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Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

(TNS) - When officials with the city of Lubbock’s Emergency Operations Center gathered at 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 27, they had a prepared list of objectives from emergency management to deal with large snowstorms.

The first two objectives were related to first responders: to make sure they were prepared — and for public safety services to remain active throughout the city.

And while things like equipment, routes for snow plows, communication and employee shift operations are being audited in the storm’s aftermath, city officials say the first two objectives were on target.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Revisiting-the-Emergency-Operations-Centers-list-of-objectives-during-Goliath.html

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Residents of 33 Missouri counties who have been affected by the recent severe storms and flooding may soon see Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams and home inspectors in their neighborhoods.

Those counties are: Barry, Barton, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maries, McDonald, Morgan, Newton, Osage, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster, and Wright counties.

The DSA teams offer survivors registration assistance, up-to-date information on their application status, on-the-spot needs assessments and referrals to help fill any outstanding needs.  Following an individual assistance disaster declaration, FEMA provides this mobile resource to help connect homeowners, business owners and faith-based and community organizations with the necessary resources to start the recovery process.

Home inspectors will also be in the field verifying damages for those who have applied for federal assistance.  Inspectors will contact homeowners and renters to schedule a time to meet to verify flood damages that occurred December 23, 2015 through January 9, 2016.

Inspectors are contractors who will display official photo identification. If the photo identification is not displayed, it is important to ask to see it. This helps prevent fraudulent activities.

Individuals or business owners that apply for a disaster loan with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may also be contacted by a loss verifier who will inspect the damaged property. 

Residents who were affected can apply for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.  Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362.  The application deadline is March 21.

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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.

 

In October 2013, Affinity Gaming, a casino operator based in Nevada, heard from customers that their credit cards had been hacked. Before too long, the company’s IT department concluded it likely suffered a data breach.

Within days, professional forensic data security investigators from Chicago-based Trustwave Holdings Inc. were analyzing the company’s system, and suggesting remedial measures.

That account is taken from a federal lawsuit that Affinity filed in Las Vegas. It accuses the IT security company Trustwave it hired to conduct a forensic investigation of failing to proscribe appropriate remedial measures and not removing the malicious malware. The suit states that within three months, a second data breach occurred. Affinity is suing Trustwave for fraud, fraudulent inducement, constructive fraud, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract and declaratory judgment.

The lawsuit, filed in late December and first noticed by Ars Technica, and poses an interesting test case of whether a security vendor can be held liable for not ensuring the complete safety of a company.

...

https://bol.bna.com/cybersecurity-lawsuit-poses-vendor-liability-question/

Fairfax County, Virginia is home to over 1 million residents across 390 square miles in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.. Since 2003, the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has embraced the reality that residents need to be prepared for major emergencies.

“Widespread emergencies like the Derecho windstorm of 2012 and the “Snowmageddon” snowstorm of 2010 emphasize that emergency responders are not always the first responders—bystanders and neighbors are often relied upon during and after disaster,” explained Jeffrey Katz of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Over 2,500 county residents have learned necessary skills for emergency situations. The 25-hour CERT course is delivered by the fire department and in coordination with the county’s Office of Emergency Management. CERT training is based on the national CERT program curriculum administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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http://www.everbridge.com/contactbridge-app-helps-fairfax-county-cert-volunteers-report-field-assessments/

While the rain keeps falling in Northern California, the state’s water supply is nowhere near bouncing back from a shortage caused by years of severe drought, and data center cooling technology that doesn’t use water is one way data center operators in the state can be part of the solution.

Emerson Network Power claims data center operators that installed its pumped refrigerant-based cooling system in North America have saved more than 1.4 billion gallons of water in the last three years. A traditional chilled water-based system uses about 1 million gallons of water to cool 1 MW of IT capacity in a data center for one year, John Peter Valiulis, VP of marketing at Emerson, said.

The savings estimate comes from a process the company recently went through with the California Energy Commission to get pumped refrigerant-based systems approved as accepted form of economization, or free cooling, under the state’s Building Standards Code, known as Title 24. The code requires new data centers to use economizers but until recently only specified air-side and water-side economization systems as appropriate ways to satisfy the requirement.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/01/22/emerson-claims-water-less-data-center-cooling-tech-saved-1b-plus-gallons-of-water/

Monday, 25 January 2016 00:00

The Cloud: A New Way to Conduct Business

At this point, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about whether IT infrastructure will change in the cloud, or even how it will change, but how data and business processes will change to suit the new reality.

Infrastructure, after all, is merely a means to an end, so the real measure of the cloud is how it will alter the things we do, not the resources we use to do them.

