by Ben J. Carnevale
Business Continuity, Resiliency and Emergency Management Planning teams are often looking for additional ideas, programs and campaigns to help those teams be more prepared and ready to mitigate losses from potential disasters affecting the organization where they work, and the community where they work and live with their families.
Our staff believes that the America’s PrepareAthon™ campaign qualifies as one of the best resources for those teams to look for ideas and assistance for taking action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.
America’s PrepareAthon! ™ is a grassroots campaign for action within the United States to increase community emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. Throughout the year, America’s PrepareAthon! ™ helps communities and individuals across the country to practice preparedness actions before a disaster or emergency strikes.
Will 2015 be the year the cloud gets past the hype? While cloud-based file sharing and other cloud services are being adopted by almost all businesses, the cloud is still in the early stages of its technological revolution. Whether it is personal computers, the internet, or 3D printing, every new technology goes through a period of hype and disillusionment before the really productive innovation takes place.
Gartner calls this the Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies. According to Gartner, cloud computing has already passed the inflated expectations people had about it and everyone is beginning to become disillusioned by it. But that’s not a bad thing! Once the hype ends, real enlightenment can begin, and that’s where really useful and significant things get created.
So now that the hype over the cloud is over, is 2015 the year of enlightenment?
(TNS) — The tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., nearly four years ago left 161 people dead and much of the city devastated.
But the storm taught forecasters lessons that may have saved lives during subsequent disasters, including the May 2013 tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area, a National Weather Service official said Wednesday.
During a keynote address Wednesday at the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City, National Weather Service Deputy Director Laura Furgione discussed lessons the agency learned from a series of deadly tornadoes in the spring of 2011.
Among the many services state and local governments provide, few are as popular, as trusted or as essential as 911. Americans place roughly 240 million 911 calls each year, says the National Emergency Number Association, and access to 911 is nearly universal. Nevertheless, the system so many Americans rely on today to report emergencies and other problems stands on the brink of obsolescence.
While Americans are now accustomed to using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social-media platforms for the rapid-fire sharing of news and information, most 911 systems can't handle the texts, videos, data and images that we increasingly use to communicate.
That's because in many parts of the country 911 is still rooted in the landline-telephone-based infrastructure that gave the system its start in 1968. As of November 2014, just 152 counties in 18 states even had the capability for citizens to text to 911. And only a handful of states -- such as Iowa and Vermont -- have taken the leap to Internet-enabled 911, known as "next-generation 911."
(TNS) — Joplin, Springfield and Branson, Mo., have agreed to a set of procedures that will standardize how outdoor storm-warning sirens are activated and how they are tested.
The objective is to create a uniform standard across the region where none exists now. The adoption of the procedures by three of Southwest Missouri’s largest communities already has spurred other communities, such as Carthage, Bolivar, Pierce City and Monett, to participate in the guidelines.
The new procedures were unveiled during a news conference on Wednesday at the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management. Officials from the communities and representatives of the National Weather Service forecast office at Springfield were on hand for the announcement.
Company’s strong performance fueled by its award-winning Unitrends Cloud, and Recovery-Series and Unitrends Enterprise Backup Release 8.0
BURLINGTON, Mass. – Unitrends, a leader in enterprise-level cloud recovery, today released highlights of its full-year 2014 results. Unitrends reported the best financial results in the company’s history for both the fiscal year and the fourth quarter. The company grew 36 percent in the fourth quarter and 33 percent for the full-year 2014. Unitrends’ strong performance in Q4 marks the company’s 24th consecutive quarter of record growth.
A record year for product development fueled Unitrends’ growth in 2014. The company introduced Unitrends Cloud™, an enterprise-level, hybrid cloud data protection solution that works with its portfolio of physical and virtual backup appliances, and unveiled Release 8.0 of its Recovery-Series physical appliances and Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ virtual appliances – both of which were critical factors in the company’s success. Unitrends also increased its investment in VMware® and Amazon Web Services (AWS) migration, cloudbursting and disaster recovery through its release of Unitrends Boomerang™.
“Unitrends customers are demanding more than heterogeneous on-premise backup and manual archiving solutions – they now demand fully-integrated business continuity and disaster recovery,” said Kevin Weiss, CEO at Unitrends. “The introduction of Unitrends Cloud and Release 8.0 of Recovery-Series and Unitrends Enterprise Backup were critical steps in delivering on our commitment to all IT professionals – those managing virtual infrastructure, physical infrastructure and cloud: That they can have uncompromising confidence in their IT infrastructure. Our acquisitions and integration of PHD Virtual and Yuruware continue to pay benefits in the realization of our vision. And as wonderful as 2014 was, we’ve really only just begun to deliver value for our customers and our partners with our cloud-empowered data protection solutions.”
