Business continuity priorities don’t come much bigger than having a properly functioning supply chain. Whether an organisation is in the private or the public sector, supply chains have to work without interruption, profitably and to the satisfaction of end-customers. Over time, observations and experience have helped put together the following list of tips for BC management of this critical part of all companies. As we progress through 2016, here’s what to look out for.
Nearly four-fold increase in computing capacity to innovate U.S. forecasting in 2016
NOAA’s Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputer System is now running at record speed, with the capacity to process and analyze earth observations at quadrillions of calculations per second to support weather, water and climate forecast models. This investment to advance the field of meteorology and improve global forecasts secures the U.S. reputation as a world leader in atmospheric and water prediction sciences and services.
The computers — called Luna and Surge — are located at computing centers in Reston, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. They are now running at 2.89 petaflops each for a new total of 5.78 petaflops of operational computing capacity, up from 776 teraflops of processing power last year.
“This significant investment in our operational supercomputers equips us to handle the tidal wave of data that new observing platforms will generate and allows us to push our science and operations into exciting new territory, said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA’s administrator. “The faster runs and better spatial and temporal resolution that Luna and Surge provide will allow NOAA to improve our environmental intelligence dramatically, giving the public faster and better predictions of weather, water and climate change. This enhanced environmental intelligence is vital to supporting the nation’s physical safety and economic security.”
Sullivan said the ultimate goal of investment in operational and research supercomputing capacity is to build resilient communities in the United States by arming people with reliable environmental intelligence to make good decisions, as NOAA works to build a Weather-Ready Nation.
The increase in supercomputing strength will allow NOAA to roll out a series operational model upgrades throughout 2016. For example:
- Upgrades to the High Resolution Rapid Refresh Model (HRRR) will help meteorologists predict the amount, timing and type of precipitation in winter storms and the timing location and structure severe thunderstorms.
- Implementation of the Weather Research and Forecasting Hydrologic Modeling System (WRF-Hydro) will expand the National Weather Service’s current water quantity forecasts at 3,600 locations to forecasts of flow, soil moisture, snow water equivalent, evapotranspiration, runoff and other parameters for 2.67 million river and stream locations across the country, representing a 700-fold increase in spatial density. This new information, provided nationally at the neighborhood scale, will enable forecasters to more accurately predict droughts and floods, and better support water resources decisions.
- Upgrades to the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model (HWRF) will mark the first time NOAA models have had direct connections between the air, ocean and waves to improve forecasts of hurricane tracks and intensity. This upgrade will increase the number of storms NOAA can forecast for at any given time to 8.
The increase in supercomputing capacity comes via a $44.5 million investment using NOAA's operational high performance computing contract with IBM, $25 million of which was provided through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy. Cray Inc., headquartered in Seattle, serves as a subcontractor for IBM providing the new systems to NOAA.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.
A new year brings new resolutions—commitments to achieve certain goals or make specific improvements. While it’s certainly a good time for pledging to lose those few extra pounds, it’s also a great time to make resolutions for improving your business continuity communications. Maybe your mass notification program could use an improved diet and more exercise in 2016?
Feeding Your Emergency Communications System
A successful notification program starts with “feeding” the service with the right data. Accurate, up-to-date contact information is essential for effective enterprise alerting. Consider these tips for improving your notification system’s data diet:
Why do we have business continuity management programmes? Is it because we want to make sure our organizations are able to respond to a disruption? Probably yes! It is common sense that we would want to be prepared for any future crisis.
In some cases however, it is also because there is a legal obligation to do so. Many organizations are tightly regulated depending on what sector they are in or the country they are based, and therefore must have plans in place to deal with certain situations. Furthermore, the rules and regulations that govern us are often being revised, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with which ones are applicable.
There is a solution however. The Business Continuity Institute has published what it believes to be the most comprehensive list of legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines in the field of business continuity management. This list was put together based on information provided by the members of the Institute from all across the world. Some of the items may not relate directly to BCM, and should not be interpreted as being specifically designed for the industry, but rather they contain sections that could be useful to a BCM professional.
