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Volume 29, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

The recent suicide bombing in Istanbul and the Paris bombing last November killed and injured innocent bystanders and sent shockwaves around the globe. Such attacks also cause organizations to question international travel out of fear of putting their key executives and employees in harm’s way.

As the risk profile changes in some locations that were once considered safe, it is critical to reassess and more deeply examine company programs to protect business travelers abroad.

First of all, for companies and their insurance advisors, there is no substitute for great advance planning. If a company is contemplating overseas travel and can establish well in advance that there exists a need for key person insurance, the coverage is easier to obtain and more cost effective. The reality is that the heightened awareness around a dangerous trip often results in an insurance need being developed or uncovered with little notice. When this need arises, the underwriting process migrates from the traditional life and disability insurance market to the playing field of high limit or specialized risk underwriters.



Wednesday, 06 July 2016 00:00

FEMA: Beware of Disaster Related Fraud

CHARLESTON, W.va – West Virginians whose homes were damaged in the recent storms and flooding may encounter people attempting to cheat them by posing as inspectors, government officials, volunteers or contractors. These people may try to obtain personal information or collect payment for disaster assistance or repairs.

Please keep in mind that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees DO NOT solicit or accept money from disaster survivors. Many legitimate disaster assistance employees may visit your property such as insurance agents, damage inspectors and West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WV DHSEM), FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration staff.

Here are some tips to remember to safeguard against fraud:

  • Ask to see ID badges. All FEMA representatives will have a laminated photo ID. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anyone you encounter, please contact local law enforcement.

  • Safeguard personal information. Be cautious when giving personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers to anyone. FEMA will only request an applicant’s bank account numbers during the initial registration process. However FEMA inspectors will require verification of identity.

  • Beware of people going door-to-door. People knocking on doors at damaged homes or phoning homeowners claiming to be building contractors could be con artists, especially if they ask for personal information or solicit money.

  • Federal workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and SBA staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help to fill out applications. FEMA inspectors verify damages, but do not involve themselves in any aspect of the repair nor recommend any contractor.

  • FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams may be in your community providing information and assisting people in registering with FEMA or updating their files. The teams coordinate their activities with local emergency managers and make local law enforcement agencies aware of their presence. The teams always consist of at least two people, and may include employees of WV DHSEM as well as FEMA. They will always be wearing FEMA or WV DHSEM shirts and laminated photo IDs. Disaster Survivor Assistance teams never ask for or accept payment for their services.

Always use licensed and bonded contractors and ask for credentials. Use West Virginia contractors if you can. You can verify a West Virginia contractor’s license online at wvlabor.com/newwebsite/Pages/contractor_searchNEW.cfm. Never pay for anything in advance of work being done.

The consumer protection hotline for the Attorney General’s office is 1-800-368-8808.

Consumer Protection & Anti-Trust Division

P.O. Box 1789,

Charleston, WV 25326

Toll-Free: 1-800-368-8808

Phone: 304-558-8986

Fax: 304-558-0184


If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

Disaster survivors in Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Monroe, Nicholas, Roane, and Summers counties may be eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Survivors in those counties can register for FEMA Individual Assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), which is video relay service accessible. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have difficulty speaking may call TTY 800-462-7585. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time until further notice.

For more information on West Virginia’s disaster recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4273,  twitter.com/FEMA, facebook.com/FEMA and fema.gov/blog.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462- 7585.

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.

(TNS) -- The Delray Beach, Fla., Police Department wants its residents to know: They're watching.

The department begins construction next week of a control room on the second floor of the police department, where cameras strategically placed throughout the city will feed live images to officers. The goal, as part of a three-phase plan, is to watch the city more closely to prevent and deter crime.

"We're not Big Brother and this is not '1984,' " said Capt. Thomas Mitchell, who heads the investigative unit and is overseeing the technology initiative. "This is a prevention tool."

Several city buildings — such as City Hall and the police department — have been equipped with security cameras for years, but there has never been a central location to view the surveillance footage.



