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Volume 28, Issue 1

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Jon Seals

Overcapacity in the international construction, property /casualty markets in the first half of 2014 has resulted in rate reductions of up to 30% for commercial insurance buyers, according to Willis.

This is primarily driven by benign loss activity and softening conditions in the global reinsurance market, which is having a trickledown effect to the primary insurance market, according to Willis’s Q3 2014 Construction, Property & Casualty Market Review. Over and above rate reductions, corporate insurance buyers are also benefitting from an increase in available natural catastrophe capacity.

With no withdrawals of capacity from the construction market in the last six months, capacity is at an all-time high, according to the report. At the same time the volume of construction projects in many parts of the world has reduced, intensifying competition between carriers for premium volume and market share in the construction insurance market.

...

http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/Overcapacity-ratereductions-construction-cover.php

When creating Evacuation, Incident Management or Business Continuity Plans the focus is usually on what you will do, how you will react and what actions you will take.  Unfortunately, those assumption (yes, those really are ‘assumptions’) don’t necessarily mesh with what may really happen.

First, consider your environment.  Are you in a multi-tenant building?  Your landlord (or their Building Management staff) has responsibility for the safety of all tenants – including you – and the preservation of property (your and theirs).  Your Evacuation Plan must mesh with those of the other tenants.  If not, the result of an evacuation may be chaos, with tenants vying for the same assembly points.

In a single tenant building you don’t own, the landlord/building manager often has the same responsibilities (check your lease).  Once outside the building, you may no longer have the authority to make decisions about when and how to return.

...

http://ebrp.net/whos-the-boss-when-emergency-services-arrive-at-your-facility/

Microsoft has announced that it has acquired InMage, an innovator in the emerging area of cloud-based business continuity.

Explaining the acquisition in a blog, Microsoft states:

“Customers tell us that business continuity – the ability to backup, replicate and quickly recover data and applications in case of a system failure – is incredibly important. After all, revenue, supply chains, customer loyalty, employee productivity and more are on the line. It’s also very complicated and expensive to do. CIOs consistently rank business continuity as a top priority, but often don’t have the budgets or time to do it right.”

“As the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, Microsoft is committed to solving this challenge for customers. This acquisition will accelerate our strategy to provide hybrid cloud business continuity solutions for any customer IT environment, be it Windows or Linux, physical or virtualized on Hyper-V, VMware or others. This will make Azure the ideal destination for disaster recovery for virtually every enterprise server in the world. As VMware customers explore their options to permanently migrate their applications to the cloud, this will also provide a great onramp”

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07284.html

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has announced that it has been named ‘Most Respected Training Resource of 2014’ at the prestigious Business Excellence Awards.

Voted for by a worldwide network of professionals, advisers, clients, peers and business insiders, the Acquisition International Business Excellence Awards celebrate individuals and organizations whose ‘commitment to excellence sees them exceeding clients’ expectations on a daily basis while setting the bar for others in their industry’.

Deborah Higgins, Head of Learning and Development at the BCI, said: “To be named Most Respected Training Resource of 2014 is a wonderful recognition of the dedicated and coordinated effort from BCI staff, BCI volunteers and the network of BCI Training Partners and Instructors who have invested in developing and delivering a world class learning experience. Winning this award will spur us all on to continue providing the highest levels of service and meet the challenges of accessing new and developing markets and promoting the profession of business continuity.”

www.thebci.org

DENVER – This month marks two key wildfire anniversaries, which serve as an important reminder that families need to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their property against wildfires. 

Twenty years ago on July 2, 1994, lightning sparked a fire on Storm King Mountain, just west of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The South Canyon Fire started out slowly, covering just three acres over two days. Then due to several factors including available vegetation, slope of the terrain and wind, the fire began a high-intensity, fast-moving front. While fighting the blaze, 14 firefighters lost their lives.

July 9, 2014, marked the 25th anniversary of the Black Tiger Fire in Boulder County, Colorado. The human-caused fire swept through residential areas, destroying 44 homes and burning almost 2,100 acres. At the time, the Black Tiger Fire was the worst wildland fire loss in Colorado history. As people continued to build in the Wildland Urban Interface, the Black Tiger Fire underscored the importance of homeowners taking steps to protect their homes against wildfires. The lessons learned from the Black Tiger Fire were a catalyst for many of the current recommended mitigation measures established by firefighting organizations.