We are already seeing this effect in motion. Traditional applications like BI and CRM are not being ported directly to the cloud anymore, they are being recoded to suit the dynamic, resource-shifting realities that cloud computing brings to the table. At the same time, entirely new business processes are emerging to take advantage of new service- and application-layer flexibility to out-perform their legacy counterparts.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-cloud-a-new-way-to-conduct-business.html

Monday, 25 January 2016 00:00

Another Day, Another Hack

As if we needed another reminder of the rising threat of cyber attacks, the estimated EUR 50 million ($55 million) loss arising from a cyber fraud incident targeting Austrian air parts supplier FACC AG made us sit up and take notice.

As Bloomberg reports here, if the damages do indeed amount to $55 million this would be one of the biggest hacking losses by size.

Bloomberg also points out that the incident is made more intriguing because FACC is 55 percent owned by China-based AVIC.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=4332

China has become an increasingly important market over the last several years for server technology providers, and leading vendors such as Hewlett-Packard HPE +0.00% Enterprise, IBM IBM +0.81% and Intel INTC +0.00% are all making significant investments to get more than their fair share of the pie. Earlier this week, Qualcomm QCOM -2.13% announced a joint venture in China that I believe could be a game-changer in the server space over the long term. If executed effectively, the joint venture could help China get closer to the locally-sourced datacenter infrastructure that they are demanding.

By some estimates, China is now the #2 country for server sales worldwide and has been growing at a rate much faster than the overall market. And despite the recent economic slowdown, many believe that the datacenter business in China will continue to flourish as demand to expand the capacity of the country’s datacenters doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon. In an era where much of the world’s server hardware demand has stagnated, leading vendors are looking to opportunities like China to keep their businesses growing. But the Chinese government has made it clear that they want to move toward indigenous datacenter products and reduce their reliance on US and Western European vendors for long term advanced technologies.

In October 2015, Qualcomm publicly announced their plans to go after the server processor market—a market that is dominated today by Intel—and demonstrated their first pre-production server chip based on the low-power ARM architecture from ARM Holdings ARMH +2.33%. In that announcement, Qualcomm specifically mentioned China as a key target market for their server-focused efforts. Qualcomm’s announcement this week to create a joint venture agreement with the Chinese province of Guizou called Guizhou Huaxintong Semi-Conductor Technology Co. to locally design, develop and sell advanced server chipsets is a critical step that may help turn this vision into a reality. Both parties have invested $280 million in the joint venture, which will be 55% owned by Guizhou and 45% owned by a subsidiary of Qualcomm.

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/moorinsights/2016/01/22/qualcomms-joint-venture-in-china-could-be-a-game-changer-for-the-server-industry/#4cad961d6d94

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Alabama.

Assistance for the Territory and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency work and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities. (Source: FEMA funded, territory administered.)
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state, tribal, and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, territory administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

  • Application procedures for state, tribal, and local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and 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.

Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts available at http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary">www.fema.gov/media-library and http://www.youtube.com/fema">www.youtube.com/fema; follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fema  and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fema.

Powered by the CloudEngage Compulsion Marketing Engine, ActionPop takes advantage of deeply ingrained consumer behaviors combined with hyper-precise location & weather data

PORTLAND, Ore. – CloudEngage, the company powering the geo-responsive web, today introduced its latest website engagement tool, ActionPop.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160125/325333
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160125/325332

ActionPop is a form of virtual scratch-card for website visitors. Advanced layering technology allows customers to interact more deeply with promotions on a retail or dealer website by scratching or wiping the promo to reveal a hidden offer or other message. Because it requires interaction, customers engage with the content more than a normal promotion, and feel greater ownership of the content. CloudEngage has coined a term for this kind of consumer interaction: Compulsion Marketing.

"We've all played with those addictive lotto cards at some point. With ActionPop, your website visitors can now interact with unique textures via touch. Peel back wrapping paper to reveal a gift on a retail site. Pop virtual bubble wrap to uncover an event invite on a mobile device," said Paul Wagner, CloudEngage CEO. "The beauty of ActionPop is that it's layered on our existing localization platform, making it incredibly simple to create perfectly targeted offers. ActionPop is highly addictive and a lot of fun."

Once an ActionPop is created, CloudEngage partners can then add event triggers such as location, weather, gamification, and more. This means the messaging can be highly personalized, further enhancing conversion rates.

"ActionPop delivers a true 1-2 punch that a good conversion strategy requires," said Tom Williams, CloudEngage VP of sales & marketing, "First you get the attention of a qualified person, then you present an offer tailor-made for their demographic."

In addition to ActionPop, CloudEngage recently announced at the NRF Big Show a number of new enhancements to their localization platform, including a simplified content editor, asset management tools, and streamlined workflow.

"We're very excited with what 2016 holds for CloudEngage and our partners," said Wagner.

About CloudEngage

CloudEngage adds precise geo-fencing, weather triggers and content localization to existing CMS platforms. These tools significantly improve web and mobile conversion rates, and make it far easier for marketing teams to manage localized content. For more information, please visit cloudengage.com.