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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

As we pick up the pieces after the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado -- and honor the deceased -- we're getting figures now that this tornado, while not the most powerful recorded, may possibly be the most expensive in U.S. history. We at Architecture for Humanity, like many, pause and wonder at how much damage could have been prevented -- a consideration that is becoming more relevant to more cities as our climate continues to change.

There's nothing we can do to stop tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes from happening. They are natural events. What makes them natural "disasters" is the effect they have on our homes, lives and communities. That's something we can affect -- and work is already underway.



"The rapidly changing healthcare landscape demands a disciplined approach to risk assessment," said Matt Weekley, leader of the national healthcare industry practice at Plante Moran, during a May 23 webinar hosted by the accounting and consulting firm.

During the webinar, panelists Mr. Weekley and Plante Moran Partner Anthony V. Colarossi, along with moderator and Plante Moran Partner Betsy Rust, explained that hospitals need quantitative risk assessment to prepare for coming changes in the industry, such as the move to value-based purchasing and the impending insurance exchanges.

The panelists agreed that having a risk assessment plan in place aids in the development of a strategic plan, is effective in creating mitigation or contingency plans, encourages outside-of-the-box thinking and, most importantly, turns risk management into a proactive rather than reactive activity.



When companies perform qualitative risk assessments, they often fail to consider the potential disruption from a sophisticated cyberattack. The frequency and complexity of cyberattacks is increasing, and hackers are more able to breach a company's security detection system, according to a recent study from Frost & Sullivan. Next-generation intrusion prevention systems (NGIPS) are becoming more widely adopted to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack.

Organizations have experienced a rise in long-term, targeted advanced persistent threats, which indicates hackers are better organized and more skilled. Many enterprises continue to install intrusion prevention systems to detect traditional malware, but some are upgrading protection measures as the threats to data security increase. However, the high cost of software upgrades can deter some businesses from investing in new systems.



The CISO's today need to manage risks instead of locking down things, said Bharti Airtel's Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Felix Mohan, while delivering a keynote at the recently held India Computer Security Officer at Kovalum, Kerala.

During the keynote Felix highlighted that CISOs need to evolve from the traditional role that they had been entrusted till date, because today the Nexus of Forces is pushing the CISOs to step up as business enablers who are accountable to the company’s profitability. Elaborating on this he said, “For the enterprises to obtain competitive advantage from these disruptive forces, the businesses today needs that their CISOs upgrade their mental attitude from locking down thing to managing risks. Business wants the CISOs to say yes to the Nexus of forces and facilitate the adoption of these by solving the security puzzle, so that the business can benefit from it.”



HAUPPAUGE, NY – “Be Prepared – Get A PLAN!” That's the mantra straight from NOAA during this year's Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs from May 26th through June 1st of 2013. With many lessons from last year’s storms, Dean Mercado and Bill Baylis of Long Island internet marketing firm Online Marketing Muscle urge business owners to take a fresh look at why a Marketing Disaster Recovery Plan is a must have to succeed in today’s turbulent business world.

Hurricane Sandy was devastating to the tri-state area, but the aftermath in some ways was worse. Businesses may have planned for power outages and food shortages, but not for effectively communicating with their clients or staff. Post storm, local businesses reopened, restaurants began serving food, dry cleaners even offered charging stations for cell phones; however, none of them realized they needed to have an effective communication plan to let people know they were back up and running. With trees and power lines down, it was impossible to know what was open just down the block, never mind several streets away or the other side of the city.

Social media became the best source for friends and family to learn about the situations in their home towns. Bill Baylis learned firsthand what a lack of communication means; his parish, Curè of Ars Church in Merrick, NY had food and shelter set up to share with the community. “Unfortunately,” says Pastor Charles Mangano, “we had relief available, but did not have an effective way to post, text or email to get the word out. Bill Baylis, among other parishioners, stepped up to use their talents to get our social media presence ready for the next challenging event, getting to those in need at the press of a button.”

With hurricane season approaching, Online Marketing Muscle wants to raise awareness by following NOAA’s lead, Plan to prepare. Pledge to take action. Create a social media marketing plan in the event disaster hits to ease the transition period after a storm, foster positive community relations and establish a strong sense of good will.