In recognition of both anniversaries, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region want you to prepare yourself, your family and your property for wildfires.  Taking steps to mitigate not only protects you and your family, but also helps reduce risk to firefighters and other first responders.

Understand your Risk:

  • To determine your property’s risk, contact your local fire department.  They will be able to provide specific information about your community’s hazards, and may be able to offer an individual assessment on your home. 
  • If you live in Colorado, you may also check your property’s risk at the Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal

Protect your Property:

  • Create defensible space around your property:
    • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks – and don’t use these areas for storage of flammable items. This helps prevent embers from igniting these materials.
    • Keep lawns hydrated and maintained. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
    • Remove flammable materials within five feet of the home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch the house, deck or wood fencing.
    • Reduce vegetation surrounding the home’s perimeter from a 5-foot to 30-foot area and manage vegetation there to 200 feet or the property line, depending on the area’s wildfire risk.
    • The National Fire Protection Association’s "basics of defensible space and the home ignition zone" page on the Firewise site provides these and other steps to help homeowners prepare their properties to resist wildfire.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family:

  • Build an Emergency Kit and make a Family Communications Plan.  Visit www.ready.gov for preparedness checklists.
  • During a wildfire, listen to local evacuation orders.  Do not wait to see what will happen! Due to many variables, including winds, wildfires can change course and speed quickly.

For information on the current wildfire threat, visit the National Interagency Fire Center’s Monthly Wildland Fire Potential Outlook.  For additional information on wildfire mitigation resources, visit FEMA Region VIII’s Wildfire Mitigation Resources Page or www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness.

A timeline of some of the most significant wildfires within the six-state region covered by FEMA’s Denver regional office is available at FEMA Region VIII’s Wildfire Timeline Page.

In the beginning, experts said Big Data technologies would lead to the end of enterprise data integration, with data eventually moving into one, big in-memory or Hadoop system.

That was before the Internet of Things (IoT), with its never-ending stream of data. It seems the IoT is teaching Big Data humility.

A TechTarget article about a recent O’Reilly Media webcast includes this very telling quote from Mike Olson, co-founder and chief strategy officer for Hadoop distributor Cloudera: "It turns out machines are much better at generating data than you or I. It's why big data is happening; it's why industry is so quickly being transformed."

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/why-the-internet-of-things-data-will-spark-an-it-revolution.html

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 20:32

How to be a Liaison

We talk about it, write about it, have it on our EOC organization charts, but what does it really mean to be a liaison? What are the best ways to use these people and positions?

My first military assignment was as an infantry officer serving in a combat engineer battalion. As such I supported a mechanized infantry battalion when they were on field maneuvers at Fort Hood, Texas. In that era we spent half of our time in the field so I got lots of experience in being a liaison in another organization’s command post. Yes, the principles are all the same.

The primary goal is to have eyes and ears on what is going on. Disasters are fluid, and discerning the situation and its ramifications is not easy. By having a person in another organization’s EOC or other facility physically, you have the ability to measure what is happening and the pace of the activity. And you have to discern if you will be providing resources or receiving them.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/How-to-be-a-Liaison.html

In recent months, as California officials started to calculate the fire danger posed by the state’s prolonged and historic drought, they tucked an extra $23 million into the Cal Fire emergency wildfire budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, bringing its total to $209 million.

By July 6 – just days into the fiscal year – the agency already had spent $13.9 million battling two major blazes, and is now bracing for one of the longest and most difficult fire seasons in memory.

“That’s just the first week, and we still have 51 more weeks to go,” said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for Cal Fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “We’re not even to the peak of the fire season yet.”

Berlant and top fire officials have been warning for months that the state faces serious peril from wildland fires this year, as the drought – stretching into a third year – has sucked dry much of the state’s brush lands and forests more quickly than in years with more normal precipitation levels.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/California-Drought-Sparks-Early-Fire-Season.html

Emergency officials across southwest Ohio say they are confident in the region’s emergency preparedness and ability to respond in the event of a crisis.

