Summer Journal

Volume 29, Issue 3

Full Contents Now Available!

Jon Seals

Friday, 19 February 2016 00:00

Another Confusing Mold Insurance Decision

Are losses caused by the presence of, or exposure to, mold or fungus in a building covered by liability insurance?  That question has never been easy to answer, and at the end of 2015, the Texas Court of Appeals added further complication to the already confusing structure of mold insurance law in America.

In a case titled In re: Liquidation of Legion Indemnity Company, the Director of Insurance in the State of Illinois was acting as liquidator for Legion Indemnity Company.  The liquidator asked the court to disallow a claim by 23 governmental employees who had obtained a judgment against a construction company in a negligence action related to bodily injury the employees suffered from exposure to toxic mold during the course of their construction employment.  Claimants sought to collect their judgment from the insurance company under a comprehensive general liability policy issued by Legion.  Legion had been placed in liquidation prior to the claims for judgment being entered, so claimants filed a claim against the liquidator.

In the policy at issue, the insurance did not cover losses arising from either “contamination” of the environment by a pollutant or on account of a single, continuous or intermittent or repeated exposure to any “health hazard.”  The policy defined the term “contaminant” to mean any unclean, unsafe, damaging, injurious or unhealthful condition arising out of the presence of any pollutant, whether permanent or transient, in any environment.  The policy further defined “health hazard” to mean any chemical, alkaline, radioactive material or other irritants or any pollutant or other substance, product or waste product, where the fumes or other discharges or effects therefrom, whether liquid, gas or solid or gaseous are determined to be toxic or harmful to the health of any person, plant or animal.

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http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/another-confusing-mold-insurance-decision/

The Business Continuity Institute recently published a very welcome positioning statement, looking to set out its view on organizational resilience. In this article David Honour, editor of Continuity Central, looks at the statement and invites business continuity and resilience professionals to have their say.

The aim

In the preamble to the positioning statement, BCI board member Tim Janes states that its aim “is to add clarity regarding the position of business continuity in the context of organizational resilience. It also provides the BCI’s perspective on how the development of resilience concepts may impact on the practice of business continuity.” There is certainly a need for such clarification. I have attended many webinars on the subject of organizational resilience and there is little agreement about how to define it, where its boundaries are, what it includes, and where it sits in relation to business continuity, risk management and other protective disciplines.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/resilience-news/896-a-review-of-the-business-continuity-institute-s-position-statement-on-organizational-resilience

Friday, 19 February 2016 00:00

Thinking Different: Data Centers and IoT

The Internet of Everything (IoT) has gone from a concept not many people grasped clearly, to a tangible, living and breathing phenomena on the verge of changing the way we live—and the way data centers strategize for the future.

At least, data center managers better develop new strategies for handling the IoT and all the data that could overwhelm current systems.

What does the volume of data look like: In the past five years, traffic volume has already increased five-fold; and according to a 2014 study by Cisco, annual global IP traffic will pass a zettabyte and surpass 1.6 zettabytes by 2018. Non-PC devices—expected to double the global population by that year—will generate more than half that traffic.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/02/18/thinking-different-data-centers-and-iot/

To be a successful managed service provider, you need to protect your customer’s critical business data. This involves a lot more than just providing a simple backup and disaster recovery solution. After all, what will you do if your client has lost all power or can’t access their office? The missing piece? Intelligent business continuity.

Here are three essentials of a top-notch business continuity plan for your customers' businesses (as well as your own). 

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http://mspmentor.net/blog/3-fundamentals-indestructible-business-continuity-plan

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Five more home improvement stores— in St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties — are teaming up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide local residents with free information, tips, flyers and brochures to prevent and lessen damage from disasters. 

FEMA mitigation specialists will be available over the next six days to answer questions and offer home improvement tips on making homes stronger and safer against disasters. Most of the information is geared toward do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

Advisers will be available February 18-23 at the following locations . . .

  • Lowe's at 6302 Ronald Reagan Drive, Lake St. Louis, MO 63367 (St. Charles County)
  • Home Depot at 3891 Mexico Rd, St. Charles, MO 63303 (St. Charles County)
  • Home Depot at Chesterfield Commons, 390 THF Blvd., Chesterfield, MO 63005 (St. Louis County)
  • Home Depot at 11215 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044 (St. Louis County)
  • Lowe’s at 920 Arnold Commons Drive, Arnold, MO 63010 (Jefferson County)

During these times . . .