“We teach our clients that breakdowns lead to breakthroughs,” says Dean Mercado. “We all owe it to ourselves to learn from Hurricane Sandy and prepare for the worst; if that comes we will be ready. If we are spared, then the investment can be turned into a positive with a social media presence.”

Baylis agrees, “Hurricane Sandy proved our belief that business owners and entrepreneurs are very generous caring people, who are always looking for ways to give back.” Baylis continues, “At Online Marketing Muscle, we’re no different. This is our give back to the community, by offering awareness to the best marketing solutions and doing what we do best, helping businesses get on the path to success."

This past year the two marketing coaches have observed too many businesses forced to take major financial hits, and some who have to close its operations altogether due to unforeseen natural disasters. Quality communication plans can make the difference between success and failure.

Online marketing muscle is dedicating June to assisting business owners on their way to building their own marketing disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

Here are hands on solutions the company is offering to help educate and guide business owners to take action and become natural disaster prepared.

For more information about Online Marketing Muscle visit: http://www.OnlineMarketingMuscle.com

Online Marketing Muscle® helps service-based small to mid-sized businesses, nationally, to leverage the power of the Internet to expand their credibility, visibility, and reach within their target market.

Dean Mercado, president of Online Marketing Muscle, is a respected marketing coach, strategist, author, and speaker.

Bill Baylis, COO of Online Marketing Muscle, is a business-turnaround expert. He has crafted a life’s work from the creation of new revenue-generation methodologies, operational procedures, sales techniques, and marketing strategies for business.

TULSA, Oklahoma – The video of two Moore elementary schools ravaged by Monday's tornadoes brings a powerful reaction from parents: What if that were my child's school? How would rescuers know where to find my child? Would they have the resources to get to them quickly when every second counts?

It turns out lawmakers acted on those fears after the 2003 tornado that hit Moore and Southeast Oklahoma City, with the Oklahoma Emergency Management Act of 2003.

Part of that law requires all schools to write up a disaster and emergency preparedness plan and keep it on file with their local emergency management office, and update it each year.



It’s great to have many continuity plans and strategies to prepare for and respond to, disasters. However, if they aren’t validated they don’t carry any weight and there’s no way of knowing if they would be any good – useful – when a real situation occurs.

BCM practitioners may make the case for exercising plans but sometimes management may not want to provide the resources – physical & financial – available to validate the plans. There are a few questions that can be posed to executive management to possibly allow for the right kind of commitment and support to validate continuity strategies and plans.



In the wake of the most recent financial crisis, considerable emphasis has been placed on financial institutions performing reasonable stress testing procedures as part of their risk management and capital planning processes. While the focus primarily has been on the largest financial institutions with measures like the introduction of the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program, or SCAP, in early 2009, additional and more recent guidance seems to indicate that this will be something that all financial institutions, regardless of size, will be asked to do.

Sourcing and updating adequate data is one of the most crucial aspects of developing and maintaining a reliable stress testing process. The ability to incorporate updated and relevant data for the stress tests will provide financial institutions, regardless of size, with significant benefits as they strive to identify and mitigate potential risks in their loan portfolio over time.



I’m a fan of the comics.

Dilbert for May 23, 2013 triggered the thought that a risk management practitioner needs to try to match personnel to processes as an organization (a) tries to maintain a minimum level of service and (b) restore the operation to “business as usual.”

Politics and egos can make this a difficult task, but when it can be accomplished, the results are worthwhile.

There are those people, including practitioners, who are excellent workers under normal conditions. These same people may fall apart under event and post-event demands. On the other side of the coin, there are those who “get by” when everything is proceeding normally but shine when the pressure is greatest.



Even for an epidemiologist who works in public health preparedness and response, being asked to explain to the public what we do at CDC can be difficult.  

That said, sometimes opportunities to talk about public health drop into your lap.   A few months ago I was catching up with my friend Austin, an engineer for a large corporation.  It turned out that while on long-term assignments he and his team had recently taken to playing the board game, “PandemicExternal Web Site Icon.”   One might think that an infectious disease would make for a strange game premise, but to my surprise it’s been gaining a loyal fan base. Of note, the game has recently profiled by Wil Wheaton on his “Geeks and Sundry” tabletop videocastExternal Web Site Icon seen by more than 350,000 viewers and positively reviewed on many board game sites.