The ‘BCM Legislations, Regulations, Standards and Good Practice’ document breaks the list down by country and for each entry provides a brief summary of what the regulation entails, which industries it applies to, what the legal status of it is, who has authority for it and, of course, a link to the full document itself.
The BCI has done its best to check the validity of these details but takes no responsibility for their accuracy and currency at any particular time or in any particular circumstances.
Muda. It’s the Japanese word for waste and the enemy in modern supply chain management and manufacturing. Since the 1980s, lean thinking has revolutionized the way businesses operate by seeking to eliminate muda and free capital held in wasteful assets—that is, assets that do not add value to the overall process (e.g. excess inventory or underutilized equipment). Lean thinking is important and helps businesses to improve their processes and their bottom lines. It does however beg one key question that risk managers and business continuity professionals must ask: “how lean is too lean?” Wantonly cutting out all perceived muda to save money can actually have the opposite effect down the road. Organizations with global supply chains inherit significant risk due to the potential impact associated with a supply chain disruption. In some cases, a disruption could threaten an organization’s ability to continue business or require large amounts of capital to recover. Organizations must fully examine their processes and supply chains to identify risk and make informed decisions on how lean is too lean.
This perspective—the third in the Risky Business Series—leverages a case study of the recent west coast dock worker strike to demonstrate the inherit risk of a supply chain that is too lean due to a virtual monopoly. This article also revisits evaluation and mitigation strategies from the first two Risky Business perspectives that organizations can use to reduce risk to an acceptable level.
Former Acxiom IT Rebranding Underscores Innovation in Hybrid IT Supporting Mission-critical Workloads for Increasingly Complex Business Challenges
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Ensono™, formerly Acxiom IT, today unveiled a new identity and strategy to provide progressive IT solutions that help CIOs maximize efficiency and evolve operations to meet strategic goals. Along with a new management team and bolstered investments in sales, marketing, and technology, Ensono is significantly expanding its integrated portfolio of services. These new services and innovation roadmap are designed to meet clients’ existing requirements as well as provide solutions for future business challenges.
“Our new name reflects a commitment to lead the industry in providing value to our clients today and tomorrow,” said Jeff VonDeylen, Ensono’s chief executive officer. “Ensono is built on more than 40 years of experience in managing clients’ complex business needs. That history combined with an experienced management team and significant investments in sales, marketing and technology will help pave the way for our growth. This is an exciting time for our company and we look forward to this next chapter.”
The name Ensono is derived from the Zen concept enso, which references “strength and creativity” as well as the Italian expression in sogno, meaning “in dreams.” The new name underscores the new direction for the company – serving as a trusted leader to manage costly, labor-intensive IT operations for its customers, in turn allowing them to focus on the strategic priorities to move their business forward. “It’s time for CIOs to spend less time in the data center and more time in the boardroom,” adds VonDeylen. Additional information on the new brand and company launch from VonDeylen is available on Ensono Insights.
Ensono’s new management team is led by VonDeylen, whose experience includes a post as president at Savvis, a CenturyLink enterprise cloud and hosted IT solutions company. During his tenure at Savvis, the company grew from $200 million to more than $1.4 billion. To launch Ensono, VonDeylen brought with him a team of seasoned experts from Savvis, including Brian Klingbeil as chief operating officer; Marc Capri, as executive vice president, Sales & Marketing; and Tim Beerman as chief technology officer.
The new identity marks a fundamental shift in market approach, which began when Ensono, formerly named Acxiom IT, was purchased by private equity firms Charlesbank Capital Partners and M/C Partners in July 2015. Charlesbank and M/C Partners have consummated more than $4.5 billion in investments over the last 20 years.