Key highlights for Unitrends in 2014 include:
· Corporate. Unitrends ranked No. 198 in the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 500™, an annual list of the fastest-growing public and private technology companies in North America. Unitrends also placed No. 1010 in Inc. magazine’s 33rd annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. Unitrends won a Silver Stevie Award in the “Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software – 100 or more employees” category at The Stevies™ 2014American Business AwardsSM . Unitrends was named a bronze winner in the “Customer Service or Contact Center Department of the Year” category in the 2014 Customer Sales and Service World Awards program. In addition to third-party recognition, Unitrends also made several important personnel announcements in 2014, highlighted by the addition of Brad Miller as its new chief financial officer in Q4.
· Cloud, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.Unitrends DRaaS was named a winner in the TMC 2014 Cloud Computing Magazine “Product of the Year” Awards.The offering was also named a silver winner in the 2014 Best in Biz Awards “Best New Service of the Year” category. Unitrends DRaaS and the company’s free BC/DR Link tool were named winners in the 2014 TMC Cloud Computing Backup and Disaster Recovery Awards. CRN included Unitrends in its first-ever Cloud Partner Program Guide, a list of the leading technology vendors with cloud-related partner programs designed to benefit members of the indirect IT channel and their cloud initiatives. Major cloud, business continuity and disaster recovery product news was highlighted by Unitrends Boomerang, which enables VMware administrators to use AWS to perform cloudbursting, migration and disaster recovery.
· Backup Appliances and Backup Software. Unitrends was included for the first time in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances. Unitrends Certified Recovery Suite™ (UCRS) received the “Best-in-Class” ranking in DCIG’s 2014-2015 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide. Twelve of Unitrends Recovery-Series appliances were in the top 25 appliances rated in DCIG’s 2014-2015 Integrated Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide. Unitrends was also included in CRN’s 2014 Virtualization 50, an “annual list of the virtualization vendors – established players and startups – that need to be on the channel's radar.”
Unitrends has jump-started 2015 by announcing a new CEO, Kevin Weiss, as well as further extending its data protection leadership with the release of the industry’s first flash-enabled physical backup appliance line and Hyper-V® support in its ReliableDR™ application-level recovery assurance line.
For more information about Unitrends, please visit: www.unitrends.com.
Unitrends delivers award-winning business recovery solutions for any IT environment. The company’s portfolio of virtual, physical and cloud solutions provides adaptive protection for organizations globally. To address the complexities facing today’s modern data center, Unitrends delivers end-to-end protection and instant recovery of all virtual and physical assets as well as automated disaster recovery testing built for virtualization. With the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership, Unitrends’ offerings are backed by a customer support team that consistently achieves a 98 percent satisfaction rating. Unitrends’ solutions are also sold through a community of thousands of leading technology partners, service providers and resellers worldwide. Visit www.unitrends.com.
SAN ANTONIO – BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (EMD) has received a contract by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) to provide immediate disaster case management services to any state, tribe, and territories in the U.S. affected by a natural or man-made disaster - like a hurricane, earthquake, terrorist attack or hazardous materials incident.
BCFS EMD will develop a national turnkey capability to rapidly deploy teams to provide immediate disaster case management services as tasked by ACF. If a disaster strikes, a team of trained disaster case managers and emergency responders can be deployed to the disaster site within 72-hours to begin meeting the needs of survivors and those impacted by the disaster. ACF deploys its Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM) Program when activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). ACF IDCM is one alternative available to FEMA for the Federal Disaster Case Management Program.
The BCFS Disaster Case Management Team (DCMT) will include case managers, community coordination specialists, logistics specialists, database specialists, and financial coordinators. Teams will be totally self-sufficient and supported by the EMD Incident Management Team (IMT) with full operational, logistical and planning capability. The BCFS teams will provide staffing for ACF's IDCM missions as directed by OHSEPR.
The DCMT will identify survivors’ most critical needs including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, immediate mental health needs; and secondary needs including child care, temporary housing, financial aid, prescriptions, transportation, utilities, and physical safety and security.
“We believe the effective development of deployable disaster case management resources by the federal government fills a critical role in national preparedness and recovery,” says Kari Tatro, BCFS’ Executive Vice President for Emergency Management Operations. “We are positioned to support the development of a truly unique, national infrastructure that is reflective of our existing deployment model for IMT and Disaster Medical Staffing Teams (DMST).”
