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Jon Seals

Polio, not bird flu

[Updated on 1 August 2013 at end of entry]

Israel has recently reported several cases of polio.

Since Israel inoculates all children and new immigrants with anti-polio vaccine, the appearance of polio should tell risk management practitioners two things:

      One: In order to eradicate a contagious disease, the effort must be worldwide

Two: Communicable diseases can – and are – spread at the speed of flight.

According to Israeli sources ( http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/), “The strain of polio virus recently discovered in southern Israel is exactly the same kind as the type of virus that is prevalent in Pakistan, and which existed exclusively in Pakistan until recently, reports the Pakistan-based publication Dawn.

“Dr. Nima Abid, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Pakistan, told Dawn that the virus was "definitely" from Pakistan, since “The virus genotype (genetic make-up) is the same as prevalent in Pakistan and this is what the research has indicated."

“The samples of the virus strain were found in sewage in Cairo, in December last year.

There had been no cases of polio in Egypt for five years previously, and the disease had been eradicated in Israel much before that, said the WHO official.”

Polio is not the only easily transmitted disease that requires international cooperation to eliminate.



Last week I wrote about a train derailment on the line I take to work every day. It was the third derailment in only a few months for the MTA. It turns out that two sets of tracks were destroyed as the result of a derailment of 10 cars on a CSX train hauling garbage at night.

The MTA responded promptly and by the next morning had plans in place, using buses and a subway line to get people to work in Manhattan. That was a Friday, and by Monday garbage had been removed from the tracks and one track was replaced so that service could mostly be restored. The second track was back a few days later.

But a recent letter to the editor of our local newspaper gave the incident a new perspective. The reader pointed out that a CSX garbage train makes a trip four times each day to and from the Bronx, through Albany, to Virginia.

He stated, “The garbage is loaded next door to two gas-fired electric generating plants,” and pointed out that “every advanced country is converting garbage to gas for electric production – we are not.” Instead, we are hauling it to faraway locales to be placed in landfills.



By Cate Shockey

This blog is part of a series, covering a preparedness topic each month from the Do 1 Thing ProgramExternal Web Site Icon . Join us this month as we discuss family communication plans.

For Do 1 Thing this month, it was time to sit down and create a family communication plan. The point is to be able to communicate with family members during a disaster.

On vacation with my family this month, we discussed how we would stay in touch in an emergency situation. Local phone calls can be overloaded in an emergency, so it’s important to choose a person that lives outside of the area to call if you’re not able to reach each other. Because I live in a different state than my family members, it was easy to decide that I would be their out of state contact, and my parents would be mine.

The next step was entering ‘in case of emergency’ numbers (ICE) into our phones. If you are hurt and unable to use your phone, first responders can call your ICE contact for you.

Here are a few things you can do this month to make sure you can stay connected toyour family in an emergency:

  • With the prevalence of social media, many people have found that the best way to communicate in the chaos of an emergency is to check in with others on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In 2012, the American Red CrossExternal Web Site Icon reported that three out of four Americans (76 percent) expect help in less than three hours of posting a request on social media and 40% of those surveyed said they would use social tools to tell others they are safe (up from 24% in 2011).
  • Fill out a family communication plan Adobe PDF fileExternal Web Site Icon at Ready.gov. Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.
  • Keep a car charger for your cell phone in your car. That way, if the power goes out, you can still charge your phone.
  • Remember that if your call won’t go through in an emergency, a text message might. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to send and receive text messages.
  • The American Red Cross Safe and WellExternal Web Site Icon website helps families keep in touch during a disaster. In an emergency, visit the website and enter your information as well as find information on others.

Check out Do 1 ThingExternal Web Site Icon for more tips and information, and start putting your plans in place for unexpected events. Are YOU ready?

Leave a Comment! Do you have a family communication plan? Have you ever had to use it?


It should come as no surprise that regulators and organizations alike struggle to set and enforce guidelines for social media activity. It’s not just that the rise of social media is rapidly transforming the way we interact with people, customers, and brands; but also how many ways this transformation is happening.

The core issue is that social media alters the way we as individuals share who we are, merging our roles as people, professionals, and consumers.  As we share more of ourselves on a growing number of social networks, questions quickly surface:

  • How frequently and on what social networks should we post?
  • When should we present ourselves in our professional role versus sharing our personal opinions?
  • Is it okay to be social media friends with co-workers, clients, or your boss?

