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Volume 29, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

(TNS) — The Burlington, Iowa, City Council voted this week to accept initial plans for a flood mitigation project that will change significantly the face of the city's riverfront during the next two decades.

Plans will come back for official council approval in January or February before the firms can take bids. Construction would start in July 2017.

Long-term plans shown in renderings and a fly-through video show a splashpad, floating dock, shade structures and trees. But most of what's shown in the video and renderings is 15 or 20 years down the road and would require additional funding, City Manager Jim Ferneau said.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Burlington-Council-OKs-Flood-Mitigation-Plans-Sidewalk-Cafes.html

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to be safe when faced with extended periods of high temperatures.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings and advisories in areas throughout the Midwest.  Heat indexes in excess of 100 degrees can be expected.  It is essential residents take necessary precautions to avoid the harmful impacts of the high temperatures.

“A combination of high temperatures and high humidity can create a dangerous situation for you and your family,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez, III. “Learn and put into practice the steps you should follow during periods of extreme heat.  Remember to check in on family, friends, and neighbors especially those who are elderly, disabled or have functional needs to ensure they are safe.”

Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses, including severe sunburns, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Understand your symptoms, and take the appropriate actions, seeking medical attention if your conditions are severe.

During extremely hot weather, you should take the following precautions:

  • Become familiar with the emergency plans of your community, school and workplace.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings that are air conditioned.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day.
  • Know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and seek medical attention if your conditions are severe.

Find other valuable tips by downloading the free FEMA app today, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The FEMA App helps you learn what to do before, during, and after emergencies with safety tips & localized weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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.

Google has brought online its first West Coast cloud data center, promising US and Canadian cloud users on or close to the coast a 30 to 80 percent reduction in latency if they use the new region instead of the one in central US, which was closest to them before the new region launched.

This data center in Oregon isn’t the first Google data center on the West Coast. The company has had a data center campus in the Dalles, Oregon, for a decade. The launch means this is the first time Google’s cloud services are served out of Oregon in addition to other Google services, such as search or maps.

With the new cloud data center online, the company said its cloud users in cities like Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles should expect to see big performance improvements if they choose to host their virtual infrastructure in the new region, called us-west1.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/07/20/google-launches-its-first-cloud-data-center-on-west-coast/

One of the cloud’s early promises was that it wouldn’t matter to the users where the physical servers that store and process their data are located. While that’s still true for many users, as cloud providers tackle what they all say is the next wave of cloud adoption, its acceptance and growing use by big companies and government agencies, cloud data center location starts to matter more and more.

Companies in heavily regulated industries aren’t free to store their own and their customers’ data anywhere they like, while the last several years have seen a stronger regulatory focus specifically on data sovereignty and data privacy in several countries, including Germany, Russia, and Brazil

This means cloud providers that want to ride that wave of enterprise cloud adoption have to ensure they have cloud data centers close to the companies they hope to serve. Microsoft execs confirmed this much on the company’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/07/20/nadella-well-build-cloud-data-centers-wherever-demand-takes-us/

The initial phase of the cloud transition is nearly done, with more than three-quarters of enterprises pushing at least a portion of their workload to public infrastructure.

As expected, however, most of this is non-critical data and applications and is largely limited to storage and backup services rather than production workloads. So it stands to reason that the next leg of the cloud journey will involve mission-critical workloads – the stuff that sets the corporate suite’s hair on fire if it should cease to function for any reason.

This is why the growth of cloud computing is likely to slow down some as we approach the next decade. It’s not that the enterprise is growing tired of the cloud or is starting to see more of its flaws (yes, the cloud does have flaws), but that future deployments will have to be handled with more care as the stakes get higher. Not only will cloud services have to be more resilient going forward, but they will be increasingly optimized from the ground up to suit highly targeted processes, which takes time and coordination between users and providers.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/tread-carefully-into-the-mission-critical-cloud.html

Thursday, 21 July 2016 00:00

Cybersecurity: Time For A Paradigm Shift

Morgan Stanley Blue Papers, a product of our Research Division, involve collaboration from analysts, economists and strategists across the globe and address long-term, structural business changes that are reshaping the fundamentals of entire economies and industries around the globe.

Given the growing severity and frequency of cyberattacks, it’s no surprise that organizations of all sizes are spending more money to shore up their digital defenses. The market for cybersecurity products and services is expected to surpass $60 billion in 2016, and that figure could double by 2020.

Unfortunately, more security doesn’t necessarily mean better security. In fact, the current strategy of most organizations—layering on many different technologies—is not only proving ineffective, it is overly complex and expensive. “The status quo is not sustainable,” says Keith Weiss, head of U.S. software coverage for Morgan Stanley. Even as companies spend more on security, losses related to cybercrime have nearly doubled in the last five years.