The company’s new tagline, “Operate for today. Optimize for tomorrow,” serves as the principle that guides Ensono’s engagement with clients as well as its product and services strategy. Each customer has a tactical need to reduce costs and improve efficiency of their current IT environment today. Through these gains in efficiency they are able to refocus talent and resources toward leveraging new technology and services to compete in today’s market. Ensono achieves this through its world-class service, supporting mission-critical workloads and helping clients manage and migrate between all systems – from mainframes to cloud and everything in-between. Additionally, Ensono is significantly investing in talent, tools and agile development methodologies, underscoring the company’s commitment to helping its clients leverage new technologies and services for the future.
“Ensono delivers innovative capabilities that have improved efficiencies of our service delivery model, reduced our reaction times and enhanced our overall customer experience,” said Steve Wyatt, director of IT Infrastructure and Computing Services, Sonoco. “Their self-service portal provides real-time performance data, dashboards, and drill-down capabilities that equip us with enhanced capabilities not previously available.”
Annual IT spending for markets in which Ensono participates is expected to be $109B by 20201. "Ensono's approach to the market addresses the growing requirement of companies seeking to balance the mission-critical mainframe management and open system support, while considering their transition options to the cloud," said veteran IT industry analyst, Brad Day of Enterprise Computing Advisors. "Whether a company is considering their mainframe footprint for both traditional and new workload deployments, or wants to transition to a hybrid cloud environment, companies like Ensono can implement a cost-effective solution by streamlining IT operations, allowing IT managers to optimize resource allocation and maximize efficiency."
Click here to see the multimedia news release for this announcement.
Ensono, formerly Acxiom IT, collaborates with its clients to deliver progressive IT solutions to help them operate their infrastructurefor today and optimize it for tomorrow. We specialize in supporting mission-critical workloads for the world’s most successful companies. Ensono works across all platforms – mainframe to cloud, and everything in between. We are ranked by Information Week 500 for our technology innovation and by the Uptime Institute for 100% availability. Ensono has 700 associates and is headquartered in greater Chicago, Ill. Visit us at www.ensono.com.
Over the past few years, disaster recovery has undergone a radical revolution. New data protection challenges combined with the arrival of cloud-based disaster recovery as a service solutions (also known as DRaaS) are forcing mid-size organizations to change the way they think about disaster recovery.
While spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and allocating too many precious IT resources to make complex disaster recovery solutions work was once the go-to approach, modern day disaster recovery as a service is much different. Let’s separate DRaaS fact from fiction so you can capitalize on these new solutions and eradicate downtime.
Myth #1 : I can’t achieve the RTO I want at the price I can afford
Perhaps one of the biggest myths is that companies can’t achieve their desired RTO and stay within budget. You know the drill: Tape is cheap but delivers RTO that doesn’t meet today’s standards and on-demand failover (or hot site) delivers the RTO they want but is too expensive.
DRaaS breaks this stalemate by allowing you to leverage the cloud or a paired offsite appliance to quickly boot up and virtualize critical applications in seconds to minutes without the six figure price tag ($$$) that includes expensive upfront hardware and extra infrastructure costs. So, yes, you can have hot failover for a little more than the cost of traditional tape backup.
Myth #2 Disaster Recovery is only for large enterprises
Not anymore. Industry data indicates that mid-size companies are just as concerned about downtime as enterprises. Spiceworks 2015 State of IT report echoed this concern with “72% of IT pros” identifying man-made disasters and incidents to be a moderate to high risk for their organization. From the dental office to the mid-size health care services company, “every company is a technology company” and they can’t afford downtime. The problem is that traditional disaster recovery has been too expensive, complex, and inflexible for mid-size organizations to consider.
According to ActualTech’s DRaaS trends and adoption report, the three main obstacles to on-demand failover adoption are: Costs, complexity, and lack of IT resources. New disaster recovery as a service solutions eliminate these barriers so you can build a more convincing business case for disaster recovery. With Infrascale’s DRaaS solution, a company looking to protect 2 terabytes of data across file servers, could have push-button failover for less than $30,000.