  • Thursday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Monday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mitigation teams will also have free reference booklets on protecting your home from flood damage. More information about strengthening property can be found at www.fema.gov/what-mitigation.

###

For breaking news about flood recovery, follow FEMA Region 7 on Twitter at https://twitter.com/femaregion7 and turn on mobile notifications or visit the FEMA webpages dedicated to this disaster at www.fema.gov/disaster/4250.

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.

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

 
State/Tribal Government or Region: 

The security industry has started to go through a transformation. The transformation is part evolution and part maturity. Exploits and attack techniques advance rapidly and a quick look at the headlines on any given week demonstrates that traditional network and endpoint security solutions are proving inadequate. The companies that form the new breed of security are bringing unique and innovative approaches to the problem rather than just tweaking the same old broken security model.

If you follow the money, it seems investors also see the proverbial writing on the wall and are actively looking for the “next big thing”. Companies like HackerOne, Cylance, and Venafi have benefited from a spike in security industry investments. Code42 and Tenable even made the CB Insights list as the top-funded startups for their respective states. Today, Vera announced that it has closed a $17 million round of Series B financing—bringing its total to over $31 million in funding.

A post from CSO in August of 2015 explained, “CB Insights reported that in the first half of 2015, venture firms invested $1.2 billion into cybersecurity startups. Yup, you read it correctly – one point two billion in just the first six months of 2015.”

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2016/02/18/new-breed-of-startups-aims-to-transform-security/

Friday, 19 February 2016 00:00

What Is the Best Way to Secure Endpoints?

During the past decade, while security threats have evolved quickly, the goal of security staffs remains the same, but has gotten far harder to fulfill: Protect all the devices that hold critical data and offer potential ways into an organization’s back end.

Doug Cahill, the senior analyst on cybersecurity at Enterprise Strategy Group, discussed at Dark Reading findings and recommendations on endpoint security that emerged from interviews with what he says are dozens of security folks.

The best approaches involve picturing the elements of security (methodology, prevention, detection and response) holistically and not as discrete and separate elements: Protect as one dresses for the cold, in layers; be proactive (this suggestion is primarily aimed at large organizations); have a spectrum of starting points, or entry points, in the security realm.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-and-telecom/what-is-the-best-way-to-secure-endpoints.html

Several years ago Facebook shut down an entire data center to test the resiliency of its application. According to Jay Parikh, the company’s head of engineering, the test went smoothly. The data center going offline did not disrupt anybody’s ability to mindlessly scroll through their Facebook feed instead of spending time being a contributing member of society.

Facebook and other web-scale data center operators, companies that built global internet services that make billions upon billions of dollars, have shifted the data center resiliency focus from redundancy and automation of the underlying infrastructure – the power and cooling systems – to software-driven failover. A globally distributed system that consists of so many servers can easily lose some of those servers without any significant impediment to the application’s performance.

That’s not to say they’ve abandoned backup generators, UPS systems, and automatic transfer switches. You’ll still see all of those things in Facebook data centers; it’s just that they are no longer the single line of defense.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/02/18/facebook-open-sources-data-center-network-fault-detection-tools/

Cloud native apps are now being built using distributed systems, clustering and built-in fault tolerance so that a failure of any component cannot bring the application down. Furthermore, the application can be scaled on demand.

So, why can’t we build the IT management systems that way? They are nothing but a meta-app that converts bare metal hardware in to a software-driven cloud that can be consumed via APIs.

In the past I have argued that management systems are like puppies that need special attention. Their installation, maintenance and upgrade significantly increase the operational expenses of running an enterprise datacenter. Think about how Boeing builds new planes – every new model is better than the previous generation planes in fuel efficiency, level of automation, etc. That cannot be said of IT infrastructure management systems.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/02/18/building-the-next-gen-it-management-infrastructure/

(TNS) - Lawrence County officials hope infrastructure upgrades in the aftermath of December’s flooding issues will help prevent future damage to county roads.

Repairs to shoulders and gravel roads are almost complete, County Engineer Ben Duncan said. Destroyed drainage systems on Lawrence 328, 326 and 429 will take some work.

“As long as everything runs smoothly, I would hope to be done within two months. That’s being optimistic,” Duncan said. “We’re still repairing things. We’ve still got a long ways to go.”

Duncan said officials discussed the reimbursement process for road repairs during last week’s meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA declared 38 counties, including Lawrence, disaster areas after the Dec. 23-31 storms, making them eligible for federal funding.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/FEMA-aid-to-bring-better-roads-to-LawCo.html