BCFS EMD is highly experienced in deploying hundreds of staff for extended periods of response and recovery. Currently BCFS EMD maintains multiple deployable teams with various disciplines, including over 350 case managers, an all-hazards IMT and DMSTs.
The one-year contract includes four optional annual renewal years by OHSEPR.
BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations that operates over 74 different programs on a daily basis, covering a range of health and human services.
“Our organizational capacity in residential, community-based and emergency management services allows us to leverage the expertise and resources of our divisions during catastrophic incidents,” says Thelma Gutierrez, BCFS EMD Program Manager.
BCFS has extensive experience with emergency operations’ coordination and plan development through numerous responses to incidents, including the Branch Davidian Incident; Southeast Asia Tsunami; Hurricanes Emily, Katrina, Rita, Dean, Dolly, Gustav, Ike and Alex; Haiti Earthquake; Eagle Pass Tornado; FLDS Event; Texas Wildfire Response; and H1N1 Flu.
In 2012 and again in 2014, BCFS was tasked by ACF’s Office of Refugee Resettlement with providing turn-key emergency sheltering, including disaster case management services, to thousands of youth when an unprecedented number of unaccompanied, undocumented youth entered the United States. BCFS Health and Human Services provided comprehensive services - including case management, educational, medical, and recreation - for several thousand children.
BCFS HHS has remained at the forefront of every major disaster affecting Texas since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when BCFS HHS, at the request of the State of Texas, sheltered over 1,700 medical evacuees for approximately 8 weeks.
BCFS Health and Human Services has become a trusted partner of local, state and national organizations to provide comprehensive planning, management and response for disasters. For more information about BCFS’ Emergency Management Division, visit www.BCFSEMD.org.
Board members and C-suite executives across industries perceive the global business environment in 2015 as somewhat less risky for organizations than in the past two years. In “Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2015,” consulting firm Protiviti and the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative at the North Carolina State Univeristy Poole College of Management found that this is far from bad news for risk managers, as organizations are actually more likely to invest additional resources for risk management. Internal challenges like succession, attracting and retaining talent, regulation and cybersecurity are drawing the most attention, according to the report.
“Our survey findings indicate that operational risk issues are keeping many senior executives up at night,” said Mark Beasley, Deloitte Professor of Enterprise Risk Management and NC State ERM Initiative director. Indeed, for the third consecutive year, regulatory changes and heightened regulatory scrutiny ranked as the number one risk on the minds of board members and corporate executives, with 67% indicating that it will “significantly impact” their organizations. More than half of global survey respondents indicated that insufficient preparation to manage cybersecurity threats is a risk that will “significantly impact” their organizations in 2015, pushing cyberrisk up three spots from last year to the third-greatest risk.
If there’s one thing a lot of SMBs have a hard time outsourcing, it’s their HR operation, simply because of its critical nature. Add the notion of allowing the management of that operation to reside in the cloud, and the reluctance, for some, may increase exponentially. But to what degree is that reluctance warranted?
I recently had the opportunity to discuss that issue with Eric Sikola, general manager of TriNet Cloud at TriNet, a human resources services provider in San Leandro, Calif. As the founder of ExpenseCloud, which TriNet acquired in May 2012, Sikola is a vocal advocate of empowering SMBs with better HR options.
“I founded ExpenseCloud in 2008 because I wanted to help companies and their employees better manage their expense process,” Sikola said. “Having personally felt the pain of the old way of managing expenses, I knew there was a better way, and I wanted to help small- and medium-sized business.”
Sikola said when TriNet acquired Expense Cloud, it gained an additional level of innovation.
The data center is dead. Long live the data center.
This may be a bit premature, but if the traditional enterprise data center is not dead yet, it certainly is approaching the twilight of its years.
The latest word from 451 Research is that enterprise data center construction is essentially flat across the globe while the new crop of cloud-facing, hyperscale facilities is on the rise. Results for the fourth quarter of 2014 have the installed base growing a paltry 0.2 percent to 4.3 million facilities, propped up only by increased activity among the cloud, service provider and multi-tenant sectors. Enterprise IT still controls an overwhelming portion of the worldwide data infrastructure, some 95 percent, and maintains about 83 percent of data center square footage, according to the report. But for now at least, the trend lines are clearly pointing away from owned-and-operated data center facilities toward more cloud- and service-based activity.