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganstanley/2016/07/20/cybersecurity-time-for-a-paradigm-shift/

I would think that the one area in the network infrastructure that is a security priority for IT and security administrators is privileged accounts that control access to servers, firewalls, applications, and so on. There is a reason why so few people in any organization hold login credentials for these accounts. Can you imagine how much damage can be done if too many people had access to this sensitive hardware and software and their login information ended up in the wrong hands? As TechTarget pointed out:

In the wrong hands, privileged accounts represent the biggest threat to enterprises because these accounts can breach personal data, complete unauthorized transactions, cause denial-of-service attacks, and hide activity by deleting audit data.

Having a solid privileged account management (PAM) system in place is vital not only in terms of security, but also for meeting industry compliances and regulations. That makes the results of a new Thycotic study, which found that too many companies are failing at PAM security enforcement, particularly troublesome. As explained on Thycotic’s blog post about the study:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/more-than-half-of-companies-are-failing-at-pam-security.html

Thursday, 21 July 2016 00:00

What We All Can Learn From Pokemon Go

At this point, anyone with access to a smartphone or any media source has heard of Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s augmented reality game for smartphones. The game requires players to go outside and explore their surroundings in order to find and catch new Pokemon. The app exploded onto the scene, with over 20 million daily active users after only one week in the app store.

There have been countless articles flooding the internet since the game’s release on July 6th discussing the unintended side effects of people playing the game. These can include people not looking where they’re going and falling, criminals luring players into secluded areas, etc. While these effects can all turn into (and likely already are) entire discussions on their own, there is one undeniable fact about Pokemon Go. It’s popular. Really popular. But what is it that is so appealing about the app? And how can we use the lessons from its immediate and extraordinary success to improve our own industries and solutions?

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http://www.everbridge.com/what-we-all-can-learn-from-pokemon-go/

The first half of 2016 saw at least six individual billion-dollar insured disaster events globally, three of which occurred in the United States, according to Aon Benfield’s Global Catastrophe Recap: First Half of 2016.

Four of these events crossed the multi-billion dollar threshold ($2 billion and greater).

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 11.20.52 AM

As seen in the chart above the most costly event was a series of earthquakes that struck Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture in April with total insured losses—including losses due to physical damage and business interruption—expected to total in excess of $5 billion.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=4513

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing the release of the State Mitigation Planning Key Topics Bulletin: Planning Process, now available in the FEMA library at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/115780. The Planning Process Bulletin focuses on ways states can organize the state mitigation planning process, including approaches for growing the planning team, involving key stakeholders, and maintaining the plan between updates.  This bulletin also provides information on seven key planning sectors (emergency management, economic development, land use and development, housing, health and social services, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources) and how these sectors can be leveraged to improve the plan. 

 

The Planning Process Bulletin is the second document to be released in the State Mitigation Planning Key Topics Bulletins (“Bulletins”) series covering the various components of the state mitigation planning process, including risk assessment, mitigation capabilities, and mitigation strategy.  The Bulletins are brief documents aimed at informing states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories on the various ways to meet the regulatory and policy requirements described in the State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (“Guide”), which became effective March 6, 2016. The Guide presents FEMA’s official policy on and interpretation of the natural hazard mitigation planning requirements for states established in the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR Part 201).  While the Guide provides FEMA’s policy and interpretation of State Mitigation Planning requirements, the Bulletins are intended to provide approaches and resources states can use to update their hazard mitigation plans.

 

For more information and updates on FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Planning Program, please visit http://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-planning-resources.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing the release of the State Mitigation Planning Key Topics Bulletin: Planning Process, now available in the FEMA library at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/115780. The Planning Process Bulletin focuses on ways states can organize the state mitigation planning process, including approaches for growing the planning team, involving key stakeholders, and maintaining the plan between updates.  This bulletin also provides information on seven key planning sectors (emergency management, economic development, land use and development, housing, health and social services, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources) and how these sectors can be leveraged to improve the plan. 

 

The Planning Process Bulletin is the second document to be released in the State Mitigation Planning Key Topics Bulletins (“Bulletins”) series covering the various components of the state mitigation planning process, including risk assessment, mitigation capabilities, and mitigation strategy.  The Bulletins are brief documents aimed at informing states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories on the various ways to meet the regulatory and policy requirements described in the State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (“Guide”), which became effective March 6, 2016. The Guide presents FEMA’s official policy on and interpretation of the natural hazard mitigation planning requirements for states established in the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR Part 201).  While the Guide provides FEMA’s policy and interpretation of State Mitigation Planning requirements, the Bulletins are intended to provide approaches and resources states can use to update their hazard mitigation plans.

 

For more information and updates on FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Planning Program, please visit http://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-planning-resources.

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