-n.org.
About the GFT Group:
The GFT Group is a global technology partner for future digital issues – covering everything from discovering innovation to developing and implementing sustainable business models.
Within the GFT Group, GFT stands for competent consulting and reliable development, implementation and maintenance of customised IT solutions. The company is one of the world’s leading IT solutions providers in the banking sector.
emagine offers companies the opportunity to staff their strategic technology projects both quickly and flexibly with capable experts. To achieve this, emagine has an international network of highly qualified IT and engineering specialists at its disposal.
Headquartered in Germany, the GFT Group has stood for technological expertise, innovative strength and outstanding quality for over 25 years. Founded in 1987, the GFT Group is represented in eleven countries with a global team spanning 3,100 employees. The GFT Group is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Prime Standard).
SAN FRANCISCO – Woodruff-Sawyer & Co., one of the top thirty independent insurance brokerage firms in the US, announced today that Risk Solution Partners (RSP), a highly recognized Hawaii-based company, has joined Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.
Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Risk Solution Partners offers high-quality insurance and risk management services and will operate as a subsidiary of Woodruff-Sawyer & Co. under the Risk Solution Partners name. This merger will enable Risk Solution Partners to improve its own customer and client services team while benefiting from Woodruff-Sawyer's expanded capabilities and expertise.
Woodruff-Sawyer and RSP have worked together for many years and complement each other perfectly: both firms are well established, privately owned and built upon integrity and client relationships. "We share the same commitment to integrity and service that our clients have come to expect," noted Charlie Rosson, Woodruff-Sawyer CEO. "This is a key strategic partner for our firm. RSP allows us to further strengthen our position and leverage our expertise and experience in this market segment. We are thrilled to be joining forces with such a high-quality firm."
"This is an exciting next step for us because we share the same values as Woodruff-Sawyer: a passion for excellence and a truly client-centered approach," said Brad Wagenaar, Partner Insurance and Surety at Risk Solution Partners.
"This collaboration will allow both firms to offer expanded value-added services and provide a comprehensive offering to our respective customers by combining Woodruff-Sawyer's international experience with the specialization of local markets like RSP's," said Chuck Shoemaker, SVP Construction and Partner at Woodruff-Sawyer.
About Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.
Woodruff-Sawyer is one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the nation, and is an active partner of Assurex Global and International Benefits Network. For over 95 years, Woodruff-Sawyer has been partnering with clients to implement and manage cost-effective and innovative insurance, employee benefits and risk management solutions, both nationally and abroad. Headquartered in San Francisco, Woodruff-Sawyer has offices throughout California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.
LONDON – Attix5, expert developer of world-class data protection software, today announced that its Attix5 Pro Peregrine V8 has been proven to be the fastest backup client available on the market. The Pro Peregrine V8, encompasses a new file indexing technology that eradicates the use of clunky methods such as outdated DB technology and increases backup speeds to up to 5 times faster than competitive products.
Initial backups of millions of files now can be completed in just minutes and even incremental backups will only take a fraction of this time. All of this latest innovation, research and development are a result of Attix5's Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) vision. Michael Law, CEO at Attix5 is confident that these speed improvements combined with recently announced DynamicRestore technology will disrupt BC and DR plans as we know it.
"You need fast backups for reduced Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and almost instant recovery for low Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Attix5 Dynamic, which is soon to be released, will have these components plus the flexibility and security of an agile, hardware agnostic backup product. Dynamic is a more cost effective, less resource intensive solution which enables businesses of any size to have a failsafe DR plan in place" commented Michael.
Some businesses never recover from a disaster - especially those with either no or a poor DR plan. An effective DR plan will minimise business downtime. Obviously it is impossible to predict the impact of a disaster or when it would strike, so one has to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Depending on the impact and nature of your business, downtime can range from seconds to days and for some business, one day could be catastrophic. An effective DR plan will not only have your business operational, but will ensure business as usual. Servers, data and Exchange back in place.
Recent innovation at Attix5 changed its focus from being a 15 year old onsite and cloud backup provider to a leader in disaster recovery and business continuity software and services.
Michael Law comments that, "Up until now many organisations didn't consider implementing proper DR plans for reasons like high cost, additional resources and changes to infrastructure. Attix5 has addressed all the above hurdles with its patent pending LiveRestore technology". It gives any business the ability to recover lost data and servers in minutes from an onsite or cloud backup location.
(TNS) — A powerful storm is bearing down on the Philippines, prompting residents to flee their homes in some central coastal regions still recovering from last year's deadly Typhoon Haiyan.
Typhoon Hagupit, which was packing winds as high as 149 mph over the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, is expected to make landfall Saturday, bringing heavy rain and storm surges of up to 13 feet.
Although there is uncertainty about the storm's route, forecasts by the Philippines weather agency show it hitting the eastern coast and barreling west along a trajectory similar to that of Haiyan, which destroyed about 1 million homes, displaced 4 million people and left more than 7,300 dead and missing in November 2013.
Do you remember the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where the Millennium Falcon is trying to escape an Imperial Star Destroyer? Han Solo says, “Let’s get out of here, ready for light-speed? One… two… three!” Han pulls back on the hyperspace throttle and nothing happens. He then says, “It’s not fair! It’s not my fault! It’s not my fault!”
Later in the movie when Lando and Leia are trying to escape Bespin, the hyperdrive fails yet again. Lando exclaimed, “They told me they fixed it. I trusted them to fix it. It's not my fault!” In first case transfer circuits were damaged, and in the second case, stormtroopers disabled the hyperdrive.
Ultimately they were at fault; they were the captains of the ship, and the buck stops with them. It doesn't matter what caused problems, they were responsible; excuses don't matter when a Sith Lord is in pursuit.
I am seeing a trend where breached companies might be heading down a similar “it’s not my fault” path. Consider these examples:
Keith Fehr wants to be ready for anything when the Super Bowl comes to the University of Phoenix Stadium in February. “We trained on structural collapse, on foodborne illness. We practiced a biological agent release, a chemical warfare release, explosions, multi-vehicle accidents,” he said.
As director of emergency management for the Maricopa Integrated Health System, an Arizona system that encompasses an adult trauma center, pediatric trauma, a regional burn center and two behavioral health facilities, Fehr said he has his bases covered. “The big game may never see a chemical weapons attack,” he said, “but you always want to push to the point of failure, to see where you could do better.”
Fehr got his right-to-the-edge training this fall at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), a FEMA teaching facility where some 14,000 first responders and emergency managers come each year to drill, pairing classroom time with intensely realistic exercises. Walking wounded stagger through a mock downtown. Radiation victims crowd the halls of a full-scale hospital. Hazmat teams deal with actual anthrax and ricin. It’s a hardcore program, with FEMA picking up all participants’ costs.
When a technology company does well, more power to it. When it does good at the same time, it warrants our attention. So when TCN, a provider of cloud-based call center technology in St. George, Utah, announced that it was releasing technology that would help visually impaired people get jobs in call centers, my attention was immediately grabbed.
On Tuesday, TCN announced the release of Platform 3 VocalVision, technology that enables visually impaired people to navigate TCN’s Platform 3.0 call center suite. The approach was to optimize the platform to be compatible with Job Access with Speech (JAWS), a popular screen reader that assists users whose vision impairment prevents them from seeing screen content or using a mouse.
In an email interview, Terrel Bird, co-founder and CEO of TCN, explained the roots of the project.