Myth #3 Scaling DR means “Mo appliances, mo money, mo problems”
Wrong. Here at Infrascale, we thought about solving the financial burdens scaling disaster recovery with appliances (what IT affectionately refers to as running out of space) creates for companies. It’s why we built cloud spillover technology into our disaster recover as a service solution, so you can unlock true cloud-costs savings and end the appliance overprovisioning and fork lift upgrade rut. Heres’s how it works:
Each backup arrives on the appliance and is copied to the cloud. And when a new backup arrives on the appliance, the older one is deleted from the appliance (BUT it’s still kept in the cloud). Which means that you’re appliance never fills up and you’re buying more cloud, instead of more appliances
It’s how our customers protect large data sets on a smaller appliance and reduce disaster recovery hardware and operational costs. The future of scaling disaster recovery doesn’t have to include appliances.
IT New Year's Resolution: Eradicate Downtime
You can have enterprise-grade disaster recovery for the cost of backup- you just need to pick the right DRaaS solution. Retiring the myths mentioned above will help you build the business case and pick the right DRaaS solution to eradicate downtime, simply and affordably.
Take an interactive tour of Infrascale’s disaster recovery as a service solution.
Flooding and slick roadways combine with ice and snow to challenge drivers across America this winter
LOS ANGELES – This winter's El Niño cycle could present unusual road hazards for some drivers who are accustomed to drier winters in certain parts of the United States, according to the Farmers Insurance® Seasonal Smarts Digest.
"Snow and ice alone make winter driving challenging enough, but we know from experience that the additional moisture El Niño brings often creates additional headaches for much of the country," said Paul Quinn, head of claims customers experience at Farmers Insurance. "Drivers in parts of the country that often escape the worst of winter weather need to be on high alert for unusual, and particularly hazardous, driving conditions."
El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is expected to create wetter-than-average conditions in the South, the Mid-Atlantic and southern portions of New England, as well as in California, Texas and Florida. Drivers in these areas will likely have to contend with more driving challenges than usual, including slick roadways, reduced visibility and potential flooding.
Farmers' data from 2013 through 2015 revealed that more than two-thirds (65 percent) of claims for cars skidding on snow and ice occur between January and March. While wet roads often account for fewer accidents during the first three months of the year — only 24 percent of claims — that number may increase in 2016 thanks to El Niño bringing wetter-than-average weather to wide swaths of the country.
Drivers can better prepare for the snowy and wet season ahead with the following tips, Quinn said:
- Replace Windshield Wipers: Blades should be changed out at least once a year to ensure you don't get caught blind in a rainstorm or snowstorm.
- Plan Ahead: If the weather calls for rain, snow or sleet, it may be best to remain where you are, especially if your vehicle is in a covered parking area and safe from other potential hazards, like flooding or downed trees.
- Check Your Braking Technique: Gradually pushing down on the brake instead of stomping on it may help reduce skidding on icy or wet roads. In general, drivers should also coast slowly toward a stoplight and brake gently, instead of accelerating toward it and braking at the last minute.
- Watch Out For Post-Storm Dangers: After a rainstorm or snow, potholes can fill with water, making them harder to see. Drivers should try to avoid potholes, if possible, which can cause serious vehicle damage.
- Keep An Eye On Your Paint Job: When paint starts to crack, etch or chip off, it exposes the car's body to moisture, which can start to rust and corrode the metal. Left untreated, rust can weaken the car's body, eat holes in it and expose vital parts.
Drivers Face a "Puff" Choice
Given the choice, many drivers would prefer to jump right into a warm car during the winter instead of waiting in freezing temperatures while their cars warm up. The result of this desire to combat the cold is what's known as a "puffer" car, which gets its name from the vapors expelled by the tailpipe while a car warms up in cold temperatures.
What many drivers don't realize is their quest for warmth can leave their cars open to theft, as puffer cars signal opportunities for would-be thieves. While it can be tempting to warm up your car, unattended, on chilly mornings, Quinn advises drivers to think twice before doing so, for the following reasons:
- Depending on where you live, starting your car and leaving it running may actually be illegal. For example, Colorado's "puffer law" allows law enforcement officers across the state to immediately ticket individuals who have left a vehicle running unattended for any period of time.