These are complicated matters for individuals, and absolute conundrums for organizations concerned with how employees behave and interact with others in, and outside of, the workplace. Their questions are even more complicated:



My previous column touched on the promise of storage virtualisation in an era of “software-defined everything” and other initiatives that promise to make storage much simpler to manage.

One option for time and cost-starved IT managers to rein in their storage spending is object storage.

Object storage, on paper at least, seems like an appealing option. It is radically simpler than traditional storage area networks (SAN) and even network-attached storage (NAS), it scales much better from a capacity standpoint, and it is especially well suited to cost-effectively storing lots of unstructured data – think files, videos, music and images – in this big data era.

Yet, according to our research, the adoption of object storage is a minority activity. In a recent study by 451 Research’s The Info Pro service, out of 275 storage professionals at mid-sized and large organisations, just under a quarter (24%) said they had already deployed object storage.



July 31, 2013

This is not a test

FORTUNE -- Manpower -- SWAT teams, bomb squads, K9 units, scores of local police officers, and citizens providing information -- will forever receive credit for bringing down the suspects linked to the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and wounded hundreds. But there was another, little-noticed participant in the manhunt: an emergency alert platform created by Glendale, Calif.-based Everbridge.

It was Everbridge's system that enabled officers to keep locals informed -- and safe -- as they tore through suburban streets in search of the suspects. Everbridge allows single entities to send thousands of messages at the push of a button, even if cell towers are down. (The system can send texts using Wi-Fi). During Boston's marathon bombings, local companies used the system to verify the safety of employees, hospitals used it to relay information to nurses, and police updated citizens with safety alerts and messages. "We really wanted to limit people being out [on the streets] so that those law enforcement folks could maneuver around the town," says Watertown Fire Chief Mario Orangio. "By getting that message out as quickly as we did, it helped immensely." At one point during the manhunt that resulted in the capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Watertown Fire Department sent out 11,000 messages in a 15-minute span using Everbridge, he added.



CIO — Your organization will come under attack. It's not a matter of "if." It's a matter of "when." And security is no longer simply an operational concern. As technology has become the central component of nearly all business processes, security has become a business concern. As a result, information security should sit firmly on the boardroom agenda.

"If the worst were to happen, could we honestly tell our customers, partners or regulators that we've done everything that was expected of us, especially in the face of some fairly hefty fines that could be levied by regulators," asks Steve Durbin, global vice president of the Information Security Forum, a nonprofit association that researches and analyzes security and risk management issues on behalf of its members, many of whom are counted among the Fortune Global 500 and Fortune Global 1000.

"We're seeing, I think, not only that boards need to get up to speed on this, but also they need to be preparing their organization for the future," Durbin says. "They need to be determining how they can be more secure tomorrow than they were today."



Today I’m going to discuss how a company can mismanage a crisis in a way that makes their plans backfire and blow up.

Of course a crisis cannot always be perfectly planed for or averted. There are a few ways for a social web team to turn a crisis around and even reap the benefits of said crisis.

Recently, Chipotle’s Twitter account was allegedly hacked with several incoherent tweets being published.



Cloud computing gives organisations the opportunity to rethink many traditional IT practices, but it may be a particularly good fit for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Network World Editor in Chief John Dix caught up with IBM Distinguished Engineer Richard Cocchiara, who is CTO and the Managing Partner of Consulting for IBM's Business Continuity & Resiliency Services, for his perspective on the subject.

Cocchiara leads a worldwide team who work with clients on systems availability, disaster recovery planning, business continuity management and IT governance.



More than three quarters of IT professionals have experienced a data center outage in the past year, a report released on Tuesday by disaster recovery company Zerto said.

In a survey of 356 IT professionals, including IT managers, VMware and sys admins, Zerto found that 42 percent of respondents report to have experienced an outage in the last six months, with 86 percent of those incidents caused by something other than a natural disaster. The top two causes of a data center outage are hardware failure and power loss.

According to the report, 7 percent of companies have no disaster recovery plan at all, which is particularly disturbing when you see the different types of industries the respondents work in, including finance, healthcare, legal, education, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. In a report from 2011, data center association AFCOM found that more than 15 percent of data centers have no plan for business continuity or disaster recovery.