Thursday, 07 July 2016 00:00

FEMA Warns of Disaster-Related Fraud

(TNS) - As thousands of West Virginians are at their most vulnerable after a 1,000-year flood event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is warning of scammers who may attempt to cheat flood victims.

A FEMA media release said scammers may pose as inspectors, government officials, volunteers or contractors.

"These people may try to obtain personal information or collect payment for disaster assistance or repairs," the release said.

FEMA offered these tips:



The demand for high performance computing (HPC) is escalating in high compute workloads such as high traffic front-end fleets, MMO gaming, media processing transcoding and High Performance Computing (HPC) applications like seismic analysis for oil and gas, or trading in financial services.

Once reserved for the computational fluid dynamics of transportation vehicle design and seismic processing of the energy industry, HPC now supports high-frequency trading in financial services and enables more effective patient treatment in the healthcare industry.

Demand for HPC is growing faster than many corporate in-house data centers can accommodate, and enterprise IT teams don’t want to sacrifice convenient access to colocation facilities in order to access high density power and cooling solutions.



(Bloomberg) — Amazon’s cloud computing division remains “committed” to opening a London data center by early next year, even after the British public’s vote for the UK to leave the EU.

It will also offer local customers the option of hosting data in Germany or Ireland, a company executive said Thursday.

“Demand for all our services is growing across all Europe. For us it’s business as usual,” Stephen Orban, head of enterprise strategy at Amazon Web Services, said in an interview at a customer conference Thursday in Frankfurt.



(TNS) -- When public safety experts say "this is a good thing," it's usually a lesson worth learning.

Such was the case last week with a string of tornadoes that raked north-Central Illinois, including Pontiac, where seven people were injured.

"Thank God for today's technology because I think that helped saved a lot of lives," Livingston County Sheriff Tony Childress told The Pantagraph. "Everybody seemed to get warning about this storm and were able to seek safety. This could have been a whole lot worse."

Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell agreed. "When you see all of the damage here, the fact that nobody was hurt more seriously is a miracle."



During my trip to the Enfuse 2016 conference in May, I had a conversation with Paul Shomo, senior technical manager, Strategic Partnerships with Guidance Software. One of the things we talked about was the importance of companies taking a more data-centric approach to information security.

When we think about breaches, Shomo explained, malware and how it breaks through the network is what often comes to mind. To that end, social engineering is the primary tool for injecting malware. Hackers rely on the vulnerabilities of humans and software systems to break through the perimeter quickly, which gives them the ability to move around the network with ease. The malware and the hacker’s infiltration can go on for months without detection, and users have no idea, Shomo added:

Hackers don’t leave a lot of evidence like regular users do, so people don’t think enough about investigating breaches in terms of what users are doing on the network. A lot of times you can’t tell the difference between a hijacked user account that’s controlled externally versus an inside threat.



Cloud computing is the future of services, but most MSPs aren’t sure how to get there or how to get started. Amazon and Microsoft seem like the easy choice, but is the “one-size-fits-all” cloud really the right fit for your business? Commodity cloud has an unprecedented speed of delivery; there is no doubt about that. You swipe your credit card, and--viola--you’re done. But what’s next?

Try asking Amazon for advice, and you’ll start to see your professional service fees stack up high enough to give your accounting department a conniption. For a company that originally sold books online, you’d figure they ‘d be more than happy to help educate their customers on how to be successful. ... Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

That’s why companies like Rackspace have an entire business around managing other companies’ clouds. But how can the MSP get the same level of service and “fanatical support” without forking over thousands of dollars each month to a middleman (who may be competing for end user business)?



Pandemic planning seems to be a low profile area at the moment but if you think your organization is safe from a pandemic, think again. Ann Pickren overviews the subject and looks at what to include in your business continuity and disaster recovery plans.


Unlike a regionally defined epidemic, a pandemic is capable of spreading virtually anywhere on the planet. This means that a pandemic may not only impact your staff and operations, but could compromise businesses all along your supply chain, your customer base, remote plants and much more.

Pandemics have come and gone for centuries, with the modern world suffering three major influenza pandemics in the last century (1918, 1957 and 1968). The 1918 influenza pandemic lasted three years, killing more than 50 million people, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.