- Most modern engines don't need to be warmed up. In fact, engines that are kept idling too long can cause build-up on your spark plugs, which can make them less efficient, which wastes gas,
- Cold weather days accounted for seven of the top 10 highest days for auto theft in 2013, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. A running but unattended car makes it easier for thieves to jump in and take off with your car.
"A few minutes in a cold car might be uncomfortable, but it's nothing compared to the discomfort caused by your vehicle being stolen," Quinn said. "Drivers need to remember that safety and security should always trump a warm ride even in the cold of winter."
The complete Farmers Seasonal Smarts Digest, detailing winter's common and uncommon hazards as well as safety and preparedness tips to help keep drivers and their cars safe, can be found online at http://www.farmers.com/news/seasonal-smarts.
About the Farmers Seasonal Smarts Digest
The Farmers Seasonal Smarts Digest is released four times per year to provide drivers and homeowners with knowledgeable, straightforward and proactive tips to help mitigate potentially dangerous and costly insurance losses. The digest examines a three-year window (2013 and 2015) of Farmers Insurance's historical claims database to identify seasonal perils and the states where they most commonly occur.
About Farmers Insurance
"Farmers Insurance®" and "Farmers®" are tradenames for a group of affiliated insurers providing insurance for automobiles, homes and small businesses and a wide range of other insurance and financial services and products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with over 19 million individual policies, across all 50 states, through the efforts of more than 48,000 exclusive and independent agents and approximately 21,000 employees. Farmers Insurance Exchange, the largest of the three primary insurance insurers that make up Farmers Insurance, is recognized as one of the largest U.S. companies on the 2015 Fortune 500 list.For more information about Farmers Insurance, visit Farmers.com, Twitter and Instagram, @WeAreFarmers, or Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.
LANSING, Mich. – IDV Solutions, LLC, has launched an extension with the Sigma Group’s ActivistMap.com that will help command centers act faster when political violence or acts of terrorism threaten employees, the supply chain or operations.
The ActivistMap.com integration into the leading command center software platform, Visual Command Center®, will provide GSOCs with global incident monitoring for protest and terrorist activities including anarchist actions, radical animal and environmental groups, union strikes, as well as anti-capitalism and anti-government activities.
The information is verified by experts and includes exclusive bulletins from ActivistMap.com’s live intelligence network that provides actionable and predictable information. Activistmap.com works serves certain private sector corporations and a variety of law enforcement agencies and fusion centers.
IDV Solutions and ActivistMap.com will host a webinar to talk about the trends in civil unrest and how organizations can maintain business continuity when faced with disruptions. The webinar will be held at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 27 and registration is available online now by clicking here.
“As the threat from political violence and civil unrest increases at home and abroad, it is increasingly important to monitor for these risks that have the potential to have a huge impact on nearby operations,” said Ian Clemens, CTO and co-founder, IDV Solutions. “This new extension is part of our continued effort to find the best data sources available and bring them into our comprehensive platform for situational awareness and risk response.”
“ActivistMap.com monitors trends and threats to businesses and governments globally. With civil disobedience, protests, strikes, suspicious activity and other violence happening around the globe, it is critical to have the most up-to-date information that may impact customers,” said Steven Stanley, CEO and co-founder of The Sigma Group/ActivistMap.com. “We are proud to be a part of the new extension to IDV Solutions’ comprehensive platform.”
Visual Command Center brings together information and capabilities from disparate external and internal sources, to provide a real-time, common operating picture of a company’s assets, personnel and operations in relation to potential threats to those assets. When a risk is detected near an asset or employee location, Visual Command Center automatically generates an alert and provides tools to assess whether the risk is a threat and take immediate action to mitigate the impact of the threat.
Some of the world’s largest private and public organizations use Visual Command Center for corporate security, crisis response, event security, traveler and executive protection, supply chain risk management, field services risk management and more.
To request more information and to learn how Visual Command Center can support your organization, click here.