Since May, five tornadoes have touched down in parts of Ohio — the nearest being an F3 tornado that landed May 15 in Greene County to the northeast of Butler County, said Brian Coniglio, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

It’s events like that — as well as mass-casualty incidents, flooding, intense cold and periods of high flu activity — that emergency responders and hospital staff are training for in order to coordinate a quick and efficient response, said Jennifer Mason, emergency medical services and disaster management coordinator at Fort Hamilton Hospital.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/Disaster-Preparedness-Training-Coordination-Ohio.html

Nearly Half of Network Operations Staff Do Not Use Network Monitoring Tools, Limiting Visibility Into Network Events and Leading to Finger Pointing Among IT Groups

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Emulex Corporation (NYSE:ELX), a leader in network connectivity, monitoring and management, announced the results of a study of 547 European and US network and security operations (NetOps and SecOps) professionals, which found that 45% of IT staff monitor network and application performance manually, instead of implementing proven network monitoring tools. The study, which was conducted during the spring of 2014, also found that 77% of respondents have reported the root cause of a network or security event to their executive team that turned out to be incorrect. Overall, 73% of surveyed IT staff said they currently have unresolved network events.

Read the full executive summary report at: http://www.emulex.com/artifacts/fce1bd42-22cc-45fc-a326-89a372da04af/end_wp_all_visibilitysurvey_report.pdf

Download the infographic at: http://www.emulex.com/artifacts/6cd7e797-1f47-4429-8de9-24cf3b0a6c71/end_ad_all_visibilitysurvey_infographic.pdf

Other key findings from the survey:

Attribution Often Incorrect

  • 79% of the surveyed organisations have experienced network events that were attributed to the wrong IT group.
  • 87% of respondents said that, at least once, they had to report the root cause of a network or security issue to their management but found that they didn’t have the information required to be 100% accurate in their assessment.
  • More than one-third (39%) said this has happened at least a few times.
  • 83% of respondents said there has been an increase in the number of security events they have investigated in the past year.
  • 81% of SecOps respondents indicated that their organisation has experienced a network security breach.
  • 27% of breaches were discovered without the use of alerting tools, through manual searches and user reporting.
  • 84% of respondents said their organisation has implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative
  • 26% of European respondents said they have no plans to monitor the network for performance issues related to BYOD. When combined with the fact that 45% of organisations are manually monitoring the performance of their networks, the growing amount of mobile device-generated traffic is on pace to overwhelm enterprise networks.
  • 70% of NetOps respondents indicated that they have had a critical network event that took at least one full business day to diagnose.
  • More than half of US respondents (52%) said it costs their organisation more than half a million dollars in revenue per hour when they have a network outage or performance degradation.

Security Events on the Rise

Growing Mobility Demands

Downtime Hugely Impactful

Executive Commentary

“IT is facing new challenges related to the growing use of software-defined networking, virtualisation and higher performing networks, as well as increasingly more sophisticated attacks on company IT assets,” said Shaun Walsh, senior vice president of marketing, Emulex. “The clear message from this survey is that one of the best tools for SecOps and NetOps professionals to have at their disposal is 100% network visibility that is tied to their detection management systems. It’s the combination of proactive management and the ability to do forensic analysis that will give these IT professionals the right tools to maximise application delivery, protect their corporate assets and avoid the IT blame game.”

Tweet This: New @Emulex Study Shows That Network Visibility Can Help Avoid the #ITBlameGame: http://ow.ly/yYbRM

Follow Emulex on Twitter at:http://www.twitter.com/emulex

About Emulex

Emulex, a leader in network connectivity, monitoring and management, provides hardware and software solutions for global networks that support enterprise, cloud, government and telecommunications. Emulex’s products enable unrivaled end-to-end application visibility, optimisation and acceleration. The Company's I/O connectivity offerings, including its line of ultra high-performance Ethernet and Fibre Channel-based connectivity products, have been designed into server and storage solutions from leading OEMs, including Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Huawei, IBM, NetApp and Oracle, and can be found in the data centers of nearly all of the Fortune 1000. Emulex’s monitoring and management solutions, including its portfolio of network visibility and recording products, provide organisations with complete network performance management at speeds up to 100Gb Ethernet. Emulex is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. For more information about Emulex (NYSE:ELX) please visit http://www.Emulex.com.

“Safe Harbor” Statement

"Safe Harbor'' Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: With the exception of historical information, the statements set forth above, contain forward-looking statements that involve risk and uncertainties. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or changes to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect any future events or circumstances. We wish to caution readers that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include the possibility that all or a substantial portion of the cost savings targeted by us will not be realized on a timely basis or at all even though we expect to incur charges relating to the cost saving initiative and that the share repurchases implemented by us may not be completed in whole or in part or within the expected timeframe. The assumptions on which the cost savings, share repurchase and capital return goals and expectations are based necessarily involve judgments with respect to, among other things, economic, competitive and financial market conditions and the impact of the cost savings initiative on our customers, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict and many of which are beyond the Company’s control. Furthermore, our proposed changes to the membership of our board of directors may not have the desired effect in helping us achieve and implement our business and strategic goals. These factors also include the possibility that we may not realize the anticipated benefits from the acquisition of Endace Limited on a timely basis or at all, and may be unable to integrate the technology, operations and personnel of Endace into our existing operations in a timely and efficient manner. In addition, intellectual property claims, with or without merit, could result in costly litigation, cause product shipment delays, require us to indemnify customers, or require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements, which may or may not be available. Furthermore, we have in the past obtained, and may be required in the future to obtain, licenses of technology owned by other parties. We cannot be certain that the necessary licenses will be available or that they will be obtainable on commercially reasonable terms. If we were to fail to obtain such royalty or licensing agreements in a timely manner and on reasonable terms, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. Lawsuits present inherent risks, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Such potential risks include continuing expenses of litigation, loss of patent rights, monetary damages, injunctions against the sale of products incorporating the technology in question, counterclaims, attorneys’ fees, incremental costs associated with product or component redesigns, liabilities to customers under reimbursement agreements or contractual indemnification provisions, and diversion of management’s attention from other business matters. In addition, the fact that the economy generally, and the network connectivity and visibility market segments specifically, have been in a state of uncertainty makes it difficult to determine if past experience is a good guide to the future and makes it impossible to determine if markets will grow or shrink in the short term. Continued weakness in domestic and worldwide macro-economic conditions, related disruptions in world credit and equity markets, and the resulting economic uncertainty for our customers, as well as the overall network connectivity and visibility markets, has and could continue to adversely affect our revenues and results of operations. As a result of these uncertainties, we are unable to predict our future results with any accuracy. Other factors affecting these forward-looking statements include but are not limited to the following: faster than anticipated declines in the storage networking market, slower than expected growth of the converged networking market or the failure of our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers to successfully incorporate our products into their systems; our dependence on a limited number of customers and the effects of the loss of, decrease in or delays of orders by any such customers, or the failure of such customers to make timely payments; the emergence of new or stronger competitors as a result of consolidation movements in the market; the timing and market acceptance of our products or our OEM customers’ new or enhanced products; costs associated with entry into new areas of the network connectivity and visibility markets; the variability in the level of our backlog and the variable and seasonal procurement patterns of our customers; any inadequacy of our intellectual property protection and the costs of actual or potential third-party claims of infringement and any related indemnity obligations or adverse judgments; the effect of any actual or potential unsolicited offers to acquire us; proxy contests or the activities of activist investors; impairment charges, including but not limited to goodwill and intangible assets; changes in tax rates or legislation; the effects of acquisitions; the effects of terrorist activities, natural disasters, and any resulting disruption in our supply chain or customer purchasing patterns or any other resulting economic or political instability; the highly competitive nature of the markets for our products as well as pricing pressures that may result from such competitive conditions; the effect of rapid migration of customers towards newer, lower cost product platforms; transitions from board or box level to application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) solutions for selected applications; a shift in unit product mix from higher-end to lower-end or mezzanine card products; a faster than anticipated decrease in the average unit selling prices or an increase in the manufactured cost of our products; delays in product development; our reliance on third-party suppliers and subcontractors for components and assembly; our ability to attract and retain key technical personnel; our ability to benefit from our research and development activities as well as government grants related thereto; our dependence on international sales and internationally produced products; changes in accounting standards; and any resulting regulatory changes on our business. These and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and are discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our recent filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, under the caption “Risk Factors.”

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