About IDV Solutions, LLC
IDV Solutions, LLC empowers organizations take command of risk by delivering command center software that is used to protect assets, ensure continuity of operations and optimize performance. Its Visual Command Center® software is an enterprise platform for risk awareness and response used in organizational functions such as business continuity, security, supply chain and operations to mitigate or eliminate the impact of risk. By helping organizations in the Global 2000 and government transform their command centers, they are able to excel at managing operational risk. For more information, please visit http://www.idvsolutions.com.
Activistmap.com is an actionable global incident monitoring resource. We focus on activities involving protests, terrorism, anarchist actions, radical animal and environmental groups, union strikes as well as anti-government and anti-capitalist actions. Activistmap.com utilizes international human resources who provide live information to our team of well experienced threat assessment analysts. Our team provide accurate, real time, sector specific information to assist you with your threat analysis. Activistmap.com provides a dynamic RSS Data Feed, daily email alerts and customized consulting and analysis. At Activistmap.com, we take our role seriously in helping you to protect your personnel and assets including supply chains, production facilities, retail outlets and administrative offices. Our clientele includes Fortune 500 corporations and our partners are local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies.
Modular offering increases visibility and control over power and cooling capacity and enhances remote management capabilities
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR) and the world’s leading provider of critical infrastructure for information and communications technology systems, today announced new capabilities and modules for its Trellis™ platform—including the addition of Trellis™ Thermal System Manager, a comprehensive environmental monitoring and management module that tracks the data center’s thermal profile to the device level. Trellis Thermal System Manager offers time savings on equipment installation, enables increased cooling efficiency, and helps to identify and eradicate hot spots. The updated Trellis platform is available globally.
This is the third major update of the Trellis platform data center infrastructure management (DCIM) since its initial release in 2012. Other new features include:
· Integration with Emerson Network Power’s Avocent® DSView™ management software to enable secure, remote management of data center infrastructure.
· New 2D/3D visualization capability, to allow local and remote users to rotate, zoom and view equipment at the room, rack and device level, and view rack-level airflow temperature profiles, to improve capacity planning and utilization activities.
· Performance and scalability enhancements specific to event processing, which address complex environments and growing needs in data centers of all sizes.
· User interface improvements, including a user-friendly landing page and global header bar.
· Enhancements to the Trellis power calculations, which reduce the risk of downtime due to power phase imbalances, and also reduce stranded capacity by balancing loads across all three phases.
“These are significant additions and enhancements to the Trellis platform, consistent with our modular, scalable approach to data center infrastructure management (DCIM), and further evidence of our ongoing commitment to the DCIM space,” said Enzo Greco, vice president and general manager of software for Emerson Network Power. “The data center is a complex, evolving environment, and no two facilities are the same. The Trellis platform, with its modular offerings engineered for deployment as needed, is designed to bring clarity to these spaces and maximize the value of our customers’ IT assets.”
Trellis Thermal System Manager enables real-time, device-level thermal monitoring with 3D visualization — including the ability to pan and rotate to better understand airflow temperature profiles. These capabilities can drive energy reduction efforts by eliminating wasted cooling, ensuring timely response to thermal events in order to avoid downtime, and reducing operating costs by increasing the accuracy of thermal metrics and planning.
Trellis platform integration with DSView management software enables simultaneous remote access and inventory management—a capability unique to the Trellis platform in the DCIM arena. Users can access secure, IP-based remote infrastructure management and control capabilities through the Trellis platform, streamlining and simplifying access from any IT devices.
About Emerson Network Power
Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson, is the world’s leading provider of critical infrastructure technologies and life cycle services for information and communications technology systems. With an expansive portfolio of intelligent, rapidly deployable hardware and software solutions for power, thermal and infrastructure management, Emerson Network Power enables efficient, highly-available networks. Learn more at www.EmersonNetworkPower.com.
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets around the world. The company is comprised of five business segments: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial & Residential Solutions. Sales in fiscal 2015 were $22.3 billion. For more information, visit